Making XML usable

I feel XML import is kind of dangerous… sometimes things are fine, sometimes things are obviously missing or wrong, which is easy to fix, but sometimes problems are not immediately apparent. They may look fine in the score, but they show up later when something doesn’t work correctly, or doesn’t output correctly.

I’m to the point where I’ve basically abandoned XML as a dependable option and am accepting that I’ll just have to re-enter a score if I want it editable.

I’m not complaining because I understand the difficulties involved with XML encoding, as Daniel and others have been discussed previously. Cross-program usage just isn’t a smooth option.

Although I’m not likely to use XML much, I’m wondering if some of these issues are random? Or is there a place where commonly-experienced errors are catalogued and discussed? I frequently experienced certain problems that other have probably had as well. It might make XML more viable if there were a list of common issues that users could anticipate and fix.

One more question: I’m wondering if there’s a way to do a batch “clean-up” of a score. That is, keep the basic info like notes and such, but strip all other data, visible or hidden, and “reset” all properties.

That would allow me to import basic note data with confidence, and only need to re-enter other score details, but not worry that there were hidden problems that would come up later. Essentially that would give me a score that has been “de-bugged.”

In any workflow, laying out visual material in a new app from imported matter means a complete round of proofing and checking. I see importing xml as a faster method than typing it all in again from scratch.

One of the great myths about xml is that you can just load in a completely finished layout from one app to another. You can barely get that in a round trip from Finale to Finale. In practice, each app is going to take what notation concepts it can and lay them out according to its own capabilities.

There is Reset Position and Reset Appearance in the Edit menu of Write mode. That should cover most things.

In my experience, I’ve found some weirdness in tie curvatures, lyric extensions falling short of the last note, and a few other ‘stuck’ things like cautionary accidentals.

Don’t forget you can adjust how Dorico handles XML import in the Application Preferences.

Yes, in general the fewer checkboxes you have activated on the MusicXML Import page of Preferences, the closer to Dorico’s defaults you’re going to get. Unless you have specific reason to want to e.g. import the beam groupings from the MusicXML file, I suggest you try importing your files with more of those checkboxes deactivated. In theory there will then be very little or no difference between importing MusicXML and having typed that material in yourself from scratch directly in Dorico.

After importing from XML, Reset Appearance and Reset Position are frequently dimmed. Does this mean they have already been applied? Does it have another meaning?

No, I expect it means only that you haven’t selected something: those commands only operate on a selection.

I’ve unchecked all boxes, and I imported a score, which looks pretty good. But Shift+B || does not create a double bar at a certain place in the piece until I delete the time signature in each staff.

Am I missing something?

If you’re finding that you have to delete the time signature in each staff individually, that’s a clue that Bad Things are happening. It suggests that the durations of the notes etc. in various staves in the MusicXML file are not adding up, so Dorico is ending up creating local time signatures on each staff rather than a single global one.

Finale XML export problem? As far as I know, I’m using Finale in the “correct” way, no unorthodox hacks that I know of.

Not necessarily a problem with Finale’s MusicXML export, but there are a lot of ways this could be going wrong. Unfortunately it’s hard to make general pronouncements on these kinds of problems. We have to look at individual files to determine what’s wrong with them and/or what Dorico is interpreting about them incorrectly.

Dan, in Finale you might try running Plug-ins > Note, Beam, and Rest Editing > Check Region for Durations.
Hit Check and it’ll determine if there are any bars that don’t add up. If so, you’ve got a solution.

Thanks for the suggestion. I suppose I’ll try it, but I can’t imagine that’s the problem. It’s very straightforward rhythmically, and I am sure I didn’t force any strange durations. Nevertheless, it’s worth a try.