Tips for effective MusicXML import?

For a large-scale orchestral work, I’m using a mix of Logic, Staffpad, and Dorico, with Dorico as the “source of truth” for the whole project—that is: when all is said and done, I want it in Dorico. However, that means that I’m regularly pulling in work from Staffpad via MusicXML. My first attempt at this hit a number of issues, specifically:

  • Not merging players and instruments successfully (as discussed here)—this seems like something I should probably be able to do on the authoring side in Staffpad?
  • Having an odd issue with an extraneous eighth note rest midway through the imported flow—this seems like it’s probably a bug in either Staffpad’s export or Dorico’s import, and I’m slightly suspicious of the former, but don’t have a good way to validate that suspicion.

Are there any guides/known patterns/other tips for success and avoiding the above kinds of issues beyond the docs (which I’ve read thoroughly!)?

I’m afraid there’s not any such bible that can help you to avoid these issues. When you’re transferring data from one application to another using a non-native format you’re always liable to run into issues like the applications describing instruments differently. In a future version we plan to make it possible for you to specify what instrument should be used during import, but for the time being there’s not a lot you can do beyond hope that the instruments match up automatically, or take the nuclear option and always import using new players, then copy and paste the material to the existing players before removing the redundant new ones.

As for the spurious rest, we’d need to see the MusicXML file itself to be able to identify whether the problem is on the export side or the import side.

Totally fair! I will try—no promises, but :crossed_fingers:t3:—to start documenting things on my blog as I hit them so they‘re useful to others. (Honestly, the fact that MusicXML exists and works as well as it does is nigh miraculous in its own right, so no complaints.)

The issue with the extraneous rest is, as I suspected, on Staffpad’s side: it allows you to just leave bars in musically-incorrect states in a way that is very convenient when quickly entering an idea, but then ends up with nonsense on the MusicXML side. When I corrected the score on the Staffpad side and re-exported the MusicXML, importing worked :100: on the Dorico side.

I’m uploading a sample Dorico project w/MusicXML export from Staffpad over on the other (more focused) question I asked, in case it’s useful for seeing why the instruments aren’t being merged correctly.