Universal Audio, MIDI and Notation File Format

Universal Audio, MIDI and Notation File Format

I believe @pianoleo’s point in the thread that I just replied to - Polymeter in Dorico 3.5 - is an important one - the way in which MIDI editors and notation editors interrelate in Cubase is different to how they relate in Dorico. And perhaps in other apps made by other companies. However my suggestion to overcome these differences - instead of DAWs and music notation apps continuing to function as if separate worlds - and as part of making the creation of apps which are a combination of the two viable (and PREFERABLE!) - that all apps have PARTS - or some name that is neither track nor stave - with each part containing potentially any one or more or all of the following components - audio, MIDI, and notation, - with these different components being potentially separate but potentially linked. This doesn’t mean that a user couldn’t spend their whole time looking at staves if that is what they want - it doesn’t stop a music notation app showing the notated components by default - or the DAW from showing audio or MIDI - or both - by default. It would just allow the current dependencies which do exist - or could exist in what people are doing - to be catered for. So for example when recording monophonic audio an app could be told to automatically use the audio data to create MIDI data (alongside - not instead of the audio) - and to also do its best to create notation from the audio (lengthening note values) - or not. And partial dependencies could exist - such as all pitch changes in the MIDI data affecting the notation but not all rhythm changes - and all rhythm changes in the notation affecting the MIDI data - or the reverse - thus ensuring that the user can have whatever priorities they wish.

As part of this new direction - I suggest the creation of a universal file format which carries audio data, MIDI data, and notation. The other formats can of course continue to exist in order to maximise their advantages (a user transferring notation data might not wish to have their export file contain all of the audio - making the file vastly larger). And that work be done towards this before any company attempt to control the market if they are the first to successfully integrate audio, MIDI and notation in a more elegant way. I suggest that for such a format to be well done it will require music notation experts to be very prominent in its creation.

I also have some suggestions for how an app which had both music notation and DAW capabilities would work if it was designed without any bias towards any particular way of working - and will post those suggestions in a new thread soon.

PS I have realised that PARTS is the wrong word - because a part in musical notation might be a compilation of one or more of these “units”. I also believe it would be helpful if the unit - whatever it is called - allow any number of staves for the one audio component - for example to cater for polymeter - which might be performed by the one instrument section - or for other reasons relating to sample libraries if that’s wise.

Please don’t bother. Your essays have become so tedious!


I’m not sure because I don’t spend much time here - do any of those who liked Janus’ reply want to explain your objection to my ideas? Do any of you make a living writing music for media, games, films, or TV? Do you do music notation work in connection with audio? Do you believe that making Dorico a more fully featured compositional tool - and providing stronger DAW like functionality HAS TO interfere with the needs of those who don’t want these things?

My gut feeling is that my suggestions will have the support of people who use both music notation and DAW apps.

If we did a survey of the top musical education institutions in the world what we would find - where people are the best of the best - is a broad appreciation for a range of music - and admiration for performers of a range of styles of music - and a welcoming attitude to any and every tool which may help with creating and performing music. Whether it was Juilliard in the US- or Guildhall School of Music in the UK - to name two English speaking institutions with which I am more familiar. A thirst for excellence cannot afford the indulgence of not being practical - and open minded. I hope that this forum can adopt the same attitude.