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Author Topic: Music in text or MIDI?  (Read 3231 times)
Active Newbie
Posts: 16

« on: February 08, 2017, 01:19:38 am »

Hi all,
Last time I posted, I asked for textual representations of the basic fingerings for all the notes MO ocarinas can play. I got them, and I greatly appreciate that.

What I'm wondering now is significantly harder. I'd like to know if there is anywhere I might find textual or MIDI representations of music arranged for ocarina? I know Carl offers books, but none of them are accessible. This isn't a slam on Carl or anyone on his team, it's just a fact.

Music in a format accessible to blind people is very hard to come by, because, unlike text, it can't be spoken by synthesized speech and thereby made accessible easily. It can't be interpreted by a computer and turned into speech, like can be done for images of printed paper. It can be brailled, but braille is extremely expensive, and the braille music code is a very complex one to learn. There are several codes in braille, but most share at least the same symbols for letters and some punctuation. Braille music is utterly foreign to even the most experienced braille user who has never tried to learn it. Again, too, the problem of translating print music to braille, and of paying to have it embossed, is significant.

I say all that to try to explain why hard-copy music is so hard to find. Often, the best hope of a blind musician, aside from simply playing by ear and relying on memory or homemade codes, is to use MIDI. With the right software, it is theoretically possible to disassemble a MIDI file and then examine it note by note. Since MIDI has to encode all the musical information about a piece anyway, it becomes possible to take that information and present it to the user in a logical fashion. I haven't yet found great software for this, but it can be done. I might have to have another look and see if I can put something together in Python.

Anyway, all this yapping leads, at long last, to my question. Are there sources of MIDI music for ocarina? Or, are there text files? I'm experienced enough with music in general that all I need are the notes to be played. I can transpose, feel out the timing, figure out any ornamentation, and so on by myself. But picking out the exact notes by listening isn't something I can do well. Beyond just me, though, I'm wondering this on behalf of anyone else in my situation. MIDI is far more ideal, especially as the ocarina is a perfect instrument for a musical beginner, and I'd like there to be some kind of resource to which Carl and others can point anyone else who can't see to read print music. But first I have to find such a thing, which is why I'm asking you all. Thanks.

Sr. Member
Posts: 355

« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2017, 08:33:27 am »

I was wondering if this question might arise!

Check out http://abcnotation.com/ and see if it makes any sense.

Software is available to take ABC notated tunes and play them directly as music or generate a MIDI file.

For my own purposes, I've taken copies of all the demonstration and example graphics from "300 Celtic Folksongs for MOUNTAIN OCARINAS" available on this website and transcribed them to ABC. That's about 60 tunes specifically arranged for the Mountain Ocarina. I did offer to transcribe the whole book but, not surprisingly, did not receive a copy to work from!

Other ABC notations arranged for the Mountain Ocarina are elsewhere available on these forums. Most of these are probably written for a "C" instrument , but easily transposable to "G".

Jack Campin http://www.campin.me.uk/ has published a freely available "Nine-Note Tunebook" in ABC format with over 500 tunes in it. It's aimed at a "C" instrument, but easily transposable to "G" within most ABC software.

Over 1,000 Scottish bagpipe tunes are readily available in ABC format. These are all directly playable on a G Mountain Ocarina in their written key, or again, could be transposed for a "C" instrument quite easily.

Hope this helps Smiley


"I'm playing all the right notes—but not necessarily in the right order."
Full Member
Posts: 126

« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2017, 04:57:09 pm »

I second <http://abcnotation.com/> as a good place to find collections of music that stands a fair chance of being in an MO's range and a place to learn and download music in .abc and midi format.

If you need to transpose music in .abc format, good choices are:
<http://mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php> (web-based)
Easy ABC <http://www.nilsliberg.se/ksp/easyabc/> - cross-platform, free stand-alone ABC editor

Both can take your abc output and export to midi.

You can also investigate "Music OCR" = optical character recognition for music (Google is your friend). I have not looked at this technology in a long time and when I last did, the price of decent apps that actually worked was way beyond what I was willing to pay. But I see some reasonably-priced Android and iOS apps being advertised - you would have to do your own research to see if they actually work well. You absolutely need a clean copy to work with (just as with any other OCR software).

Full Member
Posts: 126

« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2018, 09:14:48 pm »

I recently downloaded PlayScore Lite from the GooglePlay Store onto my Galaxy S7. Reviews are mixed at the PlayStore - I suspect because many Android cameras are not good enough to work well with this app. Reviews are better for the iOS app, probably because iPhones have had better cameras for longer.

I find that the (free) app works reasonably well with the S7, which has a very good camera. It can be hit or miss depending on the lighting (has to be bright, even and preferably incandescent as opposed to fluorescent) and the music copy (clean, clear hard copy with clear staff signatures.). Often I have to try more than once to capture a page. Despite that, the app does a remarkable job ignoring things like lyrics and stray marks and works on a page containing multiple tunes (you can choose where to start the playback).

The paid version is inexpensive ($10) and can supposedly translate its findings into music xml, which can be imported into something like MuseScore or EasyABC. I haven't felt the need to buy the paid app, but the few reviews of the paid app I saw on the Play Store reported decent results getting music xml from the app. The developer's advice is to try the free app to make sure the camera on your device works well with the free app before springing for the paid app.


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