|Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2||EN561 - Revision of 2013/05/29|
MusicXML, NIFF and PDF files
What is a MusicXML file ? [Professional] [Notation]
We have seen that a MIDI file contains all information to reproduce the playing of a score. On the other hand, the MIDI file does not contain any information about the graphism of a score, its page layout, the number of measures per system, the exact layout of the contents of measures, Two music softwares exchanging MIDI files thus lose all graphic information in the transfer. The problem of creating a more general interchange file format for a score thus arose. The NIFF file format was the first solution proposed by the collaboration of several music software publishers, but it was unable to impose itself on the market. Later, the MusicXML file format appeared and it has now been largely adopted by music software to exchange music scores.
NIFF is the abbreviation of Notation Interchange File Format. This format theoretically allows the exchange of scores between various music softwares. With version 3.0, Pizzicato can read the contents of such a file and adapt it to the Pizzicato format so you can use the score with Pizzicato.
MusicXML is based on the XML standard of information exchange and since version 3.3, Pizzicato Professional and Notation can import and export MusicXML files to echange music scores with other music notation software. The other Pizzicato versions can only export in MusicXML. For compatibility, Pizzicato Professional and Notation still import NIFF files, but wherever possible you should use the MusicXML file format, as it is more efficient.
A music scanning software allows to scan a printed score and to recognize many of the musical symbols with the purpose of being able to edit, transpose and modify a score that only exists on paper. It is the equivalent of an OCR software (Optical Character Recognition) but for music. Such a software exports its results in NIFF or MusicXML format, readable by many music software.
With version 3 of Pizzicato, you can henceforth use this possibility via a scanning software. To prepare the MusicXML (or NIFF) file import function, we have bought and tested two scanning softwares: SharpEye (from Visiv) and SmartScore, Songbook Edition (from Musitek). Regarding the recognition quality level, we found out that SharpEye is more subtle and generally recognizes more than SmartScore. Regarding the user interface, SharpEye is more rudimentary. But since Pizzicato lets you make the corrections in the recognized score, this aspect is negligible and we thus advise the use of SharpEye in addition to Pizzicato. With regard to SharpEye, there is currently no Mac version, as opposed to SmartScore. So the Mac users do not have the choice. Other software exist to scan music score, you can discover them on the Internet.
You may download an evaluation version of SharpEye on the site of the editor:
Once installed, this version may be used freely during one month. You can thus carry out your tests and import them in Pizzicato during one month. Download version 2, which is more complete and effective.
With regard to SmartScore, you may download the demonstration versions on the site of the editor:
The demonstration versions of SmartScore may be used with no time limit, but without saving the results. You can thus test the recognition of your scores but you will not be able to export them in MusicXML or NIFF files and to import them in Pizzicato as long as you don't buy the product.
Import a MusicXML or NIFF file in Pizzicato [Professional] [Notation]
The MusicXML file importation is done through the menu File, Import a Music XML file... An open dialog lets you select the file with the ".XML" extension. Once the file is selected, click on Open... The score appears in the score edit window. With it, you can import music scores that were created with Finale, Sibelius or many other software that can export their music scores into MusicXML files. Notice that Pizzicato uses the MusicXML 2.0 version, but it can import MusicXML files 1.0 and 1.1 also.
Since version 3.6.1, Pizzicato also imports musicXML files 3.0 as well as compressed musicXML files (extension mxl).
The NIFF file importation is done through the menu File, Import NIFF file... An open dialog lets you select the file with the ".NIF" extension. Once the file is selected, click on Open... and the following dialog box appears:
With this dialog you may select some automatic actions that make it more easy to adapt the file to the Pizzicato format and avoid some additional treatments of the score:
- An option allows to horizontally align systems on the page, within the margins of the Pizzicato page. It avoids the inequalities due to scanning or to a badly framed score for instance.
- An option allows to adapt the dimensions of the Pizzicato page as well as the value of printing zoom according to the contents of the page. It thus allows to adapt the printing zoom according to the size of the original page, taking into account the possible scale factor introduced by scanning.
- The next option allows to fix the note beams so that Pizzicato does not automatically adjust them in the event of modification or justification of the score. The notes remain grouped in the way they are in the original score.
- The next option does the same regarding the note stem direction: the original direction is maintained. These four options are checked by default.
- The following option allows to import the name displayed in front of the staves. It is unchecked by default because this name is often not found in a NIFF file coming from the two above mentioned softwares or when it is, a generic name is provided and useless to import.
- The last option allows to justify the contents of each measure after the file importation.
It should be stated that currently there seems to be no music software that recognizes the content of a printed score perfectly, with a 100 % result (except of course for simple scores). As soon as the score becomes somewhat more complex, a certain percentage of the symbols are no more recognized and thus are missing in the score imported in Pizzicato. The missing symbols are very random. They can be a note right in the middle of a series of recognized notes, an accidental, a nuance symbol, a clef, a time signature,...anything possible.
The two above mentioned scanning softwares contain tools to correct these missing symbols and to add symbols on a graphic level. The advantage is that they display the original scanned score in parallel, which allows to review the score and compare it to the original to correct the errors.
Once the score has been imported in Pizzicato, you can use all the Pizzicato tools to modify it, transpose it, add accompaniment to it
Export a score in MusicXML [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
Since version 3.3, all Pizzicato versions can export a music score to the MusicXML file format so that it can be used in other music software or for any other reason. You can then send your scores to friends working with other music software so that they can listen to them and modify them.
To export your score into MusicXML, open the score view and choose Export in MusicXML... in the File menu. A dialog asks you for the name of the file to create, which will automatically have the ".XML" extension. Click on Save and the file will be created. Notice that Pizzicato creates a version 2.0 MusicXML file, which is the most recent version of the MusicXML format at the time of the release of Pizzicato 3.3.
Export to PDF [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
A PDF file is a document that anybody can read, print, put on an Internet site or transfer by email, on Mac, Windows and Linux. It is a standardized graphic file format.
Since release 3.5.2, Pizzicato can directly export a score to a PDF file. Anybody can then see it or print it, without the need to have Pizzicato.
Most computers have Acrobat Reader installed on them. This is the software that is responsible to display and print PDF files. If you do not have it, you can download it for free on Adobe'site at http://www.adobe.com/products/reader
To create a PDF file with Pizzicato 3.5.2, open the score and go in the File menu, then choose Export, then Export to PDF. Give a name and a location to your file and validate. The PDF file will be created from the pages of the score.