An Engraving Contest!

Grab your favourite notation software, engrave a short piece (or a 1-page excerpt of a complex piece), and compare with other people’s results!

Urs had just started a fascinating initiative which aims to compare performance of various music notation programs. There are a lot of such comparisons on the internet, but they are usually prepared by one author – whose goal is usually to prove the superiority of the program he likes 🙂 . We, on the other hand, are inviting everyone to join and engrave given pieces with software of their choice, so that every program can be represented fairly. We do hope that some seasoned Finale and Sibelius professionals will participate, and show us how to get the most out of these widely known packages!

We don’t intend to choose a winner, but we’ll be comparing the results of each participant’s attempt – not only the final score, but also the process of creating it: which notation elements did the application get right by default, what kinds of tweaks were necessary to make the score publication-quality and how hard it was to do this.

We initially wanted to start with a fairly complex Chopin/Godowsky’s study for piano, which contains some unusual notations like these fascinating beams:

Can your notation software do this?

Can your notation software do this?

But then Phil said that it’s a bit too hard as the first challenge, and I think he was right 🙂 so Urs found something really straightforward and now everyone’s working on Estrella from Schumann’s Carnaval:

That's easier, isn't it?

That’s easier, isn’t it?

(Of course we will definitely return to Chopin/Godowsky, it would be a shame not to engrave it!)

If you’d like to join the challenge (there’s no deadline for submitting your engraving, so don’t worry that others had already started working), go here – and have fun 🙂

PS we plan to add a few more challenges after these two are finished.

Edit: we were having some technical difficulties (our initial setup was inadequate, and we had to rewrite instructions for participants), but everything is smooth and ready now!

8 thoughts on “An Engraving Contest!

    1. Janek WarchoƂ Post author

      I don’t have, but someone who already typeset it could export MusicXML.
      However, i’m not sure if this is a good idea. Typing it yourself makes it possible to measure your time efficiency, and it may actually make a difference with anything than the most basic notation. I would prefer that participants don’t use this approach.

    1. Janek WarchoƂ Post author

      Well, there are no _prizes_, but if the smallest file would also be the one that was easiest/fastest to create, that would surely be appreciated!

      1. Don Simons

        There are other questions about what criteria would apply in any value judgment of the results. Is the objective to replicate the arrangement in the prototype? I note that in that version of Estrella, neither stem directions and nor slur positions seem to be consistent. For example, for the f# octave, stem directions are opposite in bars 2 vs 6 and 30, and the slur end positions in the LH in the first two bars are not consistent. It seems each participant might want to submit 3 version: (1) code defaults with no adjustments; (2) closest copy of the prototype; and (3) his own idea about what looks best.

        1. Janek WarchoƂ Post author

          Indeed, these are valid concerns. We are currently discussing these issues on the openlilylib mailing list.

          But we generally think that while all submissions should have the same line breaking (to make comparison more meaningful), they shouldn’t try to replicate the original exactly but rather try to do what they consider best.

  1. Pingback: Engraving Contest “relaunched”! | Scores of Beauty

  2. Corina Ciuplea

    Wow, the beaming from Chopin/Godowsky’s study for piano are really hard. But thank you for this small example challenge… I couldn’t stop thinking about it and after a while I’ve managed to do this in Sibelius 7! ( yey ) I think that in examples like this there is no such thing as ” common technique ” to make that beam group happen, so you just need to be… creative.


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