Mail archive link - See also - “Having visions is easy”

On Sunday 19 Feb 2006 00:38, Luis Garrido wrote:
> So what is your vision, then?

I'm not sure I have a "vision", or at least not one that I understand
how to realise, which is probably why it isn't very well expressed in

Traditional notation is a very useful thing in music learning, in
exchanging and publishing certain sorts of music in certain ways, and
in musicological contexts. MIDI and the like are very useful not just
for producing a finished piece of work (in some ways MIDI is rather
limiting for that) but for experimentation and "rough drafting". What
I want is to be able to start in either one of those areas and
incorporate the other, either to start with an existing score and
explore performance possibilities for it, or to start with a
performance and try to work out what makes it what it is.

In other words, I'm not directly all that interested in either making
studio software or published scores. I'm interested in looking at and
editing music in symbolic terms for educational and exploratory
purposes. I would like to be able to see, study, and manipulate the
performance of a score, not just have it played to me, I would like to
be able to hear other people's interpretations while studying the same
score, I would like to be able to use linear track-style and other
block or structural editing operations to edit a score structure, and I
would like to be able to derive likely scores from performances and

I hope all this manages to sound at the same time sufficiently vague,
high-concept, and bleeding obvious.

> Is there any commercial software you think succeeds in this?

Sibelius is in fact the closest thing I know of, not so much because of
its good score layout as because of its parts management and the
integration of reasonable (if not brilliant) tempo tracking, synth
plugins, and the like.

> It is all about choices. When mscore is usable and linuxsampler can
> play Kontakt libraries I will be able to kick Windows out of my
> computer for good.

Well, there is that practical viewpoint.

As a user, there is always a time (or many) when what you really want is
a direct alternative to an existing program, whether for a different
platform, for a lower cost, in an open-source environment or whatever.

As a developer, it offends me to imitate proprietary software directly.
Rosegarden is a deliberately conservative program that does an awful
lot of borrowing from the general classes of track-based sequencers and
notation software, but it isn't a knock-off of any single program.
Where we've looked at the alternatives, we've done it with a view to
trying to come up with something better, or something that fits more
with some conceived model for the rest of the program. Even when we've
only succeeded in producing something worse, less reliable, more
confusing and harder to use, at least we've usually made the honest
effort to investigate and understand what we're trying to make. Indeed
even if the end result then turned out to be almost indistinguishable
from another program, we would still have made it with some integrity.

But to set out deliberately to produce and distribute an exact
replacement for an existing proprietary program, unless there is a
really strong necessity, is not a righteous thing to do. To replace
Sibelius with a better program for Linux would be good work. To
attempt to clone Sibelius for Linux is a wrong to the creators of
Sibelius and offensive to the creative spirit in the programmers doing
the work. To do so while claiming that the clone is superior software
because it has "open source ethics" is doubly wrong. It would be
better to have no program that worked as well, than to have our best
program in the field be a cheap duplicate.

dev/a_vision.txt · Last modified: 2013/07/02 12:55 (external edit)
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