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Marc Sabatella

News alert - the MuseScore Café is moving!

published17 days ago
3 min read

Hello! Congratulations to the winners of our contest, Trevor Sabourin and Bernhard Legde, along with the runners-up humble new music and Grahame Archer, and the honorable mentions Stephen Pearce and Luc Lévesque! If you haven't done so already, check out the post with the announcement and hear their winning entries.

Next, an important news item: the MuseScore Café is moving! A few months ago we moved the Music Master Class from YouTube Live to its new home within the Mastering MuseScore Community. I am finding this works better in enough respects that I have decided to move the MuseScore Café as well. Same actual format in terms of the content, but you do have to be sure you're joined the community in order to watch live. It's completely free to join, so be sure to create an account if you haven't already. Then tune in this Wednesday and check it out! Replays will remain available in the archive on YouTube.

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we continue our third-Wednesday "score of the month" feature, in which I focus on issues involved entering and editing one particular score.

The MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

If you use the ABC Import plugin - and I can see from how the forums and Facebook have been blowing up lately that many of you do! - you may have noticed it stopped working a couple of weeks ago. That's because the online ABC to MusicXML converter that the plugin relies on went down.

We're not totally sure what happened, but meanwhile, Johan Temmerman has been working on creating a new server and an updated plugin to access it. It's still being tested and the server may yet need to move again, but meanwhile, if you've missed ABC import, you can try downloading the current version of the plugin and using it in place of the built-in version. For good measure, Johan has also created an ABC Export plugin.

If you have have no idea what ABC is, that's fine, it's kind of obscure - but it has a special place in my heart. See below!

Music Master Class

This week in the Music Master Class with Marc Sabatella, we will wrap-up the discussion of our recent contest with music from co-winner Trevor Sabourin and final thoughts from Abraham Ben-Ze'ev, who created the challenge to begin with.

The Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

I mentioned ABC above without saying what it is. ABC is a text-based music notation language - a way of writing music using nothing but letters, number, and other ordinary symbols found on your keyboard. ABC plays an important role in how I "discovered" MuseScore in the first place.

I was teaching a music theory course, and one year had my first ever blind student. Neither of us had any real idea how we would communicate written music for assignments - she read a little Braille but coudn't write it, and I couldn't read it. So I did some research, and found ABC would let me write music that she could read, and vice versa. There were also tools to convert it to standard music notation, so I could create teaching materials in ABC that all my students could use. We successfully made it through the year with her completing all assignments and tests in this way. It was pretty gratifying and led to my interest in accessibiity!

But I was also asking around to see if any conventional notation programs were accessible to blind musicians, and one of my other students at another school suggested I look into MuseScore. It was at version 0.9.6 and they were just getting ready to release 1.0. It did not work with screen readers and thus was not accessible to blind users at the time, but I had a background in software, and MuseScore was open source, so I hopped aboard and started leading efforts to make MuseScore more accessible - a goal we're very pleased to have mostly achieved over the last few years!

As for ABC, I don't use it much any more, but I still remember much about it. Here is a pretty well-known song. Can you read it? I'm betting you can figure it out, even if you've never seen ABC before!

X:1
K:C
M:4/4
L:1/4
E D C D | E E E2 | D D D2 | E G G2 |
E D C D | E E E E | D D E D | C4 |]

For more information on ABC, see the official website.