SIP Newsletter #14

Brussels, September 13, 2003

- Delay in SipXML
- SipXML vs. SipSib
- New downloads for SipXref and SipSib
- Updated SipEPS01 for tablature use
- SipPMXin - Bulk conversion of PMX to MUS
- Plans for SipKern

Dear Score user,

Upgrades of a number of products is the main reason for this Newsletter.

Delay in SipXML

As I reported earlier, first customer delivery of SipXML was intended for the first of September but for a number of reasons this date could not be kept. Instead I offered a free conversion service until the product itself can be made available.
The conditions for conversion of Finale files were also announced but one detail was forgotten: The Dolet version must be 1.2 and you can download it from the Recordare site.
Since the announcement of the free service and today, I converted Finale music for my first potential customer, meaning that the demand for SipXML is on the low side.
The new prospective availability date for this product is now set to January 1, 2004.
The standard for MusicXML is still being extended. Recently, the Sibelius plug-in was announced and the first test material is being passed to me. Though encouraging, there is still work to be done on the Sibelius-Dolet side as well as on SipXML. One of the major hurdles is MusicXML is that it is very unfriendly towards engravers when it comes to page definitions. Therefor, the user must supply information to the program on the number of systems he wants on a page and how many measures per staff. One way of approaching a conversion project was to generate one system per page, then using PAGE on the total of the generated Score files such that page layout was completely under Score's control.

SipXML vs. SipSib

Now that Sibelius is able to generate MusicXML the question which rises for the Score user is: "If I want to convert form Sibelius to Score, do I go via EPS and SipSib or via MusicXML and SipXML?"
Both will be possible but I would like to do some speculation on the conversion quality. While EPS has a lot more information on placement and fonts, conversion will be superior, and the manual intervention is minimal. MusicXML has much less detailed information and therefor the resulting Score files require a lot more manual postprocessing. I will return on this issue, possibly with an example.

New download for SipXref

The old war horse SipXref is capable of giving a cross-reference to all types of noteheads. However, with a notehead of Code01Par06=-66 as used in tablature, the Code01Par09 has the position of the fret and this parameter is now made part of the output list file.
Licensed users can download SIPXREF1.EXE version 9.21. Unzip and replace the old module with this name. Of course, anyone can download the module but my asset protection mechanism will discourage hackers from getting it to work.

New download for SipSib

The converter from Sibelius EPS to Score underwent a number of quality and feature changes mentioned here:

The tenuto mark when on the side of the notehead was too far, and forced outside the staff. This has been changed. Now the tenuto mark on the notehead side is as close as possible (Code01Par14=0).

Sibelius generates an underscore for elisions and SipSib would generate a single '_' in Score which as we all know is an illegal character giving rise to the puzzling 'underbar' message.
When occurring by itself, this is now translated into a real elision for which I use a turned parenthesis. When the underscore is not by itself, i.e. as part of text, then the character is rejected and an error message is generated.

The processing of the lyrics dash when not followed by a syllable as it occurs on the right end of the page has been improved. Hint: When you have long lyrics dashes you may need to specify a higher value in the Strategy tab for 'percentage' (the second field) as otherwise the single line could be interpreted as a single line staff.

The button to be defined for calling Sibelius was only working under certain conditions and this has been corrected. It will now function as originally conceived.

Licensed users can download SIPSIB.EXE build 043. Unzip and replace the old program with this name. The module will not run without proper licensing.

Updated SipEPS01 for tablature use

See Newletter #9 for the original description.
Though intended for fingering (fingers 0-5 and strings 1-6), the capabilities of SipEPS01 have been extended to positions. A user who primarily uses guitar TAB with 'noteheads' consisting of values up to 20 required that there was a wider gap for double digit numbers. This is now an option and the additional width on the right side of the gap can be specified. A good value would be 240. Also, the 'X' was used in his tablature. The program has been extended to add alphabetic characters which can occur across staff lines and they will be treated just like digits. The letters which occur as positions or fingers need to be specified and they are case sensitive. All settings are kept for subsequent execution.
In the process of upgrading, an error was fixed: in case of two very close characters, the gaps would overlap and this was not properly done for the second character.
Licensed customers of SipEPS01 have received the update as an email attachment.

SipPMXin - Bulk conversion of PMX to MUS

This program was first announced on July 24th, 2003.

SipPMXin was written for Score users to convert a series of PMX files to MUS files. It is a stand-alone program downloadable from and it is freeware.

Only files of the PMX structure can be input to this program. Score has the command 'pmx' to create one such file at a time. SipPMX, which is part of the SIP package makes such files from a series of MUS files. Programmers can produce PMX files as well. Note that a PMX file may contain comment lines (asterisk in the first position. Optionally, SipPMX creates comments). Comment lines are ignored. Notice that you lose some precision in a PMX created by Score or SipPMX, since they only produce four decimals at maximum. The precision accepted by SipPMXin is only restricted by that of a single precision number. PMX files do not contain the inches/metrics indicator or the license number (an oversight in Score's design). A file is refused when it contains non-numeric values where those are expected or when the value 9999 is encountered. A message signals this.

The names of the input files are used to create output files. So file BACH01.PMX will cause the creation of the file BACH01.MUS in the same directory as the input file. The license number given to the output file is always 2810000, the inches/metrics indicator is always set to inches. The sequence of the items is strictly the same as the sequence of items in the PMX.

File selection
The standard way of file selection as used for all SIP utilities is maintained for SipPMXin. You can select one or multiple files, long names, short names, without any path file length restriction. When you have many files on your system, the 'advanced' file selection feature can be pretty time consuming. Once files have been selected, they are kept in the file NAMES.SIP in the format familiar to Score users. The file can be viewed, even updated, though this is discouraged because it may lead to non-existing filenames.

User options
There is an overwrite protection feature. When set, the user receives a termination message when the program attempts to overwrite a MUS file which exists under that name. Rigorous validation may be requested. When set, numeric values are tested for validity.

Plans for SipKern

Recent communications on the Score forum about kerning made me consider a program which does this on Score music files and I have put this on the planning board of the SIP factory. When anyone is interested to comment on the following, please do.
SipKern selects any number of files and the user can walk through these files and see its contents much like as in the bar renumbering program. Only pertinent information such as staves, barlines, text and maybe notes are shown. When pointing to a text item, all the attributes (font, size, text, etc.) will be shown. You can select one or a number of text items and do the following: kern, unkern, center, left/right justify. You can move selected text up or down, left or right with the arrows keys with a variable step size (like the INC statement in Score). A commit button will write the file back with the changes.
Kerning is controlled by the standard tables that come with fonts, and users can maker their own. Basically, a kerned text is cut up in more than one text item when there are pairs to kern. The reverse operation 'unkern' assembles the selected elements into one item. Only items which are horizontally aligned and belonging to the same staff can be combined this way.

Long live SCORE!

Jan de Kloe