Describing music by yaofenji


									Describing music

First playing:

Listen to the music that your teacher plays for you think about what connections there
are that relate to the AOS (journey).

Think about what connections there are to the core text (TAOHF).

What devices are evident in the song. N.B. only focus on those devices that enhance or
help to accentuate the journey process. It is best to find those elements that connect to
the core text. The device may be either similar or different but this should be compared
and explained.

Second Playing:

You may start straight away and write down some of the things that you remember
from the first playing.

Listen carefully again and write down the points that you feel are relevant to the AOS
and the core text.

Remember to look for devices in this process. You should be aware of the song as a
song and not just a poem or prose text. This means that you should be aware of the
tone, rhythm etc.. as will be outlined below.

Suggestions for how your sentences could start:

It reminds me of a song by/ the day when/ when I was/ music from/ music by …

It is (very) similar to … (but a bit more/ less…)

Don’t write about value judgements. This is not the forum! The examiner does not care
whether you like it or not. (I adore it/ love it/ really like it/ like it/ think it is okay/ don’t
mind it/ don’t really like it/ really don’t like it/ hate it/ despise it/ don’t really know what
I think about it because… It’s too…/ It’s not … enough (for me/ for my taste)

Its tempo is excessively (= too) / extremely/ very/ quite/ a bit…
Don’t use personal pronouns e.g. It makes me (feel relaxed/ excited/ nostalgic/ I’d
want to/ wouldn’t want to listen to it if I was feeling…/ if I was in … Instead discuss the
persona feels or it makes the listener react… The composer intends… or the responder
is affected…

Think about the purpose of the song: It’s suitable for a truck stop waiting for a
journey/ for a bar/ for a restaurant… to have on the background whilst travelling or
trying to relax. Remember that this needs to connect to the purpose of the journey.

The singer’s voice is (excessively/ extremely/ very/ quite/ a bit) deep/ high/ rough/
passionate/… It changes in this way or that as the song changes or to accentuate the
journey in a particular way.

The best/ worst part is the singer’s voice/ guitar solo/ beat/ bass line/ background
vocals/ … because it helps an understanding of the song in a particular way (name it
and be specific).

The song seems to be about … and relates to Huck and the AOS because…

Listening to this song makes the responder picture…

The minimum required structural systems for describing music are the following, each
consisting of several subsystems:

    •   frequency (ie pitch)
    •   time (ie duration or note lengths)
    •   amplitude (ie loudness)
    •   performance matters, such as ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release) and style
    •   organizational matters (such as composer, performer
    •   processing (eg manipulation of basic sounds with effect units)
    •   controlling units (eg master keyboard) and protocols (eg MIDI)

How to describe the melody, rhythm, and harmony of a
i am doing a project on the song "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen and i need to describe the
harmony, melody, rhythm, and other musical terms of the song

i was wondering, what kind of words or phrases would i use to describe each type of thing?
•   2 years ago
•   Report Abuse


    Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
    I'm no expert, but I'm something of a musician and I'll try to lend a hand. First of all I guess you would pay
    attention to things like the sound of the instruments, the tone of his voice, the beat, and the mood of the
    song and think of words to describe them. Easier said than done, right? And yes, I know by now you've
    probably figured out my Alias, captain obvious. Please, I'd rather go by john. Anyhow, I'd describe this
    song (the live version's all I have) by saying it's upbeat, full of energy, gripping during the chorus. His
    voice is raspy and sloppy though he sings with unfaltering conviction. I would also describe it as a "sing
    along" song, It has a good, simple repetitive melody.... How am I doing? Ok, the driving force behind the
    song is the electric keyboard, which is sustained by a very simple, pounding, snare-focused drum beat
    with bursts of speed appearing sporadically throughout. The song finishes off with rhythmic, face-melting
    solo from Springsteen's own precisely distorted electric. Take what you can get from that, I don't claim to
    be good at this.

    The minimum required structural systems for describing music are the
    following, each consisting of several subsystems:

        •   Frequency (ie pitch)
        •   Time (ie duration or note lengths)
        •   Organization
        •   General Module
        •   Texture
        •   Effects
        •   Performance
        •   Control
        •   Notation
        •   Lyrics
        •   MIDI Module
        •   Synthesizer Module

    Although a piece of music does not need to be marked with all the modules,
    the time and frequency elements are essential to mark the basic structure of
    music. It would be impossible to mark music without these two modules.

    MML: Frequency Module

        1. Cent
        2. Note
        o  Relative note frequency values
        o  Absolute note frequency values
  3. Noteset and octave
  4. Scale
  5. Tuning
        o Base frequency
        o Relationships between notes

As mentioned, reduced very crudely, music is a function of time and
frequency. A basic description of music thus entails both a time and a
frequency module.

Music theorists distinguish between the possible notes in an "octave" and the
actual notes. Possible notes are called the gamut, actual notes are expressed
in terms of the so-called naturals and their variations. The cent is the
smallest useful unit of frequency difference. One octaveconsists of 1200cent
in the equally tempered tuning system.

MML: Time Module

  1. Note
  2. Rhythm
        1. Tempo
                  Tempo with different absolute values
                  Gradual increase or decrease of tempo
        2. Time
        3. Bar
        4. Beat
        5. Tick
  3. Length
        1. Note length values
              1. Relative lengths
              2. Absolute lengths
              3. Dotted notes
     Rest length values

Reduced very crudely, music is a function of time and frequency. Music
events follow on one another through the arrow of time. Of course there can
be more than one music event taking place at the same time, which
distinguishes music from, for example, speech. It is difficult for us to
understand when more than one person speaks at the same time (except
perhaps in a speech choir). Yet modern music is typically multitimbral with
many music events happening at the same time. One characteristic of the
time aspect of music is repetitions of various kinds, of which rhythm is one.

The following aspects are contained in the Time Module:

MML: Organization Module

   1. Album / program
   2. Playlist
   3. Head
   4. Title
   5. Meta
   6. Song
   7. Phrase
   8. Bookmark
   9. Link
   10.       Classes
   11.       Division
   12.       Span
   13.       Bank
   14.       Program

The Organization Module contains the following notions:

1 Album / program
        describes a series or list of songs or compositions


An album consists of a number of songs, listed sequentially. An agent should
by default perform the songs in the order in which the songs appear in the
list. This order can be overridden with a specific playlist.

In practice there are a number of words used for this concept, including the
word "program". The word album is recommended as program is used in too
many different contexts in the music environment. Meanings range from the
order in which music pieces are performed at a concert, to computer
programs and stored chunks of data on digital music devices (such as
synthesizers). Using "program" as an element name may just contribute to
further confusion.

An album can be declared as follows:

  •     Internally
        with the album element in the head of the *.mml file
  •     Externally
        in a separate *.alb file that is called with the link element in thehead of
        the *.mml file

MML: Organization Module

  1. Album / program
  2. Playlist
  3. Head
  4. Title
  5. Meta
  6. Song
  7. Phrase
  8. Bookmark
  9. Link
  10.       Classes
  11.       Division
  12.       Span
  13.       Bank
  14.       Program

The Organization Module contains the following notions:
1 Album / program

        describes a series or list of songs or compositions


An album consists of a number of songs, listed sequentially. An agent should
by default perform the songs in the order in which the songs appear in the
list. This order can be overridden with a specific playlist.

In practice there are a number of words used for this concept, including the
word "program". The word album is recommended as program is used in too
many different contexts in the music environment. Meanings range from the
order in which music pieces are performed at a concert, to computer
programs and stored chunks of data on digital music devices (such as
synthesizers). Using "program" as an element name may just contribute to
further confusion.

An album can be declared as follows:

  •     Internally
        with the album element in the head of the *.mml file
  •     Externally
        in a separate *.alb file that is called with the link element in thehead of
        the *.mml file
Markup example: song list

Here is an example of a list of songs on the 'album'.

 <song src="oneday.mml" id="1"></song>
 <song src="rabbit.mml" id="2"></song>

Markup example: mixed devices

Here is an example of mixed devices used for the album.

 <song src="oneday.mml" id="1">
 <device type="CD" program="5"></device>
 <device type="PC" href=""></device>

 <song src="someday.mml" id="2">
  <device type="CD" program="12"></device>

Here are various aspects that should be kept in mind for album.

   1. An album file is saved with the extension *.alb
   2. Default: A rendering machine must execute the list from top to bottom.
      This is the default. (Note the exception in 5 below).
   3. Devices or resources not found must be ignored
   4. Items in the list can be assigned identifiers with the id attribute
   5. Playlist (playlist): The actual instance of album rendering can take on an
      order that differs from the album default. This different playlist is user-

User example

When a user chooses a particular album, the rendering device executes the
songs in the album according to the default order. A user may set up his/her
own playlist, in which case the rendering device will follow that order. It
should also be possible for a user to specify the device used for rendering.
For example, the user may have access to different devices (tape recorder,
CD-player, MIDI-synthesizer) and may possess versions of a song for each
of these devices. In the playlist the user can then stipulate which device
should be used.
MML may thus be useful in managing discotheque archives. If the catalogue
uses MML to describe its content, automatic retrieval of a particular song
may be relatively easy. And a roaming DJ should be able to call on a
particular song in the archive from his internet-enabled cell phone or PDA.


2 Playlist

       a user-defined list of the order in which songs should be played; selection
       of songs


The playlist is based on the list of songs in an album. The playlist can call on
songs either by their full URN or URLs, or by their ids. The playlist can call
upon songs from different albums.

A playlist can be declared as follows:

   •   Internally
       with the playlist element in the head of the *.mml file
   •   Externally
       in a separate *.play file that is called with the link element in thehead of
       the *.mml file

A playlist can be declared in the head of the *.mml file, or in a
separate*.pla file that is called with the link element.


In this example the order in the album is reversed in the playlist.

<song src="oneday.mml" id="1"> </song>
<song src="rabbit.mml" id="2"> </song>

<song id="2"> </song>
<song id="1"> </song>
Example of songs from different albums
<playlist>My favorites

<album href="wanda.alb">
<song src="oneday.mml">

<album href="bunnies.alb">
<song src="rabbit.mml">


A possible application of this is the following. A user may set up her own
playlist, send it along the internet and have the songs played at a remote


3 Head

        contains any information that is not regarded as part of the music content


The head element functions like the head element of any SGML document. It
contains all the metadata, links and the song title.

Markup example
 <title>My song</title>
 <meta name="performer" content="Joe Blu" />

<song noteset="3" key="Cmaj" tempo="120">



4 Title
        identifies the content of the music document


The title element is contained in the head of a song file.

Markup example
 <title>My song</title>




5 Meta

        specifies metadata -- ie information about the music document itself
        rather than music content


Metadata contains information about a song or album. The structure of the
meta element is as follows:

                            element declaration keyword value

Reserved keywords are used as "fields" to identify the kind of metadata.
Here is a tentative list of possible keywords:

    •   performer: name of the performer(s)
    •   composer: name of the composer(s)
    •   arranger: name of the arranger(s)
    •   lifespan: the birth and death dates
    •   copydate: date of copyright
    •   concert: name of the concert or program
    •   concertdate: date of performance
    •   venue: place where performance occurred
   •   keywords: any relevant short descriptions (single words or short
   •   description: long description (of paragraph length) of any relevant

See Global song naming scheme. in the General Module.


This example does not strictly follow the known structure of the HTML meta
element. It remains to be investigated whether MML should stick to that
format, or use this should shorter format:

<meta performer="Joe Blu"
date="Fri, 01 May 1998 22:30:00 GMT"
concert="Smokin' Blues"
venue="Hillbilly Inn"
place="New Haven"


6 Song

       A song is a piece of music regarded as a single or autonomous stretch of


The song element is also part of the general module.

This definition is very loose and what is regarded as an autonomous song
probably depends on the composer.

The SDML cantus (ie Latin for "song") is similar to the MML song. The
words "song" and "composition" have similar meanings in this context.

However, a song in MML also refers to structural performance and sound
manipulation elements, thus "composition" is too limited. From a melodic
point of view, a song (usually) consists of several musicphrases.

The song element takes the name attribute and various others.
Markup example
 <title>My song</title>

<bar barid="2>"[A D] [3G D] ([3G E])2 </bar>
<bar barid="3">[A D] [3E E] ([3E C])2 </bar>
<bar barid="4">[3E:2 B:2] R [B E] </bar>




7 Phrase

          a phrase is a piece of music that is a subsection of a song


The typical structure of popular music usually consists of two or three
phrases, ie typicallly an A and B part and the chorus.

Verse 1          Phrase A

Verse 2          Phrase A

Chorus           Phrase B

Verse 3          Phrase A

Chorus           Phrase B

Chorus repeated Phrase B

A phrase can also be a smaller unit. Features that are applied to a phrase,
such as a change in tempo, are valid for that phrase only. Marking a song
with phrases may be optional, depending on specific requirements. However,
for comprehensive and complete markup it would be wise to mark as many
objects as possible.


8 Bookmark

        for indicating a location in the song body

For a bookmark the id and barref attributes are used as in SGML or HyTime.
A public or system identifier is indicated. Any object can be linked to an MML
"document". External objects need to be declared first, then called from
within the body of the song.

Creating a bookmark typically consists of three steps:

   •    Declaring the link to an object
   •    Anchoring the object in the song
   •    Creating the link

Declaring the link to an object

Here is an example of declaring the linked entity:

<!ENTITY soundone SYSTEM

Anchoring the object in the song


The linked location is anchored in the body of the song with the HyTime
"name location" (nameloc) element. At the objects intended location in the
body of the song, add:

<nameloc id="1" />

Creating the link

Links to the object can be made from many different other locations. The
HyTime element clink (pronounced "c-link") element with
the linkendattribute is used.

<clink linkend="1">Follow this link</clink>


9 Link

       defines a link between different music-related files


The link element links the *.mml file to its associated files (see the list of
possible files). The link element is empty and is declared as content of
the head element.

 <link rel="wow.tun" />
 <link rel="mine.ins" />


10 Classes


The classes element allows the creation of author-defined shorthand
declarations. Instead of declaring a list of elements at each instant, a series
of elements can be declared as a class and instantiated by calling on the
class name.


Consider the score of Musorgsky's Boris Godunov. There are 8 C staffs
totalling 40 bars on the first page. Instead of repeating the detail for all the
similar bars, a class can be declared that is called when required. The
proposed syntax follows that used in CSS.

.basic {
key Fs Cs Gs Ds;
time 4:4 }


<bar 1> R </bar>

11 Division


The function of the div element is similar to the HTML element in that it
marks a blocklevel structure. An identifier name can be declared in
thediv start tag, to be called upon in another (or more than one) element
instance (thus IDREF).

The application of this is as follows. The features declared for the division
apply to all the children -- except where declared otherwise.


Say there is a section of music that is repeated exactly the same at different
locations in the song. At the first occurrence, mark the section with
the div element and assign a unique identifier name to it by using
the declare attribute. At each other instance where the section should
reappear, call on that unique identifier with the repeat attribute and the
unique identifier name.

See the Identifier method for repeating parts of music.

12 Span

The function of the span element is similar to the HTML span as it also marks
inline level structures. An identifier name can be declared in thespan start
tag, to be called upon in another (or more than one) element instance (thus

This element was introduced in the first draft, but since then its general
function has been replaced by the functions of specific elements. It needs to
be seen if it will remain useful in MML.

13 Bank


The bank attribute is used with the Synthesizer Module. Sound banks have
nothing to do with sound generation, but with their organization and
administration, which is why the bank and program attributes are part of
the Organization Module.

14 Program


The program attribute is used with the Synthesizer Module. Sound programs
select specific sounds and have nothing to do with sound generation, but
with their organization and administration, which is why
the bank and program attributes are part of the Organization Module.

MML: General module

   1. Comment
   2. Commentary
   3. Repetition
         1. Notation method
                 1. Syntax of MML repetition
                 2. Nested repetition
                 3. Range
                 4. Exception
         2. Identifier method
                 1. Declare attribute
                 2. Repeat attribute
         3. Note on calculations for repetitions
The General Module covers markup such as Comments and Commentrary. It
also covers a possible approach to the repetitive nature of music. XML
parsers will only be able to render MML markup textually. To render MML
data in graphic music notation, or to output to other modules such as MIDI,
additional software programs will need to be called. Repetition will need to
be handled by such additional programs. Although an XML parser will not be
able to render the abbreviated forms of repetition, markup of repetitions
should nevertheless be well-formed and valid, which means XML parsers will
be handled the markup as is.

1 Comment

A comment consists of text that is not rendereed by a user agent. Markup
authors generally use this for notes and remarks. The MML comment follows
the SGML/XML structure:

<!-- this is a comment -->


2 Commentary

commentary element

A commentary is a string of text (typed or spoken) that in some cases need
to be synchronized with the music. Commentary can take at least the
following characteristics:

   •   Synchronized commentary
       The commentary follows the music and keeps up with its tempo. Music
       tempo takes precedence and the commentary cannot lag behind the
       music, nor pace ahead. If the commentary is too long for the music, it is
   •   Interrupted commentary
       Music is interrupted for the commentary block to finish first.

Synchronization will not be handled by an XML parser, but by additional

Commentary rendering

Commentary Could be rendered either visually as text, or audibly by a
speech synthesizer.
  •   Text commentary
      Commentary can be written text that pops up in a box at the relevant
      locations. A pause button should also pop up allowing the user to first
      finish reading the text box before the music continues.
  •   Audio commentary
      Commentary can be read from the written text by a synthesizer, or
      commentary can be a separate audio file that is synchronized with the
      music (perhaps with SMPTE). The user should be allowed to choose
      whether music or commentary takes precedence. For example, if music
      takes precedence and the audio clip for a given phrase of music is too
      long, the commentary clip will be stopped while the music continues. If
      commentary takes precedence, the music will stop while the commentary
      continues until finished. The music will then continue. An option should be
      given to loop the music until the commentary is finished.

This could be handled with functions contained in the SMIL specification.


3 Repetition

Music often consists of repetition on various structural levels. It would be
very uneconomical to expect explicit markup for elements that are repeated
endlessly. For this reason MML introduces a convention for marking
repetitions, which could obviously not be handled by an XML parser, but by
additional software. However, even markup for repetitions should
nevertheless conform to well-formedness and validity, which would indeed
be parsed properly by an XML parser. Such a parser will just not fill in the

Repetition can be declared with a notation method, or by declaring an
identifier name for a section of music.

  •   Notation method
         o Syntax of MML repetition
         o Nested repetition
         o Range
         o Exception
  •   Identifier method
         o Declare attribute
         o Repeat attribute

1 Notation method

1 Syntax of MML repetition

Repetition is indicated with the round brackets usually used for parenthesis:

( and )

The number of times the element should be repeated must be written after
the close parenthesis symbol.

Example: long form

Here is the comprehensive markup for a division that includes five bars (the
division declaration is optional):


 <bar   barid="1">...</bar>
 <bar   barid="2">...</bar>
 <bar   barid="3">...</bar>
 <bar   barid="4">...</bar>
 <bar   barid="5">...</bar>


bar | div | bars

Example: short form

Here is the short form of the above example:

<div bars="5">

This is read as:
In this division, repeat the bar element and its content five times.

2 Nested repetition

A repeated element may contain another element that is repeated as its

In this example the same note is repeated in several bars, and the bars are
contained in a division.

<div bars="5">

Here is another example. The content (ie 4 repeates of 2D:4) of the division
is repeated in bars x and y, but not in bar z, which contains 3C:4.

 <bar barid="x"></bar>
 <bar barid="y">3C:4 </bar>
 <bar barid="z"></bar>

bar | div | note

This is translated into English as:
There are five bars in the division. Each bar consists of four notes with the
value "D quarter note in the second octave".

3 Range

The above examples do not specify the position where the repetition occurs.
MML allows for specifying a range, with the range attribute. Two numbers
are stated in the range: where the range begins and where it ends. What the
range refers to depends on its element.


In this example the range applies to bars. The first value of the range
indicates the bar number where the range begins (Bar 6), the second
number after the colon indicates the bar number where it ends (Bar 10).
This syntax is a short form for nested elements.

<div range="6:10">

bar | div | range
This is translated as:
Within the division there are five repeated bars beginning with bar 6, ending
with bar 10 (see the Note on calculations).

A range may also apply to other elements such as beat.

4 Exception

Repeated music phrases may contain almost exactly the same content,
perhaps with a deviation somewhere along its progression. The repeated
phrase can be declared with the repeat attribute, while exceptions within the
repeated sequence are declared with the exclude attribute. Exclusion can be
declared in the same manner as a range, ie beginning with the excluded
element number and ending where the exclusion ends.

<div range="6:10" exclude="7">


This is translated as:
In this range of 5 bars (in the division) beginning with bar 6, ending with bar
10 the 7th bar is excluded.

Example: excluding a range
<div range="16:30" exclude="20:22">

This is translated as:
In this range of 15 bars (in the division) beginning with bar 16, ending with
bar 30, 3 bars (from 20 to 22) are excluded.

2 Identifier method

With the identifier method the section of music that needs to be copied at
other instances is marked with the span or div elements, or with that of the
parent element of the phrase. Using these elements' declareattribute, a
unique identifier name is declared. This identifier name is later used with
the repeat attribute. The exact music sequence will then be repeated.

1 Declare attribute

declare attribute
In this example a declare ID is declared with the name "one".

  <bar barid="2">D:2 B:4

  <bar barid="3" declare="one">5(B C D An B A Gs A C Gb)

2 Repeat attribute

repeat attribute

At a later instance, in this case Bar 11, the exact sequence of notes (as
declared earlier) can be called upon as follows:

  <bar barid="10">D:2</bar>
  <bar barid="11" repeat id="one"> </bar>


3 Note on calculations for repetitions

When calculating a number of elements remember that when you add or
subtract you apply the calculation to a spanned series. In other words, 10-5
does NOT equal 5, but 6, as the starting point (number) should be added as

In ordinary maths 10-5=5.

However, consider the following bars

                   bar 1 bar 2 bar 3 bar 4 bar 5 bar 6 bar 7 bar 8 bar 9 bar 10

Begin at bar 10 and count five bars to the left. You will end at bar 6 and not
bar 5. This is because you are counting spans. Remember to keep this in
mind otherwise you will end up with included bars you actually wanted to

MML: Texture Module
  •   Intensity (volume)
  •   Envelope
  •   Harmonics


intensity element

The amplitude intensity (volume) has an effect on sound texture. For
example, a note played softly or loudly has different textures - a drum beat
played softly sounds different from one played loudly; a saxophone note
played softly or loudly has different textures, and so on. The volume here
concerns intrinsic music aspects rather than the overall aspects that would
be handled by the volume of a control system (control module).


adsr element

There are different models describing the envelope of a sound. The basic
model addresses attack, decay, sustain and release. The adsr element is
used to mark the envelope.

Harmonics will be addressed in a future phase.

MML: Effects Module
  •   General
  •   Frequency-based effects
  •   Time-based effects
  •   Filter effects
The effects are specified with the effect element.


An effect processes the basic input sound in some or other way. In MML a
distinction is made between an effect having an affect on frequency, on
time, and on some or other filtering mechanism (which may be either time
or frequency related, or both).

From a markup persepective the following general effect statements are

   •   An effect is declared with the effect element
   •   Volume of the effect: volume attribute
   •   Pan position: in stereo systems the offset degree left or right from center
       -- pan attribute


In this example the volume of the echo effect is 23, and panning 20 left for
all the content of the effect.

MML: Performance Module
   •   Controls
          o Foot controls
          o Hand controls
          o Breath controls
   •   Band
          o Section
   •   Sing

Elements of the Performance Module are used to mark features that
manipulate the texture of sound with certain "tools" as explained below.


There are controls used only during performance. These controls are
distinguished from the events in the control module. The performance
controls are distinguished according to the body part that triggers them.
Foot controls

   •   Foot switch: control element and the foot attribute
       The foot switch takes "on" and "off" values
   •   Pedals: control element and the pedal attribute
       The pedal takes the range and rate of change values:

Hand controls

   •   Modulation wheel: control element and the portamentoattribute

Breath controls

   •   Breath control: control element and the breath attribute



A band is a collection of similar or different instruments. It can also be called
an orchestra. In MML the shorter word "band" is chosen as element name for
this concept, purely for economical reasons. In MML a symphony orchestra is
one kind of band, despite possible objections by purists.

In MML a band could either be a real band (in this module) or a virtual band
(Synthesizer Module).



Section in band that plays together.



A sing element may be needed for certain vocal event descriptions. The
properties of sing would refer to physical charactersitics of the voice, not the
human language text, which is handled by the Lyrics Module.
It may also be used to render lyrics with a voice synthesizer as sung text.

MML: Control Module

   1.   Accent
   2.   On / off
   3.   Volume
   4.   Sound source, eg speakers
   5.   Channel

This module should work seemlessly with SMIL 1.0 and the aural properties
of CSS 2.0

1 Accent

        the relative loudness of beats in a bar


Music can be described in terms of rhythmic patterns of accent -- not all
notes in a bar have the same loudness. So apart from pitch and time, there
is also the emphasis which notes receive. This relative emphasis is declared
with the accent element. Accent values are expressed as percentages
compared to the loudest beat in the song, or alternatively, th eloudest beat
in a phrase (in which case accent needs to be a child of phrase).


                                beat number : accent value


Here is an example of the long form of the accent, ie beat number are

<accent> 1:10 2:15 3:20 4:15

It is not necessary to explicitly accentuate each beat. Only selected beats
may be highlighted:
<accent> 2:15 4:15 </accent>

Non-explicit beats should then take the average accents of the whole song
or phrase.


Here is an example of a repeated note with different accents (in this case it
is a snare intro).

MML: Lyric Module

   1. The lyric element
   2. Bars and lyric text
   3. Stretch and Squash

The lyric element

        the language words sung or spoken together with music melody


Different lyrics are often repeated for similar musical phrases as verses. It is
thus necessary to indicate the applicable verse number in certain contexts
with the verse attribute. Lyrics can be written as content of
thesong element, or in a separate file with the *.lyr extension.


In this example the lyrics for verses 1 and 2 are mapped on the same bar
sequence. The bar is the parent element -- as lyrics are usually matched to
music. Where music should be matched to lyrics, the task is much more

In MML it should not be necessary to declare a lyric element for each bar.
Lyrics should continue along the bars until stopped with the end tag. For
bars without lyrics either the lyric element should be ended, or empty piped
syllables should be indicated.

<bar barid="1">...
 <lyric verse="1" barref="1">blah blah blah </lyric>
 <lyric verse "2" barref="1">blah2 blah2 blah2 </lyric>


Bars and lyric text

Two methods can be used to indicate the relation between text and music
bars: explicit bar method, and pipe method. Pipes ( | ) are inserted in lyric
text at each bar location.

Example: explicit bar method

Here is an example from Bach's Chorale.

<lyric verse="2">
 <upbeat>But </upbeat>
 <bar barref="1"> Thou, my God, no </bar>
 <bar barref="2"> rest doth know In </bar>
 <bar barref="3"> Thy unslumb'ring </bar>
 <bar barref="4"> might; Thou </bar>
 <bar barref="5"> hatest darkness </bar>
 <bar barref="6"> as Thy foe, For </bar>
 <bar barref="7"> Thou Thyself are </bar>
 <bar barref="8"> light.</bar>

Example: pipe method

Here is the same example written with the pipe method.

<lyric note="4" verse="1" lang="en" barref="1">
 Now | that the sun doth | shine no more,
 And | day hath reached its | close,
 They | calmly sleep who | wept before,
 The | wearied find re | pose.

Stretch and squash

There is not always a one-to-one relationship between the sequential
instances of notes in a bar and the syllables of the lyrics. Sometimes a single
syllable is stretched out over more than one note -- indicated with
the stretch element. Other times more than one syllable are squashed onto a
single note -- indicated with the squash element. Thesquash element is only
applicable when lyrics and music are presented graphically, such as in CWN.
In performance each pronounced language syllable would map to a real
sounding note.

Lyrics can be matched to note sequences as follows:

   •   Bar indicator
       Each bar is indicated in the lyric with a single pipe character ( | ). This
       method assumes a dictionary from which syllables can be extracted.
       The MIDI Manufacturers Association has arecommendation for a set of
       syllables that may be used. If such a recommendation is used the parser
       should obtain the necessary data from an external file, called with
       the hrefattribute of a link element.
   •   Syllable indicator
       Each syllable is separated with a single pipe character ( | ), while each
       bar is indicated with double pipes ( || ). This method is more longwinded.

To determine which method is applied, the MML sensitive program should
first scan for double pipes. If found, the syllable method is applied and single
pipes mean syllables. If not, single pipes mean bars and the bar method is
applied, implying that a syllable map (such as theSMF Lyric Meta Event
Definition of the MIDI Manufacturer's Association) must be consulted for
proper rendering.

In this example the single syllable of time is stretched over 3 notes. The lyric
text time is contained within the stretch element tags.

<lyric barref="1">Once upon a
 <stretch notes="3">time </stretch>

In this example the two syllables of upon are squashed onto one note. The
lyric text upon is contained within the squash element tags.

<lyric barref="3">Three little birds
 <squash notes="1">upon </squash>
 a branch...

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