MMATools logo

Notation Viewer Instructions

1. Introduction
2. Data Files
2.1 Editing Data Files
2.2 Musical Events in Microanalysis Notation
3. Saving Graphics
4. Notation Meta Data Files
4.1 Syntax of Meta Data Files
4.2 Meta Data File Example

1. Introduction

The Notation Viewer allows to view files with musical microanalysis notations. Such files are called data files. These files are text files. They can be created by any text editor which allows to save plain and unformatted text files. It is also possible to create and edit data files with the Notation Viewer itself.

The graphical representations of data files can be exported as images (format PNG) or drawings (format EMF).

The Notation Viewer also knows so called meta-data files. These files are also text files which allows to group several data files and add additional features to all graphs. Unfortunately, these files have to be created by a text editor because the Notation Viewer does not support creation and editing of meta-data files.

2. Data Files

Data files are simple text files with musical microanalysis notations.

A new file can be created by the menu item File ➜ New Data File. The user will be asked for a name. Even though the name will be used for saving the graphical representation of a data file it is not automatically the name of the file when saved with File ➜ Save Data or File ➜ Save Data As.

Saved data files can be loaded with menu item File ➜ Open Data File.

2.1 Editing Data Files

The menu item File ➜ Edit allows to edit a data file. It opens a dialog which shows musical events in a tabular form.

The two Add buttons allow to create a new event or to split a sequence of events into two phrases. The new table entry is created after the highlighted table row or at table end if no row has been highlighted.

The Delete button deletes the highlighted row.

There are two types of rows in the table:

  • Rows with a type: They are the musical events.
  • Rows without a type: They are marking the end of a musical phrase.

Table cells can be changed by a single click (first and last column) or by a double click. A double click starts editing of a single cell. Editing is finished when the TAB key or the ENTER key has been hit. Gray cells are not editable.

Clicking the OK button finishes editing. The dialog disappears and the data are shown graphical.

Important: DO NOT CLICK THE OK BUTTON WHEN EDITING A CELL. This will lead to a lost of the changes you made. Always click the TAB or ENTER button first before clicking the OK button!

2.2 Musical Events in Microanalysis Notation


Defines the type of symbol used in the diagram. The following table shows the symbols and their meanings:


Onset time of the event in seconds. It defines the x coordinate of the symbol on the diagram. Also the position of the lyrics is determined by the onset time.

Note, that the onset time of an event has to be larger than the onset times of all previous events. If this isn't the case the corresponding cells will be marked in red.

Also note, that the onset time of the first event of the first phrase defines zero on the time axis on the diagram.

Start and End Pitch

Define two pitches used for drawing the symbol. Some symbol types have only a start pitch. The values are pitches from the well-tempered scale with 12 = C4, 13 = C4#, 14 = D4, etc.

Floating-point numbers denote pitches between two pitches of the well-tempered scale.

Lyrics (optional)

Lyrics of the syllable. Can be arbitrary text.

Joined Singing (optional)

If checked the event has been sung together. In the graph the symbol will be encircled.

3. Saving Graphics

In order to save all graphs one has to choose either Save as EMF (Enhanced Meta File) or Save as PNG (Portable Network Graphics) from the File ➜ Save Diagram(s) menu item. A file dialog will be opened. One has to choose a folder into which all graphs will be saved. Each graph will be saved in a file with same name as the data file but a different file extension (either png or emf).

4. Notation Meta Data Files

Meta data files are text files containing a list of data files. For each data file a tab with its graphical representation will be shown in the Notation Viewer. A meta data file is loaded by the menu item File ➜ Open Meta Data File.

Beside of this list of data files a meta data file contains the following information:

  • Name of a special data file, called song model.
  • Position of the notes do, mi, and so, which will be drawn as dotted lines in each graph.
  • Positioning and scaling information for all graphs.

4.1 Syntax of Meta Data Files

The structure (aka syntax) of a meta data files is as follows:

The first six lines contain measures for positioning and scaling of the graphs. The general format reads as follows:

<x0> <y0>
<x1> <y1>
<dx> <dy>
<Quarters per minute>
<Height of the title>
<do-mi-so pitches>
<1. data file entry>
<2. data file entry>
<Last data file entry>
  • Line 1-3 and line 5 are best explained in the sketch below.
  • The line <Quarters per minute> defines the time scale of the x-axis: Each tic corresponds to a quarter note. In the case of 60 quarters per minute the tics will denote seconds.
  • The line <do-mi-so pitches> denotes the pitches of dashed horizontal lines denoting do, mi, and so. The line contains either 1 or 4 numbers. The first number specifies whether do-mi-so lines should be drawn (if 1) or not (if 0). The remaining three numbers denote the pitches where 12 = C4, 13 = C4# etc.
  • A <Data file entry> has one of the following forms:
    <File name> 0
    <File name> 1 <File name of song model>
    <File name> 1 <File name of song model> <Item indices>
    If a song model is denoted it will be superimposed with the graph of the main data file. The symbols of the song model are reduced to small dots which are connected by thin lines. The onset times of song model events are ignored because they got the time coordinate from the main data file.

    Important: All data files (including song model) have to be in the same folder as the meta data file.

    The optional <Item indices> denote indices of song model events which correspond to events of phrases of the main data file. It contains a comma-separated list of entries of the from

    <Event # in main data file>:<Event # in song model>-<Event # in song model>
    The first <Event # in song model> has to be less than or equal the second <Event # in song model>. These entries have the following meaning: The event of the main data file with the number before the colon ':' will be drawn together (i.e. with the same x coordinate) with the event of the song model after the colon. All subsequent events will be paired in the same fashion until the event of the song model denoted by the last number is reached.

4.2 Meta Data File Example

40 80
10 15
10  7
1 12 16 19
TOM1L2.DAT 1 SONGMO1.DAT 1:1-7,8:9-15
The following table shows the data files and the diagrams. All example files can be downloaded: SONGMO1.DAT, TOM1L2.DAT, TOM1L12.DAT, TOM.MDT.
Data FileDiagram
Song model 1
 1 19.0 19.0  0.12 Fi-
 1 16.0 16.0  0.75 del
 1 19.0 19.0  1.40 di-
 1 16.0 16.0  2.05 del
 1 17.0 17.0  2.71 heisst
 1 16.0 16.0  3.38 das
 1 17.0 17.0  4.03 Lie-
 1 16.0 16.0  4.69 del
7  5.01
 1 14.0 14.0  5.46 von
 1 16.0 16.0  6.05 dem
 1 17.0 17.0  6.66 Lei-
 1 19.0 19.0  7.28 er-
 1 17.0 17.0  7.94 ka-
 1 16.0 16.0  8.58 sten-
 1 14.0 14.0  9.21 mann.
Tom, 1/1, E.4, 8.1 secs
 9 19.5 19.5  0.03 Fi-
 3 16.0 16.7  0.49 del
 1 19.5 19.5  1.01 di-
 1 16.8 16.8  1.58 del
4  1.78
 3 17.0 17.5  2.27 ne
 3 16.0 16.5  2.75 ne
 1 17.5 17.5  3.28 ne
 1 15.0 15.0  3.84 ne
7  4.03
 3 20.0 19.6  4.39 ne
 1 16.0 16.0  4.94 ne
 3 13.8 14.2  5.43 ne
 1 12.0 12.0  5.94 ne
 3 12.3 13.9  6.54 ne
 1 13.8 13.8  6.94 ne
 3 12.0 11.9  7.40 ne.
Tom, 1/2, E.8, 12.1 secs
 1 19.0 19.0  0.19 Fi-
 1 16.0 16.0  0.87 del
 1 18.8 18.8  1.34 di-
 1 16.8 16.8  1.98 del
3  2.17
 1 17.0 17.0  2.49 heisst
 1 15.0 15.0  3.07 das
 3 15.0 14.0  3.53 Lied
1  4.03
 8 14.0 14.0  7.94 von
6  8.45   
 1 16.0 16.0  8.83 dem
 1 17.0 17.0  9.35 Lei-
 4 15.8 16.2  9.92 er-
 4 13.8 14.2 10.48 ka-
 1 12.0 12.0 11.07 sten-
 1 12.0 12.0 11.54 mann.