MusicXML 3.1 is the latest version of the world’s standard interchange format for music notation, and the first to be developed at the W3C Music Notation Community Group. MusicXML 3.1 is still in beta test, but our implementation experience with Finale, Dolet, and SmartMusic made us confident that supporting it now would benefit our customers. Early implementations of new formats are encouraged in World Wide Web Consortium projects. This helps ensure that problems that do show up in real-life use are resolved before the standard is finalized.
Ever since the earliest days of the MusicXML format, Finale support for MusicXML has driven adoption of the format and its new versions across the industry. We believe that the same thing will happen with MusicXML 3.1 – Finale’s support for the format will encourage other developers to adopt the features.
For now, the biggest benefits to Finale customers will be in transferring MusicXML files from Finale to the new SmartMusic, and in transferring Finale files to older versions of Finale that pre-date the compatible .musx format (Finale 2009 to 2012).
The most notable improvement for Finale users may be how expressions that mix descriptive text with music notation symbols can now be transferred between applications. We have seen this a lot in our educational SmartMusic repertoire and it is great to have MusicXML support this in a standard way that works between applications. Other improvements that MusicXML 3.1 makes possible include support for:
- Parenthesized accidental marks
- Circled noteheads for percussion notation
- Distinguishing the two styles of percussion clef (rectangle vs 2 vertical lines)
- Highest/lowest notes without leger lines
- The sfzp, n, and pf dynamics
- Arrowhead characters in the Engraver Text fonts
- Enclosures with up to 10 sides
- Unexpected musical symbols in Finale articulations
One other change is that uncompressed MusicXML files now have a .musicxml file extension, rather than the generic .xml file extension. This will allow applications to better distinguish MusicXML files from XML files used by other applications that might be on the same computer system.
You can see all the updates to MusicXML in Finale 25.4 and Dolet 7 for Finale in the Dolet 7 for Finale version history. There are even more changes that MusicXML 3.1 makes possible that we plan to add in future Finale and Dolet updates.
Note that the Dolet for Finale plug-in is 32-bit only. Finale v25.4 includes all the added features that used to be part of the Dolet plug-in, plus some MusicXML features that only work in 64-bit Finale. With our 64-bit Finale v25, all the MusicXML functionality you need is available directly on the File menu.
We hope that you find MusicXML 3.1 will make moving your music files between applications even faster and more accurate than before. If you have issues using the MusicXML in Finale v25.4 or in using the Dolet plug-in, please let us know in theFinale portion of our Help Center. If you are a music notation software developer and find a problem with MusicXML 3.1 in your development work, please post an issue at the MusicXML GitHub repository.