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Finale 25.5 MusicXML Updates

Today MakeMusic released Finale 25.5 and an updated Dolet 7.1 for Finale plug-in.  These updates improve Finale’s MusicXML 3.1 support to match the latest MusicXML 3.1 version from the W3C Music Notation Community Group.

There are 20 improvements in our MusicXML 3.1 support from the previous Finale 25.4 and Dolet 7.0 for Finale releases. You can see all of them in the Dolet for Finale version history, plus 6 more improvements that are unrelated to the new features in MusicXML 3.1. The most important changes include:

  • Measure number text is now exported for multi-movement pieces where measure numbers are reused, as well as other situations involving more complex use of measure number regions.
  • Buzz rolls and unmeasured tremolos are now supported.
  • Line lengths are now supported for doit, falloff, scoop, and plop elements.
  • Finale expressions with a mix of text and musical symbols from any Finale built-in font (not just Maestro) are now supported.
  • Grace cue notes are now supported.
  • Image height and width attributes are now supported, for better transfer of scaled bitmap graphics.
  • More percussion pictograms and other music symbols are now supported.
  • Files without any measure number regions now correctly export that measure numbers are not displayed.

Finale 25.5 also has several improvements for translating folders of Finale or MusicXML files. First are improvements in the performance and reliability of these translations, especially for folders with large numbers of files.

Next are the new “Include subfolders” options for export and import. These let you export or import files from not just a single folder, but all the subfolders within that folder. So if you have files in the My Scores, My Scores/Bach, and My Scores/Bach/CPE folders, you can translate a single My Scores folder and get all the files converted at once.

MusicXML Preferences dialog in Finale 25.5

We have also added work in progress dialogs that appear when translating a folder of Finale or MusicXML files. This dialog displays which file is currently being exported or import, and lets you cancel out of the folder translation once the current file is finished.

MusicXML work in progress dialog in Finale 25.5

With this version of the Dolet for Finale plug-in, we have removed support for Windows XP. Windows Vista or later are now required to run the Windows version of the Dolet 7.1 for Finale plug-in. Stay with the Dolet 7.0 for Finale plug-in if you are still using an older version of Finale on Windows XP.

The Dolet for Finale plug-in is 32-bit only. Finale v25.5 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 in the File menu.

We hope that you find the improved MusicXML 3.1 and folder translation support will make moving your music files between applications even faster and more accurate than before. If you have issues using the MusicXML in Finale v25.5 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.

MusicXML 3.1 Arrives in Finale v25.4 and Dolet 7 for Finale

Today MakeMusic released Finale v25.4 and an updated Dolet 7.0 for Finale plug-in.  Together with the new SmartMusic, these are the first commercial products supporting the MusicXML 3.1 format.

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.

Dolet 7 for Finale Beta Now Available

We are happy to announce that beta versions of the Dolet 7 for Finale plug-in are now available! You can download both the Mac installer and the Windows installer.

Dolet 7 for Finale adds support for reading and writing MusicXML 3.1 files. MusicXML 3.1 is the latest version of the MusicXML format and the first one to be developed within the W3C Music Notation Community Group.

By making Dolet 7 for Finale available for beta testing, we hope to assist other music software developers who want to add support for MusicXML 3.1 by being able to test exchanging MusicXML 3.1 files with Finale.

The MusicXML 3.1 features that Dolet 7 for Finale supports include:

  • Uncompressed MusicXML 3.1 files are now saved with a .musicxml file extension by default.
  • Finale expressions with a mix of Maestro musical symbols and text are now exported and imported.
  • Finale expressions with a mix of text and note symbols from other Finale built-in fonts are now exported.
  • Unexpected symbols in Finale articulations can now be exported in a way that can be exchanged with other applications.
  • Unexpected symbols in MusicXML files can now be imported into Finale articulations.
  • Parenthesized accidental marks are now supported.
  • Circled noteheads for percussion notation are now supported.
  • The two styles of percussion clef are now distinguished during export and import.
  • The n dynamic character is now supported.
  • The sfzp and pf dynamics now use the corresponding new MusicXML elements.
  • Highest / lowest notes without leger lines now use the standard MusicXML 3.1 feature for greater interoperability.
  • Arrowhead characters in the Engraver Text fonts are now supported.
  • Enclosures with 5 to 10 sides are now supported.

The Dolet 7 for Finale plug-in is a 32-bit plug-in that works with Finale 2009 through Finale 2014.5 on Mac and Windows.

Please share your experiences with MusicXML 3.1 and the Dolet plug-in at the W3C Music Notation Community Group. If you find a problem with MusicXML 3.1 in your testing, please post an issue at the MusicXML GitHub repository.

Thank you for your help in making the MusicXML format an ever more powerful way to exchange scores between applications that use music notation.

Musikmesse 2017 Update

We held the second annual Musikmesse meeting of the W3C Music Notation Community Group on Friday, April 7 in Frankfurt. As in past years, we had about 40 people attending. Here are videos of the meeting taken by Peter Jonas. You can find the full meeting minutes, slides, and links to audio and video recordings on the W3C Music Notation Community Group blog.

The first video includes the discussion of MusicXML 3.1 and SMuFL 1.2,. The second video includes the discussion of MNX, the Community Group’s project on a next-generation music notation standard. We are now planning to release MusicXML 3.1 and SMuFL 1.2 by the end of June 2017. MNX is a longer-range project.

Please join the W3C Music Notation Community Group if you would like to participate in the development of these standards. Membership is free of charge and does not require membership in the W3C. Click the JOIN THIS GROUP button on the Community Group home page to get started.

Finale 25.3 MusicXML Updates

Today MakeMusic released version 25.3 of Finale and an updated Dolet 6.10 for Finale plug-in. Both releases include notable MusicXML improvements to both import and export.

For import, Finale v25.3 adds a new MusicXML import preference, “Restrict MusicXML formatting”. This improves on the “Use current document if empty” preference added in Finale 25.2. When selected, the amount of formatting data imported from the MusicXML file is greatly restricted. This is especially true for document settings, system breaks, and page breaks. The formatting preferences for the current empty document are used instead. This preference is ignored if there is no document open, or the current document is not empty.

MusicXML preferences are available in Finale v25 via the File menu. Choose either the Import or Export submenu and then select “MusicXML Preferences…”. The preferences are also available when using the Dolet for Finale plug-in with Finale 2014.5.  In that case, go to the Plug-ins menu and choose the MusicXML submenu, then select “MusicXML Preferences…”.

Finale v25.3 includes an additional 14 new features and fixes to MusicXML export and import support. Some of the most important ones are better export of expressions assigned to layers, better export of multimeasure rests. and better export of page-attached text. Dolet 6.10 for Finale includes all these improvements. You can read more about all these updates in our Dolet for Finale release notes.

MusicXML in Finale v25.3 also supports the new 25.3 features. This includes the new options for short and long crescendo / decrescendo openings, and the new Unicode support for nonstandard key signatures and fretboard numbers.

As with version 6.9, version 6.10 does not support Finale versions earlier than Finale 2009. This is due to the ongoing modernization of our software technology, especially for Mac platforms. If you are still using these older versions of Finale, we hope you will consider upgrading to the latest version. If not, please be sure to keep your current version of the Dolet plug-in.

Also note that the Dolet for Finale plug-in is 32-bit only. Finale v25.3 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 these new plug-ins help in moving your music files between applications. If you have issues with the plug-ins, please let us know in the Finale portion of our Help Center.

NAMM 2017 Update

The annual NAMM show in Anaheim is always a great way to start the year, and 2017 was no exception. One highlight for me was an informal Friday evening dinner with members of the W3C Music Notation Community Group. We shared food, drink, and stories about everyone’s adventures in music notation, software, and fonts. Tom Nauman from Musicnotes was kind enough to take a group selfie from the dinner and give permission to redistribute it:

Photo of NAMM 2017 Music Notation Community Group dinner

W3C Music Notation Community Group dinner at NAMM 2017

Starting at the left and going around the table clockwise we have

  • Daniel Spreadbury, Steinberg
  • Michael Good, MakeMusic
  • Adrian Holovaty, Soundslice
  • Matt Briggs, Semitone
  • Raphaël Schumann, Newzik
  • Pierre Mardon, Newzik
  • Jeremy Sawruk, J.W. Pepper
  • Philip Rothman, NYC Music Services
  • Bruce Nelson, Alfred Music
  • Tom Nauman, Musicnotes

Missing from the picture is Jeff Kellem from Slanted Hall who arrived shortly afterwards. Jeff, Bruce, and Daniel are all music font designers, so there was some lively typography discussions going on at that side of the table.

This was the first time I ever met Philip Rothman in person. Besides all of Philip’s musical activities, he hosts SibeliusBlog.com which has expanded beyond its name to cover all aspects of music notation software. Philip interviewed me during the show. Here he is visiting the Alfred / MakeMusic booth together with Ryan Sargent, MakeMusic’s social media manager:

Photo of Ryan Sargent, Michael Good, and Philip Rothman

Ryan Sargent, Michael Good, and Philip Rothman at NAMM 2017

Two new MusicXML product announcements also happened during NAMM. Semitone demonstrated their Komp application in the NAMM.Software exhibition on the 2nd floor. Komp is a music sketching handwriting recognition app for iOS, due out in the first quarter of 2017. Like their exhibit neighbors Newzik, they use MusicXML as their underlying notation file format. Komp is optimized for the Apple Pencil and has some training and other innovative user interface features that I had not seen in similar applications before.

The other announcement was Apple’s release of Logic Pro 10.3, which now includes MusicXML import. Logic Pro X had added MusicXML export earlier, but having both import and export covers a wider variety of exchange use cases for Logic customers.

As mentioned on the W3C Music Notation Community Group blog, we are looking to complete MusicXML 3.1 and SMuFL 1.2 by the end of March 2017. After that we plan to start looking at longer range music notation format issues with the MNX project, which we plan to discuss at more detail in April at Musikmesse in Frankfurt. If you are interested in participating, please join the W3C Music Notation Community Group, and follow the MusicXML repository on GitHub to be notified of issues and updates as they occur. With your help, we look increasing the power of music notation standards even more in 2017.

Finale v25.2 MusicXML Updates

Today MakeMusic released version 25.2 of Finale and an updated Dolet 6.9 for Finale plug-in. Both releases include notable MusicXML improvements to both import and export.

Finale v25.2 includes the last of the features that had been available in the Dolet for Finale plug-in, but not in Finale v25. This is the ability to open an empty file, such as a template, and import your MusicXML file into that template. This makes it faster to reformat MusicXML files into your own favorite Finale styles.

You can access this feature by setting the new MusicXML import preference “Use current document if empty”. Checking this option will import into the currently open file if possible – that is, if the file is empty and is open to a score rather than a linked part. This is the same behavior as the Dolet 6 for Finale plug-in. If you leave the option unchecked, the behavior is the same as in earlier versions of Finale – a new default document is opened and the MusicXML is imported there.

MusicXML preferences are available in Finale v25 via the File menu. Choose either the Import or Export submenu and then select “MusicXML Preferences…”. The preferences are also available when using the Dolet for Finale plug-in with Finale 2014.5.  In that case, go to the Plug-ins menu and choose the MusicXML submenu, then select “MusicXML Preferences…”.

Finale v25.2 includes an additional 12 new features and fixes to MusicXML export support. They include support for the Finale Copyist Text font as well as better export of metronome marks, compound dynamics, and chord symbols. Dolet 6.9 for Finale includes all these improvements, as well as most of the MusicXML improvements included in the original release of Finale v25. You can read more about all these updates in our Dolet for Finale release notes.

As with version 6.8, version 6.9 does not support Finale versions earlier than Finale 2009. This is due to the ongoing modernization of our software technology, especially for Mac platforms. If you are still using these older versions of Finale, we hope you will consider upgrading to the latest version. If not, please be sure to keep your current version of the Dolet plug-in.

Also note that the Dolet for Finale plug-in is 32-bit only. Finale v25.2 now 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 these new plug-ins help in moving your music files between applications. If you have issues with the plug-ins, please let us know in the Finale portion of our Help Center.

Finale v25.1 MusicXML Updates

Today MakeMusic released version 25.1 of Finale and an updated Dolet 6.8 for Finale plug-in. Both releases include significant MusicXML improvements, especially for MusicXML export.

One of the main new features is one-step export all the linked parts in your Finale file to a folder of MusicXML files. This is mainly intended for use with SmartMusic.

MakeMusic is rapidly improving our new web-based version of SmartMusic that runs on Chromebooks. One of the features coming soon in our SmartMusic roadmap is allowing teachers to upload and assign their own MusicXML files. Since these SmartMusic files will be individual parts, exporting all the linked parts from a file in one step will make this process much easier.

Finale v25.1 includes an additional 14 new features and fixes to MusicXML support. They include better import of percussion staves from MusicXML files exported from Sibelius, better export of text using the MaestroTimes font, and much more. Dolet 6.8 for Finale includes all these improvements, as well as most of the MusicXML improvements included in the original release of Finale v25. You can read more about all these updates in our Dolet for Finale release notes.

One thing to consider before upgrading your Dolet plug-in to version 6.8 is that this version no longer supports Finale versions earlier than Finale 2009. This is due to the ongoing modernization of our software technology, especially for Mac platforms. If you are still using these older versions of Finale, we hope you will consider upgrading to the latest version. If not, please be sure to keep your current version of the Dolet plug-in.

Also note that the Dolet for Finale plug-in is 32-bit only. Finale v25.1 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 these new plug-ins help in moving your music files between applications. If you have issues with the plug-ins, please let us know on our MusicXML forum.

Finale v25.1 MusicXML Updates

Today MakeMusic released version 25.1 of Finale and an updated Dolet 6.8 for Finale plug-in. Both releases include significant new MusicXML functionality, especially for MusicXML export.

One of the main new features is one-step export all the linked parts in your Finale file to a folder of MusicXML files. This is mainly intended for use with SmartMusic.

MakeMusic is rapidly improving our new web-based version of SmartMusic that runs on Chromebooks. One of the features coming soon in our SmartMusic roadmap is allowing teachers to upload and assign their own MusicXML files. Since these SmartMusic files will be individual parts, exporting all the linked parts from a file in one step will make this process much easier.

Finale v25.1 includes an additional 14 new features and fixes to MusicXML support. They include better import of percussion staves from MusicXML files exported from Sibelius, better export of text using the MaestroTimes font, and much more. Dolet 6.8 for Finale includes all these improvements, as well as most of the MusicXML improvements included in the original release of Finale v25. You can read more about all these updates in our Dolet for Finale release notes.

One thing to consider before upgrading your Dolet plug-in to version 6.8 is that this version no longer supports Finale versions earlier than Finale 2009. This is due to the ongoing modernization of our software technology, especially for Mac platforms. If you are still using these older versions of Finale, we hope you will consider upgrading to the latest version. If not, please be sure to keep your current version of the Dolet plug-in.

Also note that the Dolet for Finale plug-in is 32-bit only. Finale v25.1 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 right there in the File menu.

We hope that you find these new plug-ins help in moving your music files between applications. If you have issues with the plug-ins, please let us know on our MusicXML forum.

MusicXML Now Supported by More Than 220 Apps

MusicXML application support continues to grow! These days most of the growth comes in new notation apps, as nearly all the current music notation apps already support the MusicXML format. Today we are up to 225 applications with MusicXML support.

Some of the highlights of the new applications that are shipping now with MusicXML support are:

  • REAPER. This DAW from Cockos recently added a notation editor in version 5.20. This was quickly followed by MusicXML export in version 5.22 and then MusicXML import in version 5.23. DAW support for MusicXML lagged behind many other application areas, so it is great to see the continued growth of MusicXML support in this area.
  • ReadScoreLib. This is a music scanning SDK and library provided by Dolphin Computing, the same people behind the SeeScore SDK. As with SeeScore it works on iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. This is the scanning technology that Dolphin uses in their PlayScore mobile app.
  • OpenSheetMusicDisplay. This is an open-source JavaScript library for rendering MusicXML in a web browser using VexFlow. There is an online demo available for testing with your favorite MusicXML files.
  • Kunkunshi Editor. This may be my favorite as it is the most unusual. Kunkunshi Editor is an Android app for editing Okinawan music in Kunkunshi (工工四) format. This is a vertical, tabular format of music notation which is a variation of Chinese music notation systems.

There are many other updates and additions to the MusicXML software world. Band-in-a-Box 2016 with MusicXML support is now available for Mac as well as Windows. Overture 5 is now shipping with MusicXML export as well as import.

Do you have MusicXML software or a source of MusicXML scores that we don’t have listed on our site? Please let us know so we can add you to our lists and round out our picture of the MusicXML community. Feel free to post on the MusicXML forum, or contact us via Twitter or Facebook.

Dolet Plug-ins Update – April 2016

Just in time for Musikmesse, we released new updates to our Dolet MusicXML plug-ins today. The Dolet 6.7 for Finale plug-in includes 20 fixes and new features, including a new preferences feature. The Dolet 6.6 for Sibelius plug-in works much faster than before, and adds a manual installation option for Windows 32-bit systems. As always, downloads are available from our plug-in downloads page.

Dolet 6.7 for Finale adds a new menu item for Dolet Preferences when running in Finale 2014.5. You may set preferences for exporting different versions of MusicXML, exporting compressed or uncompressed files during batch export, and validating against the MusicXML DTD or XSD. This restores features that were dropped in Finale 2014.5 in version 6.6 while making them easier to access and use.

Dolet 6.7 for Finale also adds preferences for silencing error messages during batch import and export and logging the messages to a log file instead. The log file option is the file name that is used within the folder being imported or exported. This option will silence messages from the Dolet plug-in, but not messages from Finale that may occur when reading in files.

Version 6.7 also adds another 19 new features and fixes, including improvement to exporting Finale shape notes, laisser-vibrez ties, improved support for jazz articulations, better export of accidental text inserts, and more. You can read more about what’s new in the release notes.

Dolet 6.6 for Sibelius exports files much more quickly than previous versions. On Mac it can export 50% faster. On Windows, export can be 5 to 10 times faster, with more improvement for larger files. You can read more about what’s new in the release notes.

We hope that you find these new plug-ins help in moving your music files between applications. If you have issues with the plug-ins, please let us know on our MusicXML forum.

Musikmesse Meeting on April 8

Musikmesse 7 - 10 . 4 . 2016 - It's my tune - Order your tickets now

For the past 3 years we have had a MusicXML community meeting at the Musikmesse fair in Frankfurt. This year we will have another meeting: the first meeting of the W3C Music Notation Community Group in Europe.

The meeting will be held on Friday, April 8 from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm in the Logos/Genius conference room in Hall 9.1. As in past years, we plan to have a 2-hour meeting followed by a 1-hour reception sponsored by Newzik.

Our proposed agenda is to discuss the group’s progress on MusicXML 3.1 and SMuFL 1.2, and review the notation use cases that we expect to guide the group’s future work. We welcome your suggestions on changes or additions to this agenda.

Please sign up on our Google form at http://bit.ly/1U1SUIP if you plan to attend the meeting. This will help ensure that we have enough room and refreshments for everyone.

You will need a Musikmesse ticket to attend the meeting. These cost 25 euros and are available online at www.musikmesse.com.

We look forward to seeing you in Frankfurt!

Best regards,

Michael Good, Daniel Spreadbury, and Joe Berkovitz
W3C Music Notation Community Group co-chairs

NAMM Meeting on January 23

Happy New Year everyone! We are happy to announce that thanks to the work of Joe Berkovitz and NAMM staff, we will be having a W3C Music Notation Community Group meeting during the upcoming NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.

The meeting will be on Saturday, January 23 from 10:30 am to 12:00 noon in the Hilton Oceanside room. The agenda will include:

  • Community Group status update
  • Use case document discussion
  • MusicXML 3.1 updates
  • SMuFL 1.2 updates

Please let us know if you have suggestions for additional agenda topics.

Since the meeting is in the Hilton rather than the Anaheim Convention Center, you do not need to be registered for the NAMM show in order to attend the meeting.

We apologize for the short notice about the meeting. This was our first time working with NAMM staff regarding a W3C music notation event, so we have been learning as we go.

The room holds 30 people. We expect that will be sufficient given the short notice and the attendance at the NAMM MusicXML meeting in 2012. For planning purposes it would be helpful if you could let us know if you plan to attend. Feel free to send an email to Michael or to respond on the community group mailing list or the MusicXML Forum.

For those who can’t make it to NAMM, we do hope to have a meeting at Musikmesse in Frankfurt this April, as we have done with the MusicXML community the past three years. We hope to provide more advance notice for that event.

We look forward to seeing many of you at this meeting!

MusicXML 3.1 Development Starting Soon

We have posted a year-end update about the W3C Music Notation Community Group on the group blog. One of the highlights for MusicXML users is that MusicXML 3.1 development will be starting soon, either later this month or in early January.

MusicXML 3.1 will be focused on adding greater coverage for musical symbols, along with targeted bug fixes and feature enhancements. The goal is to maintain and improve MusicXML 3.0’s high level of document interoperability, without distracting from the longer-term work of the community group. You can see the current list of MusicXML 3.1 issues in the MusicXML GitHub repository.

If you would like to participate in MusicXML 3.1 development, please join the community group. Click on the link and press the “JOIN THIS GROUP” button, which will lead you through the process of joining the group. Joining the community group is free, and you or your company need not be a W3C member to participate.

Thank you for your continued support of MusicXML. I look forward to working together with the community group on this new update.

Dolet Plug-ins Update

Coinciding with the release of Finale 2014.5 are updates to our Dolet MusicXML plug-ins. The Dolet 6.6 for Finale plug-in adds support for Finale 2014.5, while the Dolet 6.5 for Sibelius plug-in adds support for Sibelius 8. As always, downloads are available from our Dolet plug-in downloads page.

You can read more about what’s new with the plug-ins in the Dolet for Finale and Dolet for Sibelius release notes. One notable addition to the Dolet 6.6 for Finale plug-in is that file exports now include XML processing instructions for features that the plug-in knows it cannot export correctly. This feature has been in the Dolet for Sibelius plug-in for many years and we are happy to now bring it over to the Finale plug-in as well.

Meanwhile, the W3C Music Notation Community Group has had a lot of thoughtful discussion on the future direction for MusicXML and notation formats. Joining the group is the best way to make your voice heard on how MusicXML will evolve in the future. Community group membership is free and does not require W3C membership.

Setting an Agenda for W3C Music Notation

With northern summer vacations over, we are now ready to start setting an agenda for the W3C Music Notation Community Group. See our latest blog post at:

https://www.w3.org/community/music-notation/2015/09/17/getting-off-the-ground/

This describes the short-term and long-term projects that the co-chairs Joe Berkovitz, Daniel Spreadbury, and myself think would be good for the group to work on, and why we think they are important. The initial proposed short-term projects are:

  • Build an initial MusicXML specification
  • Add support for use of SMuFL glyphs within MusicXML
  • Identify and fix any remaining gaps or adoption barriers in SMuFL
  • Document music notation use cases

The initial proposed long-term projects are:

  • Improve formatting support in MusicXML
  • Build a complete MusicXML specification document
  • Add Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation and interactivity to MusicXML

Now we need to hear from the group. Do these seem like the right things to work on? Are there other things you think we should work on instead? What would you most like to see done with MusicXML and SMuFL right away?

If you have not yet joined the group, visit our home page and click the JOIN THIS GROUP button to start the signup process. If you work on music notation for an organization, please join as an organizational representative by following the instructions on the left-hand side of the signup page.

Our discussion will be help on the community group contributor mailing list at [email protected] Anybody can read the archives of this mailing list, but only Community Group participants can post there.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts as to how you would like the group to proceed.

MakeMusic Transfers MusicXML Development to W3C

Today is a momentous day for MusicXML development and open standards in music notation. MakeMusic and Steinberg are transferring development of the MusicXML format and SMuFL specification to a new Music Notation Community Group at the W3C.

Here is the text of MakeMusic’s press release. You can download the full PDF version from our web site.

MAKEMUSIC TRANSFERS MUSICXML DEVELOPMENT TO W3C
Popular music notation standard moves to open community group

BOULDER, Colorado – July 28, 2015 – MakeMusic, Inc. announced today that it is transferring development of its industry-standard MusicXML format to the new Music Notation Community Group at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Michael Good, MakeMusic vice president of R&D, invented the MusicXML format in 2000 to create a standard interchange format for music notation applications. It has been adopted by well over 200 applications, including nearly all the major web, desktop, and mobile notation programs.

The MusicXML format was developed at Michael’s former company Recordare with the participation of a large and active developer and musician community. MakeMusic’s 2011 acquisition of Recordare’s assets changed the community dynamics, since the owner of the format was now a competitor of many developers. This increased the community’s desire to move MusicXML development to a more neutral forum. W3C Community Groups provide a way to move MusicXML development forward in a more open process, without the overhead of producing formal W3C Recommendations.

Simultaneously, Steinberg has announced that it is transferring development of its Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) specification to the same W3C Music Notation Community Group. Michael Good from MakeMusic, Daniel Spreadbury from Steinberg, and Joe Berkovitz from Hal Leonard/Noteflight will serve as co-chairs of the Music Notation Community Group.

“We are excited that the MusicXML and SMuFL communities are coming together as a W3C Community Group,” said Doug Schepers, W3C Web Standards Specialist. “Music notation is an essential cultural artifact, and worthy of having its own expression on the Web. W3C is pleased that our Community Groups framework will help move these important technologies forward.”

“I am delighted that MakeMusic has decided to transfer MusicXML development to the W3C,” said MusicXML inventor Michael Good. “Finale was the first widely used music notation application to support the MusicXML format. Today’s announcement continues MakeMusic’s leadership in open standards for the sheet music community.”

MakeMusic, Steinberg, and Hal Leonard invite developers, publishers, musicians, and other interested parties to join the W3C Music Notation Community Group. Membership is free of charge. More details are available at https://www.w3.org/community/music-notation/.

You can read more about the story behind the formation of the W3C Music Notation Community Group on the group’s blog at:

https://www.w3.org/community/music-notation/2015/07/27/introducing-the-music-notation-community-group/

Photo of Community Group co-chairs Joe Berkovitz, Michael Good, and Daniel Spreadbury

Music Notation Community Group Co-Chairs Joe Berkovitz, Michael Good, and Daniel Spreadbury at MusicXML Community Meeting, Musikmesse 2015

Our co-founders of the Music Notation Community Group, Steinberg and Hal Leonard/Noteflight, have also issued press releases and blog posts:

We look forward to having many people join us in the community group to continue the development of the MusicXML format to version 4.0 and beyond.

More Apps: Digital Performer 9, Soundslice Viewer

MusicXML application support keeps growing! At Musikmesse we had just under 200 applications supporting the MusicXML format. Today we are up to 212 applications. Many of these new additions are small, specialized apps done by individual developers for Android, iOS, or Web platforms.

This week though we have seen two more significant releases for the larger MusicXML community: Digital Performer 9 and the Soundslice MusicXML Viewer.

DP9MOTU’s Digital Performer is one of the leading digital audio workstation applications for Mac and Windows. It is particularly popular for film and TV scoring. People have been asking me for at least a decade when Digital Performer might add MusicXML support, particularly to export from QuickScribe notation to dedicated notation editors like Finale and Sibelius. This is finally here with Digital Performer 9.

Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music says that “I think what could prove to be the biggest feature in DP9 is MusicXML export.” MOTU has posted a video where Frank Macchia calls MusicXML export from DP9 a “dream come true.” When this feature was first previewed at NAMM, I heard Marc Mann whoop for joy. Customers who use both Digital Performer and a dedicated notation program can see their lives getting a lot easier with this release.

Digital audio workstations were naturally slower to adopt MusicXML than music notation specialist programs. With the release of DP9, it seems safe to say that the majority of DAW applications with notation functionality now support MusicXML export.

  • October 2007: Cubase 4.1 adds MusicXML export and import
  • September 2011: SONAR X1 Producer Expanded adds MusicXML export
  • July 2013: Logic Pro X adds MusicXML export
  • June 2015: Digital Performer 9 adds MusicXML export

MusicXML export is usually offered first since it tends to be the more valuable workflow for DAW customers that use notation. MusicXML import is also useful for a different set of workflows. We hope that will become more popular in future DAW application releases.

Meanwhile, Soundslice has released a significant new MusicXML player that is both free and web-based. The Soundslice developers couldn’t find any free, high-quality, web-based MusicXML viewers that could display, play, and transpose MusicXML files. So they took their MusicXML rendering from the Soundslice Player and made it a separate, limited service.

The viewer also shows off Soundslice’s responsive notation. Resize the web browser window after you upload a score and see how Soundslice reflows the music to match the available space. You can do this in other applications and web sites, of course, but not in a free web site with no subscription or signup required. This should make a great complement to other MusicXML readers, both for musicians who have downloaded MusicXML files and for developers testing their MusicXML export and overall understanding of MusicXML notation.

Congratulations to MOTU and Soundslice on these new software releases! Do you have MusicXML software or a source of MusicXML scores that we don’t have listed on our site? Please let us know so we can add you to our lists and round out our picture of the MusicXML community. Feel free to post on the MusicXML forum, or contact us via Twitter or Facebook.

W3C Community Group Update

W3C Community Group and Business Group LogoDuring our April meeting at Musikmesse, we discussed moving further development of MusicXML and SMuFL to a Music Notation Community Group at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Joe Berkovitz from Noteflight summarized the advantages in his presentation:

  • Consortium-based governance is the best way forward
  • Standards-track process will force clear specification
  • Consortium ownership assures openness and fairness
  • Membership supplies diverse, fresh viewpoints
  • Leadership supplies continuity, domain expertise
  • Consortium supplies adjacent expertise, technical/legal/process support.

The overall sense of the meeting was that moving to a W3C Community Group was a good idea. Even some who had reservations based on past standards experiences concluded that if Joe, Daniel, and me all thought that the W3C was the best way forward, that was good enough for them.

Since that time, Daniel and I have been working with senior management at our respective companies to get approval to move development of these music notation software standards to a W3C Community Group. We have made good progress so far. We are optimistic (but not certain!) that we will have something to announce relatively soon.

In the meantime, I would like to reopen the discussion to address any questions and concerns that MusicXML community members may have about this potential change. I have started a new topic on the MusicXML forum at:

http://forums.makemusic.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=2959

Please note that W3C Community Groups are a much lighter-weight organization than a W3C Working Group. Community Groups produce reports rather than recommendations as their specifications. W3C membership is not required to participate, and there are no membership fees or travel requirements. Companies may of course join the W3C to access the full benefits of the consortium’s web standards resources, but this is in not required.

You can learn more about W3C Community Groups at:

https://www.w3.org/community/about/

Members of the Community Group do need to sign a Contributor License Agreement to belong to the group and contribute to report and specification development. That agreement is available at:

https://www.w3.org/community/about/agreements/cla/

Final specifications (for instance, a potential MusicXML 4.0 developed at the W3C) are released under a Final Specification Agreement, available at:

https://www.w3.org/community/about/agreements/final/

You may want to have your legal team review these agreements in advance to address any questions about signing up to participate in the community group.

Daniel, Joe, and I are excited about the potential of this move to build on the successes of MusicXML and SMuFL, and make them even more powerful tools for representing music notation on the Web, in print, and in new interactive media yet to be invented.

The 2015 MusicXML Community Meeting at Musikmesse

Thank you to all who attended our third annual MusicXML community meeting at Musikmesse! We had 42 attendees who signed in. This year’s meeting focused on framing the future for MusicXML development. Our agenda proceeded as follows:

  • A brief introduction to MusicXML. Nearly everyone attending was already familiar with MusicXML, so we covered this quickly.
  • MusicXML community progress over the past year since our last meeting, focusing on the 25 new applications that have added MusicXML support in that time.
  • An update on the Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) project, presented by Daniel Spreadbury from Steinberg.
  • Future directions for MusicXML: content and governance, presented by Joe Berkovitz from Noteflight.

The presentations took 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of focused discussion on the future directions for MusicXML. This was followed by an hour-long reception sponsored by Hal Leonard / Noteflight.

The MusicXML presentation material from all three presenters is available at:

The 2015 MusicXML Meeting

The attendee list and a summary of the meeting discussion is available at:

Report from the 2015 MusicXML Community Meeting

Nicolas Froment from MuseScore made a video recording of the meeting, including the presentation and the discussions. If you have not attended one of these meetings before, here is a great opportunity to see and hear the faces and voices behind the names.

To summarize the discussion, most people who spoke at the meeting were favorably inclined towards Joe’s proposal to move MusicXML to a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Community Group. There was support for adding more notational semantics to MusicXML – not just the what, but also the how and why behind notation layout. Joe showed an example of how MusicXML could evolve to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) technology that intrigued many people.

The meeting met my goals for getting a better sense of the MusicXML community’s reaction to a possible change of governance to the W3C, as well as some of the general directions for future MusicXML evolution. We will continue discussion of these topics online in the MusicXML forum.

Change of governance is not a simple matter for the companies involved. It seems it would be best for MusicXML and SMuFL to both be transferred together to a standards organization rather than proceeding separately. So there are discussions that will need to happen at MakeMusic, Steinberg, the W3C, and elsewhere. Given the strategic nature of the technologies there is no guarantee that this transfer will happen, but gauging the community’s interest was a key step in this potential evolution.

I would like to once again thank:

  • Hal Leonard and Noteflight for sponsoring the reception.
  • Joe Berkovitz and Daniel Spreadbury for their excellent presentations.
  • The Musicbiz Lounge & Congress and Musikmesse staff for their top-flight support.
  • Nicolas Froment for the video recording.
  • All the meeting attendees for the lively and informative discussion.

As long as Musikmesse makes this Musicbiz Lounge & Congress venue available to us, we plan to keep this as an annual event. Next year’s Musikmesse is from April 7 to 10, with many changes in store. The Friday date seems to work well, so we’ll tentatively plan for the fourth annual MusicXML meeting on Friday, April 8, 2016.

Coming Up: MusicXML at Musikmesse 2015

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I am happy to announce that we now have our MusicXML Community Meeting confirmed at the Musicbiz Lounge & Congress during Musikmesse 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany. We will meet at the same time as last year: Friday, April 17 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, with a reception afterwards sponsored by Hal Leonard / Noteflight. The meeting will be in the Workshop room in the Congress area adjacent to Hall 5.1.

Here is the abstract for this year’s meeting:

MusicXML has become the standard interchange format for music notation and digital sheet music over the past 15 years. Since 2013 the community of music notation developers, publishers, and musicians has met each year at Musikmesse to discuss new developments and possibilities for the future.

One topic for this year’s meeting will be future directions for the MusicXML format. Might MusicXML evolve in the future from a document interchange format into a more complete platform for interactive digital sheet music? What might this evolution look like? How could we support interactivity better in the future without disrupting the successful document interchange of the present? How might such an evolution fare under the umbrella of a standards organization, for example the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)?

Other topics to be discussed are future integration of MusicXML and SMuFL, and status updates on new applications supporting MusicXML since last year’s Musikmesse.

Moderated by: Michael Good (MakeMusic, inventor of MusicXML) and Joe Berkovitz (Noteflight)

If you registered with the Musicbiz Lounge & Congress last year, you will be receiving an email soon to reactivate your account for 2015. If you have not registered with the venue before, please do using this URL. Registering helps the Congress with their planning, and helps keep this venue available to us for our meetings:

https://www.b2match.eu/musikmesse2015/registration?locale=en

Please also email me or send me a private message on the MusicXML Forum if you plan to attend, so we know how many people to expect for the meeting and the reception.

I look forward to seeing many of you there!

NAMM 2015: eScore Standardization Efforts in W3C and IEC

Each January, the NAMM show in Anaheim brings people together from throughout the music products industry. The MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) holds its annual general meeting on the last day of NAMM. This year, the MMA hosted a session on “An Introduction to eScore Standardization Efforts in W3C and IEC.” I presented on the W3C work. Taro Tokuhiro from Yamaha presented on the IEC work led by the Association of Musical Electronics Industry (AMEI). We had about 20 people attending. You can see our presentations at:

My presentation reviewed our discussions on music notation markup at the W3C from the W3C’s October TPAC meeting. At that meeting we explored a proposal for forming a music notation W3C Community Group and transferring relevant standards like MakeMusic’s MusicXML and Steinberg’s Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) to that organization. The governing documents could then become W3C Community Group Reports, perhaps co-published with the MMA.

Understanding the potential and pitfalls for current standardization work benefits from looking at past experience. Over the past 20 years, organizations like IEC, MPEG, and IEEE have produced eScore standards that have all failed to be adopted. These organizations tend to be too expensive in both time and money for an industry as small as sheet music and music notation software. Standards produced without the participation of industry experts have little chance of success. In contrast, MusicXML was designed and developed within the industry to work with existing music notation programs, and has been adopted by over 180 applications.

With its free membership and more flexible process, a W3C Community Group might provide a venue that could avoid some of the past pitfalls of previous standards organization efforts. I examined the pros and cons of moving MusicXML into a standards group like the W3C, or maintaining the status quo of MakeMusic ownership for the time being.

Taro Tokuhiro reviewed the work on music notation at IEC TC 100 TA 10 from the past two years. IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission, is one of the three global organizations (IEC, ISO, ITU) that develops official International Standards. TC 100 is the IEC technical committee on audio, video, and multimedia. TA 10 is TC 100’s technical area for multimedia e-publishing and e-book technology. Japan has extensive representation and involvement in TA 10. AMEI, the MMA’s Japanese counterpart organization, has been working within TA 10 over the past few years to publish MIDI 1.0 as an official IEC international standard.

Mr. Tokuhiro took over the role of leading AMEI’s work with TA 10 last year. AMEI presented on eScore technology at the IEC’s general meetings in Shenzen in September 2013 and in Tokyo in November 2014. Work is now underway on a technical report describing eScore technologies like MusicXML that are currently available on the market. The report draft is due this month and will be published after a voting process.

This technical report is the outcome of a research phase, and a prerequisite for recruiting expert involvement in a standards project. After publication, IEC will address questions such as if international de jure standardization is needed, if IEC is the right place for such standardization, or if the current de facto standardization on MusicXML is sufficient. As a result, digital sheet music may be proposed as a project within TA 10, or it may not – there is no hard commitment yet either way.

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Mr. Tokuhiro for lunch before the session. We had a detailed discussion of the contexts of the current eScore standardization work within both IEC and W3C which I found very helpful. There was not much discussion during the question and answer session after the presentations. Tom White from the MMA provided some clarifications on the work within both W3C and IEC.

I expect that we will be discussing the potential for MusicXML moving to the W3C or other standards organizations in more depth at our next MusicXML community meeting. Assuming that Musikmesse 2015 provides the same venue for this meeting as before, we tentatively plan to meet in Frankfurt on Friday afternoon, April 17. I will post more details here as we know more about the scheduling and planning.

Dolet 6.5 for Finale Plugin Now Available

Today we released an updated version of our Dolet® 6 for Finale plugin. The Dolet plugin adds some features to the MusicXML support built into Finale 2014, such as batch import and export. It also makes the improvements to MusicXML support for Finale 2014 available to people using older versions of Finale.  You can download this new version as well as our other Dolet plugins from:

/dolet-plugin/

Version 6.5 runs faster on Macs. It also adds support for exporting scores  whose default music fonts follow the Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL). SMuFL font support works in Finale 2012 and 2014, with Finale 2014 providing the better experience. The benefit of faster performance should be obvious, but what exactly is this SMuFL support?

Current music fonts in products like Finale and Sibelius use font mapping conventions that date back to the 1980s. These mappings use older, pre-Unicode technology that limits individual fonts to about 200 symbols. Western music notation requires many more symbols than that, so most programs have families of fonts to cover a wider range of musical symbols. Each font tends to use a somewhat different set of symbols, mapped in a somewhat different way. This causes problems when switching fonts in a musical score, or switching fonts when moving between notation and digital sheet music applications.

This diversity in font mappings also creates problems when writing software to export or import MusicXML files. The MusicXML software developer is usually never quite sure what a particular font character means. To accurately interpret what a character number means, you need to be able to tell which font is being used with that character, and you need to have seen that font before to know how it maps that number to a musical symbol.

SMuFL aims to fix these problems. To quote the SMuFL site, “SMuFL is a specification that provides a standard way of mapping the thousands of musical symbols required by conventional music notation into the Private Use Area in Unicode’s Basic Multilingual Plane for a single (format-independent) font.” Using the Unicode Private Use Area allows SMuFL to map thousands of symbols. SMuFL 1.0 currently maps nearly 2400 glyphs.

The SMuFL project was initiated and developed by Daniel Spreadbury at Steinberg. Like MusicXML, SMuFL was opened to community involvement at an early stage. At MakeMusic, Mark Adler and I have been involved with SMuFL even before it was publicly announced 18 months ago. Mark has focused on an updated OpenType version of our Maestro font family that will be SMuFL compliant. I have focused on how MusicXML and SMuFL might work together better in the future. Dolet 6.5 for Finale’s support for exporting files created with a default SMuFL music font is another step towards bringing SMuFL technology to MakeMusic’s products.

We are happy to release the Dolet 6.5 for Finale plug-in together with our Finale 2014d maintenance update. MakeMusic’s new CEO Gear Fisher has posted more information about MakeMusic’s future direction on the Finale and SmartMusic blogs. MusicXML is a key part of MakeMusic’s vision: it is essential for bringing more repertoire into our SmartMusic product, and for people creating music in Finale to share that music with the widest variety of applications in the rapidly changing world of digital sheet music.

In Gear’s update, he mentions how MakeMusic needs to make it easier to publish content into SmartMusic. Many of the challenges that we face in doing that are similar if not identical to the challenges the entire music notation industry faces in moving from printed to digital sheet music. That is what has driven my work with MusicXML, and I came to MakeMusic for the chance to work on these issues on a larger scale.

We made some important foundational steps forward for digital sheet music production with Finale 2014. Having MusicXML as a common exchange format is another part of the puzzle, as is having SMuFL as a common music font layout. There is still much more to do. I am looking forward to what we can accomplish as MakeMusic enters the next step in its evolution.

Music Notation Markup at the W3C

tpac-250 Each year the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a week of combined Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee meetings (TPAC). The plenary day is conducted in “unconference” style with breakout sessions. For this year’s meeting in Silicon Valley, Joe Berkovitz from Hal Leonard / Noteflight proposed a music notation markup session. Joe Berkovitz and Michael Good presented at the start of the session, followed by a discussion with the 25 or so attendees present. The presentations and discussion summary are available online:

It has always been my plan that MusicXML move from company ownership to standards organization ownership once it achieved enough maturity, following the model of the PDF format. The questions have been which organization and at what time. Ten years ago we explored moving MusicXML 1.0 to OASIS, and decided not to proceed, largely because it wasn’t the right time. This was a fortunate decision. Shortly thereafter we embarked on the MusicXML 1.1 project, a large and rapid expansion of the MusicXML format that ensured the commercial success of both MusicXML as a format and Recordare as a company.

MusicXML 3.0 on the other hand is quite mature. We may need one more major update to a MusicXML 4.0 to incorporate changes in the past 3 years, most notably with the SMuFL Standard Music Font Layout project. But at some point in the not-too-distant future, it seems like a good time to once again explore moving MusicXML into a standards organization. Such a move would be contingent on decisions by MakeMusic and Peaksware leadership, as well as decisions by the target standards organization.

The two leading organizational candidates now are the W3C and the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA). W3C is the home of many web standards, including the fundamental XML technologies that MusicXML is built on. MMA is the home of related MIDI standards for the music instrument and software industries that MusicXML is also built on.

Though both organizations are home to related technologies, neither W3C nor MMA has a critical mass of notation company members. Hal Leonard is a W3C member, and MakeMusic is an MMA member. Yamaha is also an MMA member and contributes to AMEI‘s membership in the W3C.

In the past, standards organizations have had a dismal record of failure in music notation by being disconnected from the music notation development, publishing, and musician communities. ISO / IEC, MPEG, and IEEE have all developed music notation standards that nobody uses in practice. The industry is so small that the overhead of the typical standards organization is cost-prohibitive for most who might wish to participate.

This issue is not unique to music notation. To address it, the W3C has recently added Community and Business Groups to provide lighter weight, lower cost alternatives to full W3C membership. Community and business groups produce Community and Business Group Reports, rather than W3C Recommendations. A W3C community or business group on music notation, with MMA as a member and possible co-publisher, might provide a good choice for a future home within the current standards organization landscape.

Our goal for meeting at the W3C TPAC was to start discussions of this proposal and gauge interest within the W3C community. We had about 25 people at the meeting, which far exceeded both Joe’s and my expectations. It was great to see representatives from the W3C’s digital publishing and open annotations projects attending. These are two areas where there is good potential for future two-way interaction between MusicXML and emerging web standards.

A key element for MakeMusic is that work within the W3C to evolve MusicXML will not stray from the compatibility that has marked MusicXML’s evolution from MusicXML 1.0 to 3.0, where all valid MusicXML 1.0 files remain valid MusicXML 3.0 files. This 100% strict compatibility might need to be adjusted in the future to ensure future progress. If so, it needs to happen in a way that neither breaks MusicXML’s use as an archival format, nor emperils the vast library of MusicXML software that has been developed in more than 180 applications that currently support the format.

Whether at MakeMusic or in a standards organization, MusicXML still needs to be maintained on an ongoing basis as the technologies around it evolve. We don’t want to get into a deferred maintenance situation similar to the HTML4 to HTML5 and MIDI 1.0 to HD Protocol transitions.

Our meeting at TPAC, as well as our previous day’s discussions within the W3C Audio Working Group, were a nice start to the process of considering next steps for MusicXML and possibly other related music notation standards. Joe and I look forward to further discussions within the MusicXML, music notation, and web communities as we figure out the next steps. Thanks to Doug Schepers at the W3C for all his work in facilitating these discussions.

MusicXML at W3C and SF MusicTech

In the next month I will be attending two events local to me here in the San Francisco Bay area, and hope to see some of you there!

W3C 20th Anniversary logoThe first event will be the World Wide Web Consortium’s TPAC 2014: the Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee meetings week. Over the years we have investigated how and when MusicXML might be transferred from Recordare / MakeMusic to an industry standards organization. Some possible candidates proposed over the years have been the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA), OASIS, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Recently, MusicXML community member Joe Berkovitz started serving as co-chair of the W3C Audio Working Group. Given Joe’s more active W3C involvement and the TPAC meeting being local in Santa Clara, this seemed like a good opportunity to start exploring the W3C’s interest in possibly providing a home for the MusicXML format in the future.

We will be having two events at the TPAC. On Tuesday, October 28 we will have a MusicXML introduction during the W3C Audio Working Group meeting. This meeting is open to working group members only with observers approved by one of the co-chairs.

The more general meeting will be a 1-hour breakout session on Wednesday, October 29 during the “unconference” part of the plenary. The topic will be Music Notation Markup and MusicXML with Joe and myself as speakers. If you’re attending the W3C TPAC and are interested in this session, please let the W3C know by editing the Wiki page to add yourself as a possible attendee.

Those two meetings are only open to W3C members. However, Wednesday also includes the W3C20 Symposium on the Future of the Web, followed by a gala dinner. I plan to attend both the symposium and the dinner, and hope to meet more people at both events.

SF MusicTech logoTwo weeks later, I will be attending the 16th SF MusicTech Summit at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco on November 11. SF MusicTech is a great way to get a snapshot of the current state of the music technology industry. It brings together musicians, developers, executives, lawyers, and deal-makers of all types into one cost-effective, single-day networking and education event.

At this Summit I will be joined by Peaksware CEO Gear Fisher and Chief Evangelist Dirk Friel. As we announced in August, MakeMusic is joining Peaksware. SF MusicTech is one of the music industry events that Peaksware leadership will be attending over the next few months. We have begun hiring for new positions in Boulder, Colorado in addition to the employees who will be moving to Boulder from Eden Prairie. I will continue to work for MakeMusic/Peaksware here in Silicon Valley.

I hope to meet many MusicXML community members at these events! Feel free to contact me via the MusicXML forum, Facebook, or Twitter if you would like to set up a time to meet.

Dolet 6.4 for Sibelius Plugin Now Available

Today we released an updated version of our Dolet® 6 for Sibelius plugin. This plugin exports MusicXML 3.0 files from Sibelius 5.1 and later. The MusicXML  format is the easiest and most accurate way to transfer files from Sibelius, either to Finale or any other notation program that imports MusicXML files. You can access all of our Dolet plugin downloads from:

/dolet-plugin/

Version 6.4 adds support for Sibelius 7.5. Earlier versions of the plugin worked with Sibelius 7.5, but the installers did not support this release. This was particularly a problem for people using Windows systems that only had Sibelius 7.5 installed.

Our Dolet plugin is as complete a MusicXML export plugin as the Sibelius plugin interface allows. Version 6.4 maintains this comprehensiveness for Sibelius 7.5 by adding the ability to export Sibelius’s gap before a measure.

The Dolet 6 for Sibelius plugin provides the only way to export MusicXML files from Sibelius 5 and Sibelius 6. Many people have also told us they prefer the Dolet plugin’s export to the built-in MusicXML export provided in Sibelius 7 or 7.5. This probably depends on the type of music you are exporting and the application that you are exporting to. If you are exporting MusicXML files from Sibelius 7, try our free Dolet plugin as well as Sibelius’s built-in export, and see which works best for you.

MakeMusic Joins Peaksware

Today we have announced that MakeMusic is joining Peaksware. Peaksware is the umbrella company owned by LaunchEquity Partners, the investment company that took MakeMusic private last year. The common thread at Peaksware is the focus on products that, like SmartMusic, help people develop skills and self-expression through deliberate practice.

For MusicXML, nothing will be changing. I will be staying with MakeMusic and continuing to guide MusicXML development and developer support. Both MusicXML and Finale are essential to creating our SmartMusic repertoire  and fit with the Peaksware strategic vision.

MusicXML remains the standard open format for digital sheet music interchange, with support from over 180 applications. We will continue to invest in both the MusicXML format and our own MusicXML software implementations. If you have any questions, feel free to ask on the MusicXML forum.

 

MusicXML Support Tops 180 Applications

Over the past few months, many new applications have added support for the MusicXML format. There are now more than 180 applications supporting MusicXML. The range of applications is widening as well as the number.

Here’s a quick overview of what we have added to the MusicXML software page in the past few days. Some of these are new products or releases. Others may have had MusicXML support earlier, but we just discovered that recently. The software page includes more information and links.

Both reading and writing MusicXML files:

  • Braille Music Markup Language (BMML) converters

Writing MusicXML files:

  • LiveScore music notation editing for Ableton Live (via MaxScore and Max for Live)
  • Melomics automatic composition software
  • MyScript Music SDK for handwritten music recognition
  • Opusmodus for script-based music composition

Reading MusicXML files:

  • Antescofo score-following software
  • Musicista software for computational musicology
  • PhonicScore digital sheet music display and score following software
  • Soundslice Player for web-based notation and guitar tablature

We have also added another site for MusicXML scores to our music page. Visaudio Designs provides designs for marching bands and percussion ensembles, including editable scores.

Do you have MusicXML software or a source of MusicXML scores that we don’t have listed on our site? Please let us know so we can add you to our lists and round out our picture of the MusicXML community. Feel free to post on the MusicXML forum, or contact us via Twitter or Facebook.

MusicXML at SF MusicTech and WWDC

sfmusictech15_siteheaderOver the next few weeks we will be attending two trade shows of interest to MusicXML developers. The first is the 15th SF MusicTech conference on May 20 at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. Twice a year, Brian and Shosana Zisk do a great job gathering together a lively mix of musicians, music technologists, label and publisher representatives, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and business folks. I always learn new things and get an informative update on the current state of the music technology industry.

The attendee list for this month’s meeting so far includes people from MakeMusic, Sheet Music Plus, Alfred, Avid, Flowkey, Smule, Pono, and many other music technology innovators. Each time I go I try to organize a “music notation lunch” during the lunch break. We meet at the top of the stairs in the Hotel Kabuki lobby and then head out to one of the Asian restaurants (usually either Japanese or Korean-style Chinese) in the conference’s Japantown neighborhood.

Tickets are still available for the conference, but prices increase as the event draws closer. If you’re going, it would be great to meet you, whether at the notation lunch or some other time during the show. Feel free to message us on Twitter or Facebook so we can arrange something.

The second show we’ll be attending is WWDC, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference being held June 2 – 6 at Moscone Center West in San Francisco. We’ll be there seeing what’s new for the Mac OS X and iOS platforms. With five days there should be plenty of time to get together. If you’re attending and would like to meet, please let us know so we can try to set something up.

The 2014 MusicXML Community Meeting at Musikmesse

MusicXML-meeting-2014Thank you to everybody who attended our second annual MusicXML community meeting at Musikmesse! We had at least 52 people present who signed in, 10 more than last year. You can see the full table and the people sitting against the wall in the photo taken by neoScores during the meeting.

Last year we collected wish lists for strengthening MusicXML and the MusicXML community. Replacing the MusicXML mailing list with a forum was a big request from last year’s meetings, and we launched the MusicXML forum the week before Musikmesse. This year we had more focused discussions on three topics:

  • MusicXML and the Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) project
  • A proposed open-source MusicXML sanitizer tool
  • MusicXML potentially moving to a standards organization like MMA and AMEI in the future.

We started with a brief introduction to MusicXML for newcomers and an overview of the MusicXML community year in review. Our hosts neoScores provided a reception afterwards where people stayed for an hour after the meeting talking to MusicXML colleagues one-on-one. Once again, Musikmesse and our host company did a fantastic job behind the scenes.

The MusicXML presentation material is available at:

The 2014 MusicXML Meeting

This includes presentation material from Daniel Spreadbury of Steinberg (SMuFL), Bob Hamblok of neoScores (Sanitizer tool), and me. Daniel was unfortunately not able to join us due to travel snafus involving two canceled flights, so I presented the SMuFL material in his absence.

The attendee list and a summary of the meeting discussion is available at:

Report from the 2014 MusicXML Community Meeting

As long as Musikmesse makes this MusicBiz Lounge and Congress venue available to us, we plan to keep this as an annual event. Next year’s Musikmesse is from April 15 to 18. The Friday date seems to work well, so we’ll tentatively plan for the third annual MusicXML meeting on Friday, April 17, 2015.

MusicXML at Musikmesse and SXSW Interactive

Musikmesse logoWe will once again have a MusicXML community meeting at Musikmesse in Frankfurt as part of the MusicBiz Lounge and Congress. The meeting will be on Friday, March 14 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the Harmonie Room located off of Hall 5.1.

The MusicXML community meeting will be hosted by neoScores and refreshments will be served afterwards. Please contact Jonas Coomans at neoScores if you will be attending so they can plan accordingly. They can also provide you with a free 1-day pass for Musikmesse if you need one. Jonas’s email is [email protected]

This year we plan to have some focused discussions on several MusicXML topics:

  • Progress in the MusicXML community since last year’s meeting.
  • MusicXML 4.0 and SMuFL 1.0. SMuFL (Standard Music Font Layout) is a project led by Daniel Spreadbury at Steinberg to standardize musical font encodings in the Unicode private area. Daniel will be present to introduce SMuFL. SMuFL addresses many of the requests we have received for MusicXML standardization over the years. We will discuss community interest in adding SMuFL support to MusicXML 4.0, and what exactly SMuFL support may mean for the MusicXML format.
  • NeoScores will discuss a tool that cleans existing MusicXML files from older applications. This is a common problem for applications that want to support older notation files created with only printed music in mind.
  • MusicXML and the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) and Association of Musical Electronics Industry (AMEI). The MMA and Japanese counterparts AMEI maintain the MIDI standard for musical instrument interoperability. Recently MMA and AMEI have started discussing the possibility of an electronic score standard. We would like the MusicXML community’s feedback on the possibility of MMA and AMEI serving as a long-term standards body home for the MusicXML format.

sxsw 2014This year I will also be attending the SXSW Interactive conference for the first time. I will be at SXSW in Austin, Texas from March 7 to 10, then at Musikmesse from March 12 to 15. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a meeting at either of these events. You can contact us via messages on the MusicXML Twitter or Facebook accounts. I look forward to meeting with many of you at these events!

January Events: NAMM and ASMAC

NAMM 2013It’s January, so that means it’s time for the annual NAMM  show in Anaheim, California. NAMM is the biggest show in the USA for the musical instrument market, including music software like MusicXML. The show runs from Thursday, January 23 through Sunday, January 26.

This will be my 15th year attending NAMM and meeting with  MusicXML developers. My meeting schedule is pretty full at this point though there are still some openings available, especially on Saturday. MakeMusic will be at Booth 6210 in Hall A.

If you want to meet but we haven’t arranged a meeting, stop by the booth. If I’m not there, somebody will be able to get your information to me to see if we can set something up. We won’t be having a separate MusicXML community meeting at NAMM this year.

On Wednesday the 22nd I will be attending The Hollywood Arrangers, an event organized by ASMAC, the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers. This will be at Catalina’s in Hollywood from 10:30 am to 2:15 pm. I’ll be there at least through lunch and hopefully for the whole event. If you’ll be there, please come by and say hello.

I look forward to seeing many of you at these two events, and learning how you would like to see the MusicXML format and MusicXML software evolve and improve in the future.

The MusicXML Year in Review for 2013

This past year has been another busy one for the MusicXML community. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We had our first face-to-face MusicXML community meetings at the NAMM and Musikmesse shows. The NAMM meeting had 16 people attending and the Musikmesse meeting had over 40 people present. MakeMusic hosted the meeting at NAMM and Scorio hosted the meeting at Musikmesse. I know of at least one application that launched successfully this year thanks in part to MusicXML connections made at the Musikmesse meeting.
  • One of the main suggestions from these meetings was to move the MusicXML mailing list to a forum. MakeMusic has now started work on this transition which we hope to see next year. A public MusicXML issue tracker is also a top priority from the meetings for our future development.
  • MakeMusic launched its new web sites in February, including a dedicated MusicXML site and blog. This has made it much easier to keep MusicXML information up-to-date, including the list of MusicXML software applications. On that note…
  • MusicXML is now supported by over 170 applications! Apple’s Logic Pro X DAW and Neuratron’s NotateMe mobile app probably got the most attention of the new additions. But there were several other programs whose MusicXML support was either added or first brought to our attention in 2013. These include Avid Scorch, Cadencii, Calligra Suite, EarMaster, Frescobaldi, Harmonia, JellyNote, Mobile Music Trainer, OveScore, and Singer’s Mate – at least a dozen in all. You can read more and find links to software that supports the MusicXML format at our MusicXML software page.
  • MakeMusic updated the free Dolet MusicXML plugins to Dolet 6.4 for Finale and Dolet 6.3 for Sibelius as part of our launch of Finale 2014. The major change was support for Finale 2014’s keyless score features, along with several other updates requested by plug-in users. Finale 2014 also makes it easier to work with MusicXML files on both Windows and Mac systems.
  • On the standardization side, Steinberg launched a new Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) project this year. This project is working to map musical symbols into the Private Use Area in Unicode’s Basic Multilingual Plane. This type of music font standardization addresses many long-standing notation interchange issues that have been difficult, if not impossible, to address solely from MusicXML. SMuFL has made a lot of progress since Daniel Spreadbury first shared it with us at Musikmesse, and is now up to version 0.7. We are tracking its progress closely here at MakeMusic. I see SMuFL support – both for the larger set of symbols and for the details of typography – as a promising direction for the next MusicXML update.

Thank you all for your continued support of the world’s premier open format for the exchange of digital sheet music and music notation files. It is gratifying to see both the improvements to customer workflow when a product like Logic adds MusicXML support, as well as the creative new applications like NotateMe that are enabled by the MusicXML format. Here’s to a happy 2014!

MusicXML Improvements for Finale 2014

Today’s launch of Finale 2014 includes numerous improvements in MusicXML support. We have released new updates of our Dolet 6 for Finale and Dolet 6 for Sibelius MusicXML plug-ins that add support for this new release. The improvements come in four main areas:

  1. Support for new Finale 2014 features
  2. Usability improvements for working with MusicXML files in Finale 2014
  3. Additional features and fixes
  4. MusicXML and Finale’s new forward- and backward-compatible file format.

The main Finale 2014 feature improvement that affects MusicXML import and export is the addition of keyless scores. MusicXML in Finale 2014 supports the different aspects of this feature: music that is in no key signature; music that is tonal but with no displayed key signature; and parts in tonal music that are displayed by hiding the key signatures and showing accidentals. The Dolet 6 for Sibelius plug-in has been updated to improve the transfer of keyless scores from Sibelius to Finale 2014.

Finale 2014 makes it easier to work with MusicXML files. MusicXML files can be dragged and dropped into Finale, or opened from the Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. These have been longstanding requests for improving MusicXML workflows with Finale.

The MusicXML support in Finale 2014, the Dolet 6.4 for Finale update, and the Dolet 6.3 for Sibelius update all include other improvements to improve MusicXML transfers. As in Finale 2012b and Dolet 6.3 for Finale, MusicXML support in Finale is now at parity with the Dolet for Finale plug-in; the remaining differences are in additional features like batch import/export and Open Score Format support. Both Finale 2014 and Dolet 6.4 for Finale contain enhancements for expressions, braces and brackets, and lyrics. The Dolet 6.3 for Sibelius plug-in now exports the information about accidentals that was added to the ManuScript language in the Sibelius 7.1.3 release. You can see the full details of what’s new in the release notes for both the Dolet 6 for Finale and Dolet 6 for Sibelius plug-ins.

One of the most notable changes with MusicXML in Finale 2014 is where you no longer need to use it. In the past, older versions of Finale could not read files created by newer versions of Finale. MusicXML was thus the best way to share a Finale 2012 file with somebody using Finale 2011. Finale 2014 introduces a new file format that is both  forward- and backward-compatible, and includes the ability to export back into the old Finale 2012 format. You no longer need MusicXML to share files between Finale 2014 and Finale 2012. MusicXML is still available to share Finale 2014 files with older versions of Finale – back to Finale 2000 on Windows, Finale 2004 on Power PC Macs, and Finale 2007 on Intel Macs.

We hope that Finale 2014 and our updated MusicXML support will make things faster and easier for you, whether you are bringing files from other programs into Finale, or sharing your Finale files with someone using another program.

Logic Pro X Adds MusicXML Export

The MusicXML format has long had widespread support among notation and scanning programs. Digital audio workstations and sequencers have been slower to add MusicXML support, but this has picked up in recent years. Back in 2007, Steinberg was the first major commercial DAW vendor to add MusicXML import and export in Cubase 4.1. More recently, Cakewalk added MusicXML export in SONAR X1 Producer Expanded.

People have been asking for MusicXML export from Apple’s Logic software for a long time. Yesterday, these wishes were granted with Apple’s release of Logic Pro X. This release has garnered rave reviews – for instance, Macworld refers to Logic Pro X as “an amazing piece of work.” The MusicXML export is a terrific boon for musicians who compose in Logic and then want to produce polished scores in a full-featured notation program like Finale. Early reports are that the Logic to Finale transfer via MusicXML is working great. Note that the MusicXML export feature is available from Logic’s Score window.

In our experience, moving a score from DAWs like Logic to notation programs like Finale is a much more common workflow than moving scores in the other direction. So it makes sense that Apple, like Cakewalk, has decided to add MusicXML export support without import. As always, this could change in the future if the companies see increased customer demand.

We are delighted to see that DAW users on both Mac and Windows now have a choice of two powerful programs that let you export your scores to MusicXML files. We are confident that Apple’s and MakeMusic’s mutual customers will find this new version of Logic a terrific boost to making Logic and Finale work better together.

Report from the MusicXML Community Meetings

Thank you to everybody who attended the MusicXML community meeting at Musikmesse! We had at least 42 people present. People came and went during the workshop, so my attendance list probably does not include everyone. We had great discussions, and people enjoyed meeting MusicXML colleagues in person, not just via email and online discussions.

Scorio and the Musikmesse team did a fantastic job behind the scenes. All the logistics worked flawlessly, which is so hard to do. Thanks so much to Scorio for hosting this event!

I have created a consolidated report that combines the feedback received from both the NAMM and Musikmesse MusicXML community meetings this year:

Report from the MusicXML Community Meetings

I have also posted my Musikmesse presentation slides, which are an expanded and updated version of the slides from the NAMM meeting:

Beyond PDF – Exchange and Publish Scores with MusicXML

We have a lot of good ideas collected here, and now have to see how we can prioritize and move forward on them. I look forward to future discussions on the MusicXML mailing list around this topic.

MusicXML Workshop at Musikmesse

Musikmesse 2013 banner

We will be having a MusicXML community meeting at Musikmesse in Frankfurt. This will be a Musikmesse Musikbiz workshop sponsored by Scorio, a Musikmesse exhibitor. It will take place on Friday, April 12 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Workshop room accessible from Hall 5.1. The information is a bit hard to find on the Musikmesse web site, but you can find it directly here.

Because this is organized as a public meeting at Musikmesse, I will present some background information about MusicXML for those not familiar with the format. However, as at NAMM the two main purposes are to:

  • Build the MusicXML community by having people meet face-to-face, not just online.
  • Help design the future of the MusicXML format by sharing our visions within the community.

Both these goals were met at NAMM. We had a great mix of publishers and developers attending the workshop there, and we hope for a similar mix at Musikmesse.

I have included the workshop title and summary below. The workshop will be held in English. There will be some introductions in both German and English to help people who show up without realizing the choice of language. I will also be available for individual meetings with MusicXML developers and publishers throughout the entire Musikmesse event from Wednesday, April 10 through Saturday, April 13.

Scorio, the workshop sponsor, would like to be sure they have enough refreshments for everyone who attends. Please email [email protected] if you plan to attend this Musikmesse workshop. We look forward to seeing you in Frankfurt!


Title: Beyond PDF – Exchange and Publish Scores with MusicXML

Summary:

MusicXML was invented by Michael Good in 2000, and developed collaboratively by a community of hundreds of musicians and software developers over the past 13 years. Now established as the standard open format for digital sheet music, it moves music from desktop notation applications such as Finale and Sibelius to a new generation of mobile and web-based customers for notated music. Today MusicXML is supported by over 160 applications on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.

Designed as a music-specific notation format, MusicXML adds further value to digital scores compared to a purely graphical format like PDF. It allows a full range of interactive functionalities for musicians like automatic transposition, part extraction, or score annotation. Michael Good will present the latest MusicXML innovations from the past year. We invite musicians, software developers and publishers to design the future of MusicXML with us in this workshop.

Please note that the workshop will be held in English.

Welcome to Our New Site!

Welcome to the newly designed MusicXML and MakeMusic sites! We now have our MusicXML information here on the www.musicxml.com site.

In addition to the new appearance, we also have a new web site architecture that will let us update the site more quickly than we have over the past year. The easiest way to contact us is via the MusicXML mailing list. We’re especially interested in hearing about new software that you are building that supports the MusicXML format. We will be able to have much faster turnaround on our MusicXML software page. The same is true for new MusicXML digital sheet music sites listed on our music page.

Thank you again for your continued support of the MusicXML format over the years. We now have support from 165 applications, and look forward to seeing even more and higher quality support in the future.

MusicXML Meeting at NAMM 2013

Thanks so much to everyone who attended the first MusicXML community meeting at NAMM and made it a success! We had 16 people attending with a great mix of music publishers and software developers. There was lots of good feedback on future directions for the MusicXML format, and some good connections made between developers and publishers who had not talked together before. We plan to prepare a meeting summary and post it on this site.

Several people asked if we could have a similar MusicXML meeting at Musikmesse. This meeting is still in the planning process with the Musikmesse staff. We hope to have something to announce later in February. Musikmesse takes place on April 10 to 13 in Frankfurt, and Michael will be available for meetings all four days.

I will also be attending SF Music Tech in San Francisco on February 19. Perhaps we can have another notation lunch if there are enough other notation people attending?