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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!