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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.

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.