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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 jonas@neoscores.com.

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 info@scorio.com 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.