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MusicXML 3.1 W3C Community Group Report

W3C Community Group Final Report LogoLast week the W3C Music Notation Community Group published MusicXML Version 3.1 as a W3C Community Group Final Report.  This is the Community Group’s first report, and the first update to MusicXML since the Version 3.0 release 6 years ago.

MusicXML 3.1 has four main areas of improvement over MusicXML 3.0:

  • Better support for the Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL)
  • Improved documentation
  • Improved packaging, including a new .musicxml extension for uncompressed MusicXML files
  • Other improvements for encoding musical semantics and appearance

You can read more about the updates to MusicXML 3.1 in the Community Group Report and the GitHub issue list.

MakeMusic has been using earlier versions of MusicXML 3.1 in our Finale and new SmartMusic products for several months. We find that the new features really help to transfer scores from Finale to SmartMusic more accurately. For instance, many of the SMuFL features are useful even when preparing music without SMuFL fonts. Since SMuFL provides a  large taxonomy of musical symbols, MusicXML 3.1 was able to add greater expressiveness without a corresponding increase in complexity

We have updated the MusicXML web site for the MusicXML 3.1 release, including the tutorial, alphabetical index, and musical examples. We have also updated the community publications and music pages to include the MusicXML projects discussed at the latest International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) Conference.

2017 has been a productive year for the MusicXML community, the W3C Music Notation Community Group, and MakeMusic’s MusicXML development. MusicXML is now supported by more than 230 applications worldwide. ISMIR 2017 shows that MusicXML is being used more frequently than ever in music information retrieval and musicology research. We wish everyone in the MusicXML community a happy holiday season and new year.