MusicXML music data contains two main types of elements. One set of elements is used primarily to represent how a piece of music should sound. These are the elements that are used when creating a MIDI file from MusicXML. The other set is used primarily to represent how a piece of music should look. These elements are used when creating a Finale file from MusicXML.
We encourage programs writing MusicXML to write as much accurate data as they can. The only elements that are required, though, are the sounding elements that relate directly to writing a MIDI file from MusicXML. This is where we will start in introducing the musical elements of a MusicXML file.
As an example, we will use the first four bars of “Après un rêve” by Gabriel Fauré: