Michael Good pictured at the 2008 conference of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval.
Yesterday saw a big announcement in the world of digital music notation. MakeMusic announced it’ll be purchasing MusicXML and Dolet software from Recordare. What’s more, Michael Good, Recordare founder and creator of MusicXML, will be joining MakeMusic as director of digital sheet music.
Not sure exactly what this means?
MusicXML is a file format, like MIDI files, that allows you to transfer music between different music software programs. By saving your Finale 2012 score as a MusicXML file you can open it in earlier versions of Finale AND in more than 150 other music programs. Unlike MIDI files, however, MusicXML contains lots more than just the notes; it also knows how your music should look and includes text, symbols, and more. Think MIDI files on steroids (but without the long-term side effects).
Finale has included the ability to open and save MusicXML for several years. As we’ve mentioned here before, Sibelius 7 was the first version of Sibelius to include the ability to both open and save MusicXML files; earlier versions could open but not save MusicXML. To save MusicXML files in earlier versions of Sibelius you had to buy Dolet for Sibelius, which Recordare sold for $199.
Okay, with that background, here’s more great news: Once this purchase closes (later this year) MakeMusic plans to provide Dolet for software, for both Sibelius and Finale, free of charge! This means that people with Sibelius 5 and above, who want to share their files with Finale users, will save $199! As exciting as these implications are for Finale and Sibelius users, they only scratch the surface of what this announcement means for the digital music notation and the future of sharing music.
Curious about the future of MusicXML? MusicXML will continue to be licensed under the same open royalty-free terms. The only change to community development of future versions of the MusicXML format is that it will now be supported by a larger company with more resources.
I encourage you to check out the entire press release as it includes more background and quotes from MakeMusic CEO Karen van Lith, who emphasizes “our commitment to the ongoing development and support of an open notation format to the entire music community,” and our friend Michael Good who makes it clear that “this is a momentous day for Recordare and MusicXML.”
Check it out, then share your insights or questions by clicking on “Comments” below.