MusicXML at NAMM 2015

If you collaborate with musicians who use programs other than Finale, you have probably used MusicXML to share files back and forth. MusicXML is the industry-standard exchange format for digital sheet music, used by over 180 applications. MusicXML is also the best way to share Finale 2014 files with people using Finale 2011 or other earlier versions that aren’t supported by Finale 2014’s new file format.

There was quite a lot of MusicXML news at last month’s NAMM show. First, MOTU demonstrated MusicXML export working in their preview of Digital Performer 9. This was popular with the film composers and orchestrators in the audience. Digital Performer is one of the few major music programs that had not yet added MusicXML support. It is great to see that DP9 will join other DAWs like Logic, Cubase, and SONAR in making it easier to move music into Finale with much greater accuracy.

With MusicXML’s success in music notation exchange, people in the industry are wondering what else we can do with the format. How can MusicXML best help the music industry make the transition from printed to digital sheet music? What type of organizational structure is best suited to future stages of MusicXML development? Should it stay owned by MakeMusic, move to a consortium like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), or to an international standards body like the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)?

These topics were discussed on the last day of NAMM at a session hosted by the MIDI Manufacturers Association on “An Introduction to eScore Standardization Efforts in W3C and IEC.” I presented on the efforts at the W3C, and Mr. Taro Tokuhiro from Yamaha presented on the efforts at the W3C. Our presentations are now available online:

MusicXML remains crucial to MakeMusic’s products and services. It is a key feature of our Finale notation product line, and is essential to expanding the repertoire available for musicians to practice in our SmartMusic software. MusicXML support continues to improve in Finale 2014 and our Dolet 6 plug-ins for Finale and Sibelius.

If you are interested in MusicXML and can attend the Musikmesse show in Frankfurt, we plan to have another of our annual MusicXML community meetings there this year. If all goes well it will be on Friday afternoon, April 17. We will publish more information on the MusicXML blog and MusicXML forum as the details are finalized.

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