Yesterday was the big day! Recordare released version 3.0 of the MusicXML format, providing 76 new features since MusicXML 2.0 was released four years ago. We simultaneously released version 6.0 of our Dolet plug-ins for Finale and Sibelius. Both plug-ins support the MusicXML 3.0 format, so musicians and music software developers can take advantage of these new features right away.
We’re still in the process of updating the web site so that everything is discussing MusicXML 3.0 information, but the new 3.0 version is downloadable from:
You can get the new Dolet 6 plug-ins at our online store:
If you want to see all the new features in this release, check out the version history at:
We also have an easily searchable and sortable alphabetical index of all the features in MusicXML 3.0, sortable by name, type, DTD module, and the version in which it was added to the MusicXML format:
There was another very important MusicXML event the week before version 3.0 was released. Sibelius 7 was announced, and one of its new features is built-in MusicXML export. Our initial trials of this support are very promising. There’s a nice level of support for MusicXML 2.0 formatting features, which is so important for transfer to the new generation of digital sheet music applications, especially those being built for iPads and other tablets.
Given the high quality of the MusicXML export built into Sibelius 7, and the high quality of MusicXML import and export built into Finale 2011, we have reduced the price of our Dolet plug-ins by 50% from the previous versions. A new license is US $99.95, and an upgrade from the previous Dolet 5 version is $69.95. This makes Dolet 6 for Sibelius less expensive than a Sibelius 7 upgrade. We expect Dolet 6 to appeal both to people who want the latest MusicXML 3.0 features, and those who want to stick with their current Sibelius 5 or Sibelius 6 software – yet still exchange files with people using Finale and other programs.
All these events – the release of MusicXML 3.0, the Dolet 6 plug-ins, and Sibelius 7 – really have brought some closure to Recordare’s work of the past 11 years. Back then the only way you could exchange files between music notation applications was through MIDI files, which lost nearly all notation-specific information. Prior standardization efforts such as SMDL and NIFF had failed for both technical and social reasons. In January 2000 we were still in the Internet boom days, and digital sheet music was just starting with pioneers like Marlin Eller at Sunhawk.
It was clear that having a standard format for music notation and digital sheet music that any application could read and write would be essential to fulfill the potential for Internet sheet music. We’ve finally arrived there! Every major notation software program can read and write MusicXML files. Every major music scanning program can save MusicXML files. Many of the new digital sheet music apps use MusicXML to move files back and forth from their own specialized formats. MusicXML still doesn’t have a lot of market share in sequencers – Cubase supports it, but not Logic, Digital Performer, or Sonar. But all of those programs are playback-oriented with notation as a secondary feature.
A standard notation format combined with mass-market tablet platforms like iOS and Android makes for a bright future for digital sheet music. FreeHand pioneered the digital sheet music device area long ago, but the opportunities are so much bigger when you can use mass-market hardware rather than something specific for musicians. It’s similar to the way we leveraged the huge computer industry investment in XML to create a standard MusicXML format.
For Recordare, MusicXML has always been a means to an end, not the end itself. The past two weeks have brought a remarkable maturation to the MusicXML software world. I expect that we can now start working more on innovative digital sheet music applications, rather than having to focus so much on software infrastructure. There are exciting times ahead!