Starting MusicXML 3.0

At Recordare, we are planning to start working on MusicXML 3.0 soon. We have been collecting ideas for a new version of the format since MusicXML 2.0 was released three years ago. Some of the possible new features under consideration are:

  • Improving playback support, including an instrument taxonomy for better sharing between people and applications who use different, ever-larger virtual instrument libraries.
  • Extending repertoire coverage, possibly to Chinese jianpu numbered notation, Turkish maqam music, and more. We are looking for small feature additions that broaden MusicXML’s scope, without losing the focus on common Western music notation.
  • Catching up with newer features of common Western music notation, perhaps using Elaine Gould’s upcoming book Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation for guidance.
  • Catching up with more widespread notation software features, such as percussion pictograms and better microtonal support.
  • Filling feature gaps, including MusicXML extensions that were added to the Open Score Format PVG Profile.
  • Fixing typos, ambiguous descriptions, and other problems found by MusicXML 2.0 developers.
  • Creating a specification document that combines information currently in different places like the tutorial, the DTD, and the example files.

We expect to be discussing MusicXML 3.0 a lot in the new year on the MusicXML discussion list. If you want to participate in these discussions, please join us! Signup is available online at:

Geri Actor and I will be attending the NAMM show in Anaheim on January 13 – 16, and I will be attending Musikmesse in Frankfurt on April 6 – 9. We will be happy to meet with people at these shows to discuss new MusicXML 3.0 features. Please let us know if you would like to meet at either of these upcoming events by using Recordare’s contact form:

We would like to have all the major new 3.0 features discussed on the MusicXML list in January and February. If you want to meet at Musikmesse, please don’t wait until then to propose your MusicXML 3.0 idea. At that point, it may be too late to consider ideas we are hearing for the first time. Please send us an email or discuss it on the MusicXML list ahead of time.

Best wishes to everyone for a happy holiday season and new year!

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