Standardizing Music Notation In The Digital World

US Steinberg is founding member of new W3C Music Notation Community Group      31/07/15

Standardizing Music Notation In The Digital World

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Steinberg tells us that they are proud to be a founding member of a new community group formed under the auspices of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to develop and maintain format and language specifications for notated music used by web, desktop and mobile applications.

Here's their press release with the full story:

The initial task of the W3C Music Notation Community Group is to maintain and update the MusicXML and SMuFL (Standard Music Font Layout) specifications. The goals are to evolve these specifications to handle new use cases and technologies, including greater use of music notation on the web, while maximizing the existing investment in implementations of the existing MusicXML 3.0 and SMuFL specifications.

Over the past 15 years, MusicXML has become the standard format for the interchange of music notation data between applications, and is now supported by more than 200 applications across desktop and mobile operating systems, and on the web. Since its 2011 acquisition of Recordare LLC, MakeMusic has been responsible for the development of the MusicXML standard, under the stewardship of MusicXML's original creator, Michael Good, who is currently VP of Research and Development for MakeMusic.

SMuFL is rapidly becoming the standard for digital fonts containing symbols used in conventional Western music notation, and both describes a repertoire of more than 2,400 recommended symbols and sets out guidelines for font makers and software developers to ensure symbols are rendered correctly within applications. Since its introduction by Steinberg in 2013, SMuFL has already been implemented by applications across desktop and mobile operating systems, and on the web, and will also be supported both in Steinberg's in-development scoring application and an upcoming version of Finale from MakeMusic.

Together, MusicXML and SMuFL represent core technologies that can foster the further development of applications for music notation across a broad range of platforms. By moving future development of MusicXML and SMuFL into the new W3C Music Notation Community Group, MakeMusic and Steinberg are signaling their intent that these standards will continue to be open, free to use and developed according to the needs of the wider world of music.

The W3C Music Notation Community Group will be co-chaired by Michael Good, VP of Research and Development for MakeMusic and the original creator of the MusicXML specification; Daniel Spreadbury, Product Marketing Manager for Steinberg and the original creator of the SMuFL specification; and Joe Berkovitz, CEO and President of Noteflight and co-chair of the W3C Audio Working Group.

Doug Schepers, Web Standards Specialist at W3C, said: "We are excited that the MusicXML and SMUFL communities are coming together as a W3C Community Group. Music notation is an essential cultural artifact, and worthy of having its own expression on the Web. W3C is pleased that our Community Groups framework will help move these important technologies forward."

Commenting on the new Community Group, Andreas Stelling, Managing Director for Steinberg, said, "In this day and age, we must consider it essential to push forward with the standardization of music notation in software applications, and the close cooperation between Steinberg, MakeMusic and the W3C will be key to achieve this conformity."

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