NAMM 2019: W3C Music Notation Community Group meeting


Note: All this week, we’ll be publishing posts from the 2019 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. It’s a huge exhibition, so we’ll focus on what we do best: covering the field of music notation software and related technology. Follow all of our NAMM 2019 coverage at Scoring Notes.

In this post, we summarize the meeting of the W3C Music Notation Community Group, which took place during the show, and provide complete video coverage of the meeting.

Hosted by co-chairs Michael Good and Daniel Spreadbury, the W3 Music Notation Community Group met on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 3:00 pm in the Anaheim Convention Center during the 2019 NAMM Show. (New co-chair Adrian Holovaty was unable to attend.) Since it was first formed in July 2015 as a forum for development of open standards such as MusicXML and SMuFL, the group has been active in advancing the formats and has occasionally met in person at the NAMM Show and the Frankfurt Musikmesse.

W3C Notation Group co-chairs Michael Good and Daniel Spreadbury, at NAMM 2019

Daniel said that the W3C group “is really entering a new phase as this new year begins. We have been sad to see Joe Berkovitz depart the group as co-chair, since he has really been the driving force behind the development of the MNX specification to date, but we could not have asked for a better addition to the leadership team for the group than Adrian Holovaty, co-founder and developer of Soundslice and just an unbelievably smart and driven person whose list of achievements to date could hardly be more impressive. Michael Good and I are delighted to be able to call Adrian our colleague, and we’re looking forward to making some real progress towards an initial 1.0 version of the MNX specification this year.”

Adrian said, “I’m excited to play a bigger part in this community and help improve the lives of developers of music technologies around the world — and, most importantly, the musicians who use these technologies.”

Joe Berkovitz first introduced MNX in July 2016, describing it as “an overall framework for encoding works of music of many different kinds.” It begins by “describing a notation-neutral container that is concerned solely with a document’s metadata, attribution and organization. This part of this framework does not reference any notational system.”

Friday’s meeting was the first in-person meeting of the group since it met in April 2018 at Musikmesse.

More than 20 attendees listened to the co-chairs present their updates and engaged in a discussion that covered the following topics:

  • Publication of the final community report for SMuFL 1.3;
  • Delivery of a draft 1.0 version of the MNX-Common and MNX-Generic specifications by the end of 2019;
  • How pitch should be encoded, and whether MNX-Common documents should always be in written pitch or sounding pitch;
  • How, or to what extent, MNX-Common documents should encode multiple presentations for the same musical material;
  • What the role of profiles will be in terms of specifying what aspects of MNX-Common will be supported by different types of applications, and how to manage user and developer expectation around these differences;
  • How should layout and performance data be represented in MNX-Common, and how should this interact with the semantic data.

The group’s medium-term goal is to present proposed solutions to these issues at their next meeting at Musikmesse in April 2019.

The slides shown during the meeting are available here. Follow along with a video of the meeting:


Huge thanks to Dominik Svoboda for providing the audio recording. NAMM is not a quiet place, and his audio is much better than what I was able to achieve from my video source!

As has become a tradition, in the evening, the group continued its lively discussion with a dinner coordinated by Michael, at the Thai Nakorn restaurant in Garden Grove.


  1. Don Stewart

    Was there discussion of SCORE?

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