NAMM 2017: Talking Sibelius with Sam Butler

by Philip Rothman on January 22, 2017 · 2 comments

in News

Note: All this week, we’ll be publishing short posts from the 2017 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. It’s a huge exhibition, so we’ll focus on what we try to do best: cover the field of music notation software and related technology.

In this post, I talk with Sam Butler, Avid’s senior product manager for Sibelius.

When Sam Butler, a Sibelius veteran, was named senior product manager for Avid‘s music notation and learning products in January 2014 — including Sibelius, Sibelius First, Sibelius License Server, the Sibelius Scorch web plug-in and the Avid Scorch iPad app — the news was welcomed by the user community. Well-known to frequent and casual Sibelius users alike in his former role as technical support manager, he brought more than a decade’s worth of Sibelius experience and knowledge to his new position.

In the three years since he assumed his new role, Sibelius 8 was unveiled along with new upgrading and licensing options, Sibelius Cloud Publishing was introduced, replacing the deprecated Scorch plug-in, a new Montreal-based development office opened, and Sibelius First was updated to become aligned with the pro version of Sibelius.

Along the way, Avid released five “8.x” updates, each with new features and bug fixes (and, often, several “8.x.x” updates to fix more bugs) as part of the new license plans. “We used to release upgrades and new features every two years, and we’re now releasing new features every few months,” Sam said in a post on Avid’s official blog from October 2016. “The goal is to continue to release the larger features every few months, but also release smaller fixes when they are ready—saving users from waiting for an important fix.”

The Sibelius stand at Avid’s booth at the 2017 NAMM show

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NAMM 2017: Talking MusicXML and more with Michael Good

by Philip Rothman on January 21, 2017 · 0 comments

in News

Note: All this week, we’ll be publishing short posts from the 2017 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. It’s a huge exhibition, so we’ll focus on what we try to do best: cover the field of music notation software and related technology.

In this post, I talk with Michael Good, vice president of MusicXML technologies at MakeMusic, about recent developments in MusicXML and plans for the future.

When music notation software was first developed, each platform had its own proprietary file format. That’s still largely the case, of course, but there was a time when it was impossible to switch to another product if you wanted your files to make the journey with you. This didn’t prevent users from switching if they were so inclined, but it did make the decision more difficult as one amassed a library of more and more files.

About the only way you could transfer even a fraction of the data contained in a music notation file was to export it to a MIDI file, which lost practically everything but the notes, rhythms, meter and tempo changes. So in the early 2000s, when Michael Good and his company at the time, Recordare LLC, created a product called Dolet to convert Finale files to Sibelius files and vice versa, it was revolutionary. Dolet could interpret the essential elements of music notation in one program, like articulations, dynamics, text, and formatting, and save them in a format that could be interpreted in another. Read the full article →

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Note: All this week, we’ll be publishing short posts from the 2017 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. It’s a huge exhibition, so we’ll focus on what we try to do best: cover the field of music notation software and related technology.

This post is about Soundslice, the web-based music-learning software with an innovative music player.

There are only so many hours in a day, and until a day-stretcher is invented, when it comes to covering software for this blog I’ve been focused mostly on the products I use regularly. Those tend to be desktop notation apps like Finale, Sibelius, and Dorico, and, increasingly, tablet notation apps like StaffPad, which all install directly on your device of choice and focus on creating music notation.

There’s a whole other world of music software out there, of course, and I wish I have had a chance to cover some of the fascinating products that don’t fit neatly into that description above. One of the most interesting products is Soundslice, music software that is totally browser-based and focused on the music education market.

Chicago-based Soundslice was created by Adrian Holovaty and PJ Macklin to, as they say, “solve a major pain point in their lives as musicians: the process of learning a piece of music is way too inefficient.” They created the Soundslice player — a hybrid audio player / notation viewer that syncs notation with real audio or video, allowing someone to learn a piece of music while reading and hearing it.

Along with their colleague Corey Richardson, they develop a product that has three main parts: a store that sells lessons and transcriptions; a tool for teachers to create interactive lessons; and a way to license the technology to other companies.

Soundslice founder Adrian Holovaty, guest artist Jerome Flood III, and Soundslice content manager Corey Richardson

The result is a beautiful way to experience notated music that handles both traditional notation and guitar tablature, and automatically re-sizes as you adjust your browser, for any device, whether it’s a phone or a large-screen desktop or anything in-between.

I headed over to Booth 1670 to visit with Adrian to learn more and to see how things were going. Read the full article →

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Note: All this week, we’ll be publishing short posts from the 2017 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. It’s a huge exhibition, so we’ll focus on what we try to do best: cover the field of music notation software and related technology.

This post is about Komp, an in-development music notation app for iOS, previewing at NAMM and scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2017.

Seattle-based Semitone, led by founder Gene Ragan, is among the latest entrants in the increasingly diverse world of music notation apps with an app poised to launch in the next couple of months. Called Komp, it’s still in development, but it’s far enough along that it was ready for a demo at this year’s NAMM show, where they’re exhibiting at Booth 201C3.

Promotional image of Komp, an in-development music notation app for iOS scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2017

I caught up with Gene at their booth yesterday and wanted to learn more about his background and the inspiration for Komp.

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Thumbnail image for NAMM 2017: Newzik continues to grow and evolve

NAMM 2017: Newzik continues to grow and evolve

January 19, 2017

Our NAMM 2017 coverage continues with an update on Newzik, the sheet reader app for iOS. We learn about how development is going and plans for the future of the app.

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Thumbnail image for Sibelius 8.5.1 update available

Sibelius 8.5.1 update available

January 19, 2017

Avid today released Sibelius 8.5.1, a maintenance update to the recent Sibelius 8.5 update. 8.5.1 fixes a number of bugs introduced in 8.5 and adds a new percentage column to the Staff sizes list, making it possible to change a custom staff size by relative size as well as absolute size.

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Thumbnail image for NAMM 2017: Dorico presentation at American Film Institute with SCL

NAMM 2017: Dorico presentation at American Film Institute with SCL

January 18, 2017

Our coverage of NAMM 2017 kicks off with a guest post from Doug LeBow at a Dorico presentation in Los Angeles at the American Film Institute, in association with the Society of Composers and Lyricists.

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Thumbnail image for StaffPad maintenance update improves MusicXML export

StaffPad maintenance update improves MusicXML export

January 17, 2017

The recent StaffPad maintenance update offers improved MusicXML support and several instrument additions and fixes.

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Thumbnail image for Headed to NAMM 2017

Headed to NAMM 2017

January 12, 2017

The 2017 NAMM Show opens one week from today in Anaheim, California. Music companies and representatives from around the globe will be showcasing their latest wares, and we’ll be filing reports from the corners of music notation and technology to keep you informed.

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Thumbnail image for Musitek introduces SmartScore Music-to-XML, a PDF music scanning converter

Musitek introduces SmartScore Music-to-XML, a PDF music scanning converter

January 9, 2017

Musitek’s new SmartScore Music-to-XML music notation recognition utility — the same feature originally planned for inclusion in Finale 25 — can analyze scanned PDF files of music and send them directly to Finale, Sibelius, or Dorico, or save them as MusicXML.

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