Music notationThere are many different ways today to publish music notation on the Internet.  Using services like Noteflight or uploading Sibelius Scorch files are two of the options that thousands of people use on a regular basis.  Now however, a new addition to the HTML standard (the language that allows web pages to be displayed on the screen) allows for actual music notation, and a few individuals have come up with ways to fairly easily incorporate any MusicXML file into a web page with just a few lines of code.

In order to see the demo pages you must be running a recent version of Firefox as good old Internet Explorer does not support HTML5 completely yet.  Still, as you can see in this demo it is possible to incorporate MusicXML in a fairly clean notation format.  The demo site only shows single line notation coupled with guitar tablature but the site for the open source Vexflow API that actually allows the magic to happen shows that it is possible to render more complicated documents as well.  

Unlike Scorch or other online music publishing systems the Vexflow system downloads to a web browser as a piece of javascript code that does not require separate installation.  One can see a day when we might be able to add music notation to a web page simply by using a drag and drop editor and not needing to jump through the hoops that we currently must use.

Another point that this new technology brings up is that it is hopefully a sign of things to come that one day MusicXML will take over as the default music notation file format for music writing software of all kinds.  Instead of worrying about having to export a composition to MusicXML and losing some of its markings in the process perhaps one day all editors will be able to open, edit, and save MusicXML in a lossless way.

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