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Community & Business Groups

Co-Chair Announcement

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Adrian Holovaty, CEO and founder of Soundslice, as co-chair of the W3C Music Notation Community Group, joining existing co-chairs Michael Good of MakeMusic and Daniel Spreadbury of Steinberg. Joe Berkovitz, founder and CEO of Noteflight and more recently of Risible LLC, is stepping down as co-chair.

We would like to express our deepest thanks to Joe for his contributions. Joe was instrumental in founding the Community Group and bringing MakeMusic and Steinberg to the W3C, showing them the benefits of developing MusicXML and SMuFL here. He has also been the driving force in the development of the MNX spec to this point.

After leaving Noteflight at the end of 2017, Joe has wanted to devote more of his time to both his artistic pursuits and family matters. After he indicated to the other co-chairs that he planned to step down, Michael and Daniel have been discussing how to keep the group’s efforts moving forward.

We are delighted that Adrian has agreed to help us drive MNX forward from here. Adrian has been an active member of the Community Group since its inception. He is not only the CEO of Soundslice but is also the co-creator of the Django Python framework. Adrian has invaluable experience in developing web-based music notation software and in shepherding large-scale projects. We are very fortunate to be able to call upon his expertise.

Although we believe most everybody in the community is already familiar with Adrian, we asked him to write a few words by way of introduction:

Hi everybody! Adrian here. 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.

Professionally, I’ve been a full-time web developer since 2002. My largest contribution so far has been co-creating the open-source Django Web framework, used by many developers these days. I implemented much of the framework’s original code and helped build a thriving community of contributors.

Since 2012, I’ve been working full-time on Soundslice, a website that helps people learn and practice music. It has its own notation rendering engine and imports/exports various notation formats, so for better or worse I’ve acquired a deep technical knowledge of Western musical notation and tablature.

I live in Amsterdam and gig a few times a month with various gypsy-jazz bands. I also post videos of guitar performances to YouTube at

We can now turn our attentions to our plans for 2019. In the immediate term, we will publish the final community report for SMuFL 1.3 (the change in version number from 1.2 to 1.3 is merely symbolic, and no significant new development work beyond what has been done to date will be undertaken). We are also in the process of organising community meetings at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California at the end of January and at Musikmesse in Frankfurt at the beginning of April.

Our goal for 2019 is to deliver a draft 1.0 version of the MNX-Common and MNX-Generic specifications by the end of the year. We believe that we have a solid foundation in terms of the basic musical structure for CWMN, and we will next turn our attention to some specific representation challenges before we then attempt to fit other MusicXML elements for specific notations into the framework. These specific representation challenges include:

  • 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, e.g. the full score versus instrumental parts, and the differences between them, such as page and system breaks, differences in enharmonic spelling, information that should appear only in one or other presentation, and so on.
  • 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.

Our medium-term goal is to present proposed solutions to these fundamental issues at our Community Group meeting at Musikmesse in April.

We welcome feedback from members of the Community Group about these changes and our plans for 2019. We look forward to hearing from you.

Daniel, Michael and Adrian

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