What is MusicXML? MusicXML is an interchange file format for music notation applications. It provides a better way to transfer notation between different programs than other formats such as MIDI files.
The MusicXML format represents common Western musical notation from the 17th century onwards. It lets you distribute interactive sheet music online, and to use sheet music files with a wide variety of musical applications. The MusicXML format is open for use by anyone under a royalty-free license, and is supported by over 150 applications.
If you need to share files with friends or colleagues using other music software, such as between Finale and Sibelius, then MusicXML is the ideal format to use. The full versions of the plugins support MusicXML 3.0.
Sibelius has included built-in MusicXML import since Sibelius 4, but in order to export Sibelius scores in MusicXML format, you would have previously needed to purchase the full version of the Recordare Music XML plug-in.
Sibelius 7 also includes built-in MusicXML 2.0 export, so no separate purchase is required, and because the exporter is built directly into Sibelius itself, it is faster than a separate plug-in. To export a MusicXML file in Sib 7, choose File > Export > MusicXML.
Neither Sibelius 6 or 7 currently implement every part of the MusicXML specification, but version 6 imports and version 7 both imports and exports sufficient data to make MusicXML an ideal way of transferring notation data from Sibelius to other programs. If your music is particularly complex, you can purchase the full plugin, or hire someone with these tools to make a proper conversion.
Sibelius 7 supports both compressed format (.mxl) and uncompressed format (.xml) files.
Finale 2011 includes built-in MusicXML 2.0 import and export.
Neither Finale 2010 or Finale 2011 currently implement every part of the MusicXML specification, but both Finale 2010 and Finale 2011 import and export sufficient data to make MusicXML an ideal way of transferring notation data from Finale to other programs and back. If you need the additional features of Music XML 3.0 or your music is particularly complex, you can purchase the full plugin, or hire someone with these tools to make a proper conversion.