Trained musicians can all read music notation. (Well, okay, insert favorite musician joke here.) But why can’t different computer notation programs share files? Wasn’t that part of the appeal of going digital in the first place?

Recordare‘s products bridge the gap between notation software, thanks to the power of XML, with their format MusicXML. Finale has included a version of their plugins for several versions, and, for import functionality, Sibelius finally follows suit with Sibelius 4. For full functionality, though, you’ll want the full-featured MusicXML plugin, for an incredible range of software support for virtually every product ever. Dolet 3 for Finale was just released last week for the new Finale versions; Sibelius users can update from the Sibelius version. Well worth the investment if you need to exchange files or have a back-catalog in a now-defunct application. I’ve had pretty good experience with the format, as have most I’ve talked to.

For an illustration of just how important this issue is, look no further than NewMusicJukebox, a free online storehouse for new music. They’ve just announced they’ll support only Sibelius and PDF files, not Finale, because Finale no longer supports online Web viewing.