How to Optimize Your MusicXML Export From Musescore

by | Mar 25, 2019

Musescore is both an online community where musicians can share their creations and a free notation software. While being able to share scores with other Musescore users is a big part of the community, the software also offers file-sharing in the MusicXML format, allowing scores to be shared between different notation software or sheet music reader applications. Composers and musicians are still encountering issues when importing a MusicXML score into their notation software/application. This is a wide-spread issue that is not specific to Musescore.

In this article, we give you a few tips that will help you optimize your MusicXML export from the Musescore software.

1) Upgrade

As of the beginning of 2019, the Musescore team has accelerated software release frequency. Many of these releases include fixes and improvements to the software’s MusicXML export, so be sure to update regularly. The latest version to date is Musescore 3.0.3, released February 26, 2019. To check for updates, go to Help ⇒Check for Update.

Or Preferences ⇒ UpdatesCheck for new versions of Musescore.


Go to preferences to check your current version of Musescore
Check for new versions of Musescore

2) Export in transposed view

Similarly to Sibelius, Finale and Dorico, “it is generally best to export a score in transposed view rather than in concert pitch view” confirms Michael Good, Founder of the MusicXML. This means that when you select the export tool, you want the score to be in transposed view.

To switch to Transposed view, make sure “Concert Pitch” is not toggled:

Transposed view is recommended when exporting a MusicXML file

Transposed view, recommended

Concert pitch is not recommended when exporting MusicXML files

Concert pitch, not recommended

3) Save time by using linked parts

To date, a MusicXML 3.1 file cannot carry both the full score and the unique layout of individual parts. Therefore, if you have made changes to an individual part and not in the full score, such as editing page size or adding page breaks, system breaks, cues, multi rests, etc., we advise you to export both the full score and the parts separately.

To export multiple parts simultaneously in Musescore, go to File Export Parts Uncompressed MusicXML File (*.musicxml) ⇒ Save.

To export in transposed view in Musecore, first click on "Export"
Make sure you check the "uncompressed musicXML" when exporting musicXML files

4) When best to use compressed MusicXML file 

MusicXML 2.0 and later versions of MusicXML introduced a new compressed format of the MusicXML. There are 2 situations in which we recommend to use a compressed Musicxml file:

If you have graphics in your file, be sure to export a compressed MusicXML file. This includes the graphics while the uncompressed MusicXML file does not.

Regular, plain text MusicXML files can be very large – much larger than the original Musescore or corresponding MIDI files. This was not a big problem for using MusicXML as an interchange format, but it inhibited MusicXML’s use as a sheet music distribution format. Using the compressed export option reduces MusicXML file sizes to roughly the same size as the corresponding MIDI files. The format uses zip compression and a special .mxl file suffix and Internet media type to identify files as MusicXML files vs. generic XML files. You can export a compressed MusicXML file by pressing File ⇒ Export ⇒ Compressed MusicXML File (*.mxl)

Click on "export" before compressing your MusicXML file
Make sure "Compressed musicxml file" is checked

5) Keep it simple

Many contemporary composers today are using extended techniques in their pieces, and by challenging the traditional way of notating, they also challenge the music notation software in order to achieve their graphic desires. Currently, major music notation software are not built to understand all the unique ways that contemporary composers/arrangers are writing music, which will almost certainly lead to bugs in Import/Export of MusicXML if you get too extravagant in your writing. Therefore, one would most likely miss a large amount of information when exporting this kind of piece via MusicXML such as layout, special symbols etc. One example of a symbol that will not be exported properly from Musescore via MusicXML is a cross-staff slur.

If you wish to import your Musescore MusicXML file/s into Newzik, we recommend you to move on to the article “Best Practices to Import in Newzik as a Musescore User.

If after these tips you encounter a display inconsistency in Newzik with your musicXML, it can have two origins – Musescore export or Newzik’s import. In this case we encourage you to contact us so that we can take the necessary actions and help you solve the problem.


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