The NIFF project began in February 1994 with a meeting between technical people representing three major music notation programs and three music scanning programs. The group's goal was to define a new standard format for exchange of music notation data, which everyone agreed was long overdue in the industry. With the publication of this document, the goal is now on the verge of fruition.
The people at the first meeting included Lowell Levinger, Steve Keller and Mike Ost of Passport Designs, publisher of Encore; Leland Smith of San Andreas Press, publisher of Score; Randy Stokes of Coda Music Technology, publisher of Finale; Chris Newell and Wladek Homenda of Musitek, publisher of MidiScan; Nick Carter, author of SightReader, an unpublished music scanning program licensed to Coda, and myself, author of NoteScan, which is licensed to and published by TAP Music Systems/MusicWare.
Passport and Coda agreed to provide funding, Musitek to supply a PC for the project and San Andreas Press a copy of Score for reference. We agreed that I would research and develop the format as Technical Coordinator, and Chris Newell of Musitek would provide support as Administrative Coordinator. A contract was signed to this effect in June of 1994.
I got approval from the original participants to widen the scope of the project by asking for input from other individuals experienced in music notation software. The list of advisors has continued to grow over time, so that by now contributions to the design of the format have been made by many people representing a broad spectrum of interests including music software companies, music publishers, composers, engravers, and researchers in computer science and musicology.
In January of 1995 Coda decided to withdraw from the process. Shortly thereafter, Mark of the Unicorn, Twelve Tone Systems, Opcode Systems, and TAP Music Systems/MusicWare agreed to replace Coda as financial sponsors. I'd like to thank Dave Kusek of Passport Designs, Robert Nathaniel of Mark of the Unicorn, Greg Henderschott of Twelve Tone systems, Chris Halaby of Opcode Systems, and Roger McRae of TAP Music Systems/MusicWare for their financial contributions.
Alan Belkin, Professor of Music at the University of Montreal, has provided extremely useful technical and musical advice throughout the project; he is known as Special Advisor to the project. Dave Abrahams of Mark of the Unicorn has given very generously of his time and has made many essential contibutions to the format's design. Other major contributors have included all of the individuals at the original project launch meeting, and Norman Reid (whose experience with DARMS has proven invaluable), Mark Walsen (especially helpful on symbol relationships), Severo Ornstein, Don Byrd, Phil Sours of Twelve Tone Systems, Tom Hall of A-R Editions (who provided me with a DARMS manual), Eleanor Selfridge Field of the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities (CCARH), Don Williams and Dave Scoggin of Opcode Systems, Raymond Bily of Midisoft, Bill Holab of G. Schirmer (who provided some complex published scores which have been useful as a reference), Daniel Dorff of Theodore Presser, John Cerullo and Tom Johns of Hal Leonard Corporation, John Forbes of Boosey & Hawkes, Robert Schuneman of E.C. Schirmer, Bill McCann of Dancing Dots Braille Music Technology, and Steven Newcomb of Techno-Teacher (who has cooperated in planning a linkage between NIFF and SMDL, the upcoming ANSI standard music description language). A number of other individuals also contributed useful ideas.
Richard Karpen of the University of Washington Center for Advanced Research Technology in the Arts and Humanities (CARTAH) has provided an Internet ftp site to make the specification, technical discussions and test files available electronically. Thanks are due to Mike Brockman of TAP Music Systems/MusicWare for putting me in touch with him.
In addition to the sources listed in the Bibliography, I relied heavily on the reference manuals for San Andreas Press' Score, Mark of the Unicorn's Mosaic, TAP Music Systems' Nightingale and Coda's Finale, while designing NIFF's features. In particular, the Chord Symbols chunk was taken almost directly from Mosaic, and the Guitar Grid and Harp Pedal Symbols almost directly from Score.
I would also like to give special thanks to Chris Newell, who has been an amiable and useful colleague on this project.
Cindy Grande, Grande Software, Inc.
NIFF Technical Coordinator
August 31, 1995