Sheet music notation software

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glassynails
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Sheet music notation software

Post by glassynails » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:06 am

Hi.

Don't know if this is the correct place to ask, but I'm wondering if Finale's "Songwriter" is any good for basic notation writing for guitar. They've got one a step up for $99 USD, and I'm wondering if this is worth it or is the "songwriter" adequate for me; I just want to write simple notation with dynamics marking, right and left hand fingerings, strings symbols, etc.

Thanks :)
"GLASSYNAILS" on Youtoob for my "no edit" - "no fakery" audio recordings. Just me, my Alhambra 7p spruce, and an Olympus ls-10 portable recorder.

flameproof

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by flameproof » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:58 am

What's wrong with MuseScore? You mentioned trying it here.

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pogmoor
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Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by pogmoor » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:53 pm

I've used Finale in the past and I would think (looking at the comparison page on the Finale website) that "Songwriter" would be good for guitar scoring. However you should check in case there are any features you need that it hasn't got. I now use Sibelius as, in my view, it is easier to use (though I admit it's totally a matter of personal preference). So another option I would consider would be the new Sibelius First which is a bit more expensive at $129 - but again it's a matter of looking at the comparisons and deciding on features.

I'm interested in flameproof's question, though. If you're concerned about expense, why not use MuseScore as it is more fully-featured than Finale Songwriter and I wouldn't be surprised if it is easier to use. Did you discover any drawbacks with it?
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

Ramon Amira
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Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Ramon Amira » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:10 pm

You can probably go even a step down rather than up. The next version down from Songwriter is Notepad, and it sounds like that's all you would need for the purposes you described. You can buy it for $19.95 or download it for $9.95. Easy note entry with your mouse. I'm not sure if it has chord symbols, but it might. But it definitely has everything else you would need. I don't think you need to spend the extra money for Songwriter.
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blur

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by blur » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:26 pm

For goodness' sake people, how about getting a soft pencil, an eraser and a manuscript pad?
Way cheap :)

I know this is a bit controversial because I have seen other threads along similar lines, but it really is a whole lot quicker and easier to do it without resorting to software.

I should point out that, although being "old", my day job has been as a software developer for more years than I care to remember.

Ask yourselves why you are needing a "professional score". Is it vanity? OK, fair enough. Is it for a course requirement? OK, again fair enough. If it is for a performing score, I would ask if you have seen the "Real Book" which is used throughout the world by gigging musicians in the jazz world. You might be surprised.

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Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Ramon Amira » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:44 pm

For goodness' sake people, how about getting a soft pencil, an eraser and a manuscript pad?
It's funny that you said that. I recommended Notepad because I had tried it out on a free trial. And it works great. But in the end I decided that 1) the time it would take just to learn how to use all the features was not worth the effort, and 2) I could actually write the music out by hand faster and easier than using the computer, just as you point out. Bought a pencil sharpener, pencils, blank music script, and presto!
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pogmoor
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Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by pogmoor » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:27 pm

blur wrote:For goodness' sake people, how about getting a soft pencil, an eraser and a manuscript pad?
Way cheap :)
Fair comment, I guess it was good enough for Bach (though I think he got Anna Magdalena to do the copying) - but I certainly wouldn't do all my arranging without software :!:
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

flameproof

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by flameproof » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:57 pm

blur wrote:For goodness' sake people, how about getting a soft pencil, an eraser and a manuscript pad?
I'd be more persuaded if you wrote me a letter on the subject.

Anyway, I have never seen a hand-written manuscript as readable as a well laid-out printed score.

Brent Hutto

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Brent Hutto » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:13 pm

Some of us are not gifted with the ability to produce readable musical notation just by putting pencil to staff paper and scribbling it out. If I want it to be of any use at all I have slow down to crawl with frequent erasures. I can't write legible text in cursive either so I block print everything. The day I took typing class in high school was the day I swore off writing stuff out longhand, other than note-taking in class and whatnot.

glassynails
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Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by glassynails » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:17 pm

Thanks all!! I just downloaded the new Beta Musescore and it looks even more improved. I think I'll try it out today. I just thought with the commercial programs the fonts would look better (although I can't recall what Musescores fonts looked like when I saved them to pdf); I like large note fonts like you see in the facsimile Sor and Carulli stuff.

Pencil and paper leaves too much paper laying around. I like stuff in pdf so that I can read it on my laptop and print it if I want. I suppose you could also just use a copy machine.

:)
"GLASSYNAILS" on Youtoob for my "no edit" - "no fakery" audio recordings. Just me, my Alhambra 7p spruce, and an Olympus ls-10 portable recorder.

bobtone

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by bobtone » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:14 pm

I use Finale for my musical notation needs. Pricy but good. And be prepared for a learning curve!

But, hey, don't chuck that pencil sharpener just yet. When I work with ideas or arrangements, I usually start with pencil and manuscript paper. When I like what I've done, then I use finale to make a nice looking score. When I get the musical thoughts flowing, it's easier to just jot it down on paper rather than:

select a time signature select meter click the tuplet tool select layer select voice adjust stems next layer different voice now how do I (whatever) adjust measure length note spacing...bla bla

just write it down for gosh sakes!

codmate

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by codmate » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:19 pm

blur wrote:For goodness' sake people, how about getting a soft pencil, an eraser and a manuscript pad?
Way cheap :)

I know this is a bit controversial because I have seen other threads along similar lines, but it really is a whole lot quicker and easier to do it without resorting to software.

I should point out that, although being "old", my day job has been as a software developer for more years than I care to remember.

Ask yourselves why you are needing a "professional score". Is it vanity? OK, fair enough. Is it for a course requirement? OK, again fair enough. If it is for a performing score, I would ask if you have seen the "Real Book" which is used throughout the world by gigging musicians in the jazz world. You might be surprised.
Your manuscript paper can act as a VST host and play back your scores‽

Wow - paper technology has really come on!

nighttime

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by nighttime » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:54 am

blur wrote:For goodness' sake people, how about getting a soft pencil, an eraser and a manuscript pad?
Way cheap :)
This is a great idea actually and this is what I just did - bought a pencil, eraser and some paper and transcribed some simple melodies I had in my mind into notes on paper. Old school method for writing down songs, but actually a very handy skill to have in the guitar player's toolchest. I have to practise this more often and get better with this skill. Thanks for the idea!

gypsyjack
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Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by gypsyjack » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:25 pm

I guess I agree with flameproof et al.: most of the handwritten music I've seen has not been the most careful script. I rarely see a complete handwritten score of a full page or more that doesn't have at least one (usually more) notation that is unclear. Maybe it's different for a professional musician, especially if they've been at it for a long time.
When I've watched my guitar teacher write down examples or exercises for me, I have to watch him very closely, and make my personal notes immediately afterwards. Otherwise, I spend a long time trying to figure out exactly what he was driving at with some of the notation (particularly placement of notes and abbreviations that are scribbled).
But I'd think that for personal use, such as composing or trying things out, it's gotta be easier to do it by hand...as long as others won't have to decipher it later on.
That said, I've also seen many software generated scores that had confusing notation...usually a note (or several) that are not clear as to the placement (such as the tip of the note lying across a line, but more than 50% of it above or below it). And frankly, the learning curve on the ones that I've tried is pretty steep. But this is really being overly critical I guess...given the task that the software is trying to solve, I think most of them are rather admirable attempts at making it easier.

Bobber

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Bobber » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:16 pm

A free alternative to Finale is Lilypond (http://www.lilypond.org). It is free to download. Input is via command line but it might be easier than you think. I have found the documentation to be good and the support on the mailing list is excellent. And Lilypond output is superior to Finale.

Check out this comparison (http://www.musicbyandrew.ca/info.html) done by a guy who was an experienced Finale user.

There is also a free Lilypond editor project called Frescobaldi (http://www.frescobaldi.org) but this only works on Linux at the current time.

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