Sheet music notation software

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Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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Aaron

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Aaron » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:18 am

Don't buy Finale Notepad, whatever you do. It is extremely limited. It won't let you change keys or time signatures in the middle of a piece and won't let you even use time signatures besides the very most basic few. In other words, it actively restricts you musically. I recommend Harmony Assistant from Myriad software, which is fully flexible in tons of ways, and the best part is: the $85 fee is ONE TIME, then updates are free. For $25 you can get the limited Melody Assistant that lacks all the printing options and extra scripting and import/export features of Harmony Assistant but it doesn't at all restrict your musical possibilities.

Take note: even the $100 Sibelius First or Finale Print Music... they both are listed as only offering the most common time signatures. You can't even do more modern or varied time-signatures, so those programs restrict you musically!

brianvds

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by brianvds » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:08 am

glassynails wrote: 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.

:)
One could of course write it out by hand, and then scan or take a photo of the pages and convert to PDF. Having a few digital copies can come in handy as backup, if you store them, for example, in an online inbox at Gmail or Yahoo mail. Everything I want to keep I e-mail to myself, so that if my house burns down I won't lose it.

circle1

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by circle1 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:56 pm

I've been using Finale for 20 years and I can enter notes into it as fast or faster than I can write on paper so time savings isn't an issue. Plus, since we are our own worst proofreaders, I can play back what I have written to checks notes etc. Those bad notes or forgotten accidentals really jump out when you listen! Sometimes when I read it through I read right through the mistakes just like when I read my own text writing. When scoring for larger ensembles it's a no-brainer -- the time savings are huge. For solo guitar not so much but I still prefer it.

Another benefit: people play good looking scores better than sloppy ones so, even though my script isn't too bad, the Finale printouts look great and get played better.
I still use paper and pencil to jot down ideas all the time since I'm not always in front of my computer. However, once I begin to actually put the piece together it goes into Finale.

SteveM
Posts: 141
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:11 pm
Location: Wales, U.K.

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by SteveM » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:55 pm

I use Sibelius 6 which is a bit expensive but very good. The 'Lite' version is Sibelius First which seems to do most things, including extracting parts from a score, and is priced at £129.00 (G.B.P.) One of the good things about Sibelius is magnetic layout which saves a lot of time and avoids any collisions with beams, lyrics, expression marks etc. Go to the Sibelius site and watch the video or download the trial.
Steve

Aaron

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Aaron » Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:17 pm

SteveM wrote:I use Sibelius 6 which is a bit expensive but very good. The 'Lite' version is Sibelius First which seems to do most things, including extracting parts from a score, and is priced at £129.00 (G.B.P.) One of the good things about Sibelius is magnetic layout which saves a lot of time and avoids any collisions with beams, lyrics, expression marks etc. Go to the Sibelius site and watch the video or download the trial.
Steve
I was going to reply about concerns that Sibelius First not allowing odd time signatures, but I checked again and it appears I may be mistaken. There are many ways in which Sibelius First is crippled versus the full Sibelius, but maybe nothing that serious. Finale Printmusic and lower versions do not allow anything but the standard set of time-signatures, but maybe Sibelius First is different. Can anyone confirm this? Sibelius website says something about "First" not allowing irregular bars, and also not having cue notes, no custom noteheads, some tuplets but not all, and no nested tuplets, and a few other limitations. But none of that is really horrible. If Sibelius First can do odd time-signatures, then I won't tell everyone to reject it like I do with Finale Printmusic and below...

I've used the full version of Sibelius and it is certainly quite nice. It bugs me that it forces measures to be full and thus adds rests that I didn't specify. I much prefer Finale's behavior of leaving the measure empty until I fill it in. Other than that, I have no substantial complaints about the full version of Sibelius, though I haven't used it enough to really judge.

If anyone wants to read more about my thoughts on this subject, I've been working on a summary for students: http://wolftune.blogspot.com/p/links-fo ... l#notation
If anyone has any comments or suggestions for me about how to improve that page, I'd appreciate that as well. Thanks!

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Martin
Posts: 412
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 7:18 pm
Location: Wales, UK

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Martin » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:15 pm

Aaron wrote:Finale Printmusic and lower versions do not allow anything but the standard set of time-signatures,.....
Although the standard templates in Finale Printmusic only allow the "standard" time signatures, it is possible to use the editing tools within the program to create pretty well any one you like. Once you've set it, all the editing and playback tools work normally with it.

Martin
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Aaron

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Aaron » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:27 pm

Hmm, that's good but according to the website it can only do compound and not additive. Does that mean it can do 7/4 or not? Obviously Printmusic cannot do 3+2+2/4, but 7/4 is still not technically compound. Your 27 example is still a compound of 3. Also, can Printmusic change time signature in the middle of a piece?
And if it can do all this, where do these features appear in the Finale lineup? They surely aren't available in Notepad right?

I think it is one thing to restrict nifty sounds or limit time-saving plugins, but actually restricting whether a musical idea is possible at all is something I can't comfortably accept for a program I would recommend for my students.

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Martin
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Location: Wales, UK

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Martin » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:10 pm

OK, after some quick experimenting.... it can do 7/4; it can change time signatures in a piece. I don't know how it would handle the rhythmic grouping - I'll play around a bit more.

I haven't used a version of Finale Notepad for several years so I don't know what the current version can do, but I've always had the impression it was very basic - I doubt its possible.
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Aaron

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Aaron » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:29 pm

Thanks! I decided to bother checking out the demos. Notepad cannot do anything beyond the basic time signatures and cannot change in the middle. It can't even change key in the middle, nor can more than one note be moved at the same time. Notepad is so restrictive that I'd instead recommend anyone considering it to use MuseScore instead, despite its imperfections.
I didn't try SongWriter, does anyone one know how that compares? According to the website the only major differences between it and PrintMusic are limitations in number of staves and the inability to do extra things like run AU/VST plugins. It doesn't clarify whether it has features like the custom time-signature that is absent in Notepad but there in PrintMusic.

Anyway, I've updated my http://wolftune.blogspot.com/p/links-fo ... l#notation listing now that I understand that odd times are at least possible in PrintMusic.

Like anything in the paradox of choice in our modern world, the perfect program would sound and operate interface-wise like Notion but with the extra features of Harmony Assistant (tuning to 1-cent accuracy, virtual singer, and more, not to mention the wonderful one-time cost) and the engraving quality of LilyPond, and I guess with the auto-harmonizing, teaching material, and contemporary notation options of Finale/Sibelius. Of course there is no perfect program that does it all.

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Paul
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Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Paul » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:28 am

The best reason for getting Finale Notepad is to get a big discount when you buy the full-blown Finale.

Paul

Aaron

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Aaron » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:11 pm

Paul wrote:The best reason for getting Finale Notepad is to get a big discount when you buy the full-blown Finale.

Paul
Interesting point, but that's just a scam because you should never pay the full $600. You will pay more by getting Notepad and then Finale directly than by just ordering Finale from a discounted independent retailer. The real way to game this system is to purchase one less expensive product, like Notion for example, which is a great piece of software in many ways and worth trying and is regularly available for $200, and then you pay only $200 for a competitive crossgrade to Finale.

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Paul
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Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Paul » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:18 pm

I must say, I haven't tried very hard to get Finale over here. There's only one official distributor of Finale in South Africa and the prices are more than what you'd pay direct from Finale themselves.

Paul

cpierce

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by cpierce » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:50 pm

Before you BUY music software, I suggest that you tryout MuseScore It is FREE and it is great! I am not an expert but, I think you can print just about any classical guitar compostion that you want, and it even has the play back function. You can put in at least 4 voices, ornamentals, fingering, and even string designations. Download it and take a look at it. At least you won't loose any money to try it! http://musescore.org/

cpierce

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by cpierce » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:04 pm

Here is an example of a score done with MuseScore. viewtopic.php?f=12&t=37094

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Paul
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Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:18 am
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Re: Sheet music notation software

Post by Paul » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:10 pm

Yes, flameproof recommended it further up the thread. My preference at the moment is Lilypond.

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