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Tech: Music Writing Programs

Slag 09 Jun 09 - 10:26 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 09 Jun 09 - 10:40 PM
TIA 09 Jun 09 - 11:15 PM
GUEST 10 Jun 09 - 05:00 AM
Slag 10 Jun 09 - 05:21 AM
Artful Codger 10 Jun 09 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Jun 09 - 05:51 AM
TIA 10 Jun 09 - 06:02 AM
Brakn 10 Jun 09 - 06:06 AM
Brakn 10 Jun 09 - 06:07 AM
TenorTwo 10 Jun 09 - 06:29 AM
Marje 10 Jun 09 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Jun 09 - 10:37 AM
GUEST 10 Jun 09 - 10:53 AM
Geoff the Duck 10 Jun 09 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Chris P 10 Jun 09 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Jun 09 - 03:16 PM
Tangledwood 10 Jun 09 - 05:51 PM
Barbara 10 Jun 09 - 06:05 PM
Stringsinger 10 Jun 09 - 06:23 PM
Slag 10 Jun 09 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Jun 09 - 11:51 PM
Will Fly 11 Jun 09 - 03:22 AM
GUEST 11 Jun 09 - 03:59 AM
Geoff the Duck 11 Jun 09 - 04:47 AM
Stringsinger 11 Jun 09 - 10:25 AM
Artful Codger 11 Jun 09 - 06:00 PM
Tootler 11 Jun 09 - 07:13 PM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Jun 09 - 09:39 AM
Geoff the Duck 12 Jun 09 - 06:54 PM
Tootler 12 Jun 09 - 07:06 PM
Tootler 14 Jun 09 - 07:34 PM
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Subject: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Slag
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:26 PM

Some years ago I bought a PC program for writing music. It was called (simply enough) "Music Writer" by a group called Voyetra. It had some major deficiencies, the least of which was that it did not have all the symbols which may be used on a score nor could it handle tempo changes, multiple instrumentation, etc. Does anyone here use such software? I have not kept up and I would like to know if there is any program worthy of consideration on the market. i couldn't find anything in the knowledge search function.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:40 PM

I really like Sibelius .. so simple that 12 year olds can turn out a score...(sort of)

For other purposes - Cakewalk which once cost the same as Sibelius - now publishes Cakewalk Music Creator for 40.00 US....Cakewalk

There are a multitude of Mudcat OLD threads on the subject - however this should come up at least twice a year - what was once Tuesday morning might quickly become Saturday's child.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: TIA
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:15 PM

For inexpensive and serviceable, Finale Songwriter is hard to beat. Way cheaper than the full-featured Finale or Sibelius, but can handle *this* simplistic folkie's needs entirely.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 05:00 AM

ABC notation is free and much advanced in its capabilities nowadays. Possibly the most used amongst traddies? There are many free programs utilising it. See the ABC homepage:-

http://abcnotation.org.uk/

See also this for ABCPlus, which is a more developed but still free version(s):-
http://abcplus.sourceforge.net/

My favourite application is ABCExplorer, which you will find a link to from the ABCPlus site.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Slag
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 05:21 AM

Thanks! I obviouslly didn't know the correct heading under which to search. You've given me a few leads and I appreciate that. Will check them out soon. Thanks again!

Tom


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Artful Codger
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 05:43 AM

I have Finale PrintMusic, and I hate it. Straight input is nice, but editing is preposterously klutzy--and several key functions don't work as described in the documentation (which I would give no awards). Consequently, I find it unusable for composing, the main reason I bought the product. I'm a very experienced computer user and I know my way around music notation, so trust me when I say to avoid this one and probably Finale's "upgrade" products (which are unlikely to be different at the core) like Songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 05:51 AM

I agree about Finale. its a mess, and has bizarre and unfair anti piracy features. Avoid (on macs anyway).

Tom


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: TIA
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:02 AM

You are correct. Finale Notepad and PrintMusic are ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Brakn
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:06 AM

Avy views on Noteworthy.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Brakn
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:07 AM

ANY!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: TenorTwo
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:29 AM

I'll agree that Finale PrintMusic is considerably less than perfect, but it's the only Windows programme that has survived my move to Linux and it actually seems to run slightly better under Wine than it ever did on XP! It may be because I've used it since the days of MusicProse and I'm used to it, but it works for me. The documentation is worse than useless and I would say to anyone starting from scratch that it is emphatically not the programme to choose. If it's the only option, stick to manuscript paper and a good pen - but it isn't, so keep looking!

T2


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Marje
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 10:21 AM

I use Noteworthy and like it, but I have nothing to compare it with. I don't make any complicated demands on it, I just want to write out singel melody lines, but they say it will do several instruments and clefs. You can insert changes of tempo, and alter the tempo for playback. You can transpose, and the new Version 2 actually makes a "ping!" of the correct pitch on the note as you type it in.

You can try it for free (I think) if you download the free Noteworthy Player, although this limits the amount of editing you can do on any one score.

It is a lot less sophisticated than something like Sibelius, but also a lot cheaper.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 10:37 AM

What's your operating system? Mac or PC?

The gossip is that Microsoft systems after XP either don't support MIDI or they do it badly. (Actually, the term was 'crappy,' because I was in my neighborhood rock music store.) This is something to keep in mind as you shop.

Also keep in mind that the average guy at the average computer shop doesn't know anything about composing music at the computer or about MIDI. You can have speak slowly and clearly while maintaining a friendly attitude of 'let's work together' rather than 'you ignoramus!'

I've used Noteworthy Composer (about $50) for about 10 years. It's not perfect, but it's quite good. Once a month, 5 - 7 musicians come to my place to play early music, so at times the music I produce is quite complicated. I have yet to produce a symphony, however.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 10:53 AM

The gossip is that Microsoft systems after XP either don't support MIDI or they do it badly

No it isn't! Come on leeneia. You brought this up in a previous thread and everyone quickly told you that you were wrong. Why are you peddling this misinformation again?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:00 PM

As mentioned by unnamed GUEST above, ABC notation is perfectly adequate for straight forward single melody line notation. Being based on a text file, you do not have to do your composing or transcribing on a computer with a specific programme installed, which makes it a very portable system. It takes a bit of learning to use, and if not used regularly the rules can be forgotten, but you can jot stuff down on a piece of paper and then type into a computer when available.
One advantage of ABC is that as long as you can get online, there are ABC converters which will produce both printed PDF and MIDI files from your imput. ABC converters can be found at http://www.concertina.net/tunes_convert.html and http://www.folkinfo.org.
If you need to print out more complex scores, it could be worth checking out Lilypond. This is free software, which like ABC is text based, but designed for typesetting up to full orchestral scores. I haven't realy played around with it properly so cannot comment on how easy or difficult it is, but it is cross platform and FREE.
The Wikipedia page linked to also mentions some Linux progammes which could also be worth you checking out.

I just followed some links which led to http://www.denemo.org/index.php/Main_Page. This seems to be a free, cross platform, graphic music editing programme which uses Lilypond for its final printed output.

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 02:27 PM

Unnamed guest here. I do apologise for that. I used to have a cookie but I lost it, and have been struggling to get it back since posting the above. Unsuccessfully so far. Doh.
As for ABC being a single melody line tool, well that's not true anymore unless that's all you need, which is why I mentioned ABCPlus. Using ABCm2ps and ABC2midi, included in a suitable (FREE) program such as ABCExplorer, it is possible to produce high quality PDF fully complex multi-staved scores and midi playback for multiple voices/instruments, clef changes, chords, tablatures, tempo and time sig. changes and whatever, with complex dynamics, lyrics beneeth the notes and extra verses in as many columns as you wish beneeth the tune.
I don't think the learnimg of it is any worse than anything else.
Chris P., (just in case)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:16 PM


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Tangledwood
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 05:51 PM

Melody Assistant does everything that I need. If you need greater complexity there is Harmony Assisant. Free trial options are available. Myriad online


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Barbara
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:05 PM

I use Encore, from GVox, used to belong to Passport MusikTime but evolved into someone else's thingie. It does multiple staves, inserts lyrics under the correct syllable, allows for easy key and time changes, gives you four voices in a single line if you want, and has a still slightly clunky text editor.
My biggest complaints with the whole thing are around the way it handles text. Doesn't let you import or export it -- at least I haven't found how.
Friends that have used both tell me it is better than Sibelius, I have not compared them.
Many folks here really like Noteworthy, and my fellow song page editor uses Lilypond.
Most of these will let you download a trial version -- however it may take you most of that time to learn how to use it.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:23 PM

Barbara, I have used Encore and Sibelius. There are advantages to both. Encore has a feature that allows you to play along with what you have just written to rehearse it by just hitting the space bar. Then gives you the option to immediately record it in notation. Sibelius will not do this easily.

Sibelius prints a much better looking score and the lyrics program is excellent. It is also
user friendly and takes less steps than does Finale to accomplish notation. Sib makes a professional looking lead sheet as well. I miss the Encore feature I described and wish that Sib would incorporate it.

Sib also has a nice little mixer and it's tempo control is easy to use. The only problem with this that I have noticed is that when going into cut time, there is a limit on how fast the notation can be played back. You have to compensate by using a regular 4/4 time signature or use 2/4.

Sib also lets you size your notation. The larger the size of the notes, of course, the more pages you will have to use. I think it's easier to read than Encore.

Both programs really work much better with MIDI than typing keyboards. MIDI makes them faster. Using the number keypad on the keyboard makes the process even faster in producing a score.

Sib will export MIDI data including lyrics to some of the major sequencing programs such as Logic or ProTools. It is easy to make a MIDI file with Sib as well.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Slag
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:57 PM

I'm running XP pro. I haven't got to sit down yet and check these programs out. The little foxes eat our grapes, you know. However, the discussion is interesting thus far. I have read about Noteworthy in the past and Sibelius looks intriguing, maybe more of what I'm shooting for. I have some old music that is falling apart, some in shaped notes, that I would like to copy for my own personal use, of course, and I have a couple of pieces written by family members, long passed. I dabble myself, every now and then and I feel some "now" times coming on.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 11:51 PM

Slag, (and anybody else new to music software) I said that i use Noteworthy Composer, but I didn't mention that I use an electronic thing that looks like a small piano keyboard to operate Noteworthy. It's called a MIDI controller, and I believe a small one costs $100 - $150.

Suppose I have heard a neat tune on a CD and I want to make a MIDI file of it so I can print it for my friends. I tell my computer to 'listen to the MIDI controller' by clicking on a piano icon, and then I sound out the tune. My software converts the sound into sticks and dots. I find it easy to get the pitches, but note lengths can be harder. The only thing to do is to enter the duration, listen, and try something else if it's not right the first time. This gets easier with practice.

I could also use the MIDI controller to compose original music.

If you go this route, your computer needs to accept the cord that comes from the MIDI controller. Mine is old, and it has a special MIDI plug that goes into my sound card. I suppose a newer controller would use a USB, but I dunno....

I see that the Sibelius software has a 'keyboard window.' I wonder how that works, exactly. Could be nifty.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 03:22 AM

I've been using Harmony Assistant by Myriad software (mentioned further up this thread) for over a year and found it excellent, on the whole. It works on both Mac and PC platforms and can import and export files in a huge variety of formats. It cost around £50 when I bought it and I use it all the time for creating music and tablature for guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, and for transcribing printed scores from other sources. Like all such software, there are one or two slightly clunky/obscure bits here and there, and the Help manual could be done a little better, but these are minor irritants.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 03:59 AM

I use an electronic thing that looks like a small piano keyboard to operate Noteworthy. It's called a MIDI controller, and I believe a small one costs $100 - $150

You can get a simple one a lot cheaper than that. This one, for example, costs $49.

I see that the Sibelius software has a 'keyboard window.' I wonder how that works, exactly.

You 'play' an on screen keyboard by clicking the keys with your mouse or by using the computer keyboard. This page explains more including a video demonstration.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 04:47 AM

Chris P - This Thread may help you with getting your Mudcat screen identity restored. If all else fails - forgotten password or similar, Joe Offer can be contacted via a mudcat e-mail (joe at mudcat dot org) if I remember correctly (replace words and spaces with correct punctuation).

I've not tried to use ABC for more complex scores, but you obviously know what it can now do. As I said, the BIG advantage of ABC is the fact that you do not need external keyboards or expensive programmes. You can do it all with a simple text editor/notepad or pencil and paper away from a computer.
A lot of the score formatting programmes will import ABC, so you can start with an ABC file and then make your final changes elsewhere. All in all, the ABC is worth learning as it you are not tied to only working when sat at a computer.

Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 10:25 AM

A lot has to do with how much time you want to spend. Learning music notation has been extremely helpful for me in dealing with Encore, Finale and Sibelius. Fortunately there are a lot of music educational software programs that are good for learning to read music.

The problem with tablature and ABC is that with the first, it's painting by numbers. With the second, it is complicated to use if you want to annotate swing rhythms or heavy syncopation. Standard musical notation is easier to use, ABC was designed for fiddle tunes and that works. It is less intelligible in the long run then using standard music notation but it is easier to send ABC tunes through e-mail. Every form of notation has its use. Tablature is useful to instruct where to put your fingers on tunes. Music notation applies musical "ideas" best. MIDI relies on accurate renderings of syncopation, harmony and phrasing. I usually write out in Sibelius what I want to export as a MIDI file and thereby have an accurate reading. ABC has the advantage of cataloguing a wide variety of tunes in a compact space and this is a great thing for fiddlers and to learn many tunes to songs.

You get out of it what you put into it. It's time consuming but worth it IMHO.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 06:00 PM

I use ABC a lot, to capture snippets that come to me in odd moments, when music paper isn't in easy reach. I also use it on practice lists, where for each entry I give the tune title, source, key and meter, followed by an ABC snippet of how each section starts. Such lists are easy to prepare and maintain as straight text files.

ABC is also the easiest way to share tunes here--I wish people would bother to learn it and to share more tunes this way, instead of just pointing to recordings (which we song prospectors may only obtain at prohibitive cost, if at all). It would be helpful to know which music writing programs support ABC import or export features.

But ABC is not suitable for composition, especially for chorded/multi-voiced music. Yes, it can represent such music, but the notation is clubby.

ABC translators also tend to implement only a subset of extended (v2) ABC notation; more annoyingly, visual and audio converters support different subsets, even on the same site. Converters have particular trouble with repeats, interior pick up notes, expression markings and grace notes. Sometimes, to get satisfactory results, I've had to prepare two separate ABC versions, one for printing and one for audio.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:13 PM

I have been using Noteworthy Composer for over 10 years now. It is easy to learn initially and for a simple, inexpensive program it is amazing what it is capable of. Whole symphonies have been input to Noteworthy and I have written a piece for recorder orchestra in 7 parts using it.

I currently have it running in Linux using Wine. Print preview causes it to crash periodically but otherwise it works pretty well in Linux.

Some of the online free sheet music sites use Noteworthy.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 09:39 AM

You're a recorder player too, Geoff? That makes two of us.

Can I hear your 7-part piece anywhere on the net?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 06:54 PM

Not long ago I discovered Portable_Ubuntu_for_Windows.
Because of this thread, I have ended up experimenting with Linux music score editing programmes whilst running Windows XP.
The Portable Ubuntu installs easily and puts a small toolbar at the top of your screen and that acts as he Linux programme start bar, then the Linux programme windows open on top of the Microsoft windows. Because the Linux goes through an intermediate level things are not quite as fast as running as the actual system, but it allows you to try things out, and Music notation doesn't need to be as fast as shooting zombies...
Downloading and installing programmes under the LINUX is pretty straightforward and I have been playing with MuseScore and NoteEdit. I have downloaded Rosegarden which is some form of sequencer with score capability, but haven't had time to mess around yet.
The two I have tried will output PDF scores and other things such as MusicXML files (portable to a lot of other programmes) and MIDI files.
I preferred the note entry with Muse Score, but NoteEdit put lyrics under melody line easily.
It is worth trying out.
The Portable Linux is a strange thing. Applications which will open as a text file (e.g. ABC or Music XML) can be copied from the Linux and then pasted directly into a Windoze application, but actual files such as MIDI cannot be copied from one to the other without some geek type setting up to network the "Linux computer" and the "Windows computer" systems.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:06 PM

To leeneia

I had a quick look on my website and I have an earlier 5-part version for SAATB recorders. I revised it and added Gt Bass and Contrabass parts so it could be played by a recorder orchestra.

The recorder orchestra I belong to played it at a concert in Newcastle (UK) last year and seemed to be quite well received. Certainly the orchestra members told me they enjoyed it.

Give me a day or two and I'll revise the web page and upload the revised version then I'll post a link so keep an eye on this thread.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Music Writing Programs
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 07:34 PM

leeneia,

I have updated my website and the 7 Part version of my Andante is now on the site. You can find it here.


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