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Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'

GUEST,kenny 20 Apr 13 - 03:42 PM
Peter Butler 20 Apr 13 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Grishka 20 Apr 13 - 04:19 PM
Joe Offer 20 Apr 13 - 04:35 PM
andrew e 20 Apr 13 - 05:14 PM
Weasel 20 Apr 13 - 05:25 PM
treewind 21 Apr 13 - 04:55 AM
Will Fly 21 Apr 13 - 05:09 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 13 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,Kenny 21 Apr 13 - 05:46 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 13 - 06:00 AM
treewind 21 Apr 13 - 07:54 AM
Marc Bernier 21 Apr 13 - 05:21 PM
GUEST 21 Apr 13 - 08:16 PM
Tootler 21 Apr 13 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,kenny 22 Apr 13 - 05:05 AM
Stanron 22 Apr 13 - 07:19 AM
pavane 22 Apr 13 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Apr 13 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Grishka 22 Apr 13 - 11:41 AM
Mark Clark 22 Apr 13 - 05:09 PM
pavane 23 Apr 13 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,John Foxen 23 Apr 13 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Grishka 24 Apr 13 - 04:37 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Apr 13 - 04:21 PM
pavane 24 Apr 13 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Grishka 24 Apr 13 - 05:52 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Apr 13 - 05:55 PM
pavane 25 Apr 13 - 05:52 PM
pavane 25 Apr 13 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Apr 13 - 01:12 PM
Weasel 26 Apr 13 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Apr 13 - 10:54 PM
JohnInKansas 27 Apr 13 - 03:50 AM
Will Fly 27 Apr 13 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Apr 13 - 02:31 PM
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Subject: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 03:42 PM

Can anyone recommend a cheaper alternative to the "Sibelius" music transcription software ? Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Peter Butler
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 04:15 PM

Try Notion. If you are in the UK you can get it from www.etcetera.co.uk for £99


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 04:19 PM

Most others are cheaper. Tell us what you want to do with it, in what order of priority, how you estimate your computer literacy and inclination to learn. Sibelius was meant to be optimised for ease of learning, but often the effect proved the opposite.

If you want to take no financial risk, try MuseScore, which is free. Mudcatters tend to use free ABC software such as EasyABC or ABCexplorer for obvious reasons - quite a different "philosophy" from Sibelius.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 04:35 PM

The other major music composition software is Finale, which comes in several editions. Finale Songwriter is about fifty bucks in the US.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: andrew e
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 05:14 PM

I have Finale.

You can even start with the free Finale Notepad.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Weasel
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 05:25 PM

I use Finale and find it excellent, although it is expensive.

Before buying Finale I used "Noteworthy Composer" which had its limitations (no multimeasure rests) but served me well for several years. At that time it was very inexpensive.

Cheers,

Weasel.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: treewind
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:55 AM

Before spending money try Musescore - it's free! It's

Actually I use ABC notation in an ordinary text editor for the same reason as many Mudcatters: because most of the time I'm only doing single melody lines or simple harmony arrangements, but I'd try Musescore first if I wanted to do something more complicated than a two- or three-stave score. Also for me it's an obvious choice because it's multi platform so I can use it on a Linux system.

Oh, and it can do multi-bar rests!


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 05:09 AM

I use Harmony Assistant - $85 or ?75.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 05:41 AM

If it costs less it probably does less. If you want to produce printed notation for one instrument there are a number of programs. If you want to produce a score for an orchestra there are certainly two (Sibelius and Finale) do you want to import MIDI, do you need to add lyrics, transpose etc etc...if you need these things you're stuck with pricey program's.

Stu sans cookie


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,Kenny
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 05:46 AM

Thanks to all who replied. This was for a friend who's a keyboard player, looking for a package which can transcribe notes played on a MIDI keyboard onto staff notation . He will be trying out some of your suggestions, and sends his thanks, as do I.
The "Mudcat" has come up trumps yet again.
If I can make one further demand on your collective knowledge, do you know of any good, reasonably-priced model of MIDI keyboard which you would recommend ?
Thanks again, in advance. Kenny


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 06:00 AM

There are many that work well, but if he intends to play live into the program and print an intelligible score the the program will need adjustable quantisation levels

Stu


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: treewind
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 07:54 AM

"you're stuck with pricey programs."

I have no commercial interest in Musescore, but it does transposition, lyrics and scores with as many parts as you like and it's free.

Its MIDI import capability is, apparently a little lacking but that's mainly the fault of MIDI itself which is a format designed for playback, not score layout. See Musescore File Formats for details.

As hinted at above, MIDI import from a manual keyboard is a messy compromise at best and not guaranteed to work perfectly with any software at any price.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 05:21 PM

I use MusicTime which is put out by GVOX . It does what you/ve described, and it's about 1/4 of the price of Finale or Sibelius.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 08:16 PM

I use Noteworthy and have done for many years. It does everything I want including multiple staves. It's often possible to find workarounds for some of the things that it does not do.It's still not particularly expensive, free trial download and 49 USD to register.

It does import MIDI pretty well, but to get a decent score, you need to have run it through software that does quantisation first or you will just have a mess with a huge amount of editing needed.

Although I am on Linux these days, I am still able to run it using Wine. If I were starting from scratch now, I would probably investigate Muse Score but I have so many Noteworthy files that it is not worth the effort of changing to anything else and I am both familiar with it and happy with it so why change?


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Tootler
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 08:28 PM

Oh dear, the last post was me. I seem to have got logged out.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 05:05 AM

Thanks again, folks. Very helpful, as always and much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Stanron
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 07:19 AM

Just a couple of points from someone who has used Sibelius for many years. If you are a student or a teacher there are cut price versions available.

Secondly Sib is now on version 6 or 7 or maybe even 8 by now. All the earlier versions work perfectly well. I still use version 3 on my oldest computer and it does just fine. I have version five on another computer and can pass files in either direction without problems. Try Ebay for early versions of Sib. You might be surprised.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: pavane
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 07:33 AM

As author of a program which can import MIDI, I must agree that this is not really practicable unless the MIDI was created by hand in a sequencer, not played on an instrument. The lengths and timing of notes can be much too variable. A "real" note has in mots cases an active sounding time and a silent gap, but a program will interpret this as a shorter note followed by a rest. Quantisation can help, but is only a partial answer.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 10:13 AM

Thanks, Pavane. I was just wondering about that. I use Noteworthy Composer, and as you say, I have to carefully create a music score by hand, not simply play and have it 'listen.'


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 11:41 AM

No software thread, or thread about the French Midi, without pavane's self-promotion.

A MIDI file, which can be "imported", is an entirely different thing from a MIDI keyboard. The latter can be used to record while the notation software taps the time, often "adaptively", and always with "quantization" (time correction) options which produce good results in most situations. If you are not precise enough as a pianist, you can increase the quantization and/or slow down the tempo, and correct wrong notes afterwards.

For notation purposes it is often easiest and fastest to use preselected time values. For example, I choose the time value with my left hand on my computer keyboard and play the notes with the right hand on my MIDI keyboard.

All programmes also allow entering the music only using the computer keyboard, and/or the mouse. This can be an equally quick and comfortable alternative. In some Mudcat thread someone boasted to be quicker typing ABC than anyone with any mouse or MIDI driven input. However, those who use their software for composing for more than one voice usually appreciate the wysiwyg approach.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Mark Clark
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 05:09 PM

Different 'Catters use different tools for a lot of very good reasons. Sometimes it's because they are musicians, not technologists, and prefer to stick with a tool they know. Often they'll choose a tool because it's easy to make lead sheets (single voice melodies) or because it does a good job with stringed instrument tablature.

But a pianist is going to want two hands on a grand staff and won't care about tablature or it's ability to generate harmony lines. From the perspective of a pianist trying to get around using Sibelius and Finalé, MuseScore is a clear leader. Even though it's available at no charge, it is under continuous development and is well supported. Have your friend check out some of the scores that have been done using MuseScore. I'm sure your friend will agree. MuseScore also offers an iPad reader so your MuseScore scores are always available and easily readable. No more carrying a load of paper sheet music with you to every rehearsal.

Grishka and Treewind are on to this and I think your friend will like it too.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: pavane
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 02:30 PM

Grishka - I didn't even give a LINK to my own software! And I just commented on importing MIDI files. In fact, my program can import from a virtual piano too, or MIDI instrument, but I thought they wanted files. I can see that this might have been a mistaken view.

I am not the only one here who does a little self-promotion! No apologies for this. If you don't ask, you don't get.

And if you want to see my unique visoual system test design software... No perhaps not.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 02:53 PM

Will Fly recommends Harmony Assistant which is excellent but its younger brother Melody Assistant is also splendid and only 30 euros. It handles ABC and offers multi-track recording facilities. You can also play a written score on synthesised instruments and add live vocals or instruments. A free trial can be downloaded from melody assistant


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 04:37 AM

pavane, I am neither asking for your apology nor commenting on Mudcat's policy. It is your choice whether you want to appear as a helpful person or as someone who takes any apparent opportunity for self-promotion.

I remember Joe Offer advising something like: "Ask a friend to recommend your CD on Mudcat." - but what if I do not have any friend at all, or (worse) if all my friends dislike my CD? A recommendation is particularly valuable if the recommender is a trusted expert, whose reputation adds to the balance.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 04:21 PM

Pish-tosh, Grishka. When Pavane mentioned his experience, it was merely to indicate that he knows what he's talking about.

The number of people who chime in a technical thread with little knowledge and less experience is legion.   
===========

Now, the question is, can Kenny's friend buy software that will let him play rich music on a MIDI keyboard and produce musical notation? And I'm gonna assume that Kenny's friend wants playable, saleable notation, not a confused welter of double dots, ties, and rests of indecipherable duration.

If anybody has been able to do that, I'd like to hear from them. Better yet, make a video.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: pavane
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 04:37 PM

Thanks Leenia. That was basically what I was trying to say - it just isn't practicable, as far as I know.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 05:52 PM

When aunt leeneia shushes me, I am powerless.

Play rich music on a MIDI keyboard and produce musical notation? It can be done, but not without compromising, which means
  • playing very slowly
  • exactly with the tap,
  • and still doing a lot of post-editing, depending on the "richness" and one's pianistic skills.
Usually it is advisable to play in more than one go, or to use one of the methods I described above. I have used all these methods for decades. Videos on YouTube abound.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 05:55 PM

Any written music score is only a rough guide to what any decent musician will play. Mechanically reproduced music, as a midi played from a typical score is generally going to be too "mechanical" to be called "musical." It might approximate what you'd get from a player piano or an amusement park calliope.

A midi exported from any score producing program generally will import into another scoring program that has midi in/out capability, and the score from the midi will (almost always) look very much like the original score from which the midi was made. One thing that won't "come back" is due to the simple fact that when a midi is created it includes all the notes played in the order they happen, with no such thing as "repeats" or different endings on repeated phrases, so all of those will disappear if you try to bring back the original score from a midi made from it.

A midi made by recording from an instrument, imported into a score, will look like a bunch of maggots got loose on the paper and were chased around by a flock of hungry small birds with dirty feet - hence the common name "maggoty score."

A very few composers have attempted to write precisely what the instruments should play with results that are very much like the "imported midi player" results. Nobody's ever been able to read enough of one to want to play those compositions so far as I've heard, but the music world is full of many very strange people so one can't be too sure.

This particular quirk has little to do with which program you choose, since all programs that create scores and import/export as midi will produce almost identical results. Editing features in the program might affect how easy it is to clean up an imported midi that's got lots of worms in it, but so few people actually use all such features (there's always an easier, if slower way) that they're not documented at all in most pre-sales descriptions.

Among lower priced and shareware/freeware programs, documentation is likely to be very sparse so it may be difficult to tell what a given program can do. For those where you can find something about what they do, you will need to decide what's important and what you can get along without.

A few things you may want to watch for:

1. Not all scoring programs are "midi capable" so that you can export the scored piece to a midi file or import a midi file to make a score.

2. Relatively few scoring programs produce tab output, and some that claim to don't do a very good job.

3. There are significant differences in note-time range, although most will handle full notes down to at least 64th notes. Better ones will let you include 128th notes and some go to 256th notes.

4. Many of the cheaper/simplest programs will let you type in repeats, DS, DC, multiple endings for repeats, and such so that they show in the score, but can't actually play them in the playback or include them in the midi.

5. The better programs will generally allow at least 8, and some permit 16 staves per system. A couple I've seen only allowed 4, so you probably should check this if you might need more than 4.

Beyond that, about all one can say is "Good Luck."

John


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: pavane
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 05:52 PM

At the risk of being accused of self-promotion, I will say that my program
1. IS MIDI capable, so you can import from and export to MIDI (Full support for those worms!).
2. Does produce TAB for some instruments (including melodeon/concertina)
3. Allows down to 64th notes (I think)
4. Plays repeats and alternative endings from the score (After editing the repeats into it)
5. Does provide multiple staves - at least 8

The advantage over some other software is that I am here and able to make changes if wanted.

And all this for just a donation - pay what you think it is worth to you.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: pavane
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 05:57 PM

One thing which has been totally overlooked is my idea of note "Styles" analogous perhaps to paragraph styles in word processors.

You can define a style for a note which include, perhaps, a pitch bend and/or other attributes like vibrato.
Once defined, this style can be applied to any note.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 01:12 PM

Right. Why are we living with a notation which stopped growing about 150 years ago?

For example, as a person who uses lead sheets, I'm depend on knowing the chords for what I'm playing. When a note (quarter note or up) doesn't fit in the chord, I'm discombobulated. So what I do is take a yellow colored pencil and make a yellow splotch over the note. I chose yellow because the note has a lemony sour tang to it.

Another helpful thing was used in ancient manuscripts. It was called a custos and is a little squiggle at the end of a line to warn you that something strange is comin up, such as a big jump up or down. In the song "A Sweet Bunch of Daisies," which is in G, I use a custos at the end of a line to show that the next chord is an A, which you wouldn't expect.

And when a note is on a ledger line, why must the stubs of line which project from the notehead be so pitifully short? Is ink that expensive? I can hardly see them.

Pavane, if I didn't have a huge collection of music which depends on NWC, I would try your program.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Weasel
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 08:25 PM

The little squiggle at the end of a line was used at least up to the 18th century and was used to indicate what the first note in the next line would be, whether or not it was unusual or awkward.

(Another thing they sometimes did was to use a dotted note at the end of a measure instead of tying the note over into the next bar.)

I suppose the elements that musicians of the day found most useful were continued on into the next generation and those that were felt to be unnecessary were not - natural selection again!

Cheers,

Weasel


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 10:54 PM

Yeah, but I would use some kind of custos as an early warning system for anything strange coming up.

I don't believe that about natural selection. I believe that music notation could be more user-friendly. There are too many musical people who try it and give up because it's so frustrating.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 03:50 AM

Right. Why are we living with a notation which stopped growing about 150 years ago?

It appears you haven't studied one of the more recent books on notation. NOBODY 150 years ago needed to notate for a 64 note scale (in each octave), but ways to do it are now well enough known to be used by those who care. (NOTE: I'm not one of them.)

There are quite a number of other "innovations" either proposed by the "modern" composers or invented to make what they composed legible enough for others to play them from some accepted form of notation. Sometimes the orchestra may find the notations so "modern" that they have to buy the book (sometimes identified in a footnote on the back page?) but notation is NOT A STATIC THING that everybody has to do the same way.

Most of us do get by with the older traditions - because it works better than other methods of passing things on to others; but you can get pretty fancy if you really want to.

John


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 05:59 AM

I like SN (Standard Notation). I learned it later in life than I should have liked but, once I got used to it - and the more I used it - the easier it became to read and write.

I like the way that you can look at the clustering of notes vertically, the linear spacing, and the rise and fall of the harmonies, and "see" the tune as a kind of picture. I start by looking at the whole page and getting the feel of it, and then work through it.

My sight reading of SN on guitar is still slow, as I don't do it enough, but my sight reading on mandolin is reasonable. (Reading complex guitar chord names at sight is no problem at all - a legacy of playing jazz for years).

One of the things that speeded up my reading and writing in SN was the use of the computer software that I mentioned before - Harmony Assistant.


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Subject: RE: Technical : alternative to 'Sibelius'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 02:31 PM

Why john, I was just listening to the first chorus from Bach's St John Passion while following Bach's handwritten MS on YouTube. Not much has changed except the symbols for a rest.

Another thing I think could be improved - the way of noting chords. Somebody figured that if one note head indicates one note okay, then three (or four or five) noteheads piled on top of each other must be okay to represent a chord.

This is not the case. I thought I had a weakness in not being able to decipher chords, but then I learned that when we read, the white space around words is as important as the black ink of the letters. When music publishers pile noteheads up, they eliminate the white space. Worse, when there's dissonance in the chord, the noteheads are even harder to decipher, being a clump rather than a stack. To me, it looks like a dog splotched its paw on the staff.


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