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Music Annotation Software Question

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ScottyG 16 Aug 01 - 12:34 PM
Lucius 16 Aug 01 - 12:43 PM
MMario 16 Aug 01 - 01:18 PM
JohnInKansas 16 Aug 01 - 04:34 PM
8_Pints 16 Aug 01 - 09:22 PM
JohnInKansas 16 Aug 01 - 10:46 PM
Lucius 17 Aug 01 - 12:41 AM
hesperis 17 Aug 01 - 12:38 PM
DMcG 18 Aug 01 - 10:50 AM
DMcG 18 Aug 01 - 10:57 AM
Brendy 18 Aug 01 - 10:59 AM
JohnInKansas 18 Aug 01 - 05:23 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Aug 01 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Aug 01 - 11:27 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Aug 01 - 12:00 AM
John P 19 Aug 01 - 08:12 AM
JohnInKansas 19 Aug 01 - 08:31 PM
ScottyG 20 Aug 01 - 10:56 AM
DMcG 20 Aug 01 - 02:01 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Aug 01 - 05:05 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Aug 01 - 07:11 PM
MMario 21 Aug 01 - 02:13 PM
wysiwyg 21 Aug 01 - 02:32 PM
MMario 21 Aug 01 - 02:35 PM
Lin in Kansas 21 Aug 01 - 03:52 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Aug 01 - 04:28 PM
M.Ted 22 Aug 01 - 12:52 AM
wysiwyg 22 Aug 01 - 01:28 AM
ScottyG 22 Aug 01 - 01:05 PM
ScottyG 22 Aug 01 - 01:07 PM
DMcG 22 Aug 01 - 01:18 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Aug 01 - 02:33 PM
hesperis 22 Aug 01 - 02:52 PM
M.Ted 22 Aug 01 - 03:57 PM
wysiwyg 22 Aug 01 - 04:37 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Aug 01 - 05:09 PM
PeteBoom 23 Aug 01 - 08:29 AM
ScottyG 23 Aug 01 - 09:29 AM
M.Ted 23 Aug 01 - 02:47 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Feb 03 - 04:01 AM
Cluin 22 Feb 03 - 01:48 PM
DMcG 22 Feb 03 - 02:01 PM
MMario 22 Feb 03 - 02:07 PM
GUEST 22 Feb 03 - 02:21 PM
Cluin 22 Feb 03 - 02:23 PM
Ed. 22 Feb 03 - 02:49 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Feb 03 - 03:08 PM
pavane 22 Feb 03 - 04:17 PM
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Mark Clark 23 Feb 03 - 06:21 PM
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Subject: Music Annotation Software Question
From: ScottyG
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 12:34 PM

I just bought a brand new loaded Pentium 4 PC, and I'm anxious to start using it for music composition. I'm really "green" when it comes to music software programs and capabilities, so I thought I'd ask you all for some advice.

Is there any software that can produce printed sheet music when a person plays a song on a midi keyboard, such as my Yamaha Clavinova? If I can avoid having to designate note values (quavers, semiquavers, etc.), that would be great.

Am I asking too much?

ScottyG


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Lucius
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 12:43 PM

The Cadillac of music notation software is Sibelius. It will notate according to your stated needs, as long as you have a strong sense of tempo.

I crossed over after using Encore and Finale. You get what you pay for. If you don't want to get set back about $250, consider Nightingale. Haven't used it much myself, but a lot of Mudcatters can (and probably will) give you the lowdown on it.

Good luck.

Lucius


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: MMario
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 01:18 PM

Many of the programs will do this - the problem lies in being accurate enough in your playing to make the notes come out correctly. Even many of the shareware programs though will take midi input if you are willing to go through and correct the time values on each note.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 04:34 PM

Almost any program you are likely to get will do what you want from a midi keyboard, but unless you are VERY good at holding your tempo the score will look like a bunch of maggots have been crawling around on it.

One problem, for most of us ordinary musicians is that you must hold a key for the full note value, otherwise you get dotted/tied/interrupted notes with little bitty random rests filling in until the next note starts. About the only people I've met (face-to-face) who can do a decent job in this respect, are trained organists, who have learned to hold the key to full sustain.

A technique I have used is to set a note duration as though making stepwise input, and just play the tune in, for example, in all eighth notes. A quarter note is two, and you actually "play" both notes. A half not is four eighths, etc.
With the note duration set, you get rid of all of the random-length notes and rests, and it's a lot easier to go back through and "merge" the sustained notes than it is to clean up my bad rythms.
The "merge" can be done by just applying a "tie" to link the notes, although if you're going to print it, you would want to put full-value notes in.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: 8_Pints
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 09:22 PM

I agree with all of the above, though most of my notation is done using the software without a keyboard connected.

Using Noteworthy Composer I can get the tune played as a midi file to confirm correct entry. You can connect a keyboard if you wish also.

For a shareware program it is really good value I think.

Good luck.

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 10:46 PM

Quite a few of the people at mudcat use Noteworthy Composer. I've looked at it briefly, and unfortunately it didn't seem to agree with my machinery. High usage by 'catters makes it interesting, and I will probably take another look after we get back from WINFIELD (see other threads)!

Another popular (shareware) program is the abc set.

The big guns are Sibelius, Finale, and various of the CakeWalk programs.

You can download trial versions of almost any of them, and some bigger music stores may have trial copies of Sibelius and/or finale on CD. I've noted in other threads that the big guys disable the help files in the trial copies, but if you click anything on the tool bar & then hit "F1" the help will open.

All of the "big guys" have little sister versions. My S.O. is using PrintMusic, about $60, that is a "cheapo" from the Finale(?) guys. It makes acceptable scores and midis.

I have yet to encounter a program that doesn't permit "save as midi" or that won't make a "score" from a midi input. That doesn't mean that they don't exist, but they seem to be rare.

A couple of sites I can lay my hands on quickly:

Coda Music for Finale & PrintMusic

Noteworthy

ABC

General Music Shareware

I haven't been to the Sibelius site recently, but as I recall you can just assume sibelius.com & get there.

Happy maggots (or dots, if you prefer)

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Lucius
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 12:41 AM

JohninKansas is right. www.Sibelius.com will get you there. I'm not so sure about the popularity of Nightingale among Mudcatters. 8 Pints got me thinking that what I meant to say was Noteworthy Composer.

Lucius


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: hesperis
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 12:38 PM

Never heard of Nightingale... clicky?


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Aug 01 - 10:50 AM

I agree that Sibelius & co are the big guns, but would recommend looking at Melody Assistant/Harmony Assistant as little guns! They are at http://www.myriad-online.com and are available as shareware. One drawback to them is that they have so many facilities and options that they look dreadful when they are first installed. Just close almost everything and start from there.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Aug 01 - 10:57 AM

... oops, I forgot to say that one of the advantages of Melody Assistant is that it reads and scores ABC format files (though getting the lyrics in the right place is often a bit of a pain).


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Brendy
Date: 18 Aug 01 - 10:59 AM

Sibelius, definitely

www.sibelius.com

B.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Aug 01 - 05:23 PM

I was also puzzled by the reference to "Nightingale." I haven't seen it mentioned before.

The best lead I could find on it was in a pricelist HERE that shows a $245 price tag "if you qualify for the 'educators' discount."

It's possible that it is an "included" part of some educational CDs offered by another site - the actual "Nightingalesoftware.com" - in which case it might look like it's "free."

Other sites indicated that this is a Mac program, also, without giving additional info. This doesn't mean it's not available for PC, but I haven't been able to find anything clear on it.

Anyone have more info?

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Aug 01 - 05:59 PM

I got something of a surprise when I went back (using my "HERE" clicky above - to check the clicky). I noted that the site also lists several "Passport" programs.

The program I use the most is called "Rhapsody" and was created by Passport. Passport filed bankruptcy, I believe in 1998, and no longer exists, so I was a little surprised to see these programs listed.

My "Rhapsody," along with some other programs, was bought by Coda. They still provide "support" via a users forum, where users can solve their own problems, but they do not sell the "Rhapsody" software.(Finale is their main product?)

Previous web searches for Passport took me to the Coda site and to news reports on the bankruptcy.

Apparently, Passport's "flagship" program, "Encore," was bought by Gvox, who continue to sell it as "Passport Encore." Recent web searches for "Passport" take me only to the GSoft site.

Mystery solved. The big fishes at the little fishes again.

BURP

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Aug 01 - 11:27 PM

I use Noteworthy. It's pretty good for the money. The others are right on the difficulty of playing a piece and having the software figure out the timing. But you can always try a likely note length, listen, and fix it.

Here's a question for everyone: In Noteworthy, I have to tell the computer ahead of time what the time signature (3/4, 6/8 etc)is before playing a piece. Do you have to do this in the expensive programs, or do they figure it out for you? Sometimes when a piece is tricky, the problem is the signature. Recently I was trying out a piece in 6/4 and it was frustrating.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Aug 01 - 12:00 AM

Sticker SHOCK!!!!!

My bald-headed son came over tonight and was wanting to do some guitar tab. Well my program doesn't do that very well, so just for S&G's I kicked open my demo Sibelius.

It looked SOGOOD for the TAB that I thought - I've been putting off my upgrade for too long.

The Sibelius site was down for about 2 hours - unknown reason, but when I got there I found that the current retail price for Sibelius 1.4 is (gasp and choke) $599.

They will knock off a little if you are a "qualified educational institution" but I've been told I'm too old to learn anything new.

Leena - When you play into any program, it has no real way of figuring out a time signature. In most cases any program will turn on with a "default," which will usually be 4/4 or C (common). Since the score, in simple work, doesn't have any dynamics to indicate "beat" notes, it doesn't really matter if you just go ahead and punch them in. It won't make a very pretty print if you're off, but the midi playback (if that's what you're after) doesn't care. If the note lengths are good, the only thing an incorrect time signature does is makes the measures break at odd places.

A word of warning: don't try to look at the score while you're making it - if you're really off. If you go by the playback, it won't matter.

I you have an Irish friend, look up "Carolan's Argument with his Landlady," which, legend has, he wrote in 4/4 with a 6/8 beat (or was it the other way around?) - just to prove it could be done.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: John P
Date: 19 Aug 01 - 08:12 AM

I've been using Coda's Finale program for a number of years and have found it to be quite versatile. I just had a book published and the publisher wanted the files in Finale.

I almost always enter music "live" on the synthesizer. The program captures it just fine. I usually have to fix a few minor glitches caused by my falling off time slightly while playing, but that is a quick and easy process.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Aug 01 - 08:31 PM

I'm not sure whether ScottyG got the answer he was looking for in all of this.

Perhaps a summary is in order?

Question: "Is there any software that can produce printed sheet music when a person plays a song on a midi keyboard, such as my Yamaha Clavinov?"

Answer: There are very many "music notation" programs around. If your keyboard has a "midi out" hole in it, and your sound card (in the PC) has a "midi in" hole, ALMOST any program you are likely to pick up will do what you ask for.

Detail: "If I can avoid having to designate note values (quavers, semiquavers, etc.), that would be great."

Answer: When you "play" into the program, the program will generally write the closest approximation for the correct "note value" - i.e. it will put quarter notes in if you play quarter notes, etc. The problem is that if you "let off" a little early - or hold a little too long, it will also put "double-dotted-eighth-notes" and "dotted 64th rests, etc into the score.
Whether or not you can do this successfully depends a lot on how "steady" a player you are.
Many, but not all, programs, allow you to select a "resolution" to make it "round-off" the notes/rests to some preset value. If you can tell the program (as an example) to "ignore anything less than eighth notes" (or even quarter notes) it can spectacularly clean up the score. Some cheaper programs have a preset "roundoff." Many cheaper ones do not.

Question: "Am I asking too much?"

Answer: Absolutely Not.
The difficulty here is in selecting a program that works for you, and in learning how to get it set up to do what you want to do. (It's a little like adopting a new kitten. It takes a while to learn what IT expects you to do.)

A few things to consider:

As a "beginner" you may feel like you have a good idea of what you want to do. As you learn almost any program, you will discover new things that it can do. You will probably then use the "new" things a lot more than you ever expected to. You may also discover some things that your program won't do, and you'll wish it could. This is called "the learning process." It never ends.

You will get a lot of advice from people who have discovered "the best" program to use. Remember that, while it may "best" for what they do with it, it may not be the best for what you want to do. Be especially suspicious of people who cannot clearly describe what they are doing with their "best." Be somewhat wary of those who say their program is "best" because of one particular thing that it does. They may be special persons with special, and limited, needs.

If you go with one of the "cadillac" programs, it is entirely possible that, as a PC beginner, you will find the user interface so unfriendly that you will never attempt to use its best features. It will do very simple things easily,but you may never find any of the other really neat things it can do. This is the "take a nuke to a knife fight" approach. Consider your own needs. In a narrow dark alley, a shotgun might work better. (Note: "In a narrow dark alley" means "for your own well-defined needs.")

The other side of the coin is that too limited a program may cause you to be discouraged with the whole thing. Fortunately, there are a number of fairly cheap programs you can use to learn how they work. These include cheap commercial and shareware programs. Nearly all of these can be downloaded from the internet as "trial copies." My best recommendation would be that you look over what is available and try a few. Actual use, or at least the attempt to use a few, will give you a lot better idea of what you need to be looking for.

If one of them isn't doing what you want it to do, don't give up without trying one or two others.

Let us know how you're doing, or come back if you can stand some more of our help.


A correction to a previous statement - "I have yet to encounter a program that doesn't permit "save as midi" or that won't make a "score" from a midi input." I recently found Finale NotePad at a codamusic site that compares their products. It appears that this program may not permit save as midi or import midi. It does NOT permit "step-time" OR "real-time" input from either midi keyboard or PC keyboard/mouse, so is obviously not suitable for your use. But it's a FREE download, if you want to look at the simplest of notation programs.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: ScottyG
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 10:56 AM

Thanks to all of you, especially JohnInKansas. I appreciate you taking the time and going to such lengths to advise a fledgling songsmith like myself. My use of the word, "annotation" when I started this thread really shows my lack of experience. I'm pretty familiar with computing in general (I better be - I'm a hardware integrator) but I don't have a lot of time to devote to learning detailed application programs. An accomplished composer friend of mine uses Sibelius, and even he gets confused sometimes. I checked out the Sibelius and Finale demos. I could eventually become proficient with both, but I'd have to sell my songs to pay for either program! I'm no where near that level, yet.

I went to a music store yesterday and bought myself a program called Score Writer. It's one of the Cakewalk products. I also picked up a USB midi interface and some midi cables. So I'm connected, but I'm damned if I can figure out how to get my piano to communicate with my PC. I know I'm doing something wrong, I just haven't a clue what. I've followed the Score Writer and midi interface instructions to no avail. The one thing I need, I don't have, and that's the owner's manual for my Clavinova. It contains all the info about the instrument's midi features. I've had the piano for almost 10 years, and never have had occasion to use the midi functionality. That's probably where I'll find my answer. Soon as I post this, I'll check the Yamaha and Cakewalk web sites and get some assistance. I'll let you know about my progress. Once I get this sorted, maybe I'll muster up enough guts to post an original composition. I've got a whole mess of 'em in my head, and some are good, I think. Thanks again, everybody.

Cheers,

ScottyG


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 02:01 PM

Hope you've got everything sorted, now ScottyG. As you've picked your software, can I divert the thread a bit? There is a complicated trade-off between at least two representations of the music:

a) precise layout of notes, etc, on paper b) the sound of the music (e.g. midi format)

For example, as far as I can tell, MIDI does not usually hold key information and repeated phrases are usually played sequencially, whereas the paper representation does not usually represent all the dynamics very precisely.

As a further complication, the availability of 'digitised' notes and lyrics (as opposed to say MP3) over the Internet is, I think, mainly in MIDI, ABC, SongWright (Digital Tradition). I am sure there are many more.

Finally, as people have said elsewhere, Sibelius is quite literally 100 times more expensive than some of the shareware programs which are often adequate for basic users.

The result of all of this is that I have ended up with four different music notation programs all of which can read MIDI - which is generally not ideal for producing paper as I said before - but are generally not compatable with each other.

What is the general opinion on the best way of exchanging notation over the net these days, given what is, frankly, rather a mess of formats?


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 05:05 PM

ScottyG:

I have a copy of CakeWalk Home Studio that came with my three-dollar keyboard, and I would suspect it's somewhat similar to Score Writer.

I would expect that your problem with not getting the program to respond to the keyboard may be coming from one of three places:

You PC has to be told to use the midi input that you have connected. See if everything looks ok in the machine "setup." (In Windows - Start/Settings/ControlPanel and look for Sounds, Multimedia, AND any installed "Sound Card")

Your PC has to be told to use the midi output that you want going to the program. Again - PC setup.

Your program has to be told what input to use.
Various programs require you to make different selections to use the keyboard, the mouse, or some other way of "picking" your notes. In the very few CakeWalk programs I've seen, hitting the "record" button and then playing from the keyboard should produce some result. (If you select a mouse input, or if that's the default when the program opens, it probably turns off keyboard input.)

I'll note a "feature" of the CakeWalk programs (the ones I've seen) that I find somewhat disconcerting. When you "play" your keyboard the program looks like nothing is going on. No notes appear until you STOP recording.

In various other programs I've looked at, nothing appears on screen until a full "measure" is played from the keyboard - even with stepwise (one-note-at-a-time) input.
And most programs can be setup to sound or not-sound the notes you play - usually in a "midi thru" on/off setting in the program, probably at "MidiSettings" or something similar.
(It's remotely possible that your keyboard may have a setting to turn on/off midi out as well?)

Some programs will refuse to enter anything until you open a "score" AND select at least one "instrument." All your keyboard tells the PC is "turn on this note" when you press a key, and "turn off this note" when you let go of the key. If the "score" records the note as fiddle, it shouldn't make any difference that the keyboard thinks its a guitar - it will play back as a fiddle.
The only recommendation I would make relative to the keyboard is, turn off all of the rythmn and chord accompaniments - until you've had a chance to practice on simple stuff.
Your PC probably has some kind of built-in sound card. PC setup may also require you to tell the sound card to use the midi input device you are connecting.
I've been able to get reasonable playback using just the "default" Windows sound stuff (i.e. no sound card at all), although you do get somewhat better results with a "real" sound card installed.
One of the best brief descriptions of things you want to look for is at the Sibelius site at the clicky for "system requirements." Even though you're not using Sibelius (very good choice for now) they briefly outline what makes a decent machine.

PC manufacturers are notorious for providing NO SUPPORT for the sound "cards" they install. They will trade on the name of a sound system manufacturer (SoundBlaster, CrystalFusion, etc) but they buy stripped-down units that they (usually) paste directly onto the motherboard, and they may make modifications. It's worth giving them a call if you have problems with the sound on a new machine, but the fact-of-life put is - DON'T EXPECT THEM TO BE ABLE TO HELP YOU. (If you do happen to get help from them, please praise them effusively. Maybe the word will - someday - get around that they should support the system accessories. I've been abusing some of them regularly for several years - so you be the "good cop.")

Since the PC maker may make changes, the "source" people can't really do much to help. They have no way of knowing what's in your machine. I have found SoundBlaster and CrystalFusion both reluctant to SELL me an operating manual - mainly because they insist that they cannot identify the OEM cards, and have no way of knowing what the PC builder "turned on."

Not to worry too much about this. You will get it working. The CakeWalk people are probably your best bet for useful support, but you can expect to use some FUF (Flounder Until Fixed - a favorite MickeySoft support technique).

Keep telling yourself "THIS IS GONNA BE A LOT OF FUN."

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 07:11 PM


DMcG:

There is some information in the mudcat FAQ on formats you can use when posting or otherwise submitting songs to DT. I would suggest looking through it, since of course the most important exchange of notation any of us might do is with DT. The gist of this is ---- IT'S MAGIC. Actually, the requirements are pretty simple, we just don't know what incantations are used to turn the crap we send in into something useful.

Nearly all notation programs are either midi-based, or are compatible with and import/export midi. While it is fairly easy to see that a given notation program does an excellent or mediocre job of printing text, it is a little more difficult to see directly that the same levels of quality apply to the midi files that they produce.

Files that you are seeing that do not contain key and time signature information were probably produced by a simple (cheap?) program that does not enter this information in the midi file. Another possibility is that you are opening them in a simple program that does not "read" and use all of the midi information that is in the file.

A midi file CAN contain about as much information as you (and your program of the moment) are willing and able to put into it. All a midi file MUST contain is a time base (which can be a default) and "turn on note" and "turn off note" lists.

Requirements for notation depend on your own individual needs. Most "scores" are quite difficult to exchange electronically, since it almost requires that both sender and recipient have the same program. For certain purposes, this is not a large problem, since groups of users may generally have a program in common. This is somewhat the situation at mudcat, since NoteWorthy, ABC, etc are fairly widely used.

Wave, MP3, and other audio files are quite portable through ftp exchanges, but are of little use for places where you want to "post" something. It should also be noted that these files can be HUGE. Sending them as email attachments can easily run afoul of size limits imposed by email servers - and some servers do not permit any attachments.
While there are devices for "translating" "digitized and/or analog audio" to "coded" formats like midi, real people cannot afford them, and for the most part they don't work very well (for any routine uses, at least).

For postings, the ABC system works fairly well. The file that is transmitted is in "plain text," and anyone who wants to can open them, even if they only use the "trial version" and don't register the downloaded program (naughty, but it can be done.)

The same can be said for the MID2TXT/TXT2MID programs. Again, a text "string" contains all the information from the midi file, and can be posted almost anywhere, including IN an email. The receiving person(s) can run the text thru TXT2MID and get back a midi file. ALMOST any notation program will open the midi file as a "score," although what it looks like will depend on what software they use to open it.

A few web sites are posting scores in PDF format. This is a "GOOD THING," since the reader is free, and it is easy to download and print these kinds of scores. Unfortunately, the program to MAKE pdf files is fairly expensive. A pdf file is plain text, and in principle could be posted as text anywhere, or pasted into an email. The problem here is that the pdf (or the related eps) file for a half page of music will generally run about 70 to 75 pages of "plain text." ANYTHING that can be printed can be included in a pdf, and the "printout" that you get depends only on the quality of your printer.

For the present, the most "portable" file is probably midi. The files are quite small, and the format is universally consistent. Where attachments are acceptable, a midi file can be attached to an email.

For postings, the MID2TXT and ABC are about the only things useable now. Using MID2TXT, and referring people to the source for the programs, you can, in effect, send anyone a midi file - as text. Once they have converted it back to midi, they can play it and their own scoring program can ALMOST certainly make a printable score.

ABC and MID2TXT sites have been posted frequently, so I'll omit them here. A site for the full midi file specification has also been posted. If you have trouble finding any of them, come back here and I, or whoever beats me to it, will try to steer you to what you need.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: MMario
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 02:13 PM

John - a very nice abstract of the whole music transmission scenario. thank you.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 02:32 PM

I have not read the whole thread, but John's post alone would qualify this for inclusion in the permathread index, especially if it contains links to other threads in similar subject matter. That was just really, REALLY clear even to a neophyte like me.

Mmario, might you suggest that to Joe?

~Susan


Done. Thanks, Susan and MMario and John.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: MMario
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 02:35 PM

sure! done.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 03:52 PM

Aghhhh...damned engineers!

(I find the most frustrating part is that he usually DOES know what he's talking about... now if I could just get him to condense it a little more!)

Just kidding. I love him anyway.

Lin


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 04:28 PM

yes dear, please don't... not again... I'll be good, I promise... OW OW OW OW OW OW.

Thanks guys. Actually, I do work fairly hard (sometimes) at making what I say simple enough that I can understand it. And answering someone else's concern is one of my tools for getting myself organized.

Hope it is helpful.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 12:52 AM

John,

You did a nice job explaining this--I am so glad that you did it, rather than someone who didn't know what they were talking about.

One point that I will add, and that is thatwhen you venture into music notation and composition you are stepping into several realms that exist quite independently of the others, each with it's own learning curve--

First is the art of MIDI sequencing, which basically is the production of sequenced,synthesizer-generated music files,--

Second is the craft of music copying--that it, the scribing of notes on the staff--

Third is the art of music transcription, that is, taking musical ideas, either out of your own playing or the playing of others and representing them in notation--

Fourth is the art of musical arrangement, which is the creation of playable musical pieces, for one or more instruments and or voices, based on an existing melody-

Fifth is the skill of computer music notation, which is the mastery of a given computer program that utilizes all of the above.

You can do each or all of any of the first four, without having a clue about the last one, but you can't do the last one without at least a passing understanding of the first four--

For instance, if you can't write out a musical idea by hand on manuscript paper, how are you going to know if you notation program has transcribed it correctly? And how are you going to correct it? If you don't know some basic things about music composition, how are you going to a write a MIDI file with bass, melody and harmony parts? And if you don't know some basic music theory, how are you going to decide what chords should go on a lead sheet?

I am not saying that it is impossible to go into all this with nothing more than a Pentium, a program, and a can-do attitude, but it is a high dive into cold, deep water, and you should be prepared to thrash frantically for quite a while--


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:28 AM

Another EXCELLENT overview.

I feel like a sponge in apple juice, soaking up lots of easily-processed, formerly-obscure essentials!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: ScottyG
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:05 PM

John,

Score Writer and Overture have been "acquired" by a company called Geniesoft, so the Cakewalk folks no longer support either product. I sent Geniesoft an email describing my midi problem, and their response indicates that there is a sound problem in the software that they are working on trying to resolve. In the meantime, I'm going to use your 5:05 PM post of yesterday as a trouble shooting guide and see if I can get anywhere. Again, thanks tons for your help and advice.

M.Ted,

I fully agree with everything you said. Anyone with no background would find it rough going to produce sheet music, particularly with a computer. I've completed several music classes, one being music theory, so I have a basic understanding of music notation. I can sight-read, and I play the clarinet, flute, sax, and a little cornet, as well as sing. I'm not an accomplished pianist by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not too shabby on the old ivories, either. I've often sat at my piano plinking out a song, a few notes at a time, committing them to paper by hand as I go. (The "old fashioned" way of writing music.) But that takes too long, and I'm impatient. I'd rather play out a song concept and be able to print it out on the spot, then go back and make necessary revisions. As you say, I may flail about in the abyss for a bit, and thanks for the heads up. But anybody like myself, who has some level of musical experience and a whole lot of enthusiasm, can write a song, especially with the kind of encouragement one gets from Mudcatters such as yourself, JohnInKansas, and others. Thanks again.

Scott


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: ScottyG
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:07 PM

J-IN-K,

Sorry. I meant your 5:05 PM post of 20 August.

SG


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: DMcG
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 01:18 PM

Thanks to all for you comments. All I can add is that M.Ted remarks on the 'Craft of music copying' could lead to someone underestimating just how important this skill is. After all, this is the stage that determines whether you have turn turn the page right in the middle of that tricky bit ...


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:33 PM


ScottyG:

It may be a good thing in the long run that your program has gone back to its creator. My impression of the Cakewalk guys is that they are pretty much into the "instant gratification" kind of people, who just want to play it and get a playback. Notation seemed to me to get the short end of the stick from them.

It may take the new company a while to get up to speed, but the program has been around long enough that you can expect it to work - you just have to figure out how. You might ask Geniesoft if there is a "user's group" anywhere on the web. If there is, someone will certainly want to brag about how they solved "your" problem. Just remember - often their concept of "your" problem is what they want to brag about - not what you need. Common problem in UGs.

M.Ted

I fully agree with your comments on the difficulty of doing "the right stuff." These things have been problems for about the last 400 years - about when most conventional notation became sufficiently "standard" to be useful.

The one you left off though:

Sixth?: You have to get somebody to play from your score.

This is when you find out if what you did really works. Fortunately, most musicians (at least the ones who use "dots" at all) are accustomed to filling in for what the score doesn't say.

The music score is a means of communication, and what matters is whether the "reader" gets the message you intended. The passage of information works best between people who speak the same "language" at similar levels of sophistication, so for most of us a simple score works better than one with all the bells and whistles.

I did not mean we mostly talk to simpletons!

Music is something that most of us need to study all our lives; but as soon as we can whistle/hum/strum a melody, I'd like to see it written down.

If you are making midis to post somewhere - YES, midi sequencing is a deep and arcane art that you must master.

If you are setting scores for publication - YES, you must make sure that your composition, arrangement and notation setup are the best possible.

But you've gotta start somewhere, soon, and practice practice practice. The important thing is to start.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: hesperis
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 02:52 PM

The other thing to make absolutely sure: is the keyboard's midi OUT connected to the computer's midi IN? (And vice versa.)

I just picked up Finale Notepad last week, and I love it for notation. But as it doesn't do midi, I didn't recommend it for this.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 03:57 PM

Cakewalk is no longer handling Overture? Aack--

I really like the folks at Cakewalk, and was happy when they took over Overture--it is a very good notation program, much more intuitive that Finale(which I find to be a completely klunky, and awkward program, and I figure after playing with the thing for eight years, I am entitled to my opinions) with handy buttons to interpolate for jazz--best thing is that it allows full scale midi playback of the score--and has sequencer capabilities--problem is that it relies on OMS--also, as far as I can tell, it won't calculate chords--

John,

There are a lot of people around who think that they can circumvent learning about music(or anything else, for that matter) with a computer program, and there are a lot of people who subtly encourage that mindset in order to sell software, hardware, MIDI instruments, etc--Most of the "serious" programs suffer from the "we have ways to let you do everything syndrome", which end up making it very difficult to do the simple things, that, as you point out, are really all most of us need all the time, anyway--

I didn't mention it before, but one can learn a lot about arranging and notation by simply opening up some of Lesley Nelson's wonderful MIDI files from the Contemplations Site: http://www.contemplator.com/--


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 04:37 PM

My experience about learning about music is that whatever one begins with, one is soon drawn into the other areas-- one continuum that serves to illustrate is dots vs. ear. Start with either and you soon have lots of opportunities, pursuing the expression of a music you love, to reach in the other direction. If one does reach (and not all do), one is drawn past many wrong assumptions, through a lot of never-anticipated learning ewxperiences, along a path that szeems to glow in the dark. The musicians I love to work with, I think, are the ones just starting to reach-- just starting to let go of the "I Can't" assumption and discovering new things not only about music, but about themselves. They react like children turned out to play long after they have been made to behave; set loose, they suddenly find all their childlike abandon is intact and powerful. After that intense, absorbed, joyous interaction in a new way with music, the motivation to learn more is present with few barriers to fulfillment (except silly ones like time, money, etc.).

I think THAT's when the real, and most productive learning begins, in any subject area-- when the subject takes over its devotee, invites him/her to be a learner, and makes him/her its lover.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 05:09 PM

As M.Ted observes, theres more salesmanship than product in a lot of the stuff out there.

An old saying from the early days of computers:

"Any dumbass that let's his computer do his thinking for him probably doesn't do enough thinking to make a dumb computer look bad."

Unfortunately, that's not a popular thing to say in some circles anymore.

My assumption is that most of the people here are musicians first, and that they have some purpose (musically related) that they want to accomplish. The problem is to beat the program(s) into submission to make them do what you want (and it's a little different for each person.)

I'm optimistic that when the end product comes out of the printer, the musician in us will make the judgment on whether the job is done.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: PeteBoom
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 08:29 AM

Kudos to John for his posts. I have used Cake Walk Score Writer for nearly 2 years and it is great, even for writing pipe band drum scores. The thing is, as with many products, there is a learning curve. Be patient and don't be over anxious. As far as the double-dotted/weird rests syndrome - call the finished score up and edit it manually. It can be cumbersome at first, but it will get sorted out. It it is not fun, it is too close to work. (After all, you PLAY music, not WORK music...)

Regards -

Pete


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: ScottyG
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 09:29 AM

John, Pete, M.Ted and the rest,

I'm almost there. After going half nuts trying to figure out why the notes were not appearing on screen as I played them, I disconnected everything, reconnected it, did a system restart, and voila! Sheet music from my piano that I can print.

Now the only other thing I need to determine is whyI get zilch when I play back a recorded file. No sound at all. I've been over and over the Score Writer instruction book, but I must be missing something, or misinterpreting a step somewhere. At least I've made some progress. I'll get there sooner or later. This may well be related to the sound problem that the Geniesoft tech referred to the other day. Pete, do you have any problem playing back your music in Score Writer?

Scott


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 02:47 PM

ScottyG,

Best of luck to you--I can't help with the playback issue, I use Mac, which has similar problems but different solutions--I can give you tip, and that is to remember that each element in you system has options for selection input and outputs, and sometimes there is something there that you didn't think of--At the risk of confusing you, here are some of the NO SOUND problems I had:

I discovered that I wasn't sending MIDI to my synthesizer because the port was selected for ethernet in the operating system, so my computer thought it was in use--

When I upgraded my operating system, one of the programs I used stopped saving my port selection, and defaulted to the my printer port when I started up--When I selected the Modem port in the program's midi window, I got a deafening rush of noise(forgot I maxed the volume when I was getting no sound)

Another time, I discovered that, for whatever reason, the device I was sending to(a Roland JV-880) was selected in my sequencer for the tracks I was using, but was selected for tracks that I wasn't using--

And yet another time, I discovered that the MIDI channels I was sending to on my keyboard somehow or another had been muted--had to reset the value on my keyboard--

Of course, I have had lots more problems than these, but I chose these to show you different causes for the same problem--throw in the fact that each of the problems related to a different element, from a different mfg--and there was no single tech call that I could have made to clear them up--that is how it usually is--

I will suggest that you check around to see if there are mail-list support groups for each of the components you have in your system, software/computer hardware/and synthesizer--they can be a lot of help, and you can often get almost instant response--there used to be a Finale list that expanded to include other notation programs, but I left the list, lost the address, and don't know if it still exists--nice thing was that the members of the list were sort of evangelists for music notation software, so they were really responsive to newbies--


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 04:01 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Cluin
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 01:48 PM

So which ones will handle grace notes? I've used Noteworthy Composer for years but had to mark the grace notes on the printouts by hand.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: DMcG
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 02:01 PM

Melody Assistant and Harmony Assistant from myriad software certainly handle grace notes.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: MMario
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 02:07 PM

Every version of Noteworthy I have used handles grace notes.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 02:21 PM

thank you dmcg sounds like just what i have been looking for myself recently.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Cluin
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 02:23 PM

Which versions of NWC have you used, MMario? None of the ones I had would take them. Or was I missing something? How did you input them?


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Ed.
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 02:49 PM

Cluin, version 1.70 of NWC cetainly does grace notes. Search help for 'grace'


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 03:08 PM

There are a few programs that let you insert "unplayed" grace notes so that they'll print, but are not incorporated into a midi that you make from the notation. Most of the programs I've looked at enough to consider using have some mechanism for at least printing grace notes, but quite a few of the simpler/cheaper ones don't "play" them.

Better programs let you print and playback grace notes with at least some "default" timing. There are some inexpensive programs with this ability, but I haven't kept notes on this feature for programs I've looked at. (This thread is mostly a couple of years old.)

The best programs (with respect to this feature) will let you set the value(s) for how much time the grace note gets to "steal" from the following note, usually as a percentage (25% typical) of the "time value" of the note that follows.

The same variations in program capability apply to the other embellishment markings, like turns, crans, rolls, stacato, fermata, and glis. Some programs ignore them. Some let you notate them, but ignore them in playback, and some attempt to notate and play them.

The same variations in program capability apply to dynamic markings, like crescendo, etc. In many less expensive programs, they're just text notes. Better programs attempt to play them back. The best programs let you enter you own values for the playback.

The only valid assessment of whether a program does what you want it to in this respect is to get the "trial version," or borrow some time at a friends setup, and see if it does your thing.

Grace notes are a notation shorthand, but unfortunately they mean different things to different people. "Orchestral" performers usually take about 1/4 of the time value from the following note, but there have been noted conductors who insisted that the proper value was 1/8. For some folk fiddlers, a grace note lasts until the fiddler finds the note (s)he's looking for. Usually the time is "stolen" from the following note, but in a few kinds of music it's common to take it from the preceding note. Usually the following note is accented, but in some styles of music the grace note is accented. And fiddlers have been arguing since the 1600s whether a turn is a "diddle-dee" or a "diddle-diddle" or a "diddle-diddle-dee" or a "diddle-de-diddle."

You can always use the technique that's becoming common in "intellectual" music and write out the real time values you want - without the shorthand. A quarter note is 4 sixteenth notes, so write the a "graced quarter" with the grace note as a sixteenth note, followed by a "dotted eighth."

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: pavane
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 04:17 PM

My program Harmony scores and plays grace notes, but so far only with a fixed time valie. I could easily add a parameter to vary it.

In Harmony, grace notes steal from the following note, but only in the same bar.


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 02:54 PM

This music dictionary seems to suggest a greater length for an appoggiatura than mentioned above. But is a very inclusive dictionary. Worth bookmarking!

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Help: Music Annotation Software Question
From: Mark Clark
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 06:21 PM

Nice link, Nigel… thanks.

      - Mark


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