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Tech: A good music writing program?

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Walking Eagle 03 Jan 04 - 05:25 PM
James_devon 03 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM
s&r 03 Jan 04 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,vectis 03 Jan 04 - 07:28 PM
Walking Eagle 03 Jan 04 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,Jon 03 Jan 04 - 08:35 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Jan 04 - 08:46 PM
Walking Eagle 03 Jan 04 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Jon 03 Jan 04 - 11:19 PM
GUEST,Pict 03 Jan 04 - 11:23 PM
Mark Clark 04 Jan 04 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Jon 04 Jan 04 - 01:30 AM
pavane 04 Jan 04 - 07:48 AM
Mark Clark 04 Jan 04 - 02:22 PM
Willie-O 05 Jan 04 - 08:21 AM
Willie-O 05 Jan 04 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,MMario 05 Jan 04 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,pavane 05 Jan 04 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,MMario 05 Jan 04 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Jon 05 Jan 04 - 01:01 PM
Ed. 05 Jan 04 - 01:05 PM
Willie-O 05 Jan 04 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,MMario 05 Jan 04 - 03:57 PM
Walking Eagle 05 Jan 04 - 05:50 PM
Ed. 05 Jan 04 - 06:12 PM
Ed. 05 Jan 04 - 06:37 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Jan 04 - 11:34 PM
Mark Clark 05 Jan 04 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,Jon 06 Jan 04 - 06:17 AM
DMcG 06 Jan 04 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Jon 06 Jan 04 - 07:08 AM
Mark Clark 06 Jan 04 - 12:31 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Jan 04 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Jon 06 Jan 04 - 04:16 PM
GUEST 06 Jan 04 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Jon 06 Jan 04 - 04:36 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Jan 04 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,Jon 06 Jan 04 - 05:35 PM
RangerSteve 06 Jan 04 - 07:46 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Jan 04 - 07:57 PM
Walking Eagle 06 Jan 04 - 10:12 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Jan 04 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,Jon 07 Jan 04 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Jon 07 Jan 04 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,pavane 07 Jan 04 - 08:00 AM
mooman 07 Jan 04 - 08:22 AM
Mark Clark 07 Jan 04 - 02:48 PM
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Subject: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 05:25 PM

Can anyone advise me about music writing software? I've heard good and bad things about MusicWrite. I have a new Dell system, the number escapes me at this point.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: James_devon
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM

A lot depends on your budget.

Sibelius is by far the best .... but its awesomely expensive. Cubase lite and cakewalk are both quite good (and good for recording and midi stuff too).   I use a thing called melody maker which is really cheap - like $15 .... but so far as I know, its really for Mac .... and I don't know if its available for PC.

Also depends upon what you want to do.

type and write music?
record midi and convert to written music? (plug into a keyboard?)
record music as well (audio record?)


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM

What exactly do you want to do with it? The many products available all have different strengths and weaknesses. No doubt someone will be along any moment now to recommend Noteworthy, but frankly I'd avoid it if you want to be sure the results will be compatible with other software.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: s&r
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 06:51 PM

I like Finale, but it's not cheap, and it takes a bit of time


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,vectis
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 07:28 PM

I like Noteworthy and find it flexible enough to do what I want it to do. I have a demo version of Sibellius and although it is good it's too complicated for me. Using Noteworthy combined with ABC I usually find most tunes I want, eventually.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 08:21 PM

I want to type and write music.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 08:35 PM

I'm afraid I'm about to make a "me too" post here...

Define your aims (and read past threads).

In brief, music splits firstly 2 ways - audio programs with things like mp3 and .wav and secondly, various ways to make a computer play and write music. The second group can be further divided into programs that aim mostly to give things to listen to or music to read.

Within the second group, my own favorites are Cakewalk (versions of which can also mix audio thought I've never tried that) for sequencing and the use of abc (and because of my own limitations, I do often use Noteworthy as a helping step on this) for notation, or at least for the notation I want to try to help produce.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 08:46 PM

Take a look at the recent previous thread Music Annotation. There's been quite a bit of discussion about what's available.

Sibelius and Finale are the two "professional" programs most often cited, but they're both pretty expensive for the occasional user, and both of them are so loaded down with "features" that they can be a little daunting to learn. The last time I looked, Sibelius had a list price of about $700 US, but you can get it from a number of web sellers for about the same price they show for "academic" users - in the $300 range, as I recall.

There are quite a few reasonably good freeware/shareware programs. The thread linked above has links to a couple of places to look. You should be able to get an "adequate" notation program from commercial sources for $70 or less, and full/registered versions of some of the shareware programs are under $30 as I recall.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for the help. Any more suggestions? Does freeware/shareware mean that the programs are available through the net? Would I download them to a disk? I'm a bit of a neophyte here.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 11:19 PM

Not sure it "means" that but you will find lots on the net. You would most commonly be looking to download to your hard disk and install from there. Some programs may be self installing, others may be something like a zip file where you extract and put in a folder of your choice.

You still haven't set out your aims BTW. I'd hazzard a guess that maybe (and sorry Malcolm - I have my reservations too...) Noteworthy or Melody Assistant are probably amongst the ones you are thinking about.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Pict
Date: 03 Jan 04 - 11:23 PM

www.synthzone.com has links to many freeware(free)and shareware(usually low priced but often quite good)programs.Noteworthy composer is a well known shareware program that has many users.Sibelius is in my opinion the best by far it is much more intuitive to use than Finale which is the main competitor.It seems to be the case,from what I've read,that most Finale users jump ship to Sibelius once they try it but not the other way around.Sibelius has every feature you can imagine that might be useful for notation as does Finale but I have used both and Sibelius slaughters Finale for ease of use and intuitive interface.I would recommend Sibelius if you can afford it.Logic audio platinum by Emagic has the best notation features of the main sequencing programs(progs that can record midi and audio)it also has the ability to let you use virtual instruments and audio effects it is also pricey but is an excellent piece of software.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Jan 04 - 01:07 AM

As a longtime owner of Finale I'd recommend trying all the best free and low-cost shareware before spending any serious money. When I bought Finale, most of the great open-source programs we have today didn't exist. The shareware that did exist, didn't meet even my simple needs—four-part choir music on a grand staff. Today I do all my four-part vocal music with tools from the ABC Plus project. The editor I use (GNU Emacs) is a programmer's editor and the non-technical user probably wouldn't use it. Still, there are other free editors with special modes for ABC.

If you are a keyboard player, you may want a program that lets you input music from your keyboard via a MIDI cable. If you aren't a keyboard player (that would be me) typing ABC code is orders of magnitude faster than trying to play a tune into the computer or using Finale's graphical note placement interfaces.

I even upgraded Finale when they came up with the microphone input feature but I was sorely disappointed. I had some luck just running my tele directly into the mic input but it still was way more trouble than just typing ABC. And with ABC, entering synchronized lyrics is much easier than trying to use Finale's lyrics tools.

My frustration with Finale, as compared with ABC, isn't because I don't understand computers or arcane interfaces. I've been a computer professional for 37 years and am very comfortable with all types of computers.

Be sure the software you choose imports and exports standard open formats for music exchange. A list of formats includes ABC, LilyPond, Common Music Notation (CMN), MusixTex and MusicXML. MIDI is a standard format too of course but it doesn't really make provision for all the information you'd expect to see in a score.

All of this discussion supposes that you're looking for software whose primary goal is to produce a nice looking printed page. If your interest is centered more around creating sound files, you'll want different tools. You'll want specialized recording, editing and MIDI sequencing software and I have no familiarity with any of that.

Beware the claims of software companies. As one who has purchased millions of dollars worth of software for large corporate installations I can say there is one sure way to tell that a software salesman is lying… his lips are moving. That sounds like I'm really cynical about software but I'm really not. I just know what the industry is like and how far the truth is usually stretched.

Whether you spend $800 or $8 for your software, the true cost is in the time it takes to understand it and learn to use if effectively. Don't expect any program to be as useful as you'd hoped right off the bat. You need to spend significant time with each product you try before deciding that you can't make it work for you. Everyone works in a little different way and that give rise to a wide array of available tools.

      - Mark



NB: Here's something you can try. Pull up the thread called MIDI Volunteer Sought and scan down until you see one of the ABC tunes I posted. Highlight just the ABC code and copy it (Ctrl-C). Then visit the Tune-O-Tron: Converter, paste the ABC code (Crtl-V) in to the ABC Convert-A-Matic text box and click the submit button. The converter will return a page with a low-res image of the score and three links just above that will return a beautifly engraved score and the associated MIDI file for listening. If these meet your needs, you're there. You don't even have to download software if you'd rather not. Use Windows Notepad to type in the score and just copy it and past it in at the Tune-O-Matic: Converter site. To learn about ABC encoding and to see what it's capabilities are, read Guido Gonzatto's great manual Typesetting Music With ABC. It has all the informatin you'll need to get started.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Jan 04 - 01:30 AM

Only one slight rider to Mark's comments above. According to the documentation at the site, the tune-o-tron uses abc2ps rather than abcm2ps. The differences may not matter but we have found discrepancies all the same. A couple I can think of are that abc2ps aligns words under grace notes and seems to have some requirement of the tilde (~) symbol even if an ornament is given by {}. Minor differences I know but Guido's manual will be based on abcm2ps.

If you do want to try the abc route (I'm a big fan BTW), another resource is this one put together by Steve Mansfield.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: pavane
Date: 04 Jan 04 - 07:48 AM

I am trying to provide my program HARMONY with an easy way to enter tunes, but so far, I haven't really improved on import from abc.

HARMONY does provide automated functions for generating percussion (not really supported in abc) and adding harmony voices (3rd, 5ths, octaves etc)


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Jan 04 - 02:22 PM

Entering ABC using GNU Emacs and an ABC major mode is really easy, partly because of Emacs and its ABC mode and partly because ABC was designed to be easy to enter. In my editor I enter Ctrl-c s and a new tune is added to the current file. It enters the X value and then prompts me for values of a list of commands like T, C, B, S, M, Q, K and the MIDI instruments to use for various aspects (i.e., melody, chords, bass, etc.). The ABC mode also has a point-and-click note entry facility where you simply click on a note or expression symbol and it's entered in the ABC file. I don't use point-and-click very often because typeing ABC directly from a score is so quick and natural.

People developing music software are usually focused on the musical aspects of the problem and on quality rendering of the score. Some products have spent a lot of development time on specialized interfaces for note entry but, except for direct real-time performance capture from a MIDI keyboard, none has come up with a better scheme than just typing ABC into a really good editor such as GNU Emacs. If Finale could import an ABC file and understand all the features of ABC+, I might be using Finale a lot more.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 08:21 AM

I'm just getting the hang of Noteworthy. So far its the best I've found for what I want to do. (enter standard musical notation, or hook up a keyboard and play it in.) Can someone expand on the comment about Noteworthy incompatibility? It can save in type 1 Midi or type 0 Midi, aren't those standard cross-platform file types? Or does Noteworth make weird Midis?

The other program I've tried is Musette. Similar to Noteworthy, and it comes as freeware or "premium". Nice and simple to use, but I find it annoying to have a program billed as freeware when the freeware version is very limited and the documentation (which sucks) makes endless references to "this feature only available in the premium version".


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 08:30 AM

Another Noteworthy question. The problem I'm having is how to set up the scores for printing. I can't find how to specify a line break for the staff, and again the documentation is useless on this quite basic matter. Anyone?

W-O


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 08:54 AM

willie-o; *I* haven't had a problem with Noteworthy compatibility - with the exception of lead in notes - which is easily solved by padding the first measure. it does have some problems importing midi's - again - usually due to lead in notes - and it doesn't always handle triplets etc correctly.

lokewise when I export to ABC I need to check the first and last measure.

the default tempo also appears to be a bit faster then for most programs (120 vs 100) but that can be adjusted easily as well.


to force a break - highlight the bar line, go to properties (right click) and check the "force system break" box.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 12:43 PM

Just a small note: If you find that the MIDI file seems to end rather abruptly, pad the file out with a couple of bars of rests. This can sound better.

Not sure if Noteworthy does this automatically (HARMONY does).
(HARMONY correctly handles tuples up to at least 5, and doesn't need measures to be padded.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 12:57 PM

HARMONY is one DAMN good program - and has been through the last several incarnations.

Pavane keeps adding functions to it - and is very responsive to requests.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 01:01 PM

My memory is a little foggy but rather than tempo wich should not be a problem, I have a feeling that Noteworthy is a little unusual in the Timebase it sets. I thought there was a thread here where it was noted that a MIDI produced in Noteworthy can produce odd rests when viewed in say Cakewalk but can't seem to find it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Ed.
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 01:05 PM

I think that you mean this thread, Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 03:54 PM

thanks for the specifics. I had found that "force system break" thing with a little more digging. Software engineers shouldn't write their own GUI's (pavane excepted). "Force system break" indeed.

If there's one thing I'd like to see in all such programs, its good task-oriented documentation, starting with a simple clear explanation of what kinds of tasks the program is designed to accommodate, and what it is not designed to do. (Dream on).

W-O


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 03:57 PM

LOLROFPMP!



task-oriented documentation, starting with a simple clear explanation of what kinds of tasks the program is designed to accommodate

hee-hee-hee-hahahahahahahaha!

GUFFAW!


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 05:50 PM

I'll define as best I can what I want to be able to do as far as a music writing program is concerned. I'd like to take music I know, put it in the fake style with simple notes and maybe two parts, melody and bass line, and have three additional staff lines underneath the words for dulcimer tab. No MIDI music. That's as precise as I can get.


W.E.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Ed.
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 06:12 PM

Hmmm,

I think that you'd be hard pushed to find a program that didn't support MIDI...

I don't understand what you mean by 'fake style' but if you want Melody/Bass, three additional staff lines and Dulcimer tab, then I think you'll have to pay (quite a lot).

Try Sibelius or Finale as suggested by JohnInKansas. You'll have to put up with the fact that they do MIDI... *grin*


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Ed.
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 06:37 PM

If you were ready to forego the 'dulcimer tab' ABC would do all you need, and would cost you nothing (as several other people have said). There is a learning curve, but every musical notation package has one, and ABC isn't that steep (assuming that you have rudimentary musical knowledge).


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 11:34 PM

The dulcimer tab is probably the hardest thing to get in otherwise decent cheap notation programs. With quite a few of them, you can "edit" fret numbers on top of the lines, and line them up with the notes "by eye." The expedient is to use the 5 lines of a staff and consider the outer two lines the edges of the finger board.

Since the vast majority of notation programs use "frames" for all text, it does mean that you have to enter each number (digit) as a separate text block in order to be able to move it to the line where you want it. It does get tedjus.

I've encountered a couple of freeware/shareware programs that do claim to "automatically" produce tab (different programs for different instruments' tab) from the notes, but most of them were pretty marginal for producing clean notation that satisfied me. Sadly, I was so 'whelmed by them I didn't keep notes.

As noted, Sibelius lets you set the number of strings, the tuning for each string, and the location(s) of the individual frets in virtually any tab format you'd want; and automatically converts the notes to more or less usable tab; but the price (and the attitude) have kept me from making the jump to actually owning one.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 11:54 PM

W.E., I honestly think the ABC+ tools will be the most satisfactory solution for the tasks you describe. Add abc2tab to the tools Jon and I mentioned above, and you'll have everything you need. abc2tab specifically addresses dulcimer tabs. Spending money (a little or a lot) isn't going to buy you tools that do the job any better than these.

abc2tab is written in Perl. If you don't have Perl on your system, you can freely download it from perl.com for nearly any computer you may have.

Another popular ABC tab program is Christoph Dalitz's abctab2ps, a program that creates many kinds of tablature and outputs it to PostScript files for beautiful printing.

Frank Nordberg maintains a searchable database of ABC applications. There's also a comprehensive list of software at Chris Walshaw's homepage.

There is a ton of ABC information here on Mudcat as well and experts you can use as a resource while your honing your ABC skills.

Good luck,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:17 AM

We discovered a number of problems with abc2tab. What I can't remember is how it coped with m dulcimer tab. The mandolin and guitar tab was certainly a mess - it even failed to put notes in the losest string. I know John in Brisbane did try to contcat the author but I'm not convinced he ever got a reply. It is not a program I recommend.

abctab2ps does sound good in that postscript output is usually very nice but it does appear you have to write a modified abc to produce a tab line, see here for chords for example.

Overall, much as I'd like to be recommending abc, my own thoughts for W.E. would be to give TablEdit a whirl.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: DMcG
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:33 AM

'Harmony Assitant' from www.myriad-online.com supports dulcimer. I expect Melody Assistant does as well but haven't checked. As I don't play dulcimer, however, I can't tell if the tab it creates any good. You can download an evaluation copy for free to try out, though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 07:08 AM

I hadn't realised Harmony Assistant (and poss M A) supported tab. A good thing with both of those and my suggestion is that they do offer abc support.

For W.E., one of the other great things about abc is simply the volume of tunes on the Internet written in this format. Just have a look through the abc collections section from the link Mark gave. It is not as strong on songs (with words attached and aligned) but there are certainly sites, including ours that are trying in this area. I suspect that in time Mudcat/dt may get out of it's MIDI/songwrite thinking and there already is a version of the dt converted to abc. Other formats such as Lilypond may gain wider support but if simplicity is what's needed (we in the folk world are not looking to produce orchestral scores), I don't think there is anything to beat the potential of abc.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 12:31 PM

Jon, Thanks for adding your experience with the ABC tablature programs. I confess I don't really use tablature enough to have that level of insight. I had discovered that abctab2ps required non-standard ABC encoding and for that reason I haven't really used it either.

I do agree that TablEdit has a lot going for it. I use their free viewer to display tablature files downloaded from the Net. TablEdit claims to import ABC but since I haven't tried the full program, I don't know how that shows up in tablature. Does TablEdit provide the ability to represent instruments other than guitar in standard tuning? (I mentioned abc2tab only because dulcimer tab is one of their claimed strengths. I'm sorry to learn that it doesn't really work.)

I think there is a basic weakness in any software that attempts to construct tablature from the notes alone. It means the user relys on the the software developer to decide how best to play a piece of music. This is extremely limiting. It may be useful for a rank beginner who can't figure out where to find melody notes on his instrument but, past that, it doesn't really help with performance. The chief value of tablature over standard notation lies in the ability of one musician to pass the precise technical details of performance to others.

Of course the ABC Plus project includes an ABC preprocessor (abcpp) that lets you code simple macros into the source ABC file. This lets the user create one file that may be used for printing a score via abcm2ps, a MIDI file via abc2midi or tablature via abctab2ps. I haven't tried using abcpp for tablature but I've used in in files where I needed both printed and MIDI output and I needed features in the score that weren't acceptable to the abc2midi program.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 04:07 PM

I'm curious about a couple of references to PostScript output in comments above. It is quite true that PostScript provides exceptionally clean printing, but I'm not aware that most US users are likely to have personal printers capable of rendering that format.

My question is whether PostScript capable printers are more the normal thing in some of our "mudcat subcultures."

I've been using PostScript routinely for many years, but in my case it's a matter of necessity due to business with publishers. My first PS capable printer was an HP LaserJet, ca. 1991, and the PS RIP to obtain the capability cost nearly as much as the printer itself.

For a venture into color printing a few years back, a PostScript RIP for a new Epson inkjet ($139 - some years ago when they were more expensive) cost me nearly $350 extra.

QMS laser printers have always, so far as I know, used PostScript as their "native language," but it's only in recent years that HP lasers have included it as a "standard option" by emulation. Even now, an HP laser may not have the feature if you get a low cost model. I don't know of an inkjet, by far the most popular kind for personal use here, that comes with this capability.

This is definitely thread drift, but where in the world is it common for people to be able to print PostScript on machines they're likely to have around the home? Or - the other possibility - where are users likely to "send out" stuff they do for personal use to a commercial printer, where PostScript would be useful?

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 04:16 PM

John, I don't have a ps capable printer either but check out Ghostscript. It's what I amongst others use to produce things like pdf files from ps output. It is excellent and, with abc in mind, it is a pretty simple matter to work out a batch file (or in my case a php web script) to pass the output from programs like abcm2ps onto ghostscript.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 04:27 PM

As I don't believe in "trade secerets", John, here is the current code I use to extract an abc file from an mysql database, add words from another db field to give W:, possibly transpose and allow for setting both on A4 and letter... before producing a pdf output for a user. I know it could be improved (and this has been hacked when I added things) on but this is doing its job for us.

<?php

header ("Content-type: application/pdf");
$Connection = mysql_connect("connection details which are secret!");
mysql_select_db("songdb");
$SQL = "Select Tune, Lyrics from Song Where SongID=" . $_GET["SongID"];
$result = mysql_query($SQL);
$row = mysql_fetch_array($result);
$abc = "%%pageheight 11in\n"."%%pagewidth 8.5in\n"."%%leftmargin 0.7in\n"."%%rightmargin 0.7in\n";
if ($_GET["paper"]== "a4"){
$abc = "%%pageheight 29.7cm\n"."%%pagewidth 21.0cm\n"."%%leftmargin 1.8cm\n"."%%rightmargin 1.8cm\n";
}
$abc = $abc . $row[0] . "\nW:". str_replace("
", "\nW:",$row[1]);
$abc = "%%wordsspace 20\n%%footer Printed from folkinfo.org. For details about this song please visit http://www.folkinfo.org/songs\n" . $abc;
if (@$_GET["t"]){
        $fp = fopen("demo1.abc", "wb");
        fwrite($fp, $abc);
        fclose($fp);
        $prog = "abc2abc.exe demo1.abc -e -t " . $_GET["t"] . " >demo.abc";
        exec($prog);
        }
else
        {
        $fp = fopen("demo.abc", "wb");
        fwrite($fp, $abc);
        fclose($fp);
        }
        
$prog = "abcm2ps.exe demo.abc -s 0.8 -O ..\gs\gs7.04\bin\out.ps";
exec($prog);
chdir("..\gs\gs7.04\bin");
if ($_GET["paper"]== "a4"){
        $paper = " -sPAPERSIZE=a4";
}
else
        {
        $paper = "";
        }

exec("gswin32c.exe -q -dNOPAUSE" . $paper . " -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=out.pdf out.ps");
readfile("out.pdf");
?>


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 04:36 PM

Mark, TablEdit does claim to cope whith the m.d. It's been a while since I looked at it but I seem to remember you can both enter notes on a music score and on tab. I also think you can set rules to help in predict where say on guitar, you might want to move up a position or two.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:17 PM

Jon -

I've used ghostscript quite a lot, and there are some great things you can do with it, but if you have to rip it back to another printer language you don't really get much improvement in the print quality over just printing direct from a notation program.

As an intermediate for producing a .pdf, a .ps file could be useful; but you can get there by just installing a PostScript print driver (readily available) and doing a "print to file," if your .pdf maker is one of those that needs a printfile (.ps) input. Of course, if the ghost suite is your .pdf maker, you might as well do it all there.

It would seem that the usefulness you find in the .ps relates more to what you can do with it (GUEST=GUEST,Jon?) when you wring in a SQL database and get pretty sophisticated with the ABC (a little beyond what W.E. seems to want.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:35 PM

Sorry John, I did forget to add my name to one guest post...

John from my side, I have no idea what drivers a user may have but I know people can get Acrobat for free for just about any system. That's why I work that way and personally I like the output from a pdf. I guess I could also provide the plain ps output but have never been convinced many would be capable of printing that way (perhaps something to look at).

The main usefulness of ps to me is that by far the best typesetting program I know of for abc is abcm2ps which as by it's name indicates the output it produces.

As for some of the complexities, really I was trying to show part of what some simple scripting on a web site and abc combined can do, e.g, it's not bad being able to offer a tune in any key, as a pdf (also a MIDI conversion and png graphic) and all on FREE software (and that of course includes the php).

You are of course right we have drifted miles of areas that are likely to be of interest to W.E. (at least for now).

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: RangerSteve
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 07:46 PM

I bought "MusicWrite" about two years ago, and it has limitations. You can write tunes in 3/4, 4/4, and 6/8 time, but that's it. You can't change from one tempo to another in the same tune. You can't have anything shorter than an 1/8 note, and you can't do triplets.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 07:57 PM

Jon

Older versions of PDF Distiller required a .ps file as input. I didn't mean to imply that the .ps in raw form would be useful as a way of exchanging info with someone else. Someone could copy a .ps file to a PostScript printer to get great print output, and it used to be the rule that the .ps was what you sent to a commercial book printer; but those files are really huge (even larger than .pdf files) and wouldn't be too convenient for most purposes.

Most "commercial grade" notation programs, even the simplest ones, let you easily change the key in which your score is notated, if you want to print it in a different key. I don't use most of the programs discussed above in this thread enough though to know their capabilities, so can't comment there.

I may be getting too old to enjoy "make work" stuff, but I've generally found that "free" isn't really. The amount of work you have to do to get the result you really want is often too expensive, in time and effort, for an oldie like me. Kudos to those with the energy.

My recommendation to most like W.E., who seem to just want to get the job done, would likely be to pick a simple program and blow the bucks necessary to get on with the work. There are a number of pretty good programs (SWMBO uses PrintMusic, which isn't intolerably bad - but doesn't do tab) that don't require a lot of "inventing" to get decent print out, and that won't make a permanent dent in the budget.

There are a few shareware programs that are excellent; but it's really difficult to separate the ones that were created for some "special" purpose that doesn't quite fit your needs from the ones that do the job you want done. It's also hard for a beginner to distinguish the MIDI based ones from the score based, and to know which approach they really want to use.

Noteworthy has a particular "status" on the 'cat, and is worth learning, and having available. ABC is valuable if you are much into searching up tunes on the web. Neither is, in my opinion, the best way to print a few tunes to put in your personal notebook; but everyone gets different mileage...

I'm currently without a "program of choice," because my old Rhapsody didn't survive the transition to WinXP. Choosing a replacement would be a lot easier without past experience on what I don't like about the best known choices, but my own difficulties wouldn't be applicable to most new users.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 10:12 PM

Wow! Looks like I have some homework to do. I wish there was some way to try our the expensive software before purchasing it. I think I'll stay to the low end or shareware things first. But, there seems to be some division over that as well.

Thanks again to all.

W.E.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 10:44 PM

W.E. -

You can almost certainly "try out the expensive software," but you might be better off spending your time now just getting hands on with one of the simpler programs.

The expensive stuff, Sibelius and Finale, is available in trial versions. You can download trial versions of both via the web (both fairly large downloads though). If you have a good music store handy, especially one specializing in school - band and orchestra - music, they may be able to give you a CD with the trial version of either or both. I got a Sibelius trial CD from a local seller about a year ago.

If you want to try the downloads:

Sibelius and click on "download" near the top of the page.

Finale shows a number of products, from very simple to the full feature Finale. You can click on "downloads" on the top bar, or go to the bottom of the page and go to the "Finale" page and click "demo" on the left sidebar.

The demos I looked most recently were older versions, but had a common failure: the Help button didn't work in either Sibelius or Finale demo versions. Click any tool on the tool bar at the top of the screen, and hit your "F1" key, and it will open "context sensitive help" for the tool you clicked. Once help is opened that way, you can maneuver around via the index etc to get to anything in it.

Demo versions should do just about anything except allow you to print.

Should you decide to purchase, the demos can be "unlocked" by paying your money and getting a code to type in. I'd strongly recommend though that you contain your enthusiasm and order the whole package mailed to you, so that you get it on a CD with the manuals, etc. Uninstall the demo, and do a clean install from the package CD.

You can also save a very large bit of money by buying through a web reseller, for either of these, as opposed to buying direct from the makers. You pay full list price if you buy from the company, but the discount sellers get pretty close to the "academic price" on either.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 02:48 AM

W.E., as John has indicated, you don't need to worry about a lot that is contained in the later posts. The topic drifted and you can go through your computer music life without ever having to be concerned about much of it. I still think TablEdit is the most likely one to suit you and is about $55. Do make the effort of downloading/obtaining a few demos/trials. At the end of the day, it will only be you who can decide what suits you the best.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 05:21 AM

Just one more comment for the observer...

We need to be careful with comments such as Noteworthy has a particular "status" on the 'cat, and is worth learning, and having available. ABC is valuable if you are much into searching up tunes on the web. Neither is, in my opinion, the best way to print a few tunes to put in your personal notebook; but everyone gets different mileage...

The reason for suggesting this is that while Noteworthy is a program, abc is a notation format and many programs support the format - there is more than one way to use abc.

I have to agree with John's "different mileage" though and we must remember about differences in needs. At one extreme in this thread, I could pick out Mark Clark for one (I think Dave is another...) - an experienced programmer/ computer professional to whom running command line programs will be second nature (bet you they could even tell me about using punch cards), people like me who sit somewhere in the middle and people who are only comfortable with a graphical interface.

A lot of the current abc stuff does need the command line knowledge but much depends on what you want to do. An example I can think of with abc that occured recently on uk.music.notation was the production of a graphic. here is an example of a gif produced from the excellent and easy to use Barfly and here is (my not as good as I'd have liked it) gif conversion from a pdf produced as described above. The difference in appearence is quite noticable and both are from the same abc. Personally, I'd use the Barfly version for my notebook as it is quick and easy to do from the program but I'd give the other one out (in the pdf printed version which does look really nice when printed) if I wanted to make the tune available to others...

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 08:00 AM

Ah - punched cards - I think I still have some in a box somewhere, along with the COBOL coding sheets!

BTW, can anyone tell me how I can capture direct MIDI input on my PC? I would like to add this to HARMONY.


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: mooman
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 08:22 AM

For guitarists, Sibelius G7 is worth a look IMHO.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 02:48 PM

Ha! Yes I could tell you about punched cards. I could also tell you about punched paper tape and wiring control boards for unit record equipment. But there's no need, you can see all that stuff for yourself in any good technology museum.

I agree that many people won't want to mess around with command line programs. I actually use a UNIX shell for everything because the Microsoft command shell is just to primative to be useful. I use the Bourne again shell (bash) from Cygwin, a more advanced version of the Bourne shell.

The key thing for the purposes of folk music and The Mudcat Café, is that any program one chooses should import and export open standard music interchange formats like ABC, CMN, MusicXML, LilyPond, etc. The MIDI format, by itself, is insufficient to represent printed music. Many software products only deal with their own proprietary format plus MIDI. These should be avoided if there is any expectation of sharing music with other people.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: sed
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 03:59 PM

I'm still using the free demo for Finale called Notepad. It has a quirk that freezes up my computer every so often, which is really irritating and inconvenient, but I've learned much by using this (to me) fairly complicated program. It also quietly saves hundreds of files in a hidden directory, which seems kind of inefficient. I'd like to have a personal tutor to help me better learn how to use these modern advantages. Any volunteers? Maybe we can do it through email? Steve

http://us.geocities.com/sedberrysteve


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Subject: RE: Tech: A good music writing program?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 06:04 PM

Finale NotePad isn't really a demo. It's a so-called "introductory program" that happens to be a free download from Coda. It does let you print, as I recall, but doesn't do MIDI, but you can't upgrade that particular program to anything better than what you get when you load it. The Finale demo is something else entirely.

They give NotePad away in hopes you'll get so frustrated with enjoy it that and you'll come back and buy the good stuff. For $24.95 you can get NotePad Plus, that includes MIDI, and might even have some sort of instruction book - although there's nothing indicated on the Coda site; but even with it you're pretty limited to simple stuff.

For a "beginner level" program in the Coda/Finale line, I'd hesitate to recommend anything less than their PrintMusic, which is about $70 US. It's a decent enough program, but I can't get too excited about it; and I'm still looking for a good replacement for my old Rhapsody program.

The Finale link at 06 Jan 04 - 10:44 PM above will get you info on the whole Coda line.

NotePad, NotePad Plus, and PrintMusic bear virtually NO resemblance to the real "Finale." If you want to look at it, you can down load the real Finale 20024 free demo at the same link. Unless they've changed it recently, the demo is the "full program," and can be activated simply by buying and typing in the "unlock" code. It's something of a monster, compared to the simpler programs.

John


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