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Thread: Notation Software?

  1. #1

    Default Notation Software?

    I prefer reading notes to tablature (I learned notes first), and so I've been trying to find a notation software I like. (Musescore is too clunky for me, and sibelius is too expensive). Ran across this: but don't know anyone who has used it. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Registered User Bad Monkey's Avatar
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    Sep 2016

    Default Re: Notation Software?

    I found musescore to be pretty easy and fast. You can pretty much type in notation as fast as you can write after a little while. I think our bass player has used forte, I'll send him a message and see what he says.

  3. #3
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Notation Software?

    I have messed around with Musescore. There are a ton of youtube videos online that explain different features. I agree it's not all very intuitive to use.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Notation Software?

    Musescore is what several members of the local Irish/Scottish trad community use. Since they'll occasionally post the .mscz files, I started using it.

    It's clunky, yeah. Like many open source projects it suffers from encrusted feature creep, with a UI designed by programmers and not UI experts. But it does okay for the basic fiddle tunes and pipe tunes I work with. If I did any serious multi-instrument scoring I'd probably bite the bullet and get Sibelius.

    I use it mainly to adjust a few notes in an ABC file download from, when a tune in that database is just slightly different from how it's played in local sessions. I've done a couple of full transcriptions by ear from a recording, although that's a tedious process because I don't do that very often. It would be just as tedious in Sibelius, so at least I'm saving some money here with free software.

  5. #5
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Notation Software?

    I have been using Musescore now for most of my musicnotation. It is very like Sibelius, but is open source and free to use, though donations are welcome to the makers. It allows me to do anything I want to do musically (I am one of the Irish/Scottish community mentioned above). Looks a bit daunting at first, but lots of help online, and it aloows you to copy abc notation from any source then import it via a plug-in and it will convert the abc straight into a .mscz file. It allows exporting of its files in various formats, including pdf format, and this is usually the way I go with it. It also plays back your file to you as a midi file, and even this can be exported as an mp3. Does far more than I need.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Notation Software?

    I would love Musescore to have a lite menu feature. Something that would make it easy and intuitive to enter in a simple fiddle tune or celtic tune. For that matter, the same with Band in a Box. There is so much in these programs that just get in the way. Toggle it on or off, give the user a fighting chance to create simple melody sheets.
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  7. #7
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Notation Software?

    I have Sibelius & MuseScore, Notion, but only use Notion now until I’m getting complex, when I switch to Sibelius by exporting a MusicXML file to it. I’ve completely abandoned MuseScore because it’s so clunky.

    I use Notion on the iPad as my main input, midi sound file generator and checking software.
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    I found it very quick and intuitive to learn to use.

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Notation Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    I would love Musescore to have a lite menu feature. Something that would make it easy and intuitive to enter in a simple fiddle tune or celtic tune. ...
    Well, for what it's worth, my tutorial of Musescore 2.1 basics, attempts to get right to the point, showing how to write a simple melody - these are the basics I use for writing fiddle tunes and simple songs. My tutorial is for MuseScore version 2.1 though, I have not yet had any reason/desire to switch to the newest version 3, so I have no idea how much might have changed.

    (or direct link)

    I did screw up on one thing though, at 17:15 in the above video where I was doing it stupidly (I didn't know any better at the time) so I had to issue a CORRECTION/addenda, the correction is only 23 seconds long:

    (or direct link)

    No, I don't monetize those videos, and there are no ads. I make them just as a hobby, in the hopes they might help people write tunes and songs. YMMV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    ... For that matter, the same with Band in a Box. There is so much in these programs that just get in the way. ...

    As to backing-track apps, my two cents: If you happen to be using a Windows computer, I'd recommend trying Chordpulse (it's Windows only, for some unknown reason). IMO and in my limited experience, Chordpulse is a whole lot easier to get started with, much less frustrating, much more user-friendly, and a whole lot more affordable than Band-in-a-Box. I doubt anyone's making hit records with Chordpulse MIDI sounds but that's not what it's for, it's for quickly and easily making your own backing tracks to help you learn tunes and explore new rhythms and whatnot. (Beats the heck out of a metronome, for sure.)

    You probably won't even need a tutorial to get started using it - just click the chords you want. It does have other features that you can explore at your leisure but those more-advanced features are *not* required to just quickly make a backing track to play along with for practice.

    My only gripe about Chordpulse is that the 'snare' drums (which can be turned off or turned down) seem to be EQ'd rather shrill, or maybe it's just my ears picking up more high-frequencies, but some of the drum sounds are intolerably annoying. I deal with it by going into the Chordpulse "Mixer" (in the "Play" menu, easy to get to, just two clicks) and turning the darn snare off or reducing its volume - you can selectively do that without turning down/off all the drum sounds). I'm still inclined to think it's an issue with Chordpulse rather than something with my ears, because I don't get that snare shrillness with other apps such as the Hydrogen drum machine (which I'm assuming also uses MIDI sounds but I could be wrong).

    Anyway, NFI.

    Oh and incidentally, I've just recently been exploring another backing track app - iRealPro for Android phones (maybe works on other phones too, I'd have to look it up), and it's ok I guess, but... iRealPro doesn't seem to have as many options as Chordpulse (or maybe I just haven't quite figured out how to use iRealPro in its maximum capabilities yet, that's always a possibility) and iRealPro seems a tad more difficult to figure out how to make it do stuff. The iRealPro interface somewhat reminds me of Band-in-a-Box, which (in my case) is not a selling point. But nevertheless, I'm keeping iRealPro on my Android device anyway, who knows I might take a liking to it someday, and in the meantime it's something different to explore once in a while. Chordpulse doesn't work on Android anyway, so with iRealPro I can tinker around with ideas for tunes/songs even if the only thing I have handy is my phone (and my little earbuds so I don't annoy everyone else with my audio experimentation).

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