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Thread: Music Notation Software

  1. #1
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    Default Music Notation Software

    I'm lookin' for a "word processor" type program for creating standard notation sheet music. I'd like to find one that will display mandolin chord diagrams above the notes, but have not seen any yet. Does anyone have suggestions?

    I tried a demo of "Play Music", but it was unusable. I guess I need to spend more than $30.

    I also tried the Mozart 10 demo, and was able to work it well enough to enter a song, but it's pricey at $132 and doesn't have mandolin chords. It did work like magic when entering the lyrics -- reformatted everything to a professional-looking score.

    I also ran across these program around the internet:

    Quick Score Elite
    Print Music
    Sibelius
    Encore
    Music Time Deluxe
    Magic Score Maestro 6
    Music Write Maestro
    Finale Songwriter

    Would appreciate any comments or recommendations about these or others.

    Paul Pennington
    Augusta, Georgia

  2. #2

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Guitar Pro might do what you want.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Forget Finale Printmusic. No mandolin listed as an instrument and no tab for anything other than guitar.

    I've been using tabledit. It has some issues printing from my Mac. Reasonable price though and the upgrades are free.

    My next stop is the full blown version of Sibelius or Finale.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  4. #4
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Sibelius 6 is quite mando-friendly thus far. But expensive.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    My mandolin teacher uses Sibelius and it seems to produce very nice results. The purchase price and learning curve are horrific, though. I'd recommend sticking to Tabledit or something very like it.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Thanks for the suggestions -- I'm looking into the Tabledit demo now. Despite the name it DOES seem to produce standard notation as well.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    I have used both Tabledit and Guitar Pro. I found Guitar Pro to have more features, and it was easier to use.

    On the other hand, I think there are more free Tabledit files available online.
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  8. #8
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Finale has an inexpensive edition called Notepad here
    It's $10, does the job and has mandolin instrumentation.
    Bill

  9. #9

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Notepad is what they suggest you use with the Berklee on-line courses. Perhaps I'll try that before dropping the big dime on Sibelius
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  10. #10
    Registered User Lukas J's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Sibelius is very user-friendly, and the "Sibelius First" version is reasonably-priced. It is not equipped to have mandolin chord fingering charts above notation (although it does have them for guitar) but it does have an easy chord-entry capability. Speaking from experience and what music majors/professors have told me, Sibelius is drastically more user-friendly and the learning curve is much shorter than for Finale. It makes a big diference having the keypad on your keyboard, though, as these provide shortcuts. It got me through things as complex as arranging for a full big band, so once you get the hang of it, arranging for one to four strings is really reasonable. Again, though, about the only thing this program won't do is give you the actual chord diagrams for mando.
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  11. #11
    Still a mandolin fighter Mandophyte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    I know it doesn't have the mandolin chord pictures, but I think ABC is great, see my signature.
    Also there are vast collections of music in all sorts of genres just waiting in the web for you.

    Oops forgot to say it's free
    Last edited by Mandophyte; May-24-2011 at 8:36am. Reason: Extra comment.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    I tried the demo for Sibelius, but still found Guitar Pro more to my liking for mandolin. Sibelius seems to be the way to go for industry standard publishing, and also if you are going to do a lot of your data entry from a midi keyboard, rather than a computer keyboard.

    It was a while ago that I tried it, but that is my recollection. Most of these products have free demo versions, so try them and see which one you like.
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  13. #13
    Registered User mando.player's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    +1 for Guitar Pro.
    - It's affordable
    - It opens Tabledit files
    - Guitar Pro iOS and TabToolKit iOS will playback Guitar Pro files
    - Entering tunes is fairly painless once you get the work flow down

    I tend to enter tunes into Guitar Pro and then practice them using my iPad. It's nice to be able to practice away from the computer.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Quote Originally Posted by billhay4 View Post
    Finale has an inexpensive edition called Notepad here
    It's $10, does the job and has mandolin instrumentation.
    Bill
    The price is certainly attractive. It does work for entering tunes, but the only thing it does for the Mandolin is print the word "Mandolin" at the beginning of the stave if you select it. No chord pictures. I couldn't figure out how to edit the lyrics once they were entered, but there must be a way. You can enter letters for the chords, but they are tied to the measure instead of the note so they don't move with the note if you make changes. Also, the chord letters do not change if you transpose to a different key. Guess I'll keep lookin'.

    --Paul

  15. #15
    Still a mandolin fighter Mandophyte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Just a quick thought, do you actually need a picture of the fret board or could a numerical form replace it.
    ie, 0023, 2245, etc.
    John

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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandophyte View Post
    I know it doesn't have the mandolin chord pictures, but I think ABC is great, see my signature.
    Also there are vast collections of music in all sorts of genres just waiting in the web for you.

    Oops forgot to say it's free
    +1 for ABC.
    It does not do the chord diagrams as you wanted. But if that's not a show-stopper, it has been fantastic for my needs. It IS indeed free. I use ABCExplorer but there are many others. See Mandophyte's links.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    I've used Sibelius and Finale for years. I much prefer Sibelius. It is expensive but you have tons of control over the look and layout.. I'm downloading Sibelius First to give it a try. It's a lot cheaper.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Quote Originally Posted by mando.player View Post
    +1 for Guitar Pro.
    - It's affordable
    - It opens Tabledit files
    - Guitar Pro iOS and Toolkit iOS will playback Guitar Pro files
    - Entering tunes is fairly painless once you get the work flow down

    I tend to enter tunes into Guitar Pro and then practice them using my iPad. It's nice to be able to practice away from the computer.
    However, I have had some problems opening mandolin tabledit files in Guitar Pro. Guitar Pro kept converting them to bass tab. I don't know if this is a common problem, as I have only tried it a few times.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    I use MusEdit to prepare lessons for my student's lesson plans. Available from Yowza software, it allows me to score & write out any mando/guitar thing I need to.

    I got mine from Elderly for about $50.00
    Bill

  20. #20
    In training... KristinEliza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    I've used both Sibelius and Finale...I much prefer Sibelius. As the others have said, the learning curve is much shorter with Sibelius.

    I know you can convert standard notation to mandolin TAB, but I haven't tried to see if it will produce chord diagrams (I know version 5 didn't, and I haven't played around enough yet with version 6 to find out if it does).

    Unless you are looking for all the bells and whistles of a professional grade music software program that Finale and Sibelius offer, I would try some of the less expensive programs that others have mentioned.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    I decided to try the Guitar Pro 6 demo based on the recommendations here. Unfortunately, I could not get it to work -- it absolutely refused to let me to enter a note, although it would produce as many rests as i wanted :-( My son uses Guitar Pro 5, so I asked him to help. He downloaded version 6 and came up with the exact same symptoms as I did. He also said version 6 is such a radical change that it's like a new program. Guess I'll keep looking.

    Paul Pennington
    Augusta, Georgia

  22. #22

    Default Sibelius 7, mandolin chord diagrams ?

    I want to have the chord diagrams for mandolin. I have Sibelius version 7. I have read in the manual that it is possible to change from guitar diagrams to mandolin (lute). But my experimenting so far has not accomplished this. I read elsewhere in this forum of instructions for Sibelius version 6, to do this. These instructions appear irrelevant for version 7. Any idea?

  23. #23
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    If want some free software, try Muse Score - the current release only handles basic notation, but if you don't mind giving the "bleeding edge" version 2 pre-release a go it has chord diagram support (tab support too). The down side is that you have to edit each chord you want manually - you can't just pick from a chart, or say "give me an F chord" or whatever. On the other hand it does produce very nice printed output, also play along mp3's and such if you want.

  24. #24
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Update: just tried playing with chord diagrams in Muse Score 2 and they're a lot easier that I first thought. What you really need to do is create a score that just contains the common chord diagrams you want to use, then cut and paste into the score. Here's a quick one I knocked out by way of experiment, could be prettier with more time, but is very usable as is:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	In the Bleak Midwinter.pdf 
Views:	83 
Size:	58.9 KB 
ID:	93460

  25. #25

    Default Re: Music Notation Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavy View Post
    Update: just tried playing with chord diagrams in Muse Score 2 and they're a lot easier that I first thought. What you really need to do is create a score that just contains the common chord diagrams you want to use, then cut and paste into the score. Here's a quick one I knocked out by way of experiment, could be prettier with more time, but is very usable as is:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	In the Bleak Midwinter.pdf 
Views:	83 
Size:	58.9 KB 
ID:	93460
    I was going to mention MuseScore. I have 1.2 downloaded and can't seem to pull this off. The most I encountered as far as help was "the fret diagram's in the symbols pallette."

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