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Software to write out Music
Posted by bwayto 2012-12-05 14:52:38


Hey all!

I am wondering about software for writing out music.

Sometimes when I am playing a Piano/Vocal Selections book, I find some things missing that I loved hearing in the original orchestration, but are not included in the book.

Usually I'll pencil these notes it, but it can get messy, and hard to read.

If I wanted to re-type the score and include some notes I feel are missing, what do you recommend?

Currently I re-type the ENTIRE project into Sibelius. I also have finale, but don't like the interface as much.

I've read about some software where you can scan sheet music in, and then make changes, anyone know how reliable/effective this is, or is it error prone like scanning text documents?

Software to write out Music
Posted by darquegk 2012-12-05 16:02:54


Finale and Sibelius are the main ones- I BELIEVE Finale is the industry standard, but I could be wrong (I always get the two confused).

I will say this though- Finale's interface is MUCH easier with a connected MIDI keyboard to do the actual notation, and the computer keyboard reserved for keyswipes.

Software to write out Music
Posted by trentsketch 2012-12-05 16:14:07


Finale is the industry standard and it also has the better scanning program. If you're working off of recent piano/vocal selections, the program will easily pick up most of the right parts. Then you just go in, fix the few errant notes, and add in what you want to the arrangement. It's easier if you use a keyboard interface, as well. I know my one friend won't teach theory on a computer unless there's a class set of usb keyboards available.

Software to write out Music
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-05 19:27:13


I work with several composers and they all use FINALE. (Sorry. That sentence reads sort of grandly as if *I* were the standard. I'm just seconding trentsketch and saying that's what everybody I've known over the past 10 or 15 years seems to use.)

Software to write out Music
Posted by AEA AGMA SM 2012-12-05 19:50:23


Thirding the statement that Finale seems to have become the industry standard. The musical supervisor on my last show, who also currently works on Jersey Boys, was saying that it has reached the point where the music departments on most Broadway shows have somebody who's only job is to sit in rehearsal and keep everything up to date in Finale. It's apparently not the easiest program to pick up and excel at without some practice.

Software to write out Music
Posted by ClapYo'Hands 2012-12-05 19:56:59


I don't know whether it's a geographical divide, but Sibelius is more widely used in the UK.

Software to write out Music
Posted by leefowler 2012-12-05 20:08:19


My understanding is that Finale is used on Broadway, but Sibelius is more popular in the movie industry and in Europe. I work on music on Broadway, and have occasionally encountered a Sibelius chart, but it's unusual.

Software to write out Music
Posted by hyperbole_and_a_half 2012-12-05 20:25:28


Finale is industry standard, but that's not an exclusive standard, as I have typeset music for MTI's catalogue using Sibelius.

Sibelius is really good at getting you to 95% quality right away with minimal tweaking, but for true 100% quality (especially when dealing with avant garde or special notations) you generally need the control of Finale. People who are musicians first and computer users second will probably appreciate Sibelius' interface more than Finale's, because it looks like actual manuscript instead of a special-needs word processing program from 1997 (sorry, Finale).

Finale has a product called NotePad which is like a feature-stripped version of regular Finale, and Sibelius has trial versions on their website.

Software to write out Music
Posted by bwayto 2012-12-05 21:03:01


Thanks for all the advice guys!

Don't know much about the geographical divide except that I am in Toronto, and generally more recently have really enjoyed the Sibelius layout, while I understand that Finale is the standard for Musical Theatre/Broadway. Until about last year I was a devoted Finale user, but the new sibelius layout made me switch.

The good news is you can import the files between the two. I was more interested in the scanning aspect.

I do have 2 midi keyboards, a small one for working at my desk and on the go, and a large Yamaha Grand Piano keyboard with UBS out.

Thanks again!

Software to write out Music
Posted by leefowler 2012-12-05 21:23:37


If you're just producing music for yourself, use any system you like. But if you want Broadway types to work with your charts, it has to be Finale.

Software to write out Music
Posted by hyperbole_and_a_half 2012-12-06 11:04:18


As far as scanning music goes, I've never had great luck with either Sibelius' PhotoScore or Finale's SmartScore. I'm good enough with a keyboard that it's often quicker for me to record a page directly from the keyboard than it is for me to scan the page a couple of times, let the software parse it, then hunt out and fix all the tiny errors.

If I was forced to choose between the two, I'd probably go with PhotoScore, because Finale has a nasty habit of not telling you which measures are missing beats, which is big a problem when scanning scores of dubious quality that feature small half-notes on ledger lines. My thought is, if you're going to go measure by measure to proofread the beats, you might as well just manually enter the notes in the first place. Sibelius at least throws rests into measures missing beats, which can serve as a visual cue that that measure needs attention.

Software to write out Music
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-06 16:00:33


^^^^^Don't you make your lyricist do your proofreading? They told me that was SOP.

Seriously, the users I know bitch about FINALE constantly, but as a non-musician, I must say the FINALE Read-Only program is easy and works quite well. (Not the same thing at all, of course, but I'm speaking on behalf of collaborators.)