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Notation software thread, 2019 edition #2984846 04/12/19 07:40 PM
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Josh Paxton Offline OP
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Having been a Sibelius user for about 15 years, I'm considering jumping ship. The obvious other contenders are Dorico, MuseScore and Finale. I used Finale before Sibelius, but haven't kept up with it since I switched, so I have no idea what it's like these days. I'm intrigued by Dorico's reputation as "what Sibelius would have become if it hadn't been bought by Avid," which I find highly appealing, but I'm open to other options as well.

Out of what's out there currently, what do you use, what do you like, and why? My primary uses are lead sheets and piano scores, though I occasionally do bigger ensemble scores too.

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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #2984858 04/12/19 08:30 PM
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Personally. I stick with Sibelius. I know it really well, it does everything Iíve ever needed and then some and there is a huge user and knowledge base for finding answers and explanations for stuff that comes up. If youíre really hot for better print quality, Dorico is worth a look. Iíve no reason to look at Finale, the feature set is very similar to Sibelius and Iím not interested in learning a new UI without a major feature reason. MuseScore is capable and cheap but what are the biggest selling points to invest in learning it? Iím not sure.

Some web based solutions like flat.io and Noteflight are a good call for the cloud saving, sharing and collaborating. But they arenít as fully featured and are not as slick to use. Workflow seems slower and more tedious than the older deeper developed software.

They pretty much all can generate and open midi files and hopefully musicXML files so pick one that you like and learn it well. For me, itís time thatís most valuable. Feature second, import export of standard formats, and print quality just has to be good.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2984860 04/12/19 08:34 PM
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Very satisfied MuseScore user here. It does everything I need, and, well, it's free. I use it mainly for two-staff piano, with an occasional third staff (usually organ or some other keyboard). Don't use it for bigger ensemble scores, but it seems capable in that area.

If you have specific questions, please feel free.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: dongna] #2984865 04/12/19 09:39 PM
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Iíve frozen my system at Sibelius 5. If I knew someone with the discs for Sibelius 7, Iíd upgrade to that. My university has the new Avid Sibelius with the monthly updates and its buggy as hell.

Iím very curious about Dorico, but it seems like engraving overkill for mere lead sheets. They were slow to add chord symbols & slash notation so I imagine that functionality is still lagging behind the rest of it.

I havenít seen great results from the MuseScore charts Iíve received as a player but I think thatís operator error more than anything else.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: David R] #2984878 04/12/19 11:02 PM
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I could never get Sibelius to work well on a Mac, and found that almost everyone was sending me Finale files anyway, so that's what I bought (and I'm up-to-date), but I keep my eye on Dorico and await the day when it has the necessary features for film scoring etc.

The one I started on was Notion, now owned by PreSonus. The notation inside Digital Performer is about the best of any DAW, so I do use it a lot during early stages. I don't really use Notion anymore, but it does have some strengths for quick quality mock-ups of real notation (vs. MIDI).

Last year, I also bought Overture, as it can serve as a good in-between negotiator of files from other notation apps, given its wide support of file formats. Also, sometimes it's a nice change of pace due to its workflow.

I liked Encore's GUI but am not confident it ever completely got back on its feet as a long-term venture after the initial closure, even though the resurrected and rewritten app is a major step forward.

To my eyes at least, Finale has the most legible fonts -- though I haven't seen enough output yet from Dorico to judge.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: David R] #2984885 04/13/19 12:40 AM
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Jonathan Hughes Offline
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Originally Posted By: David R
Iím very curious about Dorico, but it seems like engraving overkill for mere lead sheets. They were slow to add chord symbols & slash notation so I imagine that functionality is still lagging behind the rest of it.


Not at all. The chord symbols and slash notation in Dorico work great. The number of options it gives you for chord symbols is amazing, and you can also create your own. It's really well thought out. This video gives a rundown of many of the options for chord symbols: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvHrzMCcHwI

They can be set up as defaults once you have things the way you like.

I found the program a little confusing at first (in particular, the way notes are input), but it's really enjoyable to use, and the output looks fantastic (I've never seen anyone else's charts that look as nice as mine (I think it's all been stuff from Finale or MuseScore). I tried Sibelius First (meh), some low end version of Finale (BLECH), and Notion (generally really nice, especially for the price, but it would do weird things that I couldn't figure out fairly regularly). I was able to take advantage of the competitive upgrade with Dorico, and wow, what a difference! I find it pretty logically laid out, and after a a few hours of use, reasonably easy to use. Occasionally I come across something I can't figure out, but a post to the official forum or the facebook group usually gets me an answer very quickly. Probably its biggest downside is that it offers SO MANY options for how you want particular things treated visually that it can take a while to remember where things are and a while to scroll through all the options to find what you want.

It may be overkill for lead sheets, but that's basically what I use it for. The newish Dorico Elements offers probably all the features anyone would need for lead sheets at a much lower price.

Last edited by Jonathan Hughes; 04/13/19 09:22 AM.
Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Jonathan Hughes] #2984899 04/13/19 06:13 AM
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I use MuseScore for lead sheets and I'm very happy with it. I find it easy and flexible, and the results look fine.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Paul Harrison] #2984909 04/13/19 09:53 AM
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How good are these programs at converting printed music/PDFs to MIDI? Is there one that is better than the rest at this job?

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: keyman27] #2984920 04/13/19 12:08 PM
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Tom Williams Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyman27
How good are these programs at converting printed music/PDFs to MIDI? Is there one that is better than the rest at this job?
I tried it years ago with Finale, reading a scan from a hymnal. It worked better than I expected. The feature is also available with Finale's semi-pro level product PrintMusic (at about 20% of the price of full Finale); you may be able to test it with the free download.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Tom Williams] #2984934 04/13/19 01:40 PM
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It depends what youíre trying to do. Convert a melody line for your sax player, or a piano Grand staff, or SATB & Organ, big band score, etc. And how detailed the parts are with symbols. Generally speaking the conversion from print via scan is shit. They use OCR which without fail makes many errors that you need to correct. And if you are fast with score creation in your software, ie. Sibelius, itís questionable if itís any quicker or less work than just scoring it from scratch.

I think AI will be the jump in tech that makes conversion accuracy a major jump. When the computer thinks like a musician and can play back a printed score in real-time with similar accuracy because it can interpret scores and intent. Then weíll have great conversion to and from sheet music.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2984939 04/13/19 02:10 PM
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I'm happy with Musescore, but a) I'm cheap and 2) my use isn't extensive anyway. I do like the way it has been continually improved, and everything I've needed to do with it has been as easy as searching "musescore tied notes" or whatever I'm trying to do.

I would suggest to anyone interested in Musescore, Finale, Dorico, or Sibelius that they all let you try them for free so you can give them a shot and see if they work for you in the situations that you can think of (of course Musescore *is* free but I just wanted to mention it as well). I'm not saying that asking for experiences is wrong, I think it's useful to help you think of ways you might use the software that you might not think of while you're in the trial, deeper issues, etc. But I've seen people seem to forget they can try before they buy.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Joe Muscara] #2984942 04/13/19 02:46 PM
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Back in the early/mid 90s, I was on Finale 2.5 which was a pain on a 9Ē Mac screen. Better on a 14Ē LC II but ran sooooo slowly! Was easier to write by hand.

Been on Sibelius since 1.4, I think... now on Sib 8 and have been for ages. Yes, the UI (with duplicate dialogs and buttons that should be checkboxes etc) just seems to get worse, but I know the keyboard shortcuts for everything and it looks great to me.

Iím tempted to get a fast (read: cheaper) Windows machine as my 2011 MacBook is about dead, but the shortcut thing is honestly a big reason not to. My fingers are so used to the crazy modifier key clumps...

I tried Dorico for a while and I guess with a bit more time with it, Iíd probably quite like it. But Iím halfway thru quite a big project... tried importing an XML from Sibelius and it didnít really get that much right. Iím half guessing itís Sibeliusí fault by the error messages, though. Canít remember exactly what they were...

As Joe says, you can try them all for free.

(and, everything Iíve seen done on MuseScore looks dreadful... just my opinion!)

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Adam Burgess] #2984960 04/13/19 04:47 PM
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I'm a Sibelius user, so I can't really help on that front, but if you said what things are frustrating you, or a problem, or what you're looking for it might help the others to give you more specific feedback.

Jerry

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #2984961 04/13/19 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted By: Josh Paxton
Having been a Sibelius user for about 15 years, I'm considering jumping ship.

I can't offer advice about what software to use, but I'll point out that you didn't say what it is about Sibelius that's motivating you to "jump ship." Maybe that's on purpose so as not to start a long tangential thread. So I'll stay general and just say that in my experience, notation software is probably the hardest to get comfortable with. Music copying is not my vocation; I only use my sw sporadically and am constantly having to refer to the manual or go online for hints or to solve issues. Most times it's faster to use a pencil on manuscript paper Ė but the point is of course to have a beautiful looking chart which nixes that option! Anyway, I'm wondering: after 15 years of using it, I presume you've travelled a hefty portion of Sibelius's learning curve. Are you really that bugged with it that you'd consider climbing a new one? I use an earlier version of Sibelius and definitely run into some frustrations, but accept that as part of the deal with this kind of software. I know in advance it's gonna take me more time and probably a few google searches to get my chart done. I think someone once said "acceptance is the first step..." smile

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: jerrythek] #2984963 04/13/19 04:51 PM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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I use the demo copy of PDFtoMusic for conversion of scans. They have to have been produced with known fonts from the top notation apps, but it does a remarkable job of pulling in the main data so that you can work with it in a proper notation app. I didn't buy the license because it's like OS9-level macOS LAF and not too stable on that platform so not worth my investment and risk in case it actually doesn't work in its full-feature version (the demo is limited to single-sheet scans, but you can run it multiple times to cover each page).

Where is Finale's scan reader function? I did a lot of searching before I resorted to trying to find a dedicated app for that purpose. It doesn't help that the scanner part of my Canon printer stopped working a year after I bought it, but other people send me scans of scores of lead sheets that they want revoiced.

Last edited by Mark Schmieder; 04/13/19 04:53 PM.

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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2984978 04/13/19 06:46 PM
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Sibelius uses a companion application called Photoscore. OCR tech.
https://www.neuratron.com/photoscore.htm


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2984979 04/13/19 07:19 PM
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I've been using Sibelius First for ten years now. It's not perfect and sometimes it gets on my nerves, but it mostly does what I need it to do.

I sure as s--t don't want to have to learn another application to achieve the same results.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Adam Burgess] #2984980 04/13/19 07:30 PM
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dongna Offline
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Originally Posted By: Adam Burgess
(and, everything Iíve seen done on MuseScore looks dreadful... just my opinion!)

You're certainly most welcome to your opinion and I have no reason to try and convince you otherwise. But if you're basing it on MuseScore version 2 or prior, version 3 was a significant update that drastically improved the default layout. I just mention this for the benefit of the OP.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2984982 04/13/19 08:01 PM
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I use Finale. They closed their nice support forum a few years ago and replaced it with a not-so-great disorganized forum. Other than that though I've been pretty happy with the quality. Tried Sibelius (version 7 was current then) back when I was shopping around. But my teacher used Finale and we needed to co-work on some stuff so Finale it was. All these programs have a huge learning curve, I'm not sure if one's really better than another. But aside from the pricing, Finale is nice overall.

Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
...

Where is Finale's scan reader function?
I did a lot of searching before I resorted to trying to find a dedicated app for that purpose. It doesn't help that the scanner part of my Canon printer stopped working a year after I bought it, but other people send me scans of scores of lead sheets that they want revoiced.


They removed it in Finale 25, (unfortunately the previous versions are 32-bit so once I'm forced to update to Mojave I'm screwed - $600 on 2014.5 and now I'm supposed to pay HOW much more?!) supposedly due to copyright issues.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 04/13/19 08:08 PM.

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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mighty Motif Max] #2984998 04/14/19 01:35 AM
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No wonder I couldn't find it. :-) So much for RTFM. :-)


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2985068 04/14/19 04:54 PM
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Finale user for over 10 years. Coming from Sibelius when I was in university. It took a while to understand the UI, not super user friendly. But once you get it and memorize keyboard shortcuts the workflow is pretty good. Using a midi controller to enter notes helps a ton.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Ian Benhamou] #2985227 04/15/19 01:40 PM
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MuseScore 3.1 user here. Just to add, like I did in the previous discussion of notation software, MuseScore is now a part of the UltimateGuitar empire and has already shown us the way of the future.

"Free"? Yes. But that would not explain why I spent just over $40 last November to to "Pro". For what we saw as the complete feature set of the completely free MuseScore a few years ago is now part of a tiered system. For "all" the features, a subscription is required, for the standard (who determined what "standard" is, I know not) features, you can remain at the "free" level.

My point is not to say "Stay away" (as you can see I am still a user and probably will be for a long while), but to point out that sometimes things change, albeit slowly, and we come to our senses after we have been enticed by the four letter eye magnet and realize the reality of life: Nothing is absolutely "free".

As for the scores being of varying quality, I have seen some that were a little punk and some that knocked my off the bench, but why am I here? It is notation software, not score download supreme. So, as a program it works very well for me. As a source for other's work, meh.

Last edited by Desert Rat; 04/15/19 01:42 PM. Reason: grammar police...me

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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Desert Rat] #2985268 04/15/19 04:15 PM
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dongna Offline
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Originally Posted By: Desert Rat
"Free"? Yes. But that would not explain why I spent just over $40 last November to to "Pro". For what we saw as the complete feature set of the completely free MuseScore a few years ago is now part of a tiered system. For "all" the features, a subscription is required, for the standard (who determined what "standard" is, I know not) features, you can remain at the "free" level.

I'm not sure who you gave $40 to, but I'm not aware of any tiered system of which you speak. I just checked the web site, and it clearly states:

Quote:
There is no demo, trial or limited version of the open source MuseScore software. There is only one version, which has no limitations and can be downloaded for free from musescore.org.


Furthermore:

Quote:
...we have decided to let Ultimate Guitar acquire the MuseScore company. Ultimate Guitar has pioneered a successful model for working with music publishers, and all MuseScore users will be able to benefit from this. Additionally, there are more resources now to take on the next steps and turn MuseScore into the online destination for sheet music.

Of course, it is important to all of us that the open source nature of the MuseScore project is preserved. Therefore we would like to emphasize that the MuseScore notation software remains open source and that all code contributions will continue to be made under GPLv2. We are fully committed to make MuseScore 3 and all future releases happen and we will continue to make them available for free to the world.


Of course we shall see what in fact the future holds...

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: dongna] #2985300 04/15/19 06:59 PM
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Musescore Pro is $49 per year:

https://musescore.org/en/node/268268

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Jonathan Hughes] #2985312 04/15/19 08:51 PM
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I don't think Musescore Pro is necessary at all if you're just using it to make scores. I think Musescore Pro is all about sharing online, having online access on all your devices, etc.

https://musescore.com/upgrade?feature=gopro


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Joe Muscara] #2985319 04/15/19 10:23 PM
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With my over 3,000 Sibelius lead sheets, lesson handouts, arrangements, and transcriptions completed, I doubt I will ever jump ship. Using version 7.0


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Jazz+] #2985360 04/16/19 03:10 AM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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Has anyone ever actually received Sibelius scores from anyone else?

It was the one I "wanted" to like when I first investigated in the early 2000's, if only because Sibelius is one of my three favourite composers. :-) And initially (at that time) I thought it had a better interface and was more intuitive, but over the years, it seemed to get less reliable on the Mac every time I'd download an updated demo, and the rendering just didn't seem as good as Finale's, and then Finale made some improvements that finally made it faster to work with. The final straw was when it got folded into the Avid camp and then essentially abandoned (sort of), then I think subscription only.

Anyway, back to whether any professionals actually use it, being SF Bar Area means I had a built-in bias due to Michael Tilson Thomas always being very vocal about it being his tool. So it came as a bit of a surprise when literally EVRY competition I entered, contract I got, partnership or collaboration or received scores, from people at any level of the music business (even hobbyists), was Finale. I have yet to receive a Sibelius score from ANYONE, after all these years. Several prominent directors of local Bay Area church music programs tell me "no one uses it or takes it seriously".

Surely that can't be true, as I think sales are on par between the two biggies? But Finale probably has one special built-in advantage -- especially since getting bought by Garritan (or was it the other way around?) -- and that is that it seems to be what is used and taught in well over 90% of schools.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Joe Muscara] #2985371 04/16/19 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted By: Joe Muscara
I don't think Musescore Pro is necessary at all if you're just using it to make scores. I think Musescore Pro is all about sharing online, having online access on all your devices, etc.

https://musescore.com/upgrade?feature=gopro


The Musescore acquistion by Ultimate Guitar has been discussed here before. Briefly, Ultimate Guitar used Guitar Pro, a software program primarily designed for guitar notation for online playing of the extensive library of propriety files created in Guitar Pro that have the GTX, GT5 or GT4 suffix.

I suspect, but dont know, that the acquistion of Musescore has enabled Ultimate Guitar to have own their own online player of these files and others created in Musescore. Charging for the Pro version, or an Ultimate Guitar subscription, means they can afford to pay royalities to all the copyright owners of the available songs.

This means that ongoing development of the free version of Musescore is assured and the copyright owners get something via the Pro version or online player each time a shared file is used in that environment.


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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2985376 04/16/19 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
Has anyone ever actually received Sibelius scores from anyone else?


I think 80% of the professional musicians I know, use Sibelius.

I myself use Musescore, as I mostly do lead sheet kind of stuff..


Rudy

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: RudyS] #2985411 04/16/19 12:01 PM
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Franz Schiller Offline
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I have been writing for some small ensembles lately, and use have a workflow that utilizes two pieces of software. I start by doing most of my writing in StaffPad (yes, on Microsoft Surface, I hate Windows, but its worth it just for this one program), and then I bring it into Dorico to finish it.

I have a number of friends and colleagues who use Sibelius. Dorico has almost totally caught up. There are just a few things it cannot do, such as demonstrate glissandi, scoops, and portamenti, though it can notate them. Otherwise, the mockups (midi plugins) sound a thousand times better than the awful Sibelius sounds.

Also, Dorico is very capable using "Flows" where you can have different pieces, or ideas, or whatever, all inside a single project. It is very flexible.

The learning curve is a bit steep, but the tutorial videos are so good, that it's easy to get up to speed quickly. The engraving options are awesome, which is perfect for when you need to be mindful of page turns.

Just my $0.02.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: dongna] #2985437 04/16/19 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted By: dongna
I'm not sure who you gave $40 to, but I'm not aware of any tiered system of which you speak.

Originally Posted By: Jonathan Hughes
Musescore Pro is $49 per year:
https://musescore.org/en/node/268268

Thank you Jonathan.

Originally Posted By: dongna
Furthermore:
Of course we shall see what in fact the future holds...


I have seen what the future holds. I was a member of the OLGA before it was taken over by Ultimate Guitar (and yes, I am still a member at a mere $69 annually).


Don

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Strat, bass & trumpet if I get tired of sitting.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Joe Muscara] #2985439 04/16/19 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted By: Joe Muscara
I don't think Musescore Pro is necessary at all if you're just using it to make scores. I think Musescore Pro is all about sharing online, having online access on all your devices, etc.

https://musescore.com/upgrade?feature=gopro


To a point I agree with you Joe. However between the features you get with Pro (some of which were previously free) and the cross platform (which, by the way, isn't free), I decided to go with the Pro.


Don

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Strat, bass & trumpet if I get tired of sitting.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Markay] #2985441 04/16/19 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted By: Markay
Originally Posted By: Joe Muscara
I don't think Musescore Pro is necessary at all if you're just using it to make scores. I think Musescore Pro is all about sharing online, having online access on all your devices, etc.

https://musescore.com/upgrade?feature=gopro


The Musescore acquistion by Ultimate Guitar has been discussed here before. Briefly, Ultimate Guitar used Guitar Pro, a software program primarily designed for guitar notation for online playing of the extensive library of propriety files created in Guitar Pro that have the GTX, GT5 or GT4 suffix.

I suspect, but dont know, that the acquistion of Musescore has enabled Ultimate Guitar to have own their own online player of these files and others created in Musescore. Charging for the Pro version, or an Ultimate Guitar subscription, means they can afford to pay royalities to all the copyright owners of the available songs.

This means that ongoing development of the free version of Musescore is assured and the copyright owners get something via the Pro version or online player each time a shared file is used in that environment.


Thank you Markay. I couldn't have said it any better. That's why I'm still with them.


Don

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Strat, bass & trumpet if I get tired of sitting.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Franz Schiller] #2985519 04/16/19 10:21 PM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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Rudy, perhaps Sibelius is more widely used in the UK and Europe? That would make sense, as it was originally a UK-based company, and Finale is produced in the USA.


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, G5422DC-12, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2985583 04/17/19 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
Rudy, perhaps Sibelius is more widely used in the UK and Europe? That would make sense, as it was originally a UK-based company, and Finale is produced in the USA.


Could be. I really have the feeling its' inverted here. The Finale users are the exception.


Rudy

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: RudyS] #2989278 05/12/19 12:20 PM
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Steve in VA Offline
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After recently trying MuseScore (crude, but functional) and Dorico (awesome, but overkill for me), I settled on Notion. It has a simple and clean interface and does everything a non-professional like me needs. It also has two-way integration with the Studio One DAW that works very well.

On another note, rumor has it that Steinberg will put Dorico on sale by the end of May as part of its 50-year anniversary.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Steve in VA] #2989301 05/12/19 03:50 PM
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I started on Notion, and still have it (even the latest edition), but don't really use it now that I have both Finale and Overture. I may put it up for sale if preSonus allows that. I liked it at first because it was focused more on composers than publishers, but for survival's sake, they then took more of a turn towards educators. I respect the team greatly (the leader even went to my school), and it does perhaps have the best tablature tool, but I'm not very good at tablature and don't want to waste time producing it for others.

I heard rumours that Dorico may go on sale soon, even though not part of the current 20th anniversary sale for Cubase.

There is a notation blog or help site (not sure which it is) that recently showed some output examples of the Big Three, and I found the engraving aspects of Dorico to still not be as professional as Sibelius or Finale, but surely that will improve over time. I even think Sibelius has a bit of a leg up on Finale at the moment, for legibility of symbols and clear separation of close-spaced stuff such as time signatures.

Overture is a good tool to have at hand, and affordable. Encore as well, but I never went beyond the trial as I'm still not confident enough of its future. MusicXML support is critical at this juncture, and its follow-on will probably be what separates the wheat from the chaff going forward.


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, G5422DC-12, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager
Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2990620 05/22/19 12:56 AM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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From now until 27 May, 2019, you can get the full versions, updates, upgrades and crossgrades of Dorico Pro and Dorico Elements with a 30% discount! Just use the following code during checkout:

DORICO-30

You have to act fast, as you can't complete the purchase until they review your cross-grade eligibility based on the document or screen shot that you upload during the attempted purchase (which then terminates pending review, with a promise of 48 hour turnaround).

Not sure what the final price will be, as it self-discounted to $195 from $279 before I tried to check out, so it seems the 30% was automatically applied. But I don't remember if there's tax or not.

Last edited by Mark Schmieder; 05/22/19 01:12 AM.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, G5422DC-12, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager
Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2990654 05/22/19 09:40 AM
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I use Finale when I am creating charts from scratch. Tried StaffPad briefly, but my handwriting is too atrocious to make it work.

I also use Musescore when I find someone has posted something in that format that I want to work off. If I only wanted to make lead sheets and were starting over, I probably would have been content with Musescore.

The one game changer for me would be a program that does a truly accurate job of converting PDFs into an editable format. That would save me a lot of time. But I've yet to find a program that does a good job of that (i.e., without requiring time-consuming corrections).

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: cedar] #2990787 05/22/19 11:32 PM
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On Europe vs North America,I believe y'all have it nailed: Finale has the edge in the USA, Sibelius in Europe/UK.

Someone mentioned the demise of the Finale-provided forum, and IMO that's true -- I'd go further and say that Behringer just did the same thing. If you're looking for Finale help, try Finale Forum, which is volunteer run and also hosts forums for Sibelius and the late lamented Cakewalk.


-Tom Williams
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Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Tom Williams] #2990801 05/23/19 01:59 AM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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Well, Dorico 2 is now installed (and authorized/registered), but it won't launch, as the splash screen says "waiting for connection". Not sure what that's about, as it's a bit of a chicken-or-egg when it's the first time and you don't have a way to set any preferences or settings in advance.

UPDATE: It was just VERY slow to launch. It seems to work fine on my system. The rendering is the easiest on my eyes of the Big Three (Dorico, Sibelius, Finale). I like the core workflow, at least. We shall see whether this becomes my primary notation app for new projects.

Last edited by Mark Schmieder; 05/23/19 02:02 AM.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, G5422DC-12, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager
Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2990810 05/23/19 05:21 AM
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Hmmm, everything I read about Dorico sounds pretty promising, however I have so little motivation to learn a new program now that I've gotten used to Sibelius' idiosyncracies.
People that changed over from Finale/Sib to Dorico, how would you describe the learning curve?


Sequential Circuits Prophet 6 - Nord Stage 3 Compact - Nord Piano 4 - Crumar Mojo - Moog Little Phatty - Roland FA 06 - Yamaha U1 - Rhodes Mk1 73
Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Morizzle] #2990857 05/23/19 12:02 PM
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Franz Schiller Offline
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Another thing to say in favor of Dorico is that the plug in instruments it come with sound WAY WAY better than Sibelius. For example, the "violin" sound in Sibelius is laughable at best. But the Dorico violin sounds like a violin. Yes, it sounds fake, but it gets you a helluva lot closer.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2990954 05/23/19 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
From now until 27 May, 2019, you can get the full versions, updates, upgrades and crossgrades of Dorico Pro and Dorico Elements with a 30% discount! Just use the following code during checkout:

DORICO-30

You have to act fast, as you can't complete the purchase until they review your cross-grade eligibility based on the document or screen shot that you upload during the attempted purchase (which then terminates pending review, with a promise of 48 hour turnaround).

Not sure what the final price will be, as it self-discounted to $195 from $279 before I tried to check out, so it seems the 30% was automatically applied. But I don't remember if there's tax or not.


Mark- where was this announced? I suspect it's due to a summer arrival of Dorico 3. I'd guess they'd want at least a month after the promotion is over for a price/return guarantee to elapse, so maybe in early July?

I know Daniel Spreadbury has mentioned in the past that the Dorico team wanted to retime the Dorico Pro release date to better coincide with summer back-to-school buying season.

Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: tfort] #2991062 05/24/19 01:03 PM
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I started with Finale while in grad school. Back in those days Finale had a ridiculous learning curve. I understand that it's much better now.

I used Encore for a while and it was ok for lead sheets but not much else. I switched to Sibelius somewhere around 2.0 and currently using 7.0 on a PC. I find it very stable and don't plan to upgrade.

I have looked at Dorico and I have to admit I'd like to make the switch I seem to keep waiting for when I have more cash.

Last edited by Donsta; 05/24/19 01:04 PM. Reason: Spelling

The harder I work the luckier I get
Re: Notation software thread, 2019 edition [Re: Donsta] #2991088 05/24/19 03:20 PM
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With the 30% discount for the crossgrade, I'm attempting to pull the trigger on Dorico. Complications with setting up my account are making it a pain to complete, which I don't see as a great sign, but hopefully that will get resolved.

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