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Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter #3028594 02/12/20 05:35 AM
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Josh Paxton Offline OP
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Well, Sibelius, we had a good run, didn’t we? I mean, 17 solid years could hardly be called a “failure“ for any software/user relationship. But I think we both know the time has come to acknowledge the obvious truth: we’re simply no longer compatible, and it’s time to move on.

It’s clear that things between us have been strained for a while, but I thought, perhaps foolishly, that this new laptop might be a fresh start for us. But then today when I tried to transfer you and your license manager wouldn’t even speak to the operating system, I knew it was finally, truly over. It would have been nice if you had just told me about that up front, and saved me the embarrassment of having to confirm my suspicions through third-party support sites, but I suppose that’s a minor quibble at this point.

If I’m honest about it, I’ve seen this coming for a while. I stopped upgrading you years ago, telling myself, “Why mess with something that already fulfills my every need?” But the truth is, I could see the direction you were going, and I wasn’t on board with it. Now I look at what you’ve become and I hardly recognize you. I see your subscription-based business model and unmanageably bloated interface, and I think, what happened to the simple, elegant, intuitive notation software I fell in love with all those years ago, when it came to my rescue after Finale abandoned me so abruptly? But I suppose that’s just life; people and software both change.

Of course I’ll always cherish the charts we made together over the years, from the roughest quickie leads sheets to the most complex, fully-orchestrated ensemble scores. Some of those piano transcriptions we did are among my finest work, and nothing will ever change that. I’ll be hanging onto all of them, in their original format, .xml AND .pdf. And to answer the obvious question, yes, of course it would be tempting on some level to keep a copy of you running on my old laptop for those times when we just want a quick fix. But I think we both know that wouldn’t be healthy for either of us, and the best thing will be to make a clean break.

I’m honestly not sure where I’ll go from here. I’ll admit that Dorico reminds me an awful lot of the version of you I first fell for, but then would I just be setting myself up for the same kind of heartbreak down the road? Then there’s StaffPad, all young and hot and tempting with its willingness to fulfill my fantasies of being able to scribble notes on a staff by hand and have it magically turn into engraved notation, though I’m wary of getting involved with something so immature. And while I’m not generally into stalking my exes, I can’t help noticing that my old flame Finale has held up remarkably well and is looking pretty good these days, despite how ugly things got between us at the end.

But the truth is, I think the best thing for me is gonna be to spend some time alone, with just myself, some staff paper and a pencil. Goodbye, sweet Sibelius.

Last edited by Josh Paxton; 02/12/20 10:29 PM.
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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028599 02/12/20 09:17 AM
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I still recommend MuseScore for all private use. It does everything I ever wanted and some things better, including things I even heard Sibelius users wishing for. I don't know much about what it lacks compared to commercial ones, for I never needed more.


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028604 02/12/20 11:50 AM
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I feel your pain. I’m hanging on to version 7.5 until it decides it won’t work anymore. It ran better than version 5 ever did, but the writing was on the wall with the impossibly cluttered, confusing interface.

Still, I scored and orchestrated my first musical on Sibelius 5, with a MIDI-to-USB cable running from my parents’ digital piano into my MacBook. We’ve had some good times.

As you move through the stages of grief, and you find yourself needing some catharsis, there’s always this classic:



Samuel B. Lupowitz
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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028606 02/12/20 12:52 PM
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I'm another vote for MuseScore. You can buy it or use it as a free download. Runs on Mac, PC, and Linux. Does notation, but without a huge sample library of sounds to bog you down and tie up your computer. Has a large online user base to answer your questions.

My notation needs are pretty simple, and MuseScore does what I need with minimal fuss.


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028615 02/12/20 02:09 PM
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I don't know anything about these software programs - I just wanted to say: you get an A+ in creative writing Josh!

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: BenWaB3] #3028616 02/12/20 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BenWaB3
I don't know anything about these software programs - I just wanted to say: you get an A+ in creative writing Josh!

+1. Very creative and well written. Thanks for putting a smile on my face at the start of what looks to be a pretty challenging day.


Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
-Mark Twain
Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028628 02/12/20 04:39 PM
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Y'all know that one of the reasons Sibelius was successful in becoming the second most (and eventually the foremost) adopted notation software is the way they marketed it as being more intuitive than Finale. hider

Our expectations of what a music notation software is capable of has grown a lot over the decades and with it has come more menus, more views, tablature, meterless, more symbols, accurate playback, inclusion of large sample libraries virtual mixer, fx, integration with a DAW and other VSTs.

It takes time to learn how to write notation by hand, it also takes time to learn to write it with software - there's no way around that at the moment.
Touch screen and stylus are probably the next stage in doing input- that's still in its infancy - StaffPad and the other lesser apps that dabble in the tech aren't anywhere near perfect.
OCR from scan is still mediocre at best at digitizing notation.

I still feel like AI is our best shot at music notation. When the software is actually smart enough to think like the music maker and make intelligent interpretation choices - then we'll start to see beautiful accurate notation from audio, flawless conversion from scans, and of course midi and stylus input. The software needs to learn from millions of real world audio vs. notation examples on many instruments in many styles. Same as the brain in self driving cars needs to rack up millions of miles of driving experiences to be able to drive like a person.


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Wastrel] #3028630 02/12/20 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Wastrel
Originally Posted by BenWaB3
I don't know anything about these software programs - I just wanted to say: you get an A+ in creative writing Josh!

+1. Very creative and well written. Thanks for putting a smile on my face at the start of what looks to be a pretty challenging day.


yeahthat

Stylish break-up letter indeed. Had much practice? wink

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028633 02/12/20 04:54 PM
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As someone who has used Finale for 20 years I always find more people singing Sibelius' praises than talking about it being outdated, bloated and unworkable. So this thread is interesting to me.

I know Finale has plenty of issues, so I guess it all depends on what you use the program for. I am able to work around Finale's quirks enough that is still suits my needs, so I don't see myself penning a similar breakup letter anytime soon.


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028636 02/12/20 05:17 PM
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Sibelius just called me. Wanted me to pass on a message.

"It's not you, it's me," Sibelius says.

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: cedar] #3028637 02/12/20 05:24 PM
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I broke up with both high-maintenance sisters for their more attractive and generous cousin MuseScore many years ago. She has been very good to me so far.


"
Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Tusker] #3028659 02/12/20 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Tusker
Originally Posted by Wastrel
Originally Posted by BenWaB3
I don't know anything about these software programs - I just wanted to say: you get an A+ in creative writing Josh!

+1. Very creative and well written. Thanks for putting a smile on my face at the start of what looks to be a pretty challenging day.


yeahthat

Stylish break-up letter indeed.


have to pile on here. clap


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: BbAltered] #3028690 02/12/20 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BbAltered
I'm another vote for MuseScore. You can buy it or use it as a free download. Runs on...Linux.


As fate would have it, I'm in the throes of setting up a Ubuntu system at the moment and have to point out that 18.04 will only load MuseScore 2.1.0...no later. Yes, loading 19.10 will help, but then you're no longer on as firm a ground, release-wise. There's a workaround, which I'll be glad to post if someone's needing it, but I won't needlessly bore others with computerese.

Grey


I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.
Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: samuelblupowitz] #3028696 02/12/20 10:41 PM
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Josh Paxton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
As you move through the stages of grief, and you find yourself needing some catharsis, there’s always this classic:


I've skimmed bits of that video, but never sat through the whole thing. It's ironic and telling that the brief snippet I just now watched taught me something about Sibelius that I had never managed to figure out before, and that would have come in quite handy. Favorite line: "It’s just a parameter dump perpetrated by some dev who probably assumed that a designer would clean it up at some point in the future."

Thanks for the kind words about my post. This was definitely one of those "internet forums are cheaper than therapy" rants.

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028699 02/12/20 10:59 PM
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Josh Paxton Offline OP
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Oh, and just for giggles I decided to email a copy of this to Avid, only to discover that now you literally can't even contact them without a "support code," which you have to pay for. You know, just in case I had any lingering doubts.

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028701 02/12/20 11:04 PM
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She's just a gold digging tramp. You're better off moving on.


Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
-Mark Twain
Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028713 02/13/20 12:42 AM
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Dr Mike Metlay Offline
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I know a professor of music in Seoul (an American) who lives and dies by Dorico and can connect you with him if learning Linux and building an Ubuntu machine seems like a bit much to get access to MuseScore.

Sibelius was a great program until they let the entire UK team go in favor of devs who knew nothing about notation... and I believe that a lot of the UK folks went on to work on Dorico.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028715 02/13/20 01:07 AM
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Dorico looks good, but Steinberg....

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Dr Mike Metlay] #3028721 02/13/20 02:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
I know a professor of music in Seoul (an American) who lives and dies by Dorico and can connect you with him if learning Linux and building an Ubuntu machine seems like a bit much to get access to MuseScore.

Sibelius was a great program until they let the entire UK team go in favor of devs who knew nothing about notation... and I believe that a lot of the UK folks went on to work on Dorico.


Avid really haven’t done much with Sibelius at all other than snag parts of it for ProTools. Whoever they have maintaining Sibelius is pretty much just doing that - keeping it running on MacOS and Windows. They keep releasing yearly builds but it’s pretty much the same in use. And the sample library is not growing or improving either.

I’m very fluent in Sibelius, teach it and teach with it. The two areas I haven’t dabbled much in are creation of “plugins” and advanced layout stuff - there’s not much that the basic templates aren’t good enough for (for my purposes - piano/vocal/guitar, jazz band, miscellaneous ensembles, SATB Choir, etc.). But really getting fast and fluent is just time spent - you learn it and then you bitch about other software not being laid out the same way. We prefer what we already know how to use. From there it takes a major feature advancement to get users to jump ship. The Sibelius team that went to work for Steinberg are hoping their ideas that never went into Sibelius and attention to font and print quality is enough to give it a shot. There’s a free version of Dorico for us to give it a go - just requires registering.


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028722 02/13/20 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Paxton
Oh, and just for giggles I decided to email a copy of this to Avid, only to discover that now you literally can't even contact them without a "support code," which you have to pay for. You know, just in case I had any lingering doubts.


To add to this...there was a guy on my local Craig's List who was blatantly selling hacked copies of Pro Tools. You can't imagine the hoops I had to go through to tell them about it. They literally wanted me to go through their ticket system to tell them about black market copies of their software at $50 a pop. Screw 'em.

Oh, and I need to tell you something about their free version but I'm being called to supper. Back shortly. (I like my supper still hot.)

Grey


I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.
Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028724 02/13/20 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Paxton
Oh, and just for giggles I decided to email a copy of this to Avid, only to discover that now you literally can't even contact them without a "support code," which you have to pay for. You know, just in case I had any lingering doubts.
Josh you should be able to contact the sales team. I had to contact them regarding an upgrade from (wait for it) Sibelius 2 - I didn't have a support code, but did get a reply.

Cheers, Mike.


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028734 02/13/20 03:42 AM
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Okay, okay, okay...guys and gals, listen to this...this is hot off the press...

I have mentioned in the past that if you read the fine print and the legalese of Avid's license for Pro Tools First (their free starter package, which I unwisely fell for), you have to...MUST...store your music on their servers. But wait, there's more! THEY OWN THE RIGHTS TO WHATEVER MUSIC IS STORED ON THEIR SERVERS!

Think about the implications of that for a moment.

But that's not the point I want to make. Tonight's point is that I've had to buy a new PC because Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14th and that led to...well, never mind...okay, so I'm transferring a butt-load of files between two of the five PCs that I've got to work with on this replacement project and the method I chose was to hook the two PCs directly together with an Ethernet cable. It involves a stupid amount of setup, but it's great once you've got all the front end nasties out of the way.

With me so far?

So, part of the setup for this Ethernet thing is that you are allowing one PC to "share" what's on the other one and to do that you have to go multiple layers deep into Windows to tell it that the other PC is a good guy and to let him in. Only...what's this?

What's this???

There's me (admin/owner rights, etc.) and there's...this long alphanumeric string of characters who's been allowed access deep into my PC.

WTF?

Who IS this?

It will come as no surprise to you, given my windup, to learn that it was Avid who had given themselves a backdoor into my PC. ALL OF MY DATA FILES! ALL OF THEM, NOT JUST THE MUSIC! My stories (I'm an author). My spreadsheet where I keep my personal finances. Every-damned-thing that was in that part of the hard drive was available for their inspection. What the everlivin' hell? Are you friggin' kidding me? Who do these guys think they are, the Russians? The Chinese? Some corporate raiders?

I will think long and hard about allowing Avid software of any flavor on my PCs, ever again.

Mind you, I don't think there's any legal recourse, because there's plenty of info in their Accept/Decline installation steps, and if you don't connect the dots, well, then that's on you. I saw part of the problem going in, but didn't realize all of the implications until after the installation was complete. Foolish me, I left the software in place, but didn't use it, thinking that was the end of the matter. I should have removed it right then. NOTE: That backdoor was still there after I removed their software. Which didn't want to be removed, mind you, but that's another story for another day.

Who's buying the next round?

Oh, and long live MuseScore...

Grey


I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.
Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028736 02/13/20 03:49 AM
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Avid has mentioned on their website that they with the iLok people are able to hold your licenses in the cloud and this negates the need for the physical USB dongle. However, the software demands a consistent and reliable internet connection at all times. Could this be the “back door” you stumbled upon? They say the connection is only used for license data and that no other data is shared (however, it’s difficult to take corporations at their word, especially in tech).


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028743 02/13/20 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Paxton
Well, Sibelius, we had a good run, didn’t we? I mean, 17 solid years could hardly be called a “failure“ for any software/user relationship. But I think we both know the time has come to acknowledge the obvious truth: we’re simply no longer compatible, and it’s time to move on.

It’s clear that things between us have been strained for a while, but I thought, perhaps foolishly, that this new laptop might be a fresh start for us. But then today when I tried to transfer you and your license manager wouldn’t even speak to the operating system, I knew it was finally, truly over. ......

They're all doing this. Adobe's Photoshop is one of the best examples. CS5 won't run on recent Mac OS anymore.
You have to fork over a new subscription fee unless you download the pirate hack to enable the latest CC, which anyone who paid the original $500 for CS5 is fully justified IMO.

Last edited by JazzPiano88; 02/13/20 04:19 AM.

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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: GRollins] #3028777 02/13/20 11:05 AM
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GRollins, do you think that the time limited trial version has the same access? (I only have that one on my machine)
Where in Windows can I check for that backdoor?


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Dr Mike Metlay] #3028792 02/13/20 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
I know a professor of music in Seoul (an American) who lives and dies by Dorico and can connect you with him if learning Linux and building an Ubuntu machine seems like a bit much to get access to MuseScore.


MuseScore runs on macOS and Windows for free. Grey was only talking about getting the latest version running on a specific Linux setup he was doing.


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: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028800 02/13/20 01:59 PM
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I use Lilypond http://lilypond.org/ because Score for DOS was the best input method http://lilypond.org/doc/v2.18/Documentation/notation/cheat-sheet

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028808 02/13/20 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Paxton
Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
As you move through the stages of grief, and you find yourself needing some catharsis, there’s always this classic:


I've skimmed bits of that video, but never sat through the whole thing. It's ironic and telling that the brief snippet I just now watched taught me something about Sibelius that I had never managed to figure out before, and that would have come in quite handy. Favorite line: "It’s just a parameter dump perpetrated by some dev who probably assumed that a designer would clean it up at some point in the future."
It is a long video, but it's worth watching straight through if you find yourself with a totally free 22 minutes (ha, ha) -- all the individual points are great, but there's something of an emotional and narrative arc to the full experience, especially once the narrator starts to crumble in the last few minutes.


Samuel B. Lupowitz
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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Joe Muscara] #3028953 02/14/20 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe Muscara
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
I know a professor of music in Seoul (an American) who lives and dies by Dorico and can connect you with him if learning Linux and building an Ubuntu machine seems like a bit much to get access to MuseScore.


MuseScore runs on macOS and Windows for free. Grey was only talking about getting the latest version running on a specific Linux setup he was doing.


That's what I was thinking as well.

Now that the topic has been expanded on, I'm kind of interested. The few times I use MuseScore is on older Ubuntu releases, and my version of MuseScore is just 2.02.

From scanning the GitHub page, it looks like it's written in C++ with the Qt graphics library, so I would guess you could just compile the latest version with gcc, I guess. Probably would work, I guess.

Any real advantages to upgrading? I mean, it's a cute little program even in the older version I have. Occasionally frustrating to enter notes with precise ways you want the stems placed, like for breaking down a fugue or whatever, but it seems to do what it's meant for, IMHO.

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028989 02/14/20 10:05 AM
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Version 3 has automatic layout, so that things don't overlap on the score.


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Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3028997 02/14/20 01:08 PM
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I think one of the big things they did with version 3 was to build a platform they could expand upon. There have been a number of new features they've added to version 3 in .x releases. For one, they've made a lot of UI improvements to make it easier to use including ways to configure palettes for your use.


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: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3029136 02/15/20 05:52 AM
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I use Dorico. I switched from Sibelius at Dorico v2.0. What it can do with orchestral sample libraries is still developing, but it is already well ahead of anything else on the market. This program gets significantly better every year, and already does what I need it to.

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: Josh Paxton] #3029151 02/15/20 01:15 PM
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I used Finale for 10 years and hated it. Then switched to Sibelius for the past 10 years and don’t like it either. I found neither to be user friendly (well, that’s an understatement!). Although I can’t stand the thought of investing more time into learning another notation app it might be time. It’s encouraging to hear positive feedback on other notation apps from experienced people on this thread.

Re: Semi-OT: A notation software breakup letter [Re: samuelblupowitz] #3029154 02/15/20 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
Originally Posted by Josh Paxton
Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
As you move through the stages of grief, and you find yourself needing some catharsis, there’s always this classic:

I've skimmed bits of that video, but never sat through the whole thing. It's ironic and telling that the brief snippet I just now watched taught me something about Sibelius that I had never managed to figure out before, and that would have come in quite handy. Favorite line: "It’s just a parameter dump perpetrated by some dev who probably assumed that a designer would clean it up at some point in the future."
It is a long video, but it's worth watching straight through if you find yourself with a totally free 22 minutes (ha, ha) -- all the individual points are great, but there's something of an emotional and narrative arc to the full experience, especially once the narrator starts to crumble in the last few minutes.

The video accurately describes my Sibelius experience. I’ve often been unimpressed with the terrible design decisions they’ve made.

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