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Notation Software - Need Certain Features


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I currently use PrintMusic which is a cheaper version of Finale. For lead sheets and more, it has served me well. There are some more esoteric things that it can't seem to do that I'd like to do. I've read through the feature sets and downloaded the demos of but I can't seem to find out if these features are available in the more expensive programs.


a) Alternative chords. I'd like to be able to have a primary chord and right above it an alternative chord. You've probably seen this in professional fake books. It would be nice if the alternative chord could be in parenthesis and/or a different color. It would be great if the parenthesis were done automatically and not needed to be placed there by hand.


b) Notes in a smaller size and/or in parenthesis. I'd like to be able to add supporting harmony to a lead sheet but with the melody clearly identifiable in normal size and the supporting harmony in a smaller size.


c) I'd like to be able to mix and match staffs. So maybe four bars of full piano (for a specific part) and then the rest of the page a single staff lead sheet.


Dynamic parts in Sibelius looks pretty cool (I guess Finale 2007 has it too). As I understand it you should be able to use it in such a way that you might have full piano score, lead sheet, transposed lead sheet in a singer's key, all within the same file. Currently this would be three separate files for me.


Thanks in advance.



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If anyone is interested, I found answers to A and B just experimenting with PrintMusic.


To add chords above the main chords, just put them in a different layer and then manual place them above the main chords. It works quite well.


For B, there is an articulation that will put parethesis around the note and it's sticky. It only works with single notes, AFAIK. Again place the note(s) in a different layer.


Haven't found a good answer for C.



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The answer for C) in Sibelius 3 (I'm assuming it works the same way in Sibelius 4):


Create a piano score, and then hide (or delete) the bass clef for the duration that you don't have anything written in it. I do this all the time for piano parts in big bands, as well as for reed doubles (creating a composite part by deleting the empty staves).


Because I'm using Sibelius 3, I don't know about the use of Dynamic Parts. But I'm pretty sure you could have that full score/lead sheet/transposed sheet in one file in earlier versions as well. For my sense of organization, I prefer to have all different files for those.



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Encore does © the same way. Not available in its cheaper version, MusicTime. And both Encore and MT do cue notes and multiple chord layers (also useful for a capo chord row).

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I don't have time right now to do a feature search, but just wanted to make you aware that Notion has just announced an introductory version called Protege, which is available for $75 on pre-order discount and will be available in late November. Check it out to see if it does what you need.

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