Music notation software – Neil Moore
Found in: Technology
Nancy L., Ohio
I’m looking for input on comprehensive music notation software for PC platform. I have a student who is extensively composing (full 3-4 movement sonatas, for example) and has been using MuseScore. I personally have not used Sibeluis, Finale, Etc extensively enough to have a solid opinion on which program I should recommend to him. His parents are prepared to purchase him whatever he needs. He currently plays/composes using a Yamaha digital piano. He is a sophomore in high school and seriously considering minoring in composition in college, along with his architecture major.
Mark M., New York
I haven’t had strong needs for music notation, so I’ve settled so far for the more limited notation features in Digital Performer, the digital audio workstation software I use. Simply Music uses Sibelius. I get the impression that Sibelius and Finale are the Coke and Pepsi of the market, with Sibelius generally being in the lead.
Becc S., Australia
My daughter has been composing for years and loves Sibelius. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but she whips up a score in no time. And they are completely professional. You can use the digital input to enter the music and then adjust using the mouse or computer. You have the opportunity to add all the musical notation you desire whether that be tempo, dynamics, etc.
Jeff O., Massachusetts
Sibelius. Steep learning curve, but he’ll use it forever. I’ve done lead sheets to orchestral scores with parts.
Sibelius for me. And it’s an AVID program, so there are vast financial resources in the background to stay up with the development curve.
Felicity E., Australia
Sibelius is used in a lot of Australian high schools and university level. There were free versions or cheaper student versions. It takes a lot to learn, but once they learn the shortcuts it’s not so bad. Another one that is good, cheap, and quite user friendly is Notion. It produces beautiful scores and is quick to learn. Notion is best on iPads.
Gordon Harvey, Australia
I haven’t used Finale,but have used Sibelius for quite some time. I actually find Sibelius a bit irritating, but maybe it’s just my brain–I scratch around to learn what would seem to be a very basic function, then forget how I found it next time I need it. But if he has the time and the retention skills to minimize the learning curve, it is indeed very powerful. A good approach might be to begin with Sibelius First, the entry-level version, and graduate to the full version when he’s ready. The full version is, I think, only available by subscription, which may mean a high cost if he uses it for a long time.
There are also online programs. The only one I know at all is Noteflight. The entry level version is free.
Another option would be to use a Workstation program (also called a DAW) with notation function. Apple Logic’s notation has pretty good notation, and for me it has great benefit of being able to compose in a more user-friendly non-notation environment, then view and tweak the notation after the music is written. And of course, a DAW is a tremendously powerful creative tool beyond notation. A respected DAW for PC is Cubase, although I’ve never used its notation function.