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Music Notation Application

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:26 am
by Kirsten Ruhl
I am working on playing a piece of music.

The piece is a bit difficult or demanding in itself - I certainly cannot sightread and need to practice.
On top of that the manuscript is handwritten and tricky to make out in places.
To top it all, some measures need to be transposed or recomposed because as written they are outside the range of my instrument.

To deal with this I would like to create a neatly printed manuscript.
I would decide on the needed alterations and write them in as part of the manuscript rather the original pitches - so that my printed page would present to my eye exactly what my fingers need to know without additional mental gymnastics.
I could do this by hand and gain part of my objective, but my music handwriting is hardly better than what I am starting with so I'd still have "tricky reading".
The point is only to be able to print neatly via an app rather than using handwriting.

I assume there must be a music notation application I could use, but I wasn't successful when I searched for one.
Preferably an application which is simple to use and easy to learn since I basically might need to use it once every five years or so.

Any ideas for me?

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:45 pm
by Stephen Hart
I used to have a folder full of music software links, but here are some links that look useful:

Some might be a bit much for what you want to do, depending on whether you see this task as coming up again in the future.

GarageBand also has some notation capabilities. ... tion-view/

I know next to nothing about music notation, but it's possible that a real person could be extremely helpful in this. If you tell us what the source and target instruments are, I'll ask my wife, who plays in the symphony, if she has any recommendation.

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:54 pm
by Kirsten Ruhl

Bless your heart for giving me lots of stuff to look at.
Right now I don't have the time to look - I'm out the door.

I do hope in the end to receive a single, specific recommendation by someone with a tried application. ;)

Before I leave, I want to quickly comment on your very last paragraph, where you mention source and target instruments.
This is irrelevant, but occasioned by my wording of the problem, I realized. Sorry.
I had used the term "my needed changes figured in".
Nothing needs to be "figured". Instead I need to make my decisions of what I will substitute where and with what. Then I need to write it down and I could do this by hand.
I'd prefer not to copy the whole thing by hand with my changes written in - because I will still be stuck with hand-writing rather than something easy to read. (This requires enough concentration to play without reading struggle.)
I hope this clarifies what I am after. I should not even have mentioned anything about alterations since that is in a way irrelevant. The point is only to be able to print neatly via an app rather than using handwriting.
I did edit my original posting so as not to cause further confusion. Sorry about not being clear to begin with.

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:24 pm
by Kirsten Ruhl

It just struck me as I was walking out (it made me run back in)

A simple way to say it:
What I need is a typewriter for music. :)

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:40 pm
by Stephen Hart
Kirsten Ruhl wrote:What I need is a typewriter for music. :)
So I think your comment is right on that someone who has used a particular app and liked it will have much more to say. Failing that, you'll probably need to look at the web sites for each app you can find.

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:51 am
by BarbJ
I have found that NoteAbilityPro is by far the best notation software for the Mac. It includes a tutorial and it is a lot more intuitive than Sibelius or Finale. I looked at the tutorials for them on and Sibelius & Finale seem a lot more cumbersome and time consuming than NoteAbilityPro. They are also twice as costly. It was written by professor Keith Hamel at UBC who actually came to our club a few years ago, but hardly anybody showed up at the meeting. Here is a link to his website. I used it in a collaboration with David and Melissa Dumdei to write a music book, "Performance Repertoire for the Piano". This was a collaboration and I was able to contribute my three compositions via PDF and it fit in well with theirs, which I believe were composed on Finale on a PC. You can print the notation directly from the program, export it as a PDF, or export it as an MP3 or several other formats. You can write single instruments, or complete scores, with many instrument choices, and you can play it back, transpose, etc. I like to compose notation for the piano, export it as an MP3 and then open it in Garage Band, where I can orchestrate parts of it that I choose to be played by other instruments. If you send the notation over to Garage Band from NoteAbilityPro, you can loop it so that you can practice parts, or the whole thing over and over until you get it right, or until you wear yourself out, whichever comes first. If you get NoteAbilityPro, make sure you go through the tutorial. It teaches you soooo much about music, as well as how to use the program. One other option is to buy a copy of the sheet music from one of the sheet music outlets that can be found on the internet.

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:37 pm
by Kirsten Ruhl
I thank you for this warm recommendation of a tested system.
I was all set to go with it when I discovered the price, $225
That is too unfortunately much for my very limited use.

I decided to go with Musescore. I was having a difficult time with the download and was going to post it as a separate problem, but I persevered and finally succeeded. It is in applications folder as an app... Hurra.
Now I just hope it will do what I need and be fairly intuitive about it.
To be explored later!

Thanks again, Stephen for your assistance - and Barb again also

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:32 pm
by Stephen Hart
Let us know how it goes with Musescore.

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:24 pm
by Kirsten Ruhl

I'll give you an immediate (maybe temporary) report.
I am not frustrated, but I could be.
There is of course a learning curve - sigh...
I have put it aside while I contemplate this: Maybe my best bet is to invest the time in practicing - to the point where it won't matter much how well I can quickly read the part... :lol:

Five hours later I am editing this temporary report to my final one:
This program is far too unintuitive for me. I cannot befriend it.

So, I am going to my final solution:
Practice enough that I am totally clear on what I am doing - that's my best return on time investment.
Besides that, it feels doable...

Re: Music Notation Application

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:47 am
by JerryFreilich
BarbJ ..... would you be able to give a 15-20 minute talk on your experience for the club?