JeremyNicoll wrote:I've been looking at ... notation software, amongst them MusEdit which I think looks appealing.
However I ... found one reviewer who claimed to have had bad experiences with several versions of the product.
What do people here think of MusEdit (and indeed other systems), from a stability and vendor-support point of view?
I like and use MusEdit. (daily since about '97, in fact.) It's a very good program with some genuine virtues and a few drawbacks. There are two reasons for the negative feedback in some quarters:
(1) MusEdit is a single-programmer project, always has been, and always will be. The amount of programming hours in it is finite, and changes are made slowly because the guy has a day job (Lawrence Berkeley physics lab) (nights and weekends, he plays his guitar and works on MusEdit). When it first came out, it had a lot of bugs, most of which have now been corrected. But even so, it will occasionally exhibit peculiar behavior. The early versions WERE buggy, and most of the negativity dates from then. For that reason, he still gives free lifetime upgrades.
(2) It's a nerd's program. It does not do your thinking for you - if you have more than half a brain, you quickly discover that this is an advantage, because it will bark, roll over, and do tricks for you, where other programs will simply not permit you to be creative. It's very flexible, and there are multiple ways to accomplish many common tasks, and ways to make it do new things that the programmer himself never thought of. But there are a significant number of would-be users out there who have less than half a brain, and expect it to write perfect sheet music when they themselves don't know what they are doing, and furthermore don't bother to RTFM. You have read their frustrated posts. In every complaint that I have read, I pretty much know from experience what the correct procedure or workaround is (sometimes, indeed, it is a workaround), and there is a Yahoo list where you can ask questions from the experienced users.
MusEdit has always been unfinished. The current version has a new module for importing Music-XML files, but it doesn't work yet. The programmer frankly confessed that he hasn't had time to fix the part that gave him unexpected difficulties. It may work next year. I look forward to it... I've had the opportunity to see my own suggestions implemented, albeit after a 2 year or so lag.
So - as far as support goes, there is a printed manual, and the MusEdit website has tons of "how-to" material, plus there's the Yahoo group and the programmer himself. As far as stability goes, it crashes for me once in a while now (Windoze 2000), but the auto-save feature saves everything except the last few keystrokes. Sometimes you have to delete or rename the backup file in order to get the current file to open. My Windows system is in spanish, and I have a spanish keyboard, and once a month or so MusEdit will spontaneously re-map itself to an English keyboard so that none of my keyboard shortcuts work (the programmer claims this is a windows fault). When this happens, I save the file, close MusEdit, reopen and continue. The program is very small, so it opens in a couple of seconds. The "Undo" feature works very well, but will sometimes separate grouped staves when it "undoes", and you have to watch for this and re-group them.
For the price, it's an incredibly full-featured program, but it's also like an un-weeded garden, full of, as the programmer told me, "strange nooks and crannies", and also in those nooks and crannies you will find some unfinished parts where the bugs reside still. It will also cheerfully allow you to make dumb mistakes and write gibberish. I love it!