Notation software - how stable are the programs?

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Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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JeremyNicoll

Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by JeremyNicoll » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:21 pm

I've been looking at various websites for notation software, amongst them MusEdit which I think looks appealing.

However I usually search the net for reviews of any software I'm interested in buying, first. I did so and found one reviewer who claimed to have had bad experiences with several versions of the product.

(I was going to include the URL of the place where I read the review but I can't. I understand why you've a no-advertising policy but this seems to get in the way of asking this sort of question. Can I hint that the review was at a website named after a very large South-American river?)

What do people here think of MusEdit (and indeed other systems), from a stability and vendor-support point of view?

Azalais

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Azalais » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:34 pm

There are quite a few existing threads that have discussed MusEdit:
search.php?keywords=MusEdit&terms=all&a ... mit=Search

Feel free to ask questions at the end of any of these existing discussions... :wink:

JeremyNicoll

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by JeremyNicoll » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:43 pm

Azalais wrote:There are quite a few existing threads that have discussed MusEdit:
search.php?keywords=MusEdit&terms=all&a ... mit=Search

Feel free to ask questions at the end of any of these existing discussions... :wink:
I did search for and read through several existing threads, and it seemed to me that they mainly talked about the features offered by the various programs. I don't recall seeing comments on reliability or support, and as that's what really interests me, I thought a new thread might be a better idea. Although I gave an example of one vendor's product I did say that I was interested in views on others too. I'd assumed that if, say, I tacked the question onto the end of a specifically MusEdit thread then people might object if discussion widened to other programs.

Rocket88

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Rocket88 » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:01 pm

No experience with MusEdit, but I use and highly recommend Sibelius.

John O

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by John O » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:28 pm

I have both Finale and Sibelius--both seem stable.

Steven_Morgan

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Steven_Morgan » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:19 am

For some applications I have been using Musette. I paid for the upgrade and I find it a very reasonable program (very simple however). It isn't finale, but it does have a nice 'pick and paste' sort of approach. I find this approach easier to use with some music. It will play back midi. Unfortunately there are limited text operations... I have used this program with different fonts to place string numbers etc. and that seems to work fine. The ties/slurs are ugly unfortunately. This program has it's limitations, but it's simplicity is actually a plus in some situations.

reventlov

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by reventlov » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:38 pm

I've tried several, and nothing matches up to Sibelius in my experience - it's pricey though! It's never once crashed or froze when I've used it, and does large tasks quickly and reliably.

juerg

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by juerg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:19 pm

Jeremy,

I know this may not be a direct answer to your question, but you may want to look into LilyPond http://lilypond.org/web/ . It is a freely available music notation program (open source) that runs on all major platforms. It produces very high quality output. Many people get scared by its user interface (text based). But entering scores is really quite efficient once you get used to it. And given your professional background I assume you know how to work with a text editor :D. Regarding user support, there is a very active discussion forum for LilyPond, accessible through their webpage.

Juerg

jack_gvr

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by jack_gvr » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:49 pm

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!

JeremyNicoll

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by JeremyNicoll » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:16 pm

jack_gvr wrote: (1) MusEdit is a single-programmer project, always has been, and always will be...

(2) It's a nerd's program...

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...
All of that sounds fine. Thanks for writing so much in reply. I've found the yahoo group and will see if I can join it and read a few posts.

lil_clair

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by lil_clair » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:06 am

i just started using MuseScore http://www.musescore.org/download yesterday.

it seems to be quite good - very similar to sibelius (except its free!!). not sure about the stabillity though. it has shut down on me a couple of times already (lucky i save regularly and it auto saves too, so no real worries). There is a very easy to understand handbook and a forum for support. havent discovered all the features or lack of yet. but so far its great. worth a try.

Cuyler

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Cuyler » Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:55 am

juerg wrote:I know this may not be a direct answer to your question, but you may want to look into LilyPond http://lilypond.org/web/ . It is a freely available music notation program (open source) that runs on all major platforms. It produces very high quality output. Many people get scared by its user interface (text based). But entering scores is really quite efficient once you get used to it. And given your professional background I assume you know how to work with a text editor :D. Regarding user support, there is a very active discussion forum for LilyPond, accessible through their webpage.
Have you tried RoseGarden, Canorus or Denemo as a front end to Lilypond? They are all graphical front ends to Lilypond which seems to have a lot support from the open source community. I am just starting to look at the notation software options. I am curious how Lilypond compares to MuseScore and how those free solutions compare to commercial programs such as Finale and Sibelius.

fatwarry
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Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:56 am
Location: Norfolk, England

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by fatwarry » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:15 am

The Denemo/Lillypond combination looks interesting. Denemo says it can produce printed output from a microphone source. That sounds like it could be very useful/ Does anyone have any experience of this or of the suitability of Denemo/Lillypond for guitar music?
"I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours" - Bob Dylan (1963)

jack_gvr

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by jack_gvr » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:23 pm

I have tried Denemo/Lillypond a little bit, it crashed several times on my Windows 2K system, and I haven't pursued it much (yet?). Maybe it runs better on Linux. Canorus isn't ready for prime time, according to a "warning" right up front on the website; RoseGarden is Linux-only.

tapsa

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by tapsa » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:55 pm

jack_gvr wrote:Maybe it runs better on Linux.
Yes, Lilypond runs fine on Linux. Anyhow the project leader of Musix, Marcos Guglielmetti, recommends MuseScore. I ashamed to say, I haven't tried these programs in spite of they are included in Musix. The whole idea of Musix (there are also many other Linux distros with programs for musicians and lovers of music) is that you can try free programs from a DVD without installing them.

-tapsa-

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