Notation software - how stable are the programs?

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Cuyler

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Cuyler » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:07 pm

There is also NoteEdit, which is the precursor to the Canorus project. But I see that is Linux only as well.

If these programs crash a lot, it might explain why people are willing to pay for programs like Finale and Sibelius. There is Finale Notepad, which is quite reasonably priced.

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Alicia
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Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Alicia » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:23 pm

I used Finale Notepad for my Grade 8 Composition Exam. I can't imagine a reason to buy anything else. OK, it won't change key - I just printed the work out in two keys and stuck it together with sellotape and rescanned. There was a thread about Finale Notepad recently. It's never crashed on me.
_..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__..--''(__

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Paul
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Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Paul » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:25 pm

LilyPond is definitely stable in Windows XP. I didn't have much luck trying the front-ends when I had Linux installed. I don't recall all the details, but some of them could import from LilyPond, but exporting was problematic. I hope someone else has more details. I managed to engrave Lagrima with LilyPond, including fingering and strings and barres. It looks really great, but it took a loooooong time. A really long time. Have a look at the code for it:

Code: Select all

\version "2.10.10"                                                               %VERY NB for converting to later versions

\paper{
    #(set-paper-size "a4")
    line-width = 18\cm
    between-system-space = 3.0\cm
    between-system-padding = #1
    after-title-space = 1\cm
}

\header {
    title = "LÁGRIMA"
    composer = "Francisco Tárrega"
}                                                                               %end of \header block

barre = #(define-music-function (parser location str)(string?)
    #{
       \once \override Voice . TextSpanner #'direction = #1
       \once \override Voice . TextSpanner #'dash-period = #'0.0
       \once \override Voice . TextSpanner #'dash-fraction = #'()
       \once \override Voice . TextSpanner #'edge-height = #'(0.0 . 0.5)
       \once \override Voice . TextSpanner #'enclose-bounds = #1
       \once \override Voice . TextSpanner #'edge-text = #(cons (format "c~a" $str) "")
    #})                                                                         %$

twoseven = { %we define bars 2 to 7 which will be used twice so that we only need to edit it once

<< { <fis'-4>2. | } \\                                                          %||2||
   { <dis-1>8 b <a-3> b <b,-2> b |} >>

<< { gis'4 a' b' | } \\                                                         %||3||
   { e8 b fis b gis b | } >>

<< { fis'2. | } \\                                                              %||4||
   { dis8 b a b b, b | }>>

<< { <e''-4>4 <dis''-4> <cis''-4> | } \\                                        %||5||
     \override StringNumber #'extra-offset = #'(0.0 . -2.5)
     \once \override Voice.TextSpanner #'padding = #'5.5
   { \barre #"IX" <cis'-3\4>8\startTextSpan <e'-1\3> <b-1\4> e'\stopTextSpan
     \once \override Voice.TextSpanner #'padding = #'4.0
     \barre #"VII" <a-1\4>\startTextSpan <fis'-1\2> | } >>
    
<< { <b'-1>4                                                                    %||6||
     \barre #"IX" <cis'-3>8\startTextSpan <e'-1> <fis'-4\3> <a'-2\2>\stopTextSpan | } \\
   { <b-3\4>8 <gis'-4\2>\stopTextSpan <cis'-3\4>2 | } >>

<< { <gis'-1>4                                                                  %||7||
     \set fingeringOrientations = #'(right)
     \barre #"II" <cis'-1>8\startTextSpan <fis'-1> <b,-1> <a-1 dis'-4>\stopTextSpan | } \\
     \once \override Voice . TextSpanner #'padding = #3
   { \barre #"IV" <b-1>8\startTextSpan <e'-2>\stopTextSpan
     \set fingeringOrientations = #'(right) <ais-2>4 b, | } >>
}

\score {                                                                        %start of \score block

{

\set Staff.midiInstrument = "acoustic guitar (nylon)"                           %set midi instrument
\set Staff.instrumentName = "Guitarra "
\set Score.stringNumberOrientations = #'(down)                                  %all string numbers below staff

\clef "G_8" \key e \major \time 3/4                                             %clef with octave indication

#(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * * *) 1 4 'Staff)                         %quaver beams in crotchet pairs
#(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * * *) 2 4 'Staff)
#(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * * *) 3 4 'Staff)

\repeat volta 2 {                                                               %section 1 is repeated so we start it here

<< { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)                                      %||1||
     \once \override Score.RehearsalMark #'padding = #3.5
     \mark \markup { \small \bold "Andante"}
     <gis'-4>4 <a'-4> <b'-4> | } \\
   { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left) <e-1>8 <b-0> <fis-2> b <gis-2> b | } >>

{ \twoseven }                                                                   %insert music defined above

<< { e'2 r4 | } \\                                                              %||8||
   { <e gis>4 e, r  | } >>

}                                                                               %section 1's repeat ends here

\key g \major

\repeat volta 2 {
    
<< { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)  <g'-2>8 <c''-2> <b'-1> <e'-0>       %||9||
     \set fingeringOrientations = #'(right)
     \barre #"II" <a-1 dis'-3 fis'-1>8\startTextSpan <g'-2>\stopTextSpan | } \\
   { <e, b>2 <b,-1>4 | } >>

<< { e'2. | } \\                                                                %||10||
   { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)
     g8\rest \phrasingSlurUp <a-3 c'-1>8_\markup { \column { \line{ \teeny \bold \circle "3" "· · · · · · · · ·"} \line {\teeny \bold \circle "4" "· · · · · · · · ·"}}}
\( <g-2 b-1> <fis-3 a-1> <e-2 g-0> <fis a>\) | } \\
   { \stemDown e,2. | } >>

<< { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)                                      %||11||
     <g-0 b-0>8 <e''-4>  <a-1> <c''-2> <fis-3> <a'-4\2> | } \\
   { e,4 <a\4> <fis\5> | } >>

<< { \once \override Voice.Fingering #'padding = #2                             %||12||
     <fis'-1 dis'-2>2. | } \\
     \once \override Voice.TextSpanner #'padding = #'3
   { \barre #"VII" g8\rest \startTextSpan <b-3>8_\markup { \teeny \bold \circle "4" "· · · · · · · · ·"} <c'-4> <b-3>\stopTextSpan <b-0> <fis'-2> | } \\
   { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)
     \stemDown \once \override StringNumber #'extra-offset = #'(0.5 . -0.5)
     <b,-1\6>2. | } >>

<< { <g'-3>4 <a'-3> <b'-4> | } \\                                               %||13||
   { <e-1>8 <b-0> <fis-1> b <g-1> b | } >>

<< { \once \override Script #'padding = #2.5                                    %||14||
     <d''^\fermata-4>8 <c''-2> <b'-1> <a'-4>_\markup { \teeny \bold \circle "2" "· · · · ·"} <g'-2> <fis'-1> | } \\
   { a,2. | } >>

<< { \barre #"IV" <e'-3>4                                                       %||15||
     \barre #"V" <fis'-4> <b-0>8
     \set fingeringOrientations = #'(right) <a-3> | } \\
   { e'8 <g-2 b-1> <fis'\2> <a-3 c'-1> <b,-2>
     \set fingeringOrientations = #'(right) <dis-1> | } >>

<< { e'2 r4 | } \\                                                              %||16||
   { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left) <e-2 g>4 e, r | } >>

}                                                                               %section 2's repeat ends here

\key e \major

<< { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)                                      %||17||
     <gis'-4>4 <a'-4> <b'-4> | } \\
   { \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left) <e-1>8 <b-0> <fis-2> b <gis-2> b | } >>

{ \twoseven }                                                                   %insert the music defined above

<< { e'2 r4 | } \\                                                              %||24|| 
   { <e gis>4 e, r4 | } >>

\bar "|."                                                                       %final double bar line

}                                                                               %notation ends here

\midi {}                                                                        %produce midi file
\layout {}                                                                      %also a score please

}                                                                               %end of \score block

Paul

jack_gvr

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by jack_gvr » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:17 pm

Paul wrote:I managed to engrave Lagrima with LilyPond, including fingering and strings and barres. It looks really great, but it took a loooooong time. A really long time. Have a look at the code for it:
Paul
How long is really long? Two hours? Two days? Two weeks?

That's a big learning curve to learn that markup language for Lilypond. Obviously there's a need for the front end programs that take care of writing the code. Lilypond essentially requires that one already have the thinking habits of a professional programmer; to those guys it probably looks like duck soup, as easy as HTML.

Lilypond's own development website goes on at some length about how Lilypond accurately produces printed output that corresponds to the best practices of music engraving as it existed in the first half of the 20th century, but to me the advantage of this is not obvious, perhaps partly because I have all kinds of 19th century engraved editions that I downloaded from Boije, and in those, the engraving is often really bad, so I'm not used to having picture-perfect engraved scores in the style of G Schirmer. (Yes, I contradict my previous post where I complained about the poor output of Tabledit.)

Music notation programs have always, since the very beginning of computer music notation, been more or less sidetracked by the perceived need to interact with MIDI and sound recording programs. A simple notation program really needs (IMHO) to be only about putting symbols on a page in a human-readable form - essentially a graphics program. Except for Lilypond, every other program I know of tries to do more than this in some way, and in addition, tries to maintain some control over what the user can or can't do, in order to prevent the writing of gibberish by the marginally literate user. Even MusEdit, my favorite, is loaded with all of these extra functions which are not about notation, but about interaction with computer-generated sound, which ought to be a separate program from notation, IMHO. Of course I know that's an unrealistic comment on my part, because the market forces have already made it so that a simple graphics program such as I envision could not compete.

I have a routine for editing PDF files of sheet music, which may be almost as time-consuming as re-writing the piece with a real notation program, but it does work. I open the PDF with Adobe Photoshop and save it as a photoshop file, and import that Photoshop file into an Adobe Illustrator file while keeping the Photoshop file open. Usually I tweak the contrast and brightness in Photoshop, and sometimes rotate the image to get it square on the page. To make edits, I delete notation elements in the Photoshop file, update the file in Illustrator, and redo the notation in Illustrator using text blocks and a music notation font such as Anastasia.... I'm fortunate nowadays to have Photoshop and Illustrator, and enough memory to run them both. Among other questions, I'm curious whether this same routine could be used with some other pair of programs, or even some single program, such as GIMP. However, I haven't been motivated to research that. I'm certainly hoping to eventually be able to scan a PDF into MusicXML and open the XML with MusEdit, but that routine is still not ready for prime time with the programs I have. "Pizzicato", the French music notation program, is supposed to be able to do this in combination with the "Sharp-Eye" scanning program.

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Paul
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Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Paul » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:48 pm

jack_gvr wrote:How long is really long? Two hours? Two days? Two weeks?
The time spent on LilyPond, and any engraving program for that matter, could be divided into two parts: (i) capturing the notes and (ii) putting in the bells and whistles like barres, string indications, right & left hand fingering. To be completely fair to LilyPond, part (i) didn't take all that long, but part (ii) made my brain explode, since I had to try find solutions to what are straight forward things in more graphical programs.

A neat thing about LilyPond was that sections of music which are repeated only need to be captured once and then referred to in the code. I engraved part of Passacaille by de Visee which had one particular line repeating between other lines and the code was relatively short. (Actually, I see I only coded the repeated line.)

Apart from trying a couple of front-ends I also tried to use a text editor which uses syntax highlighting. If I'd got that right I would have persevered more. Anyway, every couple of years I get a bee in my bonnet and dive into it again.

Cuyler

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Cuyler » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:46 pm

jack_gvr wrote: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.
I read that you use Musedit -- have you tried MuseScore? It is another open-source notation program for Windows and Linux. Perhaps it is more mature than those other solutions, but another forum implies it is still a little buggy. I get the feeling these programs are almost there, but not quite ready for prime time.

Wikipedia has a nice list of the notation software that is currently available. Also, I just learned about Wubi, an installer program that makes it easy to run Ubutu Linux on a Windows computer without the need for a separate partition. That might be useful for some users that just want to experiment with some Linux music software.

jack_gvr

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by jack_gvr » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:25 pm

Thanks for the tips Cuyler, I'll follow up these links.

(Later...) MuseScore is limited to four voices per staff. Not good for guitar. ?

(Later...) Interesting to read that the Linux world is challenged:
LinuxMusicians_Forum wrote:Many of Linux's notation apps are almost there...I can't wait!! For many people NtEd and MuseScore will be fine...they're just not quite there for professional implementation by non-techies yet.
and:
LinuxMusicians_Forum wrote:I'll be working with my usual amalgamation of NtEd/MuseScore/NoteEdit/Lilypond/ABC.
In browsing after Cuyler's links, I came across (not for the first time) the site for NOTION, which is an example of the kind of software bloat that music notation programs are subject to. The hype says proclaimed as "the closest thing to a Photoshop quality solution for notation and playback" by Computer Shopper magazine, which is a very attractive claim. Yes, but the thing costs six hundred dollars USD or thereabouts, and besides recording your notation, it will play back your orchestral scores using playback software which allows you to "conduct" (with the mouse??? or maybe with a joystick?) and with playback samples of the London Symphony recorded at Abbey Road. You have to applaud creativity, hard work, and marketing genius, of course, but... anyway, I guess there are conservatory students for whom this is the absolutely greatest thing since the toaster or whatever, and it probably fills a genuine niche in that price range, where it competes with Sibelius & Finale. Is conducting a virtual orchestra with the mouse sort of like "Guitar Hero"? Does it lead to a genuinely marketable skill? Interesting questions.

lil_clair

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by lil_clair » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:38 am

jack_gvr wrote:(Later...) MuseScore is limited to four voices per staff. Not good for guitar. ?
how many 5-part harmony pieces are you notating?? :wink: you can still build big vertical harmonies by pressing shift or ctrl or something. so it shouldnt matter if you need more notes (unless i miusunderstood yr question).

with regards to the stability or musScore (with vista), i have been using it for about a week or 2 now and have crashed it constantly some days and not at all on others. nice easy learning curve on it - great searchable pdf of help and instructions. it does everything i need it too, and im happy to deal with the crashes. it reminds me to save more often. and the price is right too. :okok: (imagine how much beer you can buy with the $500+ dollars you'd save)

jack_gvr

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by jack_gvr » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:55 am

lil_clair wrote:
jack_gvr wrote:(Later...) MuseScore is limited to four voices per staff. Not good for guitar. ?
how many 5-part harmony pieces are you notating?? :wink: you can still build big vertical harmonies by pressing shift or ctrl or something. so it shouldnt matter if you need more notes (unless i miusunderstood yr question).
Well, I confess that comment was based only on the screen shots available on the MuseScore website. There were no 6 voice chords (lots of four voice ones), and no promotional verbage aimed at reassuring guitarists that their specific requirements are met, such as string numbers in little circles and whatnot. In any case, writing 6 note chords is a standard requirement for guitar notation. But yes, I accept that there is a workaround as you say.
Alicia wrote:I used Finale Notepad for my Grade 8 Composition Exam. I can't imagine a reason to buy anything else. OK, it won't change key - I just printed the work out in two keys and stuck it together with sellotape and rescanned. (...) It's never crashed on me.
Well, I can well imagine that you might get tired of the cellophane tape routine about the time you have to have a digital copy of some sort. Notepad is a good start, and does the basic job but it has specifically designed limitations which are intended, by marketing design, to frustrate you into upgrading. When you want to put a symbol on a page, and the program won't let you, so you have to print it out and do it by hand, then your patience can get worn through quickly, and suddenly you may find that you can imagine some reasons to buy something else.

lil_clair

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by lil_clair » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:22 am

jack_gvr wrote: Well, I confess that comment was based only on the screen shots available on the MuseScore website. There were no 6 voice chords (lots of four voice ones), and no promotional verbage aimed at reassuring guitarists that their specific requirements are met, such as string numbers in little circles and whatnot. In any case, writing 6 note chords is a standard requirement for guitar notation. But yes, I accept that there is a workaround as you say.
:) yep. it has string numbers too. :wink:

and RE Finale, i found the whole program a real pain in the butt to use. nothing was instinctive with the program. whereas sibelius you can plonk around and things work easily enuf. MuseScore is very similiar to sibelius...almost a rip-off i'd say.
(they ARE cheeky with their marketing for notepad - i'd rather notate by hand)

flameproof

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by flameproof » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:03 am

MuseScore's limit of four voices is not a limit on how many simultaneous notes one can have, but a limit on the number of different note-values that be placed at one time. I honestly can't think of a piece of guitar music that it couldn't handle.

Recently I created this and this in MuseScore and was very pleased with the results.

It is still a little flaky and not massively intuitive, but each release shows clear improvements. Also, it blows Finale NotePad out of the water.

Attached is an excerpt of Villa-Lobos Etude No. 6 -- it took literally three minutes to make (including launching the application, choosing the default options, saving, etc.). It uses one of the four available voices.
VLE6Frag-1.jpg
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fatwarry
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Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by fatwarry » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:30 pm

flameproof,
How long did the Giuliani Andante take you to do? Were you already adept with Musescore before you did it? What do you think of the learning curve?

Sorry about all the questions but a friend has been trying to teach me Sibelius and it seems very cumbersome to me. However, I was on the verge of buying a copy just because my friend uses it and I know he'll help me if/when I get stuck. However, the output you've posted from Musescore is plenty good enough and it's free! If it's not several orders of magnitude harder to learn than Sibelius I think I'll give it go.

Any thoughts?
"I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours" - Bob Dylan (1963)

flameproof

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by flameproof » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:46 pm

fatwarry,

The Giuliani took two or three hours, the A minor study about 45 minutes (most of which was having to work around a bug in the triplets feature (which I'm sure will be fixed next release)). I've tried Sibelius and to my mind MuseScore is much easier to use, and considerably cheaper.

PS: I've spent maybe 10 hours playing with MuseScore in total (so you know my experience)

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Paul
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Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by Paul » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:56 pm

I have just tried unsuccessfully to make a grace note chord.
gracechord.jpg
I happened to try this when testing the MuseScore program. I can make single grace notes without any problems. Any ideas?

P
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flameproof

Re: Notation software - how stable are the programs?

Post by flameproof » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:35 pm

Paul,

Presumably that acciaccatura chord is a grace "chord" to the chord that follows(?) I believe that one cannot currently do that.

But you can get very close (visually) by placing the upper grace note on the C and enter the F and the A in an unsused voice (see attached) -- but I could see no easy way to enter the portamento lines (you could use slurs and straighten them).
Frag.jpg
Also MuseScore allows you to import PNG files with transparent backgrounds -- this means that (if you can create them) you can do any fix up that you require. (The grace-notes and portamentos are the imported PNG.)
FragWithPing.jpg
You could take this up at the MuseScore forums (as all good citizens would) -- you might find better solutions (but also the developers need to be made aware of the uses we guitarists would put the software to).

PS: I forgot the sharps in the fragment but the processes would be the same.
PPS: the same goes for the two voices that you have where I have only one.
PPPS: the same goes for the "spread" of the notes which is adjustable in MuseScore
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