Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

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ReggieGuitar

Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by ReggieGuitar » Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:54 pm

Hi, I'm very interested in composing music and transferring it neatly into an electronic format.

Anyway, I was wondering in terms of musical notation software is there an optimum one for solo guitar music? Is there a software that is particularly more efficient/accessible. I realise if I want to share my work with any part of the community it has to look user friendly/good, so I need to find out what's the best software for this.

In my studies I have always used Sibelius, admittedly is does a relatively good job, the only awkwardness being the occasional voicing error which I can generally solve. I have unfortunately quite found it particularly fiddly with editings and getting everything exactly where I want it.

Thanks for reading, Reggie
Last edited by ReggieGuitar on Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mrvegas
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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by mrvegas » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:45 pm

I am a long-time Sibelius user for other types of music. However, for short pieces for solo guitar, I think actually Musescore works better, and I think the voicings wind up looking better. In Musescore, the fingering input system is easier, except that you then have to manually move the fingerings around to get them to look good, which is a real pain. (There is a way to do this without having to move each single one separately, though.)

I don't have Sibelius 7 yet, but guitar fingerings for Sibelius 6 and below are surprisingly awkward to do.
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bergmann
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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by bergmann » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:59 pm

If you are used to Sibelius, your choice should be quite easy - continue use Sibelius and learn how to solve the problems you have in your work.

Sibelius or Finale - both have their advantages and disadvantages and creating scores for guitar need certainly some tweaking in both programs. MuseScore is great too, but will probably need more work to make your personal style. Soon there will be a new player on the marked - A Steinberg product. You can follow the development here: http://blog.steinberg.net/2015/03/devel ... y-part-10/. Personally I'm looking forward to this product, I believe it can end up being a great program.

Some years ago I held Sibelius and Finale up against each other - it was older versions than now, but some of the conclusions still holds. You can read them here: http://www.bergmannedition.com/category ... -programs/

In the end I decided to use Sibelius and created some add-ons for guitar. You can find them here free to download and use: http://www.bergmannedition.com/update-s ... ic-guitar/

Your problems controlling placement of objects where you want them seems to me as a problem you should be able to solve by un-select "magnetic layout" off, use the "Inspector" to place your elements using "x-y coordinates". Another great plugin to control spacing is called: "Note Spacing". It usually looks nicer to get more spacing for the specific guitar notation using this on a whole bar or a passages, than to drag the note-heads.

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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by pogmoor » Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:43 pm

ReggieGuitar wrote:...the only awkwardness being the occasional voicing error which I can generally solve. I have unfortunately quite found it particularly fiddly with editings and getting everything exactly where I want it.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. I use Sibelius for all my guitar arrangements and find it very flexible. I agree with bergmann that it's sometimes necessary to turn off "magnetic layout" (in Sibelius 7), which you can do for individual objects. Once you realise this it's very easy to place things exactly where you want them.

I did use Finale for a few years, but once I tried Sibelius I found it much easier to get on with. I think if I was starting again now I might use MuseScore. This has the advantage, of course, of being free but it is also a very well-designed program, especially the recently released version 2.0. One thing that stops me changing is the fact that I've got so used to Sibelius I can do everything I need pretty quickly so, even if I thought MuseScore was better, I'm not sure I'd want to invest the time in learning it.
bergmann wrote:Soon there will be a new player on the marked - A Steinberg product. You can follow the development here: http://blog.steinberg.net/2015/03/devel ... y-part-10/. Personally I'm looking forward to this product, I believe it can end up being a great program.
Agreed; once this is released I'll be very tempted to have look at it. It's being developed by the team that used to develop Sibelius. They have the huge advantage that they have started with a clean slate rather than having to tweak the coding, some of it quite outdated, of an existing program - so it may end up offering advantages that none of the other programs have.
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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by markodarko » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:38 pm

I use Notion - which has recently been acquired by PreSonus. For general composition, it's great, and the shortcut keys mean that I can write very quickly. For guitar work however, although there are lots of guitar-like things such as slides, hammer-ons and the like, it can't do a basic barre group (for example if I wanted to put VII---------------| across the top of a bar or two I'd have to do that via the text tool) although I've filed a feature request for this. Also, there is absolutely no way of indicating finger 0 for an open string(!), so it seems that the guitar aspect of it could do with a little bit of a revamp. Having said that, it does have a corresponding iPad app which you can exchange files with via email, which an be very handy when out and about.

I tried MuseScore 2.0 last week when it was released and it seems very flexible, but note entry seemed quite illogical in the 30 minutes I played around with it - although admittedly I'm sure I'd get to grips with it if I spent some time with it.
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ReggieGuitar

Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by ReggieGuitar » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:18 pm

Thanks for the detailed responses guys.

After having a read at what people had to say I think the general consensus is Sibelius competes with the best musical notation softwares, so I may as well stick with it. Up until recently I haven't heard of Musescore so I will have to check that out to incase it appeals to me.

To clarify the main problem I've had with Sibelius is it can be so awkward to get something exactly where you want it, and when you're carrying out the same operation 30 times it does become tedious.

I'm familiar with Sibelius anyway so I guess I'll soldier on and hopefully get better equipped at it.

I'll be sure to have a good look at your plug-ins Bergmann, your whole site looks remarkable! I'll be sure to have a look around at your editings :)

Once again thanks for the input everyone, I will post in this thread when I've had a look at the other softwares too!

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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:05 pm

I have been using Musescore for a few years now and i think it is excellent. It doesnt have the bells and whistles that Finale or Sibelius has, but if you are doing music notation, it will accomodate most anything which can be notated conventionally.

They just released a new version last week; i havent tried it yet.
ReggieGuitar wrote: To clarify the main problem I've had with Sibelius is it can be so awkward to get something exactly where you want it, and when you're carrying out the same operation 30 times it does become tedious.
This is also a problem with Musescore, unfortunately. Fine-tuning the spacing & placing score expressions takes me a long time, and the work-around solutions for notating tremolo (for example) or working in non-standard tonalities / time signatures can be a pain. But its better than paying out the nose for Finale's latest engineered obsolescence, er, i mean "upgrade".

If you use Musescore, donate something!

cheers
dirck

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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by sxedio » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:01 pm

Yes, Musescore is a good free alternative to the big commercial notation programmes and version 2.0 is quite an improvement. If you don't mind learning a new markup language, Lilypond creates very pretty looking scores, I've yet to hit a serious limitation, having notated solo, songs for guitar and voice, small ensemble pieces etc.
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armitage_shanks

Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by armitage_shanks » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:57 pm

I've tried musescore and sibelius and I just find them the most clumsy, frustrating damn things.
In the amount of time it takes me to faff about looking for answers to what should be very simple questions.... I could have written it out by hand, got in the car, gone in to work, photocopied it and driven home again. Maybe even stop off to pick up something for tea on the way home and it would still be quicker.

Pen and paper every time for me.

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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:30 pm

armitage_shanks wrote:I've tried musescore and sibelius and I just find them the most clumsy, frustrating damn things.
In the amount of time it takes me to faff about looking for answers to what should be very simple questions.... I could have written it out by hand, got in the car, gone in to work, photocopied it and driven home again. Maybe even stop off to pick up something for tea on the way home and it would still be quicker.

Pen and paper every time for me.
Yeah, I share the frustration! I often write stuff out longhand if it is for solo guitar. But where the programs really save me time is if i am writing for an ensemble & need to extract parts. and also as an aid to proofreading…a rudimentary "playback" helps find wrong notes & other mistakes. I'm also cursed with being a habitual editor; revisions are a lot faster once i have a score in a notation program.

dirck

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magie
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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by magie » Tue May 19, 2015 9:19 am

I have just started to try Musicscore 2.0. It is quite an improvement compared to the 1.0 version.
However, I am still struggling converting standard notation to tab ... although it's described in the handbook.

... not that I need it very often but sometimes I prefer to have both versions of a piece.

Anyone with experience on that topic?
Best wishes from magie!

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cadiz
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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by cadiz » Tue May 19, 2015 9:47 am

You must to go to Instruments window (shortcut: key "I"), and in the right column, change the staff type. Like this (and then hit OK!)
type.jpg

Feel free also to ask questions on the MuseScore forum (don't forget each time to attach the score, and indicate your operating system and version of MuseScore) : https://musescore.org/fr/forum

And if you wish add a staff (tab staff e.g.), go the same Instruments window -> click on the staff - it becomes highlighted (not click on the instrument name) and then click on "Add staff" or "Add linked staff" in the middle (below) of the entire window.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Tue May 19, 2015 10:45 am

bergmann wrote: ...
Soon there will be a new player on the marked - A Steinberg product. You can follow the development here: http://blog.steinberg.net/2015/03/devel ... y-part-10/. Personally I'm looking forward to this product, I believe it can end up being a great program.
Second that; I too am very keen to see how this looks when it comes out. Not least, Daniel the main public face of the project is a very good communicator and says all the right things - and is a past student of a colleague, so he must be good 8)

The notation programme I use, Graphire Music Press, hasn't been developed for 15 years and one day I won't be able to source a computer that will run it. It still looks better than anything else on the market, hence still using it.

Stephen
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cadiz
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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by cadiz » Tue May 19, 2015 10:56 am

Stephen Kenyon wrote:The notation programme I use, Graphire Music Press, hasn't been developed for 15 years and one day I won't be able to source a computer that will run it. It still looks better than anything else on the market, hence still using it.
Try Musescore 2.0.1, and I take the bet that you should be really convinced by this incredible software open source :wink:

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magie
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Re: Musical Notation Software - Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, which is best?

Post by magie » Wed May 20, 2015 7:36 am

@ cadiz

Thanks so much ... my "Instruments" window was set to such small size that I didn't notice that there is another right column that I had to scroll to ... Image

For some reason, however the tab notation does not reflect the standard notation ... it is written an octave higher ... :?
O.k. transposing the tab seems to solve it.

Will install 2.01 update ... maybe this problem is fixed there ...
Best wishes from magie!

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