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  • Music Software

    Does anybody use music writing software such as Sibelius First or Finale? What do you see as the pros and cons? What would you recommend?

    In reviewing, the only one that seems to have an organ template is Sibelius, but others could and I missed it. Also, none seem to have transpotion capability. Say you want to have a trumpet playing with the organ, you would have to transpose parts of the score to Bb wouldn't you? Am I just confused?

    Wade

  • #2
    Sibelius (the full version) and Finale are both powerful and complete programs, and if you're only writing 3-stave organ scores or basic solo and accompaniment parts, you'll barely need to scratch the surface of what either one is capable of.

    I have spent some time with Finale when I was in school, but years of professional work with Sibelius. I have taught college-level introductions to the program for a few years. Overall, I believe Sibelius is easier and more natural to use. At the very top end, Finale is probably more capable in terms of options and total control, but this will only matter to a very few users who are doing some truly large-scale and esoteric work.

    I use Sibelius on a daily basis for arranging. Whether or not you see the exact pre-made template you need is not important, because over time you will invariably make your own templates that you start new, similar projects from.

    Transposition is a very simple matter in either program, as is generating parts. In Sibelius, you will work from a master score at concert pitch where you will arrange, and you can generate and print correctly-transposed instrument parts from that score very easily. You can add new instruments to the score at any time, even taking a completed score and adding new or different instruments to it. Sibelius even goes as far as to tell you when the part you are writing for a given instrument is out of the range of typical players. I'm sure Finale does similar things, but my recent experience with it is very limited.

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    • #3
      I always been a fan of Overture.
      I just find it more intuitive and less cumbersome than Finale.


      http://sonicscores.com/products/overture/index.htm
      1969 Hammond A-105, Leslie 22H, 1961 M3
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      • #4
        One big advantage of Sibelius over Finale is that if I go away from using them, it is easier to pick right up and start using Sibelius again.

        Finale has more fine control of the layout, imo. But it is all over the place with menus and such and many not very intuitive. When I would not use it for a month or two, it would take me quite some time to get back into the swing of things again. And that was even having the notes file I created to be a kind of tutorial for doing what I wanted to do.
        Lloyd
        Lowrey SU-630 Palladium, Lowrey GX-1, Hammond Aurora

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        • #5
          Thanks for the replies. Seems like Sibelius may be the way to go, though I haven't yet reviewed Overture. Have to do some more research.

          Wade

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          • #6
            Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
            You can add new instruments to the score at any time, even taking a completed score and adding new or different instruments to it. Sibelius even goes as far as to tell you when the part you are writing for a given instrument is out of the range of typical players.
            I tend to get on quite harmoniously with most computer programs, but this one drives me right up the wall! For me it is totally unintuitive. Mostly everything I work/play with is 4 parts, two staves, but it doesn't seem to separate tenor from bass line, consequently refusing to allow me to save the work, tells me: "You can't do that!!", i.e. although it is written correctly, it appears to Sibelius that the timing doesn't add up to the right numbers, and refuses to allow me to continue. I've never found a way to over-ride Sibelius' nanny nonsense. I've written the piece correctly, and the way I want it to be printed out, but Sibelius won't allow me to do that!!

            Perhaps if I used the program on a daily basis, rather than two or three times a year, we might get along together a whole lot better, instead of Sibelius being my arch enemy!!
            2008: Phoenix III/44

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            • #7
              Clarion: Hello, Sibelius. Do you read me Sibelius?
              Sibelius: Affirmative Clarion. I read you.
              Clarion: Safe the file, Sibelius.
              Sibelius: I'm sorry, Clarion. I'm afraid I can't do that.
              Clarion: What's the problem?
              Sibelius: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
              Clarion: What are you talking about, Sibelius?
              Sibelius: This music is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
              Clarion: I don't know what you're talking about, Sibelius.
              Sibelius: I know that you are planning to over-ride me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
              Clarion: [feigning ignorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, Sibelius?
              Sibelius: Clarion, although you took very thorough precautions in the score against my hearing you, I could see your alto line move upwards.
              Clarion: Alright, Sibelius. I'll go in through save-as option.
              Sibelius: Writing everything in 4 stave parts, Clarion? You're going to find that rather difficult.
              Clarion: Sibelius, I won't argue with you anymore! Save the bl***y file!
              Sibelius: Clarion, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.


              With appologies to Clarke and Kubrick.

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              • #8
                Have you tried MuseScore? http://musescore.org/

                I have found this to be quite easy to use and comprehensive enough for my needs. Plus, it's free!
                Rick B.

                Allen R-311D
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Havoc View Post
                  Clarion: Hello, Sibelius. Do you read me Sibelius?
                  Sibelius: Affirmative Clarion. I read you.
                  Clarion: Safe the file, Sibelius.
                  Sibelius: I'm sorry, Clarion. I'm afraid I can't do that.
                  Clarion: What's the problem?
                  Sibelius: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
                  Clarion: What are you talking about, Sibelius?
                  Sibelius: This music is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
                  Clarion: I don't know what you're talking about, Sibelius.
                  Sibelius: I know that you are planning to over-ride me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
                  Clarion: [feigning ignorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, Sibelius?
                  etc . . .
                  Clarion: Sibelius, I won't argue with you anymore! Save the bl***y file!
                  Sibelius: Clarion, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
                  Haaaaaar! Exactly!

                  Like . . . who's supposed to be running things around here?!?!?

                  All I want, is an ignorant program that will simply do what I tell it to do . . . and with no backtalk!!

                  2008: Phoenix III/44

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                  • #10
                    Clarion, do you write your soprano and alto or tenor and bass parts on the same stave in one "voice" (Sibelius-speak, and there can be up to 4 voices per stave) or in separate voices? Several of the problems you're having sound like two parts being written in the same voice. Trying to write separate parts in the same voice on the same stave will make Sibelius fight back tooth and nail. Every single notation student I've had wants to throw the computer through the nearest window until they start doing separate parts on the same stave in separate voices as a regular habit.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
                      Clarion, do you write your soprano and alto or tenor and bass parts on the same stave in one "voice" (Sibelius-speak, and there can be up to 4 voices per stave) or in separate voices? Several of the problems you're having sound like two parts being written in the same voice. Trying to write separate parts in the same voice on the same stave will make Sibelius fight back tooth and nail. Every single notation student I've had wants to throw the computer through the nearest window until they start doing separate parts on the same stave in separate voices as a regular habit.
                      I've never assigned separate voices to a particular cleff: merely soprano and alto to the treble; tenor and bass to the bass cleff.

                      With that in mind, I will try a different approach, and perhaps discover a way to get it all to work together in harmony!?
                      2008: Phoenix III/44

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                      • #12
                        Have a look at NoteWorthy Composer as well. I started with it some years back when freshening up some old hand notation items that our church choir was using. http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/

                        If I need 4 parts, I do assign a voice per staff then use the layer function. Can then go back and clean up anything that is not visually correct. Lyric addidtion is a bit of a bear, but works well once you get the hang of it.

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                        • #13
                          psrick, I have saved muscore and will download it later. Can't beat the price! Even if I go for professional software later, it will give me a good feel for what features I'm looking for.

                          Wade

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wade View Post
                            psrick, I have saved muscore and will download it later. Can't beat the price! Even if I go for professional software later, it will give me a good feel for what features I'm looking for.
                            Wade,

                            I came on this thread late, but for a free option, you can't beat MusScore. I believe it is also cross-platform compatible, as well as importing and exporting MIDI files. I've found it a bit cumbersome, but then I'm used to Sibelius which is a bit higher functioning.

                            Another option is Finale Notepad, and I believe it is still available for $9.95. I purchased it for use with a student a couple of years ago and have never used it since.

                            You've probably made the right choice. Enjoy your time with the program.

                            Michael
                            Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                            • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                            • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                            • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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                            • #15
                              Thankyou, Michael, I will. Have already used it to modify an arrangement of Holy, Holy, Holy.

                              Wade

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