I use a fairly inexpensive mid range package and have good luck with it for my purposes. However, there are times I wish I had more options to work. These packages are the music notation software high end, top of the market, and fully capable.
High end notation software will be the package of choice when completing a lot of scoring and arranging large pieces of music. Here we take a quick look at two of the big players.
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Overture – I’ve found that the merchants are not carrying Overtue and Geniesoft doesn’t appear to be distributing widely. I have not heard much about this product in recent years and considering the low end scorewriter support and improvement is slow, I’m concerned that they are not keeping pace with the Finale and the other big players. I couldn’t even find a listing on amazon. Now that should be telling in itself. It does sell for $150 less than the majors, so if you were going to go for music notation software high end I’d guess one of these is probably the better choice.
Finale – is billed as the world’s most powerful music notation software. You can compose, arrange, notate, and print engraver-quality sheet music. It comes with a hefty price tag at $600 retail. You can usually find it for less and places like amazon which has great pricing, go here for latest cost and detailed features list: Make Music Finale
Finale has great features like entering notes s with MIDI, mouse, scanning, the exclusive MicNotator and keyboard. The have customizable worksheets for education, The power of the software at this price range is in learning to use the tools available to you, such as linked parts, multiple page editing, band-in-a-box auto-harmonizing, scoremerger, smartfind and paint. The list goes on.
Other major aspects of Finale are percussion notation, chord entry improvements, and automation of common tasks like rehearsal marks and measure numbering. Any time a program will add features to save time like take care of automation the better.
The sound pack is extensive and one of the best on the market. This really helps with play back. However, I’m not convinced that midi playback is all that great. The difference in sound from a physical action verus digital samples is still a log ways apart.
On the technical side the worst requirements are storage. The program and manuals need a half a gigabyte or better and with sound files another 2 GB is needed. RAM can get by with 512 MB, but 1GB or better would be suggested. Most modern machines will have adequate monitor and system needs. It’s avialable for both Mac (w OS 10.4 or 10.5) and Windows based machines.
Finale requires that you authorize the software within 30 days after installation. You are allowed to install Finale on two operating systems (multiple licenses excluded).
There is going to be an intensive learning curve for the causal user. However, if you are going to spend time on composing and arranging and need lots of features Finale is an excellent choice in the music notation software high end.
Get it at: Amazon – Make Music Finale Notation Software
The primary features are those like Magnetic Layout makes it easy to make scores beautiful right from the start. Versions allows you to track progress and easily collaborate with others. The Live Tempo feature lets you conduct your compositions from your keyboard.
The feature of ReWire makes synchronizing Sibelius with Pro Tools a snap. Sibelius is integrated with Structure sampler for Pro Tools with high-quality sampled sounds.
The thing about Sibelius is that it’s gotten a great reputation from the music world, but any time you have to buy other books to use it, you know you’re going to be on a steep learning curve to master it.
At amazon.com you can find good buys on Sibelius, find the competitive upgrade, educational discounts, additional instruction books and you can pick up a book or two to help you become the master notation software expert. Check current pricing at Amazon, click here: Sibelius 7.5
Notion Music Notion 3 Notation Software New from $99.00.
This product closes the space connecting notation of music and an audio application. Adding on top of your ability to create and listen is to perform live and produce music with outstanding results.
NOTION 3 has a new design, sounds, and many new features. Improved workflow, better sounds, enhanced live performance features, and incredible compatibility with plug-in’s, sample libraries and digital audio workstation (DAW’s) was the goal… NOTION 3 delivered. Get more info here…
You can check for pricing and availability here: Notion Music 4
Add-ons for Notion Software
Notion Music Expanded Percussion I adds the following instruments: castanets, cowbells, cuckoo, drum sticks, maracas, power toms, ratchet, roto-toms, shakers, sleigh bells, temple blocks and woodblock. Learn more…
Sound Expansion Kit expands on the new sounds and techniques including violin, viola, cello and bass sections and more. The new sounds include col legno, sul ponticello, bartok pizzicato, minor third tremolando, major third tremolando, perfect fourth tremolando, open string, and natural and artificial harmonics. Find out more…
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