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Author Topic: The Best Free Notation Software  (Read 3165 times)
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Location: Durham, North Carolina, USA
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« on: Mar 23, 2004, 11:14AM »

Thanks to the OpenSource initiative, the features of free music software are rapidly advancing. Do you use any free (and I'm not talking pirated) notation software? If so, what do you think of it? Do you know of any I've not listed here?

Here are some of the current options:

Lilypond - http://www.lilypond.org/web/
text based notation, creates a professional looking score for printing

MusicXML - http://www.recordare.com/software.html
converts a large number of popular formats to XML, so you can share files between different notation software

Denemo - http://denemo.sourceforge.net/
a notation program that front ends Lilypond for Windows and Linux, the Windows version does not currently support playback

Musette - http://www.canzona.com/music/musette/
kind of like Finale Notepad, it is a demo version, but I think it has a lot more features in the demo version, runs on Windows

Rosegarde - http://www.all-day-breakfast.com/rosegarden/
a full featured notation program and midi sequencer for Linux

NoteEdit - http://rnvs.informatik.tu-chemnitz.de/~jan/noteedit/noteedit.html
another score editor for Linux

Loren Kohl
Celebration Orchestra
First Baptist Church of Durham
Todd Jonz
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 23, 2004, 01:27PM »

Prior to defecting to Sibelius, I was a dedicated 'mup' user:


Fully functional binaries for Windows and Linux may be downloaded for free from Arkkra's web site. Registration is $29 (unregistered copies add an annoying watermark to printed output.)  Source code is also available, and compiles easily on most platforms.  Contributed binaries are also available for other platforms, most notably  MacOS 9.x and 10.x.

This is a text-based command line utility similar to Lilypond that generates PostScript output.  When I evaluated the two side by side I chose 'mup' over Lilypond because I found its notation language friendlier and more intuitive.  In my experience (on MacOS 9.x and Linux) the code is rock solid.

For raw entry of a score, I much preferred the text-based environment to the more common WYSIWYG environment of the popular commercial packages.  Beyond that, however, I find that most tasks are more easily accomplished in a WYSIWYG environment.

Todd Jonz

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Phil Brooks

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« Reply #2 on: Mar 24, 2004, 08:27AM »

I fiddled around with Jazz++ a bit - it is a MIDI sequencer.  It worked OK, not as sophisticated a user interface as some other tools.  It does run on Windows as well as Linux.  It has been a bit stagnant in terms of development, but it looks like there are some people doing new stuff with it now.


If you aren't looking for Open Source (Free as in speech - as the saying goes) but are really looking for the other sort of free (Free as in beer), Finale Notepad is something to look at.  It is the baby brother of the full version of Finale.


I searched for Music on www.freshmeat.net and www.sourceforge.net and found pages and pages of projects.  Of course many are for music as in MP3, not for music creation, but there are quite a few that are notation, or sequencer applications.
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