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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningComposition, Arranging and Theory(Moderator: zemry) Relative strengths and weaknesses of different music notation software programs
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bonenick

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« Reply #20 on: Apr 20, 2017, 08:05AM »

The Exzaclee's review was right on the money and quite complete. I feel pretty much the same about Sibelius, though since sibelius 5 I'm having quite a few troubles due to latency...maybe I just have  buy an apple computer :-) The best combo regarding latency and midi input I ever had was sibelius 2 on a Microsoft desktop computer (fijutsu) with a Windows 98. The I had the awful idea to "upgrade" my desktop computer with Windiws XP. Bang, and I found out what latency is :-)

As far as layouts, spacing, mouse note input or note spacing features, I have no issues with Sibelius, so far it was worth the money.

When I was still on Sibelius 2, my music theory, history and counterpoint teacher, who run at the time a music publishing house (a small one) used finale. I remember he was quite comfortable with it, but just by looking on screen what he saw and how he was doing it felt weird to me.

Basically, if you want something really professional you get one of the two (dorico may join them in 2-3 years) and start learn and work with it. If not, you get one of the freebies, if that suits you enough.
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« Reply #21 on: Apr 20, 2017, 09:33AM »

I'd be curious to see some side-by-side of examples deemed professional-looking and not-professional-looking from these programs.

I'm not being sarcastic, I would like to see comparisons to get a sense of what the higher expectations are that are not served in some program.

My first contact with "professional" sheet music creation was an "Advanced Orchestration" course I took at UNT, circa 1985.  The teacher (a graduate music composition student) really offered no insights into the use of instruments for sound purposes. 

His expertise was the use of special ink and pens to manually create the notes on very special vellum paper. His hand-drawn scores looked exactly like the professionally engraved music you would expect to have plopped down on your stand if your were playing a classic of the standard repertoire. But imagine the time required!

I did not get an "A" in that class. Even though my final project was the only one from the class that the reading ensemble could get through without derailing on a fatal copying or transposition error or obvious misuse of the forces, i got a "C" because i just did a pencil score Bad dog.  No Biscuits. and not an pristine ink score on vellum.  Yeah, RIGHT.

I'm glad those days are gone.
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« Reply #22 on: Apr 20, 2017, 12:05PM »

Unless something has changed with the free offerings recently, they aren't quite there yet when making professionally engraved scores and parts.  Finale and Sibelius both make it easy (in the case of Sibelius post version 5, very easy) to alter parts in place; so you can alter a score and each part within the score without creating different files.
Maybe I'm not understanding you Matt, but in MuseScore you can alter the score and the parts will change in place, or you can alter the part and the score will change.  You do not have to delete and recreate the parts each time you make a change.
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« Reply #23 on: Apr 20, 2017, 12:25PM »

Quote
Unless something has changed with the free offerings recently, they aren't quite there yet when making professionally engraved scores and parts.  Finale and Sibelius both make it easy (in the case of Sibelius post version 5, very easy) to alter parts in place; so you can alter a score and each part within the score without creating different files.
Maybe I'm not understanding you Matt, but in MuseScore you can alter the score and the parts will change in place, or you can alter the part and the score will change.  You do not have to delete and recreate the parts each time you make a change.


Here's the relevant blurb from the MuseScore 2.0 Manual

Quote
Parts and score are "linked", which means that any change to the content in one will affect the other, but changes to the layout will not. When you have the parts created, they are saved along with the score (if you open the score you have tabs for the score and every part you created).

I don't think that functionality existed in the previous V1.3

If you changed the score You had to re "create" the relevant part

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« Reply #24 on: Apr 20, 2017, 12:44PM »

I remember a colleague of mine who always had some troubles when extracting parts from a full score in Musescore. I don't know if that was because of a software feature deficiency or because he didn't know the best way to do it. But such a glitch seems familiarly associated with Musescore.
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« Reply #25 on: Apr 20, 2017, 12:52PM »

I remember a colleague of mine who always had some troubles when extracting parts from a full score in Musescore. I don't know if that was because of a software feature deficiency or because he didn't know the best way to do it. But such a glitch seems familiarly associated with Musescore.
Extracting parts on the latest version is a simple thing.  I don't recall it being too tough in earlier versions.  That's not to say it wasn't, just that I don't remember it being so.
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« Reply #26 on: Apr 20, 2017, 12:57PM »

I don't think that functionality existed in the previous V1.3

If you changed the score You had to re "create" the relevant part
True.  The linked parts are a version 2 added feature.
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« Reply #27 on: Apr 20, 2017, 02:33PM »

The two sentences quotes were meant to be independent. I've yet to see a score that was publishable from any software other than Sibelius or Finale but I concede it is possible since I haven't really looked into them in the past year or so.

One thing that makes that easier is the feature I mentioned although if something now offers that it's definitely a step in the right direction. 
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« Reply #28 on: Apr 20, 2017, 04:40PM »

Again, I'd be eager to see examples of what is deemed unprofessional or unpublishable from the brand X programs.

I've seen a lot of "new music" over the years and played a lot of stuff published from nothing more than human copyist parts and I have trouble putting my finger on things that MuseScore would not be up to.

If you had brought out Musescore 30 years ago or even 20 years ago I think most people would have said, "This is what we needed! Mission accomplished!" and it's not like music notation has evolved into some new creature with batwings and gills since then.

 Don't know
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« Reply #29 on: Apr 20, 2017, 08:00PM »

The problem, Rob, is that the people who take work from people like Exaclee have their own typesetting software to program offset printers.  This software generally requires either a Finale or a Sibelius music file.  It can't read anything else.  If all you are doing is producing parts for your own use, any music program properly tweaked can produce decent output.
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« Reply #30 on: Apr 20, 2017, 09:35PM »

Sorry Rob, I'm in the middle of grading a ton of arrangements from students and I just got back from playing with the Temps, so I am not really in the mood to scan a bunch of stuff. Next time you're in town I'll pull out my students' assignments and show you what I'm talking about. That's more agreeable to my schedule than spending a half hour wrangling a scanner and highlighting spacing issues.

Musescore looks very similar to other engraving programs. The current version (which a guitarist who took my arranging class used last semester) looks very similar to the engraving style used with The All New Real Book series of real books (from the 90's I think?). It also looks similar to some other versions of sibelius. Older versions looked like Finale. The fonts used are similar to both programs, I'm not really sure how they are avoiding copyright issues to be honest.

I haven't used it enough (i.e., I haven't used it) to be able to tell you exactly what the program does or doesn't do to make it undesirable for use by publishers. I do know that none of the people I work for use it. I also know that many of my students who did use it had issues with formatting - getting spacing just right, getting proper phrasing (number of bars per system, etc....) and getting certain chord symbols seemed to be an issue. Whether this was user error or program weakness I don't know. Personally I don't care. I don't have the kind of free time to allow me to delve into new scorewriters, if I did, it'd be sibelius. Why? It isn't from some misinformed or heavily ingrained bias against musescore perse - hell, I recommend it to my students who don't want to pay for finale. It's because I've been using Finale for 20 years and it pays my bills. If someone wants to pay me to use musescore, I'll gladly download it and give you my impressions. If someone wants to pay me to upload examples and detailed analysis of why something is or isn't acceptable, I'll do that too although I'm sure there are others more qualified than me to do so. Until that happens, I can really only comment on my students' output and my clients' preferences.
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« Reply #31 on: Apr 21, 2017, 12:08AM »

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The problem, Rob, is that the people who take work from people like Exaclee have their own typesetting software to program offset printers.

If it is about a file format that a publisher needs... I'm extremely skeptical. A modern printing house can't figure out postscript or pdf?

I can entirely imagine one backward printing house claiming it is so. When i worked in video I heard preposterous claims from video professionals about what you could and couldn't do with computer graphics so yeah, there may indeed be someone who's been in the business 100 years claiming MuseScore can't be used but... I'm skeptical about their claim.

Quote
I also know that many of my students who did use it had issues with formatting - getting spacing just right, getting proper phrasing (number of bars per system, etc....) and getting certain chord symbols seemed to be an issue.

 

Bars per system? Really?
Chord symbols? Are they in Chinese?

Don't know



Quote
Next time you're in town I'll pull out my students' assignments and show you what I'm talking about. That's more agreeable to my schedule than spending a half hour wrangling a scanner and highlighting spacing issues.

That's a long way for me to go to do a free tech support call.

You don't have time to present an example? I understand.

But understand that, absent any evidence, I concede nothing because last time we had this discussion here and someone actually defined a specific something that CAN'T BE DONE, they were wrong and after I made a video showing how easy it was to do this impossible thing their response was, "oh, well that's because you know how to use the program."  Yeah, RIGHT.


It's entirely appropriate for you to use a program you are familiar with and that does what you need it to do.

But telling me about about a program you don't use, based on "someone said ________"

... I remain skeptical.





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« Reply #32 on: Apr 21, 2017, 12:20AM »

Rob,

The problem is, that nobody wants to boder with new software, new settings, learning a new tool/software unless they are completely sure that this new thingy is going to simplify or speedify their work. So, if the publisher house have set your software up, it is an advantage. Otherwise is a setback. Switching format is not simple (especially for notation software) and doesn't guarantee that the new score will look just the same as the original. That doesn't mean that Musescore cannot be used, but it is a set back and a plausible obstacle and unjustified loss of time.
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« Reply #33 on: Apr 21, 2017, 02:32AM »

If it is about a file format that a publisher needs... I'm extremely skeptical. A modern printing house can't figure out postscript or pdf?

I can entirely imagine one backward printing house claiming it is so. When i worked in video I heard preposterous claims from video professionals about what you could and couldn't do with computer graphics so yeah, there may indeed be someone who's been in the business 100 years claiming MuseScore can't be used but... I'm skeptical about their claim.

 

Bars per system? Really?
Chord symbols? Are they in Chinese?

Don't know



That's a long way for me to go to do a free tech support call.

You don't have time to present an example? I understand.

But understand that, absent any evidence, I concede nothing because last time we had this discussion here and someone actually defined a specific something that CAN'T BE DONE, they were wrong and after I made a video showing how easy it was to do this impossible thing their response was, "oh, well that's because you know how to use the program."  Yeah, RIGHT.


It's entirely appropriate for you to use a program you are familiar with and that does what you need it to do.

But telling me about about a program you don't use, based on "someone said ________"

... I remain skeptical.



Exzaclee has a ton of experience seeing the results of student work created by MuseScore.  He's telling you firsthand about some of the goofiness he's seen turned in as assignments and what his students said when questioned.  It's not as though he's only spoken to a couple of guys, or read some stuff on the internet.   (Or slept overnight in a Holiday Inn Express.)

I used MuseScore in Zac's class and I know darned well "Exzaclee" how picky he is about notation.  And the two areas Zac mentioned, chord symbols and bars per line, were issues that I had to address manually in MuseScore.  The delivered chord symbol xml file supports a variety of different input/output styles and it's easy to make a mistake by switching midstream in a set of changes.  You can either look for this before submitting your work, or hand edit the XML to allow multiple inputs but only a single output for each chord symbol.  And, there is no automatic process to set the number of bars per line.  That's a manual process that I do after I finish my entry.

There are other idiosyncrasies and annoyances, but as many have noted, those exist in all products.  Zac uses Finale because it makes him money.  (Having played his stuff, I know why.)  I use MuseScore because I'm cheap.  :D  Fortunately, after using it for so many years, I was able to do what was required for his class.  But, I pity the noob who thinks they can download MuseScore and hammer out a big band chart over a weekend. 

Thank goodness we weren't required to do any hand notation for his class.  You know the old saw about giving 1,000 monkeys typewriters.  Well, my manuscript looks like the output of a thousand monkeys using pencils... :/

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« Reply #34 on: Apr 21, 2017, 03:15AM »

Asking one to disprove a negative is an exercise in futility. It isn't that people are stuck on what other people are telling them; although that coudl be true in some circumstances.  It doesn't take much perusing of the score distribution portion of their website to find poor examples of engraving. The page is replete with inconsistent spacing, bar numbers per stave, and font issues just to name a few problems with some of the engravings.  Is that because they're free and/or done by those without any professional experience? Or is it because Musescore is incapable of engraving? Maybe one or the other, but probably some combination of the two.

If you peruse those samples and don't see anything wrong with them, then MuseScore is probably a-okay for your purposes. 

On the other hand, if you want to be a professional engraver,  then it might be more difficult to use. Even this thread on their forums acknowledges that virtually all publishing houses require Sibelius or Finale files. Whether that is because MuseScore is incapable of doing the task is irrelevant in this case. Network effects cause current professionals who had no other choice at least up to fairly recently are much more likely to use Sibelius or Finale. Knowledge transfer is going to be much quicker and higher quality teaching something that is known whether or not there is an actual qualitative difference between the open source offerings and Finale or Sibelius.

And then there are the increments between those.  So at the end of the day it boils down to what you need to produce and how you wish to learn the programs.  If you want to do it at zero monetary cost to you and learn everything on your own or from advice on their forums, etc. then the open source offerings are your only option. If you want to make money off of your engravings, you'll likely need to choose one or the other. If you want to take lessons with someone, they can probably still teach you - as Exczaclee has indicated he has - albeit in a limited manner as the knowledge transfer will primarily be about the substance of the engraving and not specifically how one actually performs it.
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« Reply #35 on: Apr 21, 2017, 05:06AM »

What I'm hearing, in animation terms,
Musescore = Blender
Finale & Sibelius = 3ds Max & Maya & C4D


(This may not make sense to anyone but Rob, and he'll probably point out why this isn't a good analogy, but anyway.  :-P )
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« Reply #36 on: Apr 21, 2017, 05:11AM »

What I'm hearing, in animation terms,
Musescore = Blender
Finale & Sibelius = 3ds Max & Maya & C4D

and Lilypond = OpenSCAD. 
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« Reply #37 on: Apr 21, 2017, 05:38AM »

What I'm hearing, in animation terms,
Musescore = Blender
Finale & Sibelius = 3ds Max & Maya & C4D


(This may not make sense to anyone but Rob, and he'll probably point out why this isn't a good analogy, but anyway.  :-P )


  Good!
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« Reply #38 on: Apr 21, 2017, 06:55AM »

If it is about a file format that a publisher needs... I'm extremely skeptical. A modern printing house can't figure out postscript or pdf?

Rob, a PDF or postscript file is NOT a finale file (or .sib or XML or...). It can't be edited like one. I assume you understand this; if not maybe you should stop responding and just read along for a little while. We're not talking about a publisher's ability to print a pdf file. This statement is entirely unrelated to the topic at hand, which I assume at this point is still "Relative strengths and weaknesses of different music notation software programs" but seems to be transforming into "Why Do Music Publishers (and other related parties) prefer Finale/Sibelius?" You can be skeptical all you want about my own personal experiences, which I am relating here, but you don't have to be so %#$%#$% rude about it. Do you not understand or are you calling me a liar? Why do you feel the need to turn this into a debate? That's not what this is. I'm relating my experiences here: if you have observations that run counter to mine that's fine. Present them.

I can entirely imagine one backward printing house claiming it is so. When i worked in video I heard preposterous claims from video professionals about what you could and couldn't do with computer graphics so yeah, there may indeed be someone who's been in the business 100 years claiming MuseScore can't be used but... I'm skeptical about their claim.
Your analogy needs quite a bit of work. I don't think any publishers are claiming musescore can't be used, at least I haven't heard of any doing so. What I do know is that with certain projects I've been involved in, I was specifically requested to use Finale, or I was specifically requested to use their Finale template to produce scores/parts/lead sheets, etc.  One job in particular that I really wanted to be a part of (involving one of my heroes) I could not participate in because I didn't use sibelius. These particular publishers/writers/arrangers use what they use because it is what they are familiar with, and I assume because it is what works best with whatever equipment they use. Just like with the rest of us, time is money and they probably don't want to take the extra time to learn how to use an inferior product. Even if the product is supposedly just as good, why spend all that time learning something that is "just as good"? If you like, you can call them and ask.

Bars per system? Really?
Chord symbols? Are they in Chinese?
If you don't understand why these things are important or why spending inordinate amounts of time getting them right is undesirable, I don't know what to tell you. There are professional standards. I have to adhere to them. It's really simple, do you lack understanding or are you just being purposefully obtuse?
That's a long way for me to go to do a free tech support call.
If I had a nickel for every time I contacted Finale (or whatever company owned them at the time) with a question their free tech support couldn't answer, I'd be rich... okay, I'd have a dollar, but still. I've sent more than a few emails explaining to their tech support how i solved a problem. I am so thankful for the forums they have now. So much more efficient now finding answers...
You don't have time to present an example? I understand. But understand that, absent any evidence, I concede nothing because last time we had this discussion here and someone actually defined a specific something that CAN'T BE DONE, they were wrong and after I made a video showing how easy it was to do this impossible thing their response was, "oh, well that's because you know how to use the program."  Yeah, RIGHT.
I'm still not sure exactly what theory you are wanting me to prove. Am I supposed to prove that there are differences between Finale and Musescore that you can perceive that justify why Finale is preferred? I'm not even sure that you would be capable of noticing the differences judging by your previous responses. Also, to add to your apparent confusion, I would have to post other evidence as well: the amount of time it took to produce the files and the relative skill level of each user. I'm not trying to convince you of anything, Rob - you're obviously not the target audience here. Use what you want, it doesn't hurt my feelings. I don't have that luxury. I like to eat. Whatever other threads you have been involved in don't change my experiences and doesn't change the fact that the great majority of publishers aren't using Musescore. Doesn't mean they won't be in the future, but again, that's not what this thread is about. Obviously your own aversion to Finale is due to the fact that you don't know how to use the program. You also don't understand many of the apparent issues currently being discussed.
It's entirely appropriate for you to use a program you are familiar with and that does what you need it to do.
Rob, I think that sometimes you don't actually read anything people post, you just skim it, find something to get indignant about, and start firing away. It's a shame because you seem to be somewhat intelligent and capable most of the time. But then you get this condescending tone and I just can't help it...

Yes, Rob, it is entirely appropriate for me to use a program I am familiar with. It is also entirely appropriate for me to do exactly what my employers request. I have this thing called a house. It's currently keeping me dry while it rains cats and dogs outside. I pay for this house with money. Employers pay me money. If I don't do things the way they want them done, I get no money. No money, no house. No house, I catch pneumonia and die. Tough world we live in, bro.
But telling me about about a program you don't use, based on "someone said ________"
... I remain skeptical.
So what exactly is it you are skeptical of, Rob?
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« Reply #39 on: Apr 21, 2017, 07:51AM »

I don't know if it's relevant, but I work for an engineering department.

When we contract a design, we require it to be AutoCAD V13.01a.  (I'm not sure what version we're currently on, but you get the drift.)  There are lots of equivalent CAD programs just as good if not better, but we're only willing to pay for that product.  If you don't have it, and want to bid on our job, buy it.  If you can beat the competitor's price by using Microstation, forget it; contracting will reject you as unresponsive. 
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