Notation software

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Re: Notation software

Post by musicus » Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:37 pm

Alternatively, count the words in the phrase (e.g. 11) and set up a bar of that length (e.g. 11/8). Using Voice 2 (Sibelius) or Layer 2 (Finale), fill it with (e.g. 11) quavers and attach the words to these notes. Now hide the time signature(s) and the notes in Voice/Layer 2 and put in a visible reciting note (in Voice/Layer 1). The main advantage of this is that the software's own spacing algorithms produce a better looking result than tying all the words together with 'hard spaces'. (There are other advantages too, but I have no desire to write a tutorial here!)

Whichever way you do it, take notes. If you don't, you'll get in a mess 6 months later when you try to revise it and can't remember how you did it.

This is all very fiddly, but it works. How good it looks is totally dependant on how much care you take with it. If it's for publication it's worth getting it right.
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Re: Notation software

Post by alan29 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:43 pm

Why won't they let people create a bar of free-time and then enter the text under the reciting note? Is it because they can't imagine people doing without a Midi click? I see it as real deal-breaker in a piece of £500 software. Can you imagine a word processor that ham-strung you in that way?

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Re: Notation software

Post by musicus » Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:26 pm

To be fair, what we are discussing here is very 'niche'. I don't suppose more than 0.5% of their users need to do this, and such developments are costly and therefore strictly prioritised. I don't suppose it's to do with MIDI either, but rather more to do with the underlying software model.

What we really need is a specialist piece of software that does just what we liturgical composers need. Fat chance of that! (Nor would it be cheap.)
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Re: Notation software

Post by John Ainslie » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:01 am

I've used capella for well over ten years. It's now in version 7, so it's had a good time to settle in, though it can just occasionally gracefully die, so you should keep your work saved frequently. It's of German origin, but the English translation is good: I haven't seen any error messages in German for a long time. Imports and exports in musicXML, which is now its standard file format.

I've found it perfectly adequate for voice and accompaniment work, and occasionally with instruments (even transposing ones). Word underlaying is reasonably flexible.

Obtainable for c. £150 from http://www.software-partners.co.uk. I believe there are educational discounts available.

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Re: Notation software

Post by HallamPhil » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:14 pm

I use Finale 2010 and Sibelius for Iona stuff and for a blind member of our choir so that he can read the music.

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Re: Notation software

Post by Southern Comfort » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:53 pm

I started 20 years ago by using Finale 2 on a Mac, and then Finale 3 on a PC laptop. Have experimented with most of the other programmes out there, but have stuck with Finale. Now on Finale 2011, still on PCs.

In my experience, with Finale you have total control of everything. With Sibelius, the programme to a certain extent does what it wants to do, and you have to work quite hard to get the same flexibility as with Finale. So, if you know what you want it to look like, go for Finale. If you just want the programme to do it all for you and you'll accept how it looks, go for Sibelius.

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Re: Notation software

Post by musicus » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:24 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:In my experience, with Finale you have total control of everything. With Sibelius, the programme to a certain extent does what it wants to do, and you have to work quite hard to get the same flexibility as with Finale. So, if you know what you want it to look like, go for Finale. If you just want the programme to do it all for you and you'll accept how it looks, go for Sibelius.

This certainly used to be the case with Sibelius (and I said as much in earlier reviews), but it is not so now. I have used Finale since 1992 (I forget which version that was) and Sibelius since it first appeared as Sibelius 7 on an Acorn Archimedes computer. Both programmes are now, in my informed opinion, equally customisable (and I am using the latest versions of each). If you want to compare them, download the 30-day free trials and get to know them. They are both very fine.
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Re: Notation software

Post by Nick Baty » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:34 pm

I can't imagine using anything but Sibelius. However, the only music typefaces I use with it are Opus and Helsinki. (Has Inkpen and a couple of other naff ones but not very attractive.) Can anyone recommend any other (not too expensive) fonts?

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Re: Notation software

Post by Southern Comfort » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:11 pm

musicus wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote:In my experience, with Finale you have total control of everything. With Sibelius, the programme to a certain extent does what it wants to do, and you have to work quite hard to get the same flexibility as with Finale. So, if you know what you want it to look like, go for Finale. If you just want the programme to do it all for you and you'll accept how it looks, go for Sibelius.

This certainly used to be the case with Sibelius (and I said as much in earlier reviews), but it is not so now. I have used Finale since 1992 (I forget which version that was) and Sibelius since it first appeared as Sibelius 7 on an Acorn Archimedes computer. Both programmes are now, in my informed opinion, equally customisable (and I am using the latest versions of each). If you want to compare them, download the 30-day free trials and get to know them. They are both very fine.


I have compared them, and I'm still not as impressed as you, but each to their own. I do wish, to give just one example, that Sibelius users would move the piano brace away from the left-hand barline of paired staves. It just looks amateurish, and I think the reason they don't do it is because it's not immediately obvious how to do it. I'm sure that if I tried, after not having used Sibelius for some time, it would take a while to dig deep enough to find out once again how to manipulate the settings and change a template.

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Re: Notation software

Post by Nick Baty » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:19 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:I do wish, to give just one example, that Sibelius users would move the piano brace away from the left-hand barline of paired staves.
Also depends which font you use. It's tighter in Opus than it is in Helsinki.

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Re: Notation software

Post by mcb » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:30 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:I do wish, to give just one example, that Sibelius users would move the piano brace...

It's the one you always give! A quick look at a random selection of published scores suggests that at least some major publishers don't share your views on brace positioning. (Or that the major publishers all use Sibelius. ;-))

p.s. House Style > Engraving Rules > Brackets > Brace > Distance from system! Takes about two seconds.

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Re: Notation software

Post by musicus » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:29 am

mcb wrote:p.s. House Style > Engraving Rules > Brackets > Brace > Distance from system! Takes about two seconds.

Indeed. And, having done that and any other tweaks, save it for all time with House Style > Export House Style.
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Re: Notation software

Post by Nick Baty » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:34 am

musicus wrote:save it for all time with House Style

And remember what you've called it.
I currently have:
Brass
Brass 06
Brass 09
Christmas Brass
Triduum Brass
etc
And they're all different!

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Re: Notation software

Post by Southern Comfort » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:15 am

mcb wrote:It's the one you always give!


Really? I was not aware that I'd ever mentioned it before, though I admit that it is a very annoying feature of Sibelius. Are you sure you're not confusing me with someone else? Or with someone who you talked with over a drink?! :)

mcb wrote:A quick look at a random selection of published scores suggests that at least some major publishers don't share your views on brace positioning. (Or that the major publishers all use Sibelius. ;-))


Only OUP and Faber among major publishers, and that's only because John Rutter uses it, not because anyone else likes it. No one else uses Sibelius as their preferred software.

mcb wrote:p.s. House Style > Engraving Rules > Brackets > Brace > Distance from system! Takes about two seconds.


Thanks for that. I appreciate it. Still more clicks than in Finale, however, and not so intuitive as being able to fix it on the fly!

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Re: Notation software

Post by docmattc » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:55 am

musicus wrote: ...and Sibelius since it first appeared as Sibelius 7 on an Acorn Archimedes computer.


And there are still folk who use their RISC computer solely for Sibelius, unaware that it can do much much more.

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