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Thread: Composing - what software do you use for standard notation?

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    Default Composing - what software do you use for standard notation?

    Hello! I have been trying to compose a bit and my bad handwriting translates to poor notation skills. Just wondering what apps/software you use to write music (not tab) on you iPad. What are the pros and cons and what is the approximate price point?

    I did a quick search and I did not see what I was looking for, but if you know a good thread, feel free to link it. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I use Finale - there is also Sibelius. Not sure of the exact price, but I think it was about $300 USD.

    A good free option is MuseScore - it has some quirks but will do the job.

    (Oops - I just noticed you said iPad. I use these on a Mac & PC. Others will have to comment on iPad apps.)
    Last edited by OregonJim; 05-03-2020 at 05:56 PM.

  3. #3
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    I use MuseScore for both tablature and standard notation. It is free for PC and Macintosh (don't know about iPad). I find it easy enough to use, but I haven't tried the expensive options.

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    An iPad is not an ideal content creation tool.
    Go to a PC and create content there. It has all the proper UI tools like a mouse and keyboard that let you have a much richer environment to create.
    iPads are great for consuming.

    I use Musescore. Free. Lots of online help. Very professional looking results.
    I also have Musescore for the iPad to display the music I create on the PC.
    Last edited by bobhost; 05-04-2020 at 02:44 AM.
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    I know a few people who use Notion and like it. Another option is Flat.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the advice so far. I have looked into the free version of notation and it is a bit difficult because some of what I am trying to do (put a key signature in) keeps popping up a notice that I need the paid version.

    As for working from a PC, if I continue to write songs, I may go that route someday. Keep sending your advice. Thanks!

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    I've been using Finale for a couple decades and, while a powerful program, has a big learning curve, so it's good to start with modest projects to learn the ropes, e.g., lead sheets or piano solos. If you have a huge orchestration project due in a few days, the frustration will be great. I can play it like a piano but I use it almost weekly for ensemble arrangements, guitar and ukulele solos and lead sheets. The digital audio exports are pretty darn good if you buy the better sound samples (orchestra, World Beat, etc.) and are good enough to incorporate into a DAW as backing tracks.

    Along with Sibelius, Finale is pretty much the standard for professional use and in college music departments. If you're a student, Finale can be had at a significant discount.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gochugogi View Post
    I've been using Finale for a couple decades and, while a powerful program, has a big learning curve, so it's good to start with modest projects to learn the ropes, e.g., lead sheets or piano solos.....
    Yeah, I have used Finale for years, although not on a steady basis. I was reluctant about bringing that up because of the cost and learning curve. That scares many off. They do have the lower version, printmusic, as well as the free notepad, which is good, but basic.

    My experience with Finale has been that it is really powerful and that you can do absolutely anything, including devising your own notation if that was your thing. On the other hand it can be overwhelming as there is so much there. I agree that the best way is to take on a project and figure out what you need to do. Although, sometimes it has driven me crazy when I have known how to do something and once I upgrade to a new version I have to relearn it as they changed menus or features.

    Last I checked they did not have an iPad version.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobhost View Post
    An iPad is not an ideal content creation tool.
    Go to a PC and create content there. It has all the proper UI tools like a mouse and keyboard that let you have a much richer environment to create.
    iPads are great for consuming.

    I use Musescore. Free. Lots of online help. Very professional looking results.
    I also have Musescore for the iPad to display the music I create on the PC.
    I own an Ipad and want to put the uke group music on it as well as record my tracks a Bluegrass group I play with sent me for a CD we're doing. Garageband is okay but no way, that I know where I can transfer sheetmusic other than copying and pasting.

    I own a PC my daughter left for me to play games on and thinking of a tablet. I can input to a PC and use on an Ipad? I thought the two were seperate to the point we couldn't. Am older and not versed in new fancy tech.

  10. #10
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    Perhaps you want something that is web based, which would allow you to share it between devices such as Noteflight or Flat.

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