what’s the score?

If you use music scoring software, are you aware of the turmoil in the market right now? AVID shut down development and support for Sibelius a few months ago, and there is much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments as a result.

In addition to leaving Sibelius users high and dry, this also puts the other “standard” software package, Finale, in the de facto monopoly position in the market.

Or does it? It turns out that there are other music scoring programs out there, some with similar capabilities to Finale or Sibelius, some less capable. Here’s one look at where things are going: http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/notational-alternatives-beyond-finale-and-sibelius/

Although I have been using Finale PrintMusic for quite a while, I decided to give MuseScore a try recently and was very, very impressed. This is a SourceForge project, that is, an open source project contributed to and maintained by volunteers. Like OpenOffice, IntelliCAD and other similar projects, MuseScore aims to implement the features, file compatibility and user interface of the “big name” programs, while being free for download by any and all.
MuseScore screen shot

Of particular interest (for my purposes), there is a plug-in for MuseScore that permits easy creation of jazz-style lead sheets. This is a big improvement over lyric-and-chord sheets (the rhythms are explicit, rather than implied) and much faster to bash out than a full vocal line with chords.
MuseScore Lead Sheet Plug-in

So, if you’re a Sibelius user looking for an alternative, or a Finale user loathe to spend big bucks on an upgrade, you should look into MuseScore (or one of the other alternatives). In fact, if you haven’t been using music notation software for your band, the slash notation plug-in might be the “magic app” that makes it worthwhile to start. The price is certainly right.

About liberalreligiongetsloud

Contemporary Music and Worship Director (retired), First Unitarian, Albuquerque NM
This entry was posted in contemporary worship. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to what’s the score?

  1. Of course, Finale has had slash-type “Rhythm Notation” as a staff style since 2008 or so, but you’re right, you can’t beat the price tag for MuseScore. Still, as one who often finds himself in a “how the heck do I…” jam within 24 hours of a deadline, I will never abandon Finale as long as they continue to offer the absolute best customer service of any software company with whom I’ve ever dealt…..

  2. True, David. I wouldn’t buy Finale just to get slash notation, but since I have it already, it’s nice to have. But if I weren’t already using Finale, I’d have the option of getting it in MuseScore free.

    That deadline problem is certainly an issue, but my experience so far with the interface of MuseScore has been very positive – there’s not much of a learning curve for a Finale user. Obviously, it will be of more interest to Sibelius users, since their program is disappearing and Finale isn’t. I’m glad I randomly picked the “right” program, way back when.

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