Favorite Tune Writing Software?

Favorite Tune Writing Software?

Just asking around for what everyone’s favorite tune writing software(s) are for Great Highland Bagpipe and/or Irish Whistle. I’m torn between Sibelius and ABC. What do you guys like?

Thanks!

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

My favourite, probably because of its versality and because it’s the program with which I’m most familiar, is Sibelius.

But I think there are specific programs for GHB which would be far more suited to your requirements. Calum or Richard Cook could probably shed some light on those.

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

I write straight into abc via “ tunebook” for iPad. It’s brilliant.
I use Noteworthy Composer (and abc via abcExplorer) on PC.

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

Cool!
I’ll check out “tunebook.”
Thanks!

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

It depends entirely on your purpose. In my case, I want to get it done as quickly as possible, and don’t require a lot of flexibility, so ABC (with abcm2ps) is all I’ve seriously used for the best part of twenty years; I can typeset and proof four parted 2/4 marches in 5-6 minutes on a good day.

I’ve never paid for Sibelius, so can’t comment, but the largest online GHB music publishing operation runs entirely on Sibelius so it can’t be that painful - I believe there is a plugin that makes life easier as well. I am also keeping an eye on Dorico, which looks like it might well end up being ideal.

I have had a go at Lilypond and while I like the theory, I have always found the practice too painful, despite (or perhaps because of) its power. Musescore I like to use for little experiments, writing/testing harmonies etc but not for general use. And I have a hatred for the BMW software that I cannot overstate: it is difficult to learn, clunky to use, utterly inflexible, and produces incredibly ugly output. It belongs where it was born, in the 1980s.

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Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

Bother computers, hardware and software. Computer technology may promise glowing advantages but if we look at music handwritten in, say, the 17th century each composer and tune writer would have his/her own style and you can feel the individuality and beauty of the written notes and shape of what they are saying in music, so one can feel closer to creators of music. I think a lot of contributors to this website are scornful of old music notation and think it gets in the way of tunes, maybe true, but the old way of recording has lasted hundreds of years and without it much classical music and also traditional tunes would simply be lost.

I admire abcnotation for its nice logical patterns and for setting down melodies - also chords when liked. It isn’t aesthetically beautiful, ever, though!! What I dislike about anything digital and computerised is its irritating unreliability and annoying habit of bringing forth impediments or "crash-landing" stuff you have painstakingly put in. Randomly one’s efforts go up into the ether and can be gone for ever. A wee devil in the works I often think. A machine has no heart or soul.

Please excuse this insertion of alien and probably undesired views into a discussion about tune writing software but I think it DOES have some relevance.

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

I learned Sibelius when teaching in a pre Uni College. It was fine but very expensive. Also it does not work well on the Linux operating system that I now use. Musescore is free and works very well on Linux, as well as on Mac and Windows. ABC works well on all systems, has lots of free versions and best of all has a huge number of traditional tunes online available for download. LilyPond, surprisingly like ABC, is also free and well supported with online help. It does not have much, if any, traditional music formatted for it on the internet. If your interest is traditional music I guess ABC is your bet bet. There is just so much material out there in ABC format.

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

For years a colleague and I used an old programme called Music Time Deluxe (v3.5 - though there is now a 4.0 which has some marginal changes). It was fairly intuitive to use and did everything I needed for straightforward transcriptions, saving to .pdf etc. Some slight annoyances, but basically simple and functional. I got quite quick with it. However, I think it’s been sold on a couple of times and the firm that now publishes it (Passport - who also sell the ‘Encore’ programmes) doesn’t really do anything to support or update it. Another limitation was that it didn’t save files in a format that could be read by other applications or readily converted to .abc - which we wanted to do with our collection to make it more widely available.

So . . . we’ve recently changed to using the free MuseScore 3 because it is a better at enabling translation to .abc and it saves files in .xml format. As a recent beginner, I’m finding it a lot slower to use than Music Time but I’ll no doubt pick up speed as I go on. Like many programmes, it will do 1001 things that I’m never likely to want for transcription purposes. I have the impression that, being a ‘communally produced’ application, it’s been subject to a lot additions and improvements by many contributors, and has ended up rather complex and not quite as coherent as a simple user like me would like. However, I’ll probably gradually get used to making efficient use of it as I find a way through its quirks. One good thing is that there is an open invitation to post questions and comments to a forum, which seem to be met with a constructive and helpful response.

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Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

I gotta say, reading charts that somebody hand-transcribed takes a few minutes, depending on their skill and style. I love how simple and accessible these freeware programs make it so everyone can read their part right away. Practices become more productive, faster. Sibelius is very nice. I print tune collections on that which I take to the copymat for spiral binding.

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

I would love to be able to hand write tunes, but (perhaps much like hand writing words?) I find if I don’t practise it often it becomes very messy, hard to read, and I make frequent mistakes - which if right at the end of a long tune can be incredibly frustrating, a bit like writing a thank you letter to someone and making a mistake at the very end!
On that basis I’m afraid I use Tunebook now. (not for writing thank you letters)

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

Melody Assistant for me.

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

I use MuseScore.

It’s good for what I do, which is really pretty basic stuff - just melody line, grace notes, triplets, and left-hand fingering.

A hat-tip to member Mark M for introducing me to it. Thanks, Mark!

Previously, I used Harmony Assistant from Myriad - quite powerful and lots of features, more than anyone would ever use, but I found the interface really irritating. Most of the mouse targets are way too small, like trying to click on a crumb.

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

MuseScore. Has a bagpipe ornament section too. It can produce abc but I was too lazy to bother with the extension.
Export to xml and then into EasyABC and Bob‘s your uncle.

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

Wow, thanks for all the replys! I’m a bagpipe noob (April 2019) so it’s great to have all the help!
Just wondering, does anybody think that Musescore’s bagpipe gracenotes are one note off in the description? (Hover over and it will give you the wrong gracenote name.)
Not sure if they fixed it or if it never existed except on my computer!
Thanks 🙂

Re: Favorite Tune Writing Software?

I have used Finale Notepad free version for a good few years, and it produces nice clear scores: but it has its limitations, e.g. you can’t change time sig or key sig mid-score if the tune requires it, but it’s adequate for most things. On the plus side it won’t let you put too many notes in a bar, which I have seen happen in some other notation software free/older versions. Several friends use Musescore and have recommended that, so I’ll probably make the switch before long.