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Notation Software
Recommendations for simple software to notate tunes
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (7 votes) 
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Strabo
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June 4, 2024 - 8:51 am
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I do pretty well at picking out the notes of tunes that I want to learn. But then sometimes it seems difficult to get a new tune firmly established in my long-term memory. 

Writing out the notes of a melody is sometimes helps me to remember the tune. 

Writing the notes by hand is OK, but not very efficient. I read/write notation at a very basic level, so I make plenty of mistakes that must be corrected. Erasing and rewriting the wrong notes is cumbersome and slows down the process. 

So I’m looking for some simple software that will let me capture basic melodies. Simplicity is important -- I’m not gonna write a symphony! 

Does anyone here have experience with notation software?

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ABitRusty
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June 4, 2024 - 9:16 am
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strabo i like notion 6.   Theres musescore out there along with others but those two ive used and have settled on notion.   most of what i transcribe is 32 bars. some repeats.. a little ornaments here and there so simple stuff.   I save the notion files to one directory and print off and save pdf versions.   if i wanted to play along to what i just transcribed i could play the midi version of it our output an mp3 version.

pretty powerful but easy enough to get started in.   You do have to purchase notion.  I think musescore is still free.

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ELCBK
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The PreSonus Notion Mobile app at Google Play is free - it's what I'm using now.  Took me a bit to get going with it & I still have more to learn.  There's YT video tutorials

Don't remember exactly why, but I just didn't like musescore.  

I originally didn't consider ABC notation as an option, but in a discussion at The Session, this video interview with Dave Bartley was shared.  He thinks in terms of ABC notation - so composes with it (see ABC Notation Homepage Thread).

Video starts at 1:01:15 - where he talks about composing.  

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AndrewH
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June 4, 2024 - 4:03 pm
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I use Sibelius, and I find it very efficient for entering notes with a computer keyboard. Although the regular Sibelius software is quite expensive, there's a free limited-feature version called Sibelius First that should do everything you need it to do.

https://www.avid.com/sibelius/comparison

 

I know several people who prefer Dorico, which also has a free limited-feature version called Dorico SE that should do everything you need.

https://www.steinberg.net/dorico/se/

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SharonC
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June 4, 2024 - 7:38 pm
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I’ve been using Musescore for awhile now.  It does everything I want it to do, so I haven’t experimented with the other notation software out there, so I can’t say that it’s simpler/more complex than the others. .  Old dog, new tricks. . .smile  

I’m sure they all have their nuances, but I think it's easy to pop out a quick tune (single instrument, 32 measures or less, etc.,). 

I’ve created scores (single & multiple parts), transposed keys, transposed instruments, added/deleted instruments, changed size/spacing (I like to adjust where a line starts/ends), output to .pdf & mp3. 

I do all these on my PC (via PC keyboard & mouse), but I’ve put the app on my ipad too, so I've taken the PC created files, copy them to my ipad, and do playback from it while I practice (you can slow down, speed up, reduced/mute individual parts).   

In addition to playing through the whole piece, the app on the ipad also allows you to select specific measures that you can put on a loop (good for practicing difficult sections).  I’ve also used the ipad to play as a click track when I've record a duet/trio videos, using Bluetooth to listen.

I don’t use the ipad to practice as often as I used to, but I did find it useful for a long time in practicing duets so I could hear parts together.

Just one word of advice for using Musescore—if you are trying to figure out how to do something (e.g., how to add triplets in), don’t search by going to the Musescore Help, Online Handbook.  Instead, go to Google and type in “Musescore {then your issue} (e.g., “Musescore how do I add triplets”) – that will take you to the correct answer quickly.

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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AndrewH
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June 4, 2024 - 7:52 pm
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I have MuseScore as well, mostly so I can share music with other people who use MuseScore. (I use MusicXML to port music from Sibelius to MuseScore.)

I've found MuseScore difficult to use, but maybe it's just because the Sibelius interface is so ingrained in my mind. The way MuseScore handles dynamics and other performance directions is quite different, and the same is true of selecting/editing notes.

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ABitRusty
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June 4, 2024 - 8:30 pm
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yeah i think its just a matter of picking one of them and going for it... they all do whats needed for most of us well..just have to get used to one of them for a while...then decide if theres something you need thats not being offered in your choice.  

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Strabo
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June 5, 2024 - 12:08 pm
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Very good, thanks. Your comments narrow the search field so I’ll give these a try.

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ABitRusty
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June 5, 2024 - 2:24 pm
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@Strabo you may want to check this topic and the video in it.   

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/l.....s/#p140073

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Strabo
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June 7, 2024 - 2:57 pm
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I started looking at the recommended notation software -- thanks to all who helped.

I began with Sibelius First. For some reason, the link took me to the “Crescendo” notation tool. It appears to be easy to use and may be sufficient to meet my needs, which are focused on melody lines. I suppose I could include double-stops, but those fall naturally to my fingers so it seems silly to write them out.

One nice feature is Crescendo’s ability to produce a simple audio rendition of the written notes. That is quite helpful for one who has to guess at some of the intervals!

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ELCBK
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June 7, 2024 - 9:42 pm
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@Strabo -

If Crescendo is working for you, that's wonderful! 

If you like writing notes out by hand, Notion Mobile can let you do that.  It will automatically transform to the standard note font (you can set a delay) & can still get imediate playback.

 

I originally wanted to find a way to have mp3 audio accurately turned into notation - poof... without having to record into DAW, or use my laptop.  Think I found the next closest thing! 

@ABitRusty - not sure if you were trying to explain to me this is possible in Notion-6, or in DAW(?)

So... a midi keyboard CAN be connected to Notion 'Mobile' & it's possible to use it's 'Real Record' for LIVE recording directly onto notation!!!  What you play - the DURATION of the notes & rests are changed to standard notation!  AND, a line can be live recorded onto an exiting score of multiple parts!  If the Notion Mobile app recognizes the midi input, I think all that is needed is the metronome set, maybe a time signature indicated - then PLAY your tune (but I haven't tried it yet). 

...I could've used this when I was trying to notate "True"!

🤔... might even be able to use my little orba 2 - Notion Mobile appears to recognize live chords played!

Real Record starts at 6:02.  Handwriting Recognition starts at 6:28.

I found out a midi keyboard can be directly connected to a Samsung phone's charging port (or any Android) - don't know if a Blu-tooth midi connection is a reasonable option, or not. 

I also found this sonuus G2M V3 Universal Guitar-to-MIDI Converter which might work to play a melody line using other electric string instruments - but I've seen actual 'Midi' Electric Violins advertized (as well as other midi instruments) available that could work for playing directly to Notion Mobile

How FABULOUS if we could play a song on the fiddle & have it magically turn into notation on our PHONE!!! 

 

Oh, just great 🤬... now I've forgotten how to show 'SWING' in Notion Mobile.

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ABitRusty
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June 7, 2024 - 10:20 pm
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ELCBK said
@Strabo -

If Crescendo is working for you, that's wonderful! 

If you like writing notes out by hand, Notion Mobile can let you do that.  It will automatically transform to the standard note font (you can set a delay) & can still get imediate playback.

 

I originally wanted to find a way to have mp3 audio accurately turned into notation - poof... without having to record into DAW, or use my laptop.  Think I found the next closest thing! 

@ABitRusty - not sure if you were trying to explain to me this is possible in Notion-6, or in DAW(?)

So... a midi keyboard CAN be connected to Notion 'Mobile' & it's possible to use it's 'Real Record' for LIVE recording directly onto notation!!!  What you play - the DURATION of the notes & rests are changed to standard notation!  AND, a line can be live recorded onto an exiting score of multiple parts!  If the Notion Mobile app recognizes the midi input, I think all that is needed is the metronome set, maybe a time signature indicated - then PLAY your tune (but I haven't tried it yet). 

...I could've used this when I was trying to notate "True"!

🤔... might even be able to use my little orba 2 - Notion Mobile appears to recognize live chords played!

Real Record starts at 6:02.  Handwriting Recognition starts at 6:28.

I found out a midi keyboard can be directly connected to a Samsung phone's charging port (or any Android) - don't know if a Blu-tooth midi connection is a reasonable option, or not. 

I also found this sonuus G2M V3 Universal Guitar-to-MIDI Converter which might work to play a melody line using other electric string instruments - but I've seen actual 'Midi' Electric Violins advertized (as well as other midi instruments) available that could work for playing directly to Notion Mobile

How FABULOUS if we could play a song on the fiddle & have it magically turn into notation on our PHONE!!! 

 

Oh, just great 🤬... now I've forgotten how to show 'SWING' in Notion Mobile.

  

yes you can do that Emily.   you can also just use the keyboard for the pitch value and select the time value from a menu.   basically select an eight note... then wherever you play on keyboard..say A2 for example..on the score and A2 eighth note would be added.

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ELCBK
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June 7, 2024 - 11:22 pm
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@ABitRusty -

I wasn't sure how to connect a midi instrument to have Notion Mobile recognize it - used to think everything had to be recorded into DAW first.

Yes, I've been notating using the virtual keyboard... but there's music I'd love to play & not have to think about the note values or pitch - just get it notated the way I play it. 

Rather do it from the fiddle, if possible... but I'm going to have to stick to the virtual keyboard for now.  I'm ready to put chords to a tune & maybe a 2nd voice. 

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ABitRusty
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ELCBK said
@ABitRusty -

I wasn't sure how to connect a midi instrument to have Notion Mobile recognize it - used to think everything had to be recorded into DAW first.

Yes, I've been notating using the virtual keyboard... but there's music I'd love to play & not have to think about the note values or pitch - just get it notated the way I play it. 

Rather do it from the fiddle, if possible... but I'm going to have to stick to the virtual keyboard for now.  I'm ready to put chords to a tune & maybe a 2nd voice. 

  

ive mentioned melodyne for one.  it will do what youre asking.  but youll have to experiment and learn it.  i can do it faster by hand.  but im looking for the base melody..the skeleton of the tune.    i think youre looking to notate every nuiansce of your playing so melodyne is the way you need to go i think.

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ELCBK
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June 8, 2024 - 7:11 pm
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@ABitRusty -

So, have you tried the 'Real Record' feature of Notion? 

I didn't consider 'Melodyne' because 1.) I didn't want to need DAW, & 2.) I don't want to edit my playing of a tune, just want to notate what I play (or a track I've heard played). 

 

I've wanted to check out Klangio - as an automatic transcription tool, has several different Android & ios apps available, but there are different subscription fees for each (free trials).  One of the apps will even completely analyze music, but it's pricey.  

BUT, I need to try to do a good comparison of maybe Klangio's 'Melody Scanner' vs Notion Mobile's 'Real Record' - cause notation can be made from playing an attached midi instrument on both, but Klangio boasts transcribing YT videos, too (I have to wonder if there is also a way to do similar with Notion Mobile).  I also need to consider that each of the apps seem to offer different types of music files for export. 

 

...still leary it's as easy as connecting an electric instrument to my phone (midi instrument or electric instrument with a midi converter)! 

If anyone has tried this, let me know (I'm chicken)! 

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ABitRusty
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ELCBK said
@ABitRusty -

So, have you tried the 'Real Record' feature of Notion? 

I didn't consider 'Melodyne' because 1.) I didn't want to need DAW, & 2.) I don't want to edit my playing of a tune, just want to notate what I play (or a track I've heard played). 

 

I've wanted to check out Klangio - as an automatic transcription tool, has several different Android & ios apps available, but there are different subscription fees for each (free trials).  One of the apps will even completely analyze music, but it's pricey.  

BUT, I need to try to do a good comparison of maybe Klangio's 'Melody Scanner' vs Notion Mobile's 'Real Record' - cause notation can be made from playing an attached midi instrument on both, but Klangio boasts transcribing YT videos, too (I have to wonder if there is also a way to do similar with Notion Mobile).  I also need to consider that each of the apps seem to offer different types of music files for export. 

 

...still leary it's as easy as connecting an electric instrument to my phone (midi instrument or electric instrument with a midi converter)! 

If anyone has tried this, let me know (I'm chicken)! 

  

DAW does not equal editing playing so its something else..  misconceptions

its a recorder 1st.. that allows much more.

and melodyne has a stand alone feature anyway i believe.

 

if you have a way already thats cool...i was just bringing up melodyne again cause its what ive experimented with.

anything that says its an automatic transcription tune hasnt impressed me.   ive looked for them for some of same reasons before.   they just always need to be manually edited anyway to correct things it did wrong

so why bother in the 1st place us what i settled on.  

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ELCBK
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June 8, 2024 - 11:37 pm
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Thanks for trying to help, but I'm having a hard time seeing where Melodyne makes my life any easier for getting notation to print out. 

I don't see where Melodyne can produce sheet music without using some other software or app, even in the stand-alone versions.  It still looks like audio editing and in the end I only see where it will convert audio to a midi file to export.  I looked thru two of the stand-alone Melodyne 5 version proceedures - 'Essential' & 'Studio'. 

 

For ios users, I saw a YT video where Melodyne worked well using Garageband to turn the score into notation.  

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ABitRusty
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ELCBK said
Thanks for trying to help, but I'm having a hard time seeing where Melodyne makes my life any easier for getting notation to print out. 

I don't see where Melodyne can produce sheet music without using some other software or app, even in the stand-alone versions.  It still looks like audio editing and in the end I only see where it will convert audio to a midi file to export.  I looked thru two of the stand-alone Melodyne 5 version proceedures - 'Essential' & 'Studio'. 

 

For ios users, I saw a YT video where Melodyne worked well using Garageband to turn the score into notation.  

  

yeah...youd export from melodyne into the transcription software.

but...

i dont think youd be happy with it.

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