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#694873 - 05/26/02 12:25 AM Notation Programs
Aaron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/01
Posts: 53
Loc: Oklahoma City
Hello. I'll be buying a new laptop this summer for school next year (first year of college.) Since I'm planning on doing quite a bit of composing in college, I need to find a good program for the laptop. The system I'm buying uses Windows XP. I used to have Cakewalk ScoreWriter, which worked great with Windows 98, but when we got a new PC with Windows ME, Cakewalk wouldn't even install on the computer (But I'm not very knowledgable about computers. It could've been an error on my part, all 12 times I attempted to load it. I have heard of other Windows ME users having problems with Cakewalk, however).

I was looking online at Amazon.com, but I got tired of weeding through all the programs that are for Songwriters, or enable you to write using guitar tabs. I don't need that.

Thanks in Advance for any recommendations. \:\)
_________________________
Aaron (PianistforJesus@aol.com)

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#694874 - 05/26/02 10:37 AM Re: Notation Programs
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Hi Aaron
I'm assuming that since you're planning on doing a lot of composing in college that you'll be a music major? possibly even with professional aspirations?

With that in mind, I'd consider moving beyond Cakewalk into either Finale or Sibelius. Finale is the industry standard and is used in the vast majority of publishing houses. Sibelius while not new, is really coming of age. In fact, Juiliard has recently switched from Finale to Sibelius in their music labs. I use both, but prefer Sibelius. A lot of professional composers are using Sibelius these days due to a more intuitive interface. Finale's reputation is that it's a real powerhouse, but cumbersome and even difficult to use. However, each version seems to get better and better. I don't think you can go wrong with either title. Although if you're going to pick just one, then Finale would be the practical choice. In fact, it's possible (even likely) that your university uses Finale. That's worth checking into.

Most notation programs have academic discounts for students. Make sure you take advantage of this as the discount is usually several hundred dollars! You can purchase the programs from your university or any authorized dealer.

One more thing: If you are a series student of music with professional aspirations, I'd consider switching over to the Mac platform. Switching platforms is tough at any time, but since you're upgrading your computer anyway, this might be a good time. The music industry is heavily slanted toward Apple and many pro applications are released for Mac first, and then for PC. Compatibility between platforms is not much of an issue these days, which makes either platform viable. But there are enough programs that are Mac-only to make it worth a serious look. For example, the notation program that has been my "bread and butter" program is called Composer's Mosaic and is Mac only. My audio/MIDI app is Digital Performer and is also Mac only. Just something to think about...
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#694875 - 05/26/02 03:29 PM Re: Notation Programs
Aaron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/01
Posts: 53
Loc: Oklahoma City
Thank you very much for all the information!

To answer your question, (sort of) right now I am enrolled as a Piano Performance major, but am seriously considering switching to Theory/Composition. (It all depends on whether I can get my piano scholarship transferred to Comp.) I plan to attend graduate school as well, but haven't decided between piano or composition what to study. I guess it depends on how the next few years go. Right now I feel like I'd be more prepared to study piano, especially if my dreams of going to Peabody or MSM work out. Either way, I plan to do some composing after college. At the very least writing sacred choral music and just hoping some of it gets published, or if I become good enough, writing for BigIdea Productions (a Christian company that makes hilarious children's videos. But actually, the music is pretty impressive!)

Thanks again. I'll look into those programs. \:\)
_________________________
Aaron (PianistforJesus@aol.com)

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#694876 - 05/26/02 10:12 PM Re: Notation Programs
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
I've got a couple of things to add.

First Windows ME has a really bad reputation, 95 98, 2000 are fine but the "millennium" edition apparently has lots of bugs. Some people just say DITCH IT and start over with one of the others. Up to you, but I think for $100 you can be in XP.

Second, the competition between Finale and Sibelius is ongoing. Finale can do a lot MORE at deeper levels than Sibelius, but it does have a steeper learning curve and its interface is not as intuitive as Sibelius's. I'm just a hobbyist, but I own and use Finale. Sometimes it can be extremely frustrating to try to figure out how to do a simple task.....but it might be that way in Sibelieus for me too.
Here are some good links for forums with searchable databases that deal with Finale in some detail. Remember the name Harold Owens, as he has published some Finale Tutorials and is both knowledgeable and friendly. He's affiliated with University of Oregon, but is frequent participant in the SamHoustonStateUniversity FinaleList forum. (SMSU = SamHousten...etc)(i susPECT its somewhere in Texas)

FinaleTutor:SamHoustonStateUnivMailing Lists EASIERmajordomo INTERFACE
http://unxmail.shsu.edu/cgi-bin/majordomo
http://mail.shsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/finale

Harold Owen - Finale Tutorials downloadpage
http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~hjowen/Finaletutorials.html

The Finale Forum: Message Boards+
http://www.finaleforum.com/boards/
This forum is not connected either with a university OR Coda, but its pretty good. Peter Thompson is the name to remember here. He is VERY knowable and his answers are complete and concise. You could learn a lot just by reading any question to which he has replied.

FinaleProductivityTips
www.finaletips.nu

TGTools Plug-In Collection for Finale
http://www.tgtools.de/
Finale depends heavily on outside sources to make helpful additions (plug-in programs) to simplify many tasks, Tobias G?? a German musician and programer is the most prolific of these outside sources.

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#694877 - 05/30/02 07:30 PM Re: Notation Programs
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
 Quote:
Finale can do a lot MORE at deeper levels than Sibelius
Like what?
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#694878 - 06/02/02 12:03 PM Re: Notation Programs
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
Sibelius can only take you to mild levels of frustration, while Finale can deliver you to catatonic depression.

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#694879 - 06/02/02 01:10 PM Re: Notation Programs
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
 Quote:
Sibelius can only take you to mild levels of frustration, while Finale can deliver you to catatonic depression.
That's hilarious!!!
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#694880 - 06/09/02 08:34 PM Re: Notation Programs
Aaron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/01
Posts: 53
Loc: Oklahoma City
 Quote:
Originally posted by SteveY:
 Quote:
Sibelius can only take you to mild levels of frustration, while Finale can deliver you to catatonic depression.
That's hilarious!!![/b]
I haven't used either program, and I think it's hilarious, too! \:\)

Anyway. I've been trying to research both programs to this result: I am finding much more information on Sibelius than Finale. And the information I DO find, seems to be leading to Sibelius as the better program.
Also looking into Macs as recommended by Steve, and finding that the cheapest Apple laptop (or notebook, as they call them now) is a few hundred dollars more expensive than the Windows based notebook that I had previously decided on. (made by Gateway) So I think I will stick with Windows. After all, I'll need that extra few hundred dollars for Sibelius. \:\)

I was wondering, why did they pick the name "Sibelius"? If they were going to name it after a composer, why not someone else? Why him? Just curious. It probably has no real answer.
_________________________
Aaron (PianistforJesus@aol.com)

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#694881 - 06/09/02 10:48 PM Re: Notation Programs
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Aaron,
After reading your post, here's what I'd suggest:

1. Find out if your school uses a particular program in their music program. It would make a lot of sense to go with what they use considering you're likely to be there for awhile.

2. If you're looking to save a few dollars, why not start with the free version of Finale? It's not very powerful, but it would allow you to get used to the Finale interface. (Sibelius also has a demo -- you should try that as well)

hope that helps.
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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