Friday, April 24, 2009

BEDA Day 24: Music Notation and Production Software

Here are some programs you might find useful, either for notating sheet music or producing audio. This list isn't particularly ground-breaking or complete, but I wish I had known about all of this software 10 years ago.

Music Notation - for creating printed music (MUS, PDF, etc.)

I use Finale 2007, about to upgrade to 2009. It's very powerful and complete, but pretty difficult to master.

Sibelius is the other main notation software. I hear it's more intuitive and easier to learn than Finale, yet has all the capabilities. They're both rather expensive.

Before college, I used NoteWorthy Composer, which is a cheap, simple alternative. This is okay for quick/smaller projects that don't require an excellent visual layout. (Don't use it for professional work or compositions, but maybe for small classroom examples.)

I have also heard that the open source (free) engraving software Lilypond creates beautiful music, but the input method using ASCII is something text-based with which I am unfamiliar.

Music Production - for creating and editing audio (WAV, MP3, etc.)

Garage Band (Mac only) is probably the easiest way to record and edit audio for home or semi-professional music production. has a 5-year old but pretty good article that lists a handful of alternatives.

You may also be interested in Audacity, which is a free, open source audio editing and recording program. It's easy to use and quick; I like it a lot.

For serious audio editing, you can get a digital audio interface such as ProTools, Logic, Cubase, or Reason. These programs are expensive and complicated, but they can do everything: record, edit, and synthesize sounds, use MIDI data, and more.

There are other crazy programs like MAX/MSP that fascinate me, and about which I know nothing.

1 comment:

  1. This is great! I have one more to add: Javen used Noteflight (free online) to create a bunch of the music for our wedding bulletin. It looks great. The only thing he struggled with is that they don't have a way to show ties. He thinks that's coming up in the next beta version. In addition to setting the music, it also has a basic midi player so you get a sense of what it sounds like.