Music writing software advice?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by John Morton, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. John Morton

    John Morton Member

  2. phildriscoll

    phildriscoll Moderator Staff Member

    I've done a few brass band arrangements now with MuseScore. It is free, works very well, and because of its open source nature, you can influence its development.
    It may not have all the bells and whistles of the expensive heavyweights, but in my experience, I have found it more than capable enough for my needs.

    You can download a copy for Windows, Apple or Linux from:
  3. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Yes that sounds ideal, i have done alot of brass band arrangements so that sounds perfect for my needs, i think ill give that a try, obviously im open to alternatives and if people here have any other suggestions that would be great, i think i might try various peices of software and download a demo or two. Thanks again.

  4. its_jon

    its_jon Member

    I have also created many successful compositions for Brass Band using MuseScore.
    It is only -just- behind the main two commercial apps in features however its development speed is rolling at great pace now.
    It includes dedicated Brass Band score templates.
    I think this is a great time to catch the MuseScore train.

    You can see many examples of work created for brass band using MuseScore on the FMFK site.
  5. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    My Facebook admin submitted this one for me. In fact I use MuseScore and find it to be really useful and FREE. I started using notation software in 1996 with Encore. This didn't take off in Britain but was quite big in the US. They used it for Titanic and Planet of the Apes. It has its problems but I devised a few workarounds to get the jobs done. My query is: of the most recent software packages, which do people prefer?
  6. I started with encore then went on to sibelius.
    I am currently using version 7.
    It took awhile to get used to but its the best ive ever used.
  7. RossAB

    RossAB Member

    I personally use Sibelius, and have done ever since I started. I did try MuseScore but couldn't really get to grips with it, although from what others say about it I'd probably get used to it eventually. Just easier to stick with what I know and use!
  8. QAD

    QAD Member

    Depends on your needs and your wallet.
    Sibelius is being sunlighted so I wouldn't go there.
    Once you've hit the many limitations of 'free' software, try Finale - I've used it since version 1 and it is the worldwide industry standard
  9. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Sibelius and Finale keep cropping up in popularity. MuseScore has a different way of working that takes a little getting used to. You have to select and overwrite what is already in the bar, whether it's the pre-populated rests or something you need to amend. With a decent sound font the playback is good
  10. QAD

    QAD Member

    Finale is offering a transfer from competitors like the soon to be defunct sibelius for $139, I'd bite there hand off if anyone is being left in the dark by Sibelius
  11. its_jon

    its_jon Member

    I would agree that Finale has been the world leader in composition.

    The Sibelius program however, has been rooted within brass banding mainly due to copies with keygen cracks.

    If you have to go commercial for whatever reason then Finale is the clear choice.

    In the case of MuseScore anyone will see it is very powerful indeed... millions of people worldwide are using it with a plethora of developers working on the code worldwide.
    The velocity of development is of note. The 'free' alternative could soon become the more advanced.
    As it stands today, MuseScore is already very competent.
    Support is abundant being able to speak to the developers directly on the forums for solutions.
  12. QAD

    QAD Member

    Sibleius wouldn't be sunsetted if their owers weren't screwed over by every one who has a cracked copy.
    WRT free software, we're getting into one of the arguments of open source vs traditional software.
    Velocity does not equal quality, and whilst there may be many developers who does the testing? Who is culpable for launching a bad upgrade and destroying your files, what happens when the developers get bored (because nobody every clicks the donate button) and move onto another product (next great idea), who stops eggs and other security issues etc. etc. ? the argument goes on and on.
    Going wildley off topic so I'll shut up now.
  13. its_jon

    its_jon Member

    Im not in a argument :)

    Security ? ... [shrug]

    We have stable versions of software, and versions with cutting edge features. Most people use the Stable release versions.
    This applies to Finale, MuseScore and Sibelius. Quality releases will not always include the newest features.

    I don't think its wildly off topic at all ?

    If any issues exist surrounding MuseScore I want to know about them ASAP so I don't recommend it any-more to people.
    What, is wrong with security or stability issues with MuseScore ? ... why should I be worried ?

    I have not found a 'donate' button for MuseScore ???? .... I would be happy to use one if one existed.

    MuseScore appear to hope that users will adopt their community server space service, where your scores are hosted on their servers.... you get 5 online scores free then they ask a fee to host more....
    Which sounds very fair...... and from what I see, very popular.

    As long as the Music typesetter you use supports MXML, the only universal standard, it is up to date...
  14. QAD

    QAD Member - they have reached 58.9% for the year, leaving a gap between their operating costs and donations. No-one can continue a service indefinately if there not achieving their operating costs espeically hosting fees.

    WRT to security I am making a general comment on the risks and issues on all open-source software. These include but are not limited to:
    All people have access to the source code, including potential attackers. Any unpatched vulnerability can be used by attackers.
    Simply making source code available does not guarantee review. A good example of this occurring is when Marcus Ranum, an expert on security system design and implementation, released his first public firewall toolkit. At one point in time, there were over 2,000 sites using his toolkit, but only 10 people gave him any feedback or patches.
    Having a large amount of eyes reviewing code can "lull a user into a false sense of security". Having many users look at source code does not guarantee that security flaws will be found and fixed.

    So in a worse case scenario, a hacker sees a large user base, creates a new section of malicious code to a new cool feature. You download 'the latest and greatest' and off go your details and examples (in other software not Musescore) have included key stroke recorders to their listening service - and there goes your hard earned cash from your account to some guy in Russia. Let me be clear, I'm not saying this is an issue with Musescore, but it is a risk with every opensource software out there. Open source places too much trust in people, and I'm afraid not everyone is trustworthy. People see FREE and don't think of the wider implications of opensource software, which you are shielded from with propritory software.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  15. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    "Shielded" is a bit strong. After all, Windows users need much more virus protection than Linux users. Any sufficiently complex software package is open to abuse from a sufficiently clever hacker, whether it is maintained as open- or closed-source.
  16. QAD

    QAD Member

    I disagree, "shielded" implies a level of protection. Proporiety software is tested by professionals with industry level certification such as ISEB certification (which I hold), and the mindset of a tester is very different to that of a developer in approach to the tester - (I've done both). Risk from attack is every present but surely giving hackers the source to your code (white box), thereby laying any vulernabilities bare, carries a far higher risk than software where the source isn't available (black box)? Ask any penetration tester.
    And we're not talking about OS's here, which have a far wider user community - in this case the risk can be lower with extremely large user bases - where time between vulernability and patch can be extremely small. Much lower and less technical user bases for point tools like those in questions can leave the vulernability bare for much larger amounts of time.
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Fair points. It still seems intuitive to me that you are overstating one level of risk while understating the other - but you are the professional, not me. I did ring up another professional who I know has an opposing view, but his reaction was to want to reply himself, so I'll leave it there, and he can hopefully chip in.
  18. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    Another professional? Who, me?
    I must say I agree with Dave's assessment that you are overstating the risks of open source software. The proof of the pudding, I feel, is in the eating; and for whatever reason, the incidence of vulnerabilities being found in proprietary software seems to belie any idea that open source software poses more of a security risk. I know there are differing views on why MS Windows (say) suffers more vulnerabilities than the Linux kernel (say), but the fact is that open source software, combined with a reliable method of distribution (think software repositories, with signed packages) are proving to provide great benefit both in the desktop and server environments.
    On the subject of MuseScore, I've played with it myself, and I think it's excellent, and improving with every release. I've always had an objection to Sibelius regarding the way it's priced in the UK, though it's clearly an excellent product. Not sure why it's being sunsetted... what's going to happen to all the .sib files out there? Sibelius doesn't seem to offer a facility for export to MusicXML, and MuseScore can't access Sibelius' proprietary format.
    Actually, there we have another good reason for going open source - open formats. A product like MuseScore will never lock you in the way that proprietary products so often do - witness the MS Office file formats saga.
    Apologies for the iunformatted brain dump!
  19. its_jon

    its_jon Member

    Thanks for providing a link to the donate button !

    -Security of Open Source software-

    The vast majority of the worlds computer servers run on Open Source software. Only a handful of companies will put their trust in a windows based Server.
    The majority of the worlds servers are using Linux, which is Open Source.
    Linux servers handle millions of secure transactions online every day.
    If you use a Mac or a Windows machine undoubtedly when you go online your PC will be talking to Linux most of the time.

    Very few virus exist for Linux, and those that do are only capable of minor disruption due to inability to gain root access.

    A majority of Open Source software starts its life from the safety of the Linux world.

    Malicious code.
    This is not exclusive to Open OR Closed source offerings.

    Open Source is Open to adapt and improve..... Not as you imply an Open Security doorway.
    3rd party plugins could be downloaded and applied to either Open or Closed application installations that could contain malware.

    People who choose to go all the way and use an Open Source operating system additionally enjoy a UI free of antivirus messages.
    The Windows world by contrast is a nightmare of security messages.

    Yes the code is open for development, anyone can contribute. ANYONE, which in the case of MuseScore is a lot of passionate coders.
    If anyone was to submit code that was malicious, there are a LOT of coders involved who would instantly notice what was presented.

    Open Source is not always free, it is not always community driven. MuseScore is community driven. The goal, to create a better scoring tool. A lot of pride is going into the development of MuseScore with most testing within the safety of a Linux environment. Alpha, Beta, RC Then release just as in a commercial company with the exception that there are a LOT more people worldwide doing the testing.

    If you use a smart phone.... if its android, its based on Linux.

    Open Source is everywhere, involved with the banking system throughout the world...

    I take your point that anyone could contribute malware.... That could happen inside a closed source company as well by disgruntled staff about to hand their notice in.
    SO Many people to keep an eye on the ball with Open Source.
    Its also Open to fix. No Locks

  20. QAD

    QAD Member

    I don't want to continue this debate here as there are plenty of instances and research on forums across the web on open source vs closed. My personal veiw and mistrust of open source is obvious and I will only use Finale for my music as Musescore isn't powerful enough nor has good enough sounds for my needs. I agree that it is probably the best opensource software for straightforward brass band writers and arrangers.
    I hope this thread may prompt people to do a bit of research on their own before deciding for themselves.