New version of MuseScore

Discussion in 'Computer Corner' started by Cornet Nev., Mar 30, 2015.

  1. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    For those who use it or even those who like to mess around with notation, the open source MuseScore have released version 2 on Tuesday 24th March.
    I have downloaded and briefly looked at it, some nice looking changes and improvements on the earlier versions, though that is all I can say at the moment as not had time to do more with it.

    Download available from here :-
  2. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    MuseScore is my favourite notation software. It's very stable and predictable and the playback is OK for some demos and error checking etc. Coming back to it after a few weeks on Finale was SUCH a relief. It's also easy to get answers to problem questions and advice. The program is evolving all the time so keep following. Pasting in bars and bits of bars is as safe as houses, something that's difficult in Finale. To start playback just click on a note and it will go from there and it always continues to play back from where you stop, if you want it to. Take a look! I do my scores in it and take the file into Finale and then copy and paste the parts into a Finale template. (Ascribing the Garritan instruments directly into the imported file loses sound quality.)
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    It's pretty easy to get answers to problem questions and advice on the Finale Users Forum as well.

    With statements like that, I'd have to question your familiarity with the Finale package.
  4. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Thanks for your input.

    You'll probably know that I'm far from being alone in my views. I bought my first Mac in 1988 and I've been using music notation software almost daily since 1994 but I'm always ready to learn from others. I'd be especially interested to learn your method of pasting in fragments of bars in a way that compares with MuseScore.

    The 'ease' I referred to in getting help is only part of the problem. Make Music's response is fast enough although their last response did make me wonder where they learn their customer relation skills. The biggest difference with MuseScore is in the community feel and the open-hearted way they approach development. Also, Finale's search facility is almost useless.

    I'd LOVE to get to grips with the appalling Finale manual, if ever I had time to re-write it. There are also many literals in the text and instances where the text and the actual content of the menus are inconsistent.

    Incidentally, Make Music have accepted some of my criticisms.

    Thanks again, John Morton.
  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Can't comment on Musescore - never used it, and don't intend to. As I'm sure you're aware, Finale has a fairly steep learning curve, and having invested in the region of twenty years myself in becoming familiar with it (not to mention a couple of thousand pounds), I've no desire to invest unnecessary time in the learning curve of another software package, particularly when I can make Finale do pretty much everything I need it to.

    I can't comment on your particular issue with pasting a measure fragment without being able to see what you're trying to achieve. It's often said that there's more than one way to skin a cat, and as I'm sure you're aware, one of Finale's strengths is that there is almost always more than one way to achieve the same result; part of the skill in using the program efficiently is to be familiar enough with all the options to know which method is going to be the easiest in a given situation. In general, I tend to paste a measure fragment by drag-enclosing the partial bar in the source stave, then drag'n'drop to the target point. If the target measure is on another screen, then it's the work of a moment to paste the whole source measure to an adjacent stave or measure in the target region, then copy-paste as before. Even if there's no available empty measure, it's only a couple of clicks to create a temporary empty stave above or below the target. As I say, I can't comment on your particular issue without seeing an example. But whilst I'm no evangelist or apologist for MakeMusic, and I freely admit that there are areas where the program needs improvement, for my purposes copy-pasting partial measures is not something I have a problem with.

    So far as Customer Support is concerned, I have never bothered going to them with problems. My first port of call is always the User's Forum, where there are a number of extremely experienced and expert users who are always happy to assist with specific problems. The interesting thing is - alluding to my earlier point - when I ask how to solve a particular issue, there are more often than not multiple responses offering differing solutions, all of which will work. Different users often work in different ways.

    I also question your opinion of the manual. Again, I'm no apologist, and I wouldn't claim that the manual is faultless. It's difficult to see how something on such a large scale and so complex (by necessity, because of the complexity of the program) could ever be faultless, but "appalling"? It's very rare that I need to look something up and can't find the relevant page by means of searching a couple of keywords.
  6. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Thanks, Gareth.

    There's nothing in your reply I wasn't familiar with, program-wise. I'm disturbed by your statement that you never intend to use MuseScore for the common sense reason that it's impossible to assess something without trying it. There are, indeed, many ways to skin a cat, which is why it makes sense to use various programs with their particular idiosyncrasies. No program is perfect, as we know. If I'm solely concerned with score and parts notation I'd never consider Finale.

    Your shift-enclose method of cutting and pasting works, yes, but drag-enclosing complex notation can sometimes be tricky whereas, with MuseScore, selecting a 32nd note, say, and shift-selecting another note some way ahead works perfectly regardless of the 'environment' and that's another thing, selection with MuseScore is simply done by touching with the arrow. Hitting the 'N' key toggles from input to selection in the same way that the 'Esc.' key works in Finale but without the 'twitching'. Even when pressing the Alt/Option key it's possible to add an unwanted note in Finale.

    I have experience with both platforms and can say with complete confidence that MuseScore input is much, much faster than Finale but, of course, you'll never know if you don't try it.

    There are many other advantages. For example, the arrow keys move notes up and down in semitone increments in MuseScore. There's no need to switch from arrows to the plus and minus signs. It takes a split second to press an arrow twice to get a whole tone, without the unnecessary complication of considering chromatic/diatonic usage. This is a small point taken in isolation but many such advantages, added together, save huge amounts of time.

    Regarding playback, there's no muted 'French' horns effect, as Make Music confirmed to me. This is an astonishing omission for a program that makes such claims and the trumpet/cornet mutes suffer from the same drawback as other programs. They sound like a hurdy-gurdy. MuseScore's mutes are actually marginally better, in my opinion. I've tried all bass trombone effects and none of them give me what I look for.

    The way you rushed to defend both Finale and it's awful explanatory notes suggests a bit of evangelism to me.

    Regards, JM.
  7. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Well, you're saying something is difficult to achieve in Finale, where I'm saying I don't find it a problem. You're saying the manual is difficult to work with, and I'm saying I find it straightforward. We're both speaking based on our own experience; Either I'm failing to understand what you're doing or you're doing something wrong. Or vice versa.

    I doubt there's anything to be gained from continuing the discussion.
  8. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Fine, Gareth. Just fine.
  9. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Having been the OP who started this thread regarding the newer version of Musescore, all I can add is that Musescore appears to me to be a mix of all the best bits of both Finale and Sibelius, with a few poor bits of its own!
    For anyone who swears by either Sibelius or Finale, I would ask that you do take the time and trouble to give Musescore a look, you will find that at least for basic notation it is an easy learning curve if already used to one of the two commercial programs, there are many similarities.
    My only gripe is the sound font it comes with isn't quite as good, or realistic.
    I have Finale 2012 installed, and did also have Sibelius on the old XP computer, so therefore can do the comparisons. However I am no musical expert and certainly no composer, I am merely a basic cornet player who just likes playing around with things.
  10. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Hi cornet Nev. Good to hear from you again. MuseScore 2.0 has one bug that has caused me problems. Tied notes featuring trills do not cut off as they should. This has been officially noted. This program is an on-going project which benefits from input from users and contributors which may evolve into the best program of them all. Re: playback, XML files imported into Finale lose quality. I believe this is because the virtual instruments in Finale are encrypted to work only with authorised programs. I don't use the default sound font for playback, preferring General User GS v 1.442.sf2. which really isn't too bad. Note inputting and amending is much faster than Finale as I said before. Finale sound fonts are not perfect, either. The bass trombone and muted trumpet/cornet sounds are disappointing and when I asked Make Music how to get a muted (French) horn sound I was told there isn't one. A startling omission from a company that makes such claims about its product. One of the nicest things about MuseScore is the playback facility is so easy. Just click any note and the file will play back from there.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  11. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I've been a Sibelius user since v2. I'm sure there are things that other packages do better, in the same way that Quark Xpress does some things better than InDesign and Linux does some things better than Windows. But having invested a BIG chunk of time in the various packages I've learned over the years, there'd have to be an equally BIG payback in terms of time saving or additional features to get me to switch.

    With Sibelius, that payback might just be on the horizon with the new Steinberg software written by the old Sibelius development team, but it's going to have to be demonstrably better in a number of ways. I guess I take the same view with MuseScore - as I haven't found anything I want to do in Sib that I can't, I don't see the advantage to be gained by spending time learning a new package. Plus there's the usual disclaimer with anything Open Source - the development and support are done by volunteers, for free, so you're not entitled to throw any sort of a strop if you're not getting the advice or help you need. That's not a criticism, I'm sure that as with with other open source software the user/developer community is keen to help (I've found loads of useful help on Linux fora for example), just a cautionary note that you can't expect the same level of spoonfeeding you get with a fully paid-for package.
  12. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Incidentally I'm told that this is one of the principal bugbears of long-time Windows users when they start using Linux - that as an Open Source user you're expected to be a lot more self-reliant and use the user base as your tech support rather than having dedicated teams of paid-for tech support staff on 24 hour call (even if they are sometimes less use than a chocolate fireguard).
  13. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    It is very true that what can be done in one software is either difficult or not possible in another, which is a good reason for learning at least the basics of several. That is a fact of life for a large number of other products, one make or model of car will be great at some things, and poor at others. Fast cars tend to be small and short of room inside, large and roomy vehicles aren't exactly fast as an example. The only thing is that with a car, you can't just switch to another at 70 MPH on the M6. However in a lot of software, you can switch to another in mid creation.
    I hear and understand what you say regarding open source software against high priced professional, and what you can expect in technical help, this goes for other free software, not just open source. Back to the basic of, "You get what you pay for"
  14. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Except that with open-source packages you pay nothing and get a hell of a lot more than nothing.
    If there was a demand for support for it then you'd have companies/individuals running support services and helplines on a subscription basis (the most obvious example of this is support for linux powered servers, it's the best tool for the job most of the time, and a huge market) - for relatively small niches like this, the demand won't sustain support businesses so they don't exist, but help forums do (and they get the job done most of the time - whether by asking questions or searching through old answers).

    When you're paying hundreds and thousands for "bespoke" packages that offer very little additional functionality, you have every right to expect a comprehensive level of service (and often what you get is rather mediocre - as an example: MS Office vs OpenOffice).
    Some things there are no suitable opensource alternatives (atleast not that I know of) - engineering programs for circuit and PCB design, or modelling (solidworks type things) barely exist or don't work that well...

    For the uninitiated newbie coming to music notation software right now (ie: not someone with years invested in Sibelius or Finale), would you recommend them paying out big money for those programs?
    If someone wasn't sure whether they'd stick with it and started with Musescore, then becomes rather serious - would you think they'd be likely to shell out for Sibelius or Finale and having to learn the differences? Would it be worth it?

    I genuinely don't know - I don't remember ever using Finale and I've not used Sibelius for ~10 years... I do use Musescore and haven't had any unresolvable issues with it.
  15. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    Whilst accepting that this would be a niche, my own experience of open source is that the support in the user forums far exceeds that I get for paid for programs. (based on my use of Drupal, Moodle, Wordpress, Joomla amongst others).
  16. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    We'll use the software that suits us. Getting someone to change computer programs (or, even more so, from DOS to OS or back) is like trying to change someone's pipe tobacco or favourite pint of beer. We all assume deeply entrenched positions and defend our turf fiercely, which has happened on here over the months. It doesn't help anyone. The search facility in MuseScore's online handbook has become less useful for some reason, I have to admit but answers are easy to get and Finale's handbook takes some beating for sheer obtuseness. It reminds me of the early paper handbook for PhotoShop; too many side-references that cause the reader to lose track. The layout should be more 'vertical' - if you want to do 'this' do 'that and that...'. Reducing unnecessary verbosity will achieve the column reduction caused by constant repetition. (Technical and scientific manuals do not have to read like Shakespeare.) One mistake all American companies make is to assume that everyone uses US letter sizes and Imperial measuring. There is a short procedure one has to go through in Finale to use A4. You don't just select it from the list as in Europe's MuseScore.
  17. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Yes, you do; open the score wizard, and on the first page of the setup, there are drop-down lists to select pagesize for both score and parts. Why do you find it necessary to deliberately spread disinformation?
    And I still maintain that if you find Finale's online instruction manual "obtuse", then you've clearly failed to grasp how to use it ...
    Call me "evangelical" if you like, but I find your attempts to denigrate a world-leading product, seemingly based primarily on your own ignorance, somewhat obnoxious ...
  18. John Morton

    John Morton Member

    Post Script: I sent MuseScore a message via the Forum yesterday (26/11/15) regarding the lack of an English brass band score template in 2.0 (lower brass in treble, Eb bass etc.) and, this morning, received a link to the file which went straight into my template folder. They are an absolute joy to work with.
  19. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Could you share it please John?
  20. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Absolutely not, provided they were comfortable with the open source model. For the record, I mostly am, and had MuseScore been available when I started using notation software (or if I was starting now) I'd almost certainly be using it and not Sibelius! Not sure I could bring myself to master the faff that is Lilypond, though, I suspect that's beyond even my geek threshhold...

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