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Compilation: Cheap Notation Software

Thanks for your swift replies. I'm going to download demos for
QUICK Score II and Finale Allegro and see if I can persuade my
principal to foot the bill for one, probably purchased from Lentine's
-- unless I find better prices. Here's the info so far, with my glosses.

>STRONG recommendation for Quickscore (there's a version for $75+/-, about
>the equivalent of Passport's Rhapsody, the slightly smaller version of
>Encore, and the top of the line version is $175). It's as easy to use as
>Encore, which WAS my program, but which I dumped after testing Quickscore
>for a magazine review. It not only notates but also has pretty impressive
>sequencing and mixing modules. Good printout, and the support seems
>excellent. Chris Sion (who owns the company) gives out his e-mail address.
>You can't do exotic key- and meter signatures, or idiosyncratic notation,
>like you can with Finale (but you can't with Encore or either of its junior
>siblings).It might be just the ticket; at least worth a look.
>John Ogasapian Thanks, John. Website is

>I'm not sure if it is available for windows, but Coda makes a program
>that is essentially "Finale-lite".
>David Bohn dbohn(a)

Thanks, David. Website:
The "Finale-lite" allusion probably is Allegro; lists (a) $199.

New on the scene is "PrintMusic!" Coda's blurb:
"Based on Finale, the world's best-selling music notation software,
PrintMusic!? offers an easy way to create, play and print music
just like the world's top publishers. With a suggested retail price of
$99.95, PrintMusic!? is the easiest and most powerful entry-level
notation product on the market. ... Available Spring 1999."
Thanks to Dirk Goedseels for this link directly to PrintMusic info:

>I can strongly recommend MusicTime. I have used it for several years. I am
>no technoweenie, so ease of use is important. Musictime fills the bill for
>my choral arranging and accompaniment needs. You can input notes with a
>MIDI keyboard or with a mouse. The kids should enjoy it very much.If you
>decide to go with it, I would be happy to look over your shoulder should
>you need advice.
>Al Hayes, Bartlett, TN Thanks, Al.

>I recommend Cakewalk Home Studio. I have used it now for about four years
>and find it very satisfactory. It is not primarily a notation program, it is a
>sequencer. But it notates fairly well. I have seen free demos in music stores
>and the basic program (Home Studio) sells for under $100.
>John Alt, Wilmington, DE Thanks, John.

>Visit Lentine's Music web page. They can answer all of your questions.
> Jim Hohmeyer, Midland Music Society

Thanks, Jim: Website:
Stan's note: Lists lots of software programs from different
manufacturers, some linked directly from this site. Good prices.
Allegro: $129; QUICK Score Elite Level II: $129; Desktop Sheet Music
for Windows: $75; ScoreWriter (academic): $69; QUICK Score Elite: $53;
Music Time (academic): $49; MusicWrite for Windows: $18.

>I use Noteworthy Composer ( It's shareware so
>you can try before you buy. It uses MIDI keyboard input, mouse and qwerty
>>keyboard input as well. It can import/output MIDI files. Play and print
>Back about 4 years ago, it was $35.
>Denise deniseb(a) Thanks, Denise.
[Stan's note: currently, $39. And 100 levels of undo/redo sounds

>I don't know abour GVox's support, but I have found Encore easy to use and
>capable of the uses you list -- it prints well, plays through a speaker system
>from the screen, accepts keyboard and mouse input, etc., and lets you select
>individual voices for playback.
>Fred Ford, East Brunswick, NJ Thanks, Fred. But too rich for my school.

>Try Encore. L. Lacy, Jackson, MS

Prize winner! Most Concise Recommendation. Thanks, Lynda.

>I am unsure as to whether this comes in a Windows based format or not,
>but the best music notation software in the business is Finale from Mark
>of the Unicorn.
[Stan's note: Coda Music makes Finale, but that's out of my price range.]
>There are others out there, but they pale in comparison.
>If I had to choose a number two from the few i've actually seen in use, I
>would pick Cakewalk. It is unfortunate that your school isn't able to set
>you up with a Macintosh, as the Mac is the best machine in the business
>for electronic music. If it's not too late, i'd talk the school into a
>used Mac with Finale. There is also a weaker version, Finale Allegro,
>which I have never used. I will warn you that music notation programs are
>a monster to learn. but are incredible. One more point i'd like to
>make...for playback, sequencing from a keyboard and the like, music
>notation software is typically very, very weak. Therefore, if your budget
>allows, I would suggest a sequencing program. The most powerful and
>versatile program on the market is Performer (not sure of the
>manufacturer) it can be somewhat difficult to learn, but again is superb
>for playback and editing. I am also unsure as to the availability of a
>Windows version of this program. Hope this helped...
>Micah A. McBay

Thanks, Micah, I'm a Mac guy myself. I've tried, but the school
computer council members are PC bigots. Silly guys.

>Hi! I currently use Musicshop, more for sequencing than notation, but
>for simple compositions it may work. It will allow both mouse & midi
>entry. You may want to check for availability in the PC platform. I
>thought it was just for MAC.
>Julie M. Bohannon Thanks, Julie.

>Musicshop is excellent for music pedagogy purposes with children of
>all ages and skill levels. Yes, you can enter notes with your keyboard,
>your mouse, or any MIDI device. I used it to demo at your state's ACDA
>convention last March. It is not a good program for notation - it is not
>adequate for anything beyond printing out very simple parts. FreeStyle is
>about the same price, and handles notation a little bit better (it can do
>also do text, albiet crudely)
>Music Time is also supposed to work well, thought it's a notation
>application - not a good sequencer.
>The easiest notation package I've found is Overture, by Cakewalk.
>- Tim Brimmer Thanks, Tim.

>MusicShop and MusicTime are both very good programs. I have run into a few
>problems with MusicShop's OMS configuration. It allows mouse and keyboard
>note entry and is a good sequencer for playing back. G-Vox's tech support
>isn't quite up to what Passport had set-up, but they are getting there.
>Note that you can download a demo of MusicShop at
>...two newer programs in this price range offer a bit more power, while
>maintaining ease of use.
>Cakewalk ScoreWriter - is quite a good program, as
>is MidiSoft's Desktop Sheet Music -
>Mr. Kelly Demoline - kmc(a), Kelly's Music & Computers
>Steinbach, MB R0A 2A0, Canada (We ship worldwide!)
> - visit our web site to enter a free draw!
Thanks, Kelly.

>The less expensive notation software that I have heard of has brought it's
>users MUCH frustration. Finale (the package I use) is a great program and
>although rather expensive is available to schools and churches for a reduced
>price of around $250.00 (rather than the usual $499.00) I also am working
>a very small budget, but Finale has been one of the best investments I
>have ever >made.
>Joseph A. Farrar, Director of Music, Munholland United Methodist Church
>New Orleans, Louisiana Thanks, Joseph

>The worlds bestmusic software ( well at least in my opinion and in that of
>RSCM) is now available for PC. It is called Sibelius and does all that you ask
>and a lot more.
>T.J.Cordery. Music teacher and bass songman at Selby Abbey;Yorkshire.
Thanks, T.J.
Sounds great, but it's 'way out of my price range.

Stan Yoder Fairway, Kansas USA
Educator, conductor, singing & speaking-voice teacher
Say it with Velvet Thunder? speaking-voice training
+++++ Diligently practice spontaneity. SY +++++

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