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Topic: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

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  1. #1

    Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    I've got a strict budget (US$350), and would like to be able to compose orchestral music to a score (notation) and then hear that performed by the computer. GPO4 seems like the best set of sounds for my budget, which would leave me about US$200 for a score-writer. That obviously rules out the top-line score-writers. What products for <= US$200 would work best with GPO4?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    Quote Originally Posted by pmcoz View Post
    I've got a strict budget (US$350), and would like to be able to compose orchestral music to a score (notation) and then hear that performed by the computer. GPO4 seems like the best set of sounds for my budget, which would leave me about US$200 for a score-writer. That obviously rules out the top-line score-writers. What products for <= US$200 would work best with GPO4?

    Thanks!
    I don't have your answer, but a suggestion. I would be helpful if you would post some details about your system, such as make, model, ram, clock speed.

    You might look into Notion, which I have recently investigated because of Michael Diemers.


    Richard

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    I use Finale 2014, but from the looks of the ads and considering your financial limitations, you may like the free download of Finale 2014, or the low priced Finale PrintMusic:

    Retail $119.95 Add to Cart
    Upgrade from a previous version of PrintMusic $39.95 Upgrade
    Trade up from SongWriter $69.95

    Publisher-quality made easy

    What will you create today?
    Whether you’re writing a lead sheet for your first song, or preparing a score and parts for your next concert, PrintMusic music writing software makes it easy to put your music on the printed page. But that’s just the beginning. With PrintMusic your music plays back with great sounds and nuance, providing you with instant feedback on your progress. PrintMusic offers creative suggestions—from harmonizing melodies to providing drum parts—to fuel your creativity and save time. Most importantly, PrintMusic produces great sheet music that will inspire your performers to play even better.
    Getting started

    The Setup Wizard configures your key and time signatures, transpositions, pickup measures and more—instantly. Want an engraved or handwritten look? It’s easy to personalize the appearance of your music.
    Questions Answered

    Should you ever have a question, PrintMusic includes QuickStart Videos and other resources, right in the Launch Window.

    Just a thought.

    Tom

  4. #4

    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    Thanks Tom. Finale would have been my first choice, except for the $. PrintMusic also has the advantage of coming from the same company (more or less) as GPO which, I would hope, should alleviate some risk of incompatibility. However, I could never work out the extent to which PrintMusic's limitations would impact on GPO usage (eg, things like inability to edit MIDI data). I've studied the Finale version comparison but don't know enough to be able to interpret it usefully.

  5. #5

    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    I would recommend Notion. The main advantage it has over Print Music is that you have unlimited staves. PM limits you to 24. I purchased Notion for 99.00 US a month ago, but the price may have gone up recently. If you have GPO installed on your computer, you can use it out of the box, as GPO is one of the VSTs that Notion recognizes natively. It also recognizes EWSO Gold, Vienna, and Miroslav. Plus you can with a little work get it to use pretty much anything. and the sounds that come with it are decent enough themselves. they include some unusual ones, like bass oboe and alto trombone. However, I have no idea how to make things sound good in Notion, as I use a DAW (Sonar). I have been impressed with some things I have heard that were done in Notion, but better results will be obtained with a DAW. Most folks use both, one for good sound, the other for a decent score.


    Finally, (no pun intended), there is Musescore, which is free. I tried it but found it too frustrating, so I bought Notion. I find it easy to learn. The manual is well-written and you will find most of your answers there, but the forum is also very helpful.

  6. #6

    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    Quote Originally Posted by rwayland View Post
    ...post some details about your system, such as make, model, ram, clock speed...
    Good point! Home-built i5-4690K at 3.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 7200 RPM HDDs.

  7. #7

    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    Michael and Richard: thanks for the info about Notion. It does seem to tick most of the boxes for me, and I'm encouraged that it integrates fully with GPO. Since I'm not a professional, I can't justify buying a DAW as well.

    I have been using MuseScore, which is remarkable value for money! However, I could never find any string sounds that passed muster, and MuseScore doesn't do VST so can't use GPO (as I tenuously understand it).

  8. #8
    Senior Member Silh's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    I haven't played with MuseScore in well over a year now, but does it allow you to playback and send the MIDI data wherever you want? If so, you could probably use do something as such: use loopMIDI (free) to set up a fake MIDI device for output, and then host the VSTi's inside a DAW, and then set their MIDI input device to loopMIDI, which'll then pipe the MIDI data from your notation program to the VSTi.

    That's what I do to link my not-so-good old ancient notation program (which doesn't support VSTi's) to GPO/etc. It does take a bit of fiddling to set up, but it still lets me write in the program I'm used to, and still tweak things in the DAW afterwards.

    For a DAW on a budget I'd recommend checking out Reaper. You can try it out for free for 60 days, the price is pretty good at $60, and it's extremely flexible and capable. And although it remains fully functional even after your free trial is up (all it does after 60 days is pop up a 'please purchase it' nag window when you start it up), I would encourage you to purchase it if possible if you do find it to your liking. I really appreciate this stance on the part of the developers, and it didn't take me long to support their work after I used the trial (which I shamefully admit, was a few more weeks after my days were up :P); been using Reaper for the last 5 years or so now.
    -- Matt Wong

  9. #9

    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    Reaper has intrigued me for awhile now. They will be coming out with a notation editor soon (well, it may be some months away yet). I will be curious to try it then. I work entirely with notes, which is why I use Sonar. A decent notation editor to work in, though not usable to print. But I just export to notion for that. Another intriguing thing about Reaper is the possibility of running it in Linux. You can do it now with some tweaking, apparently, and there is talk they may make it more Linux-friendly. So, when I have finally had it with Miscrosoft, that may be a possibility. (No chance of Sonar ever running on Linux, however).

  10. #10

    Re: Recommend me a Cheap Score-writer

    Thanks for bringing up Reaper. I've downloaded it but not yet tinkered. This will be enlightening because I really have no idea what a DAW is supposed to do! Rest assured that I'll buy it if I use it.

    I'm no MuseScore expert, but my understanding is that its emphasis is on score representation. Performance is strictly secondary. For example, there was a major bunfight about whether looping should be implemented (it eventually was). I don't know how flexible it is re MIDI data; I suspect not a lot.

    I have read a couple of posts on how to coerce GPO and other VSTs to work with MuseScore. Given my manifest state of ignorance, I suspect it may be beyond me. (I still can't understand how a score writer interfaces with a sound set!)

    As recommended, I've been tinkering with a demo of Notion. It seems great! The default sound quality is much higher than I expected (but then I'm used to 15-year-old sound fonts). I'm now wondering whether GPO4 is even necessary; GPO4 is actually about half the size of the included Notion sound sets. I know there's more to sound quality than that, but it's an interesting statistic.

    Once again, thank you for your advice!

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