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  1. #1

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    Disclaimer: I have no experience whatsoever with notation software of any kind.

    So here is what I'd like to do - I would like to take arrangements on paper and scan them into the computer, so that I can then break them up and rearrange them, while deleting some parts, and writing in some new parts. So my questions are: Can this be done? And if so, can it be done with some software where the learning curve is not worse than just doing it with a pencil?

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  3. #2

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    I'd suggest you read this: Experiences with ScanScore anyone? | MuseScore

    It seems it depends on who you ask regarding scanning software for music. And it costs $$

    MuseScore is a good notation software that is free. You might as well give it a try to see if you take to it. It saves me time versus a pencil and paper. Not like a pencil though, writing three notes of a triplet for instance, much easier with a pencil and paper unless you're fluent with the software.

    In musescore click quarter note, then hit ctrl 3 to change it to a triplet, then click in the notes on the stave or type in the letter notes on the keyboard, if the typed in notes land on the wrong octave (this depends on what the previous note was) use control arrow to change octave. So that's a lot of steps compared to pencil and paper. If you can get fluent enough to be doing all that without thinking then notation software is much better. I can notate a triplet in musescore in about 2 seconds which is probably faster than pencil and paper. Where musescore really saves time is using copy and paste and how easy it is to edit a score (no need for an eraser).

    Speaking of editing, how about when you find you need an additional measure in the middle of a score. This is a hassle when working with pencil and paper. Just a couple of keystrokes to fix with notation software.

    And the final product for me is much better with the software, the score looks professional and is easy to read.

  4. #3
    Yeah. I can't take using any kind of software like this without knowing some kind of shortcuts. I eventually get irritated enough and just print them all out and post them somewhere.

  5. #4

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    Notation software is technical and not very intuitive to use, so learning curve is steep. Then, if you don't use it regularly, it's easy to forget. Scanning sheet music into notation software is an imperfect process, that then needs correcting and reformatting so it can be ready for editing. I'm not sure how well if it would even recognize handwritten manuscripts if that were the case.

  6. #5

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    I use SmartScore pro for scanning. With that software so long as you have a good crisp image of computer engraved music, you can get pretty accurate results provided the music is not too complex. Manual editing time goes up from there. Once I learned most of the shortcut keys for the common tasks it turns out to be less work to scan and correct than it is to hand input from scratch in most cases. I've never tried scanning anything hand written.

    My notation software is Finale. I wouldn't say that Finale is great for the kind of task you describe. Traditional notation programs (Finale Sibelius et al) are better called engraving tools. They are designed for working with music that is already written and you just need to make it look nice and professional. You can, of course, compose from scratch in these programs, they just weren't designed with that in mind. An example of what I'm talking about is having to make decisions about key and meter while setting up the program to begin composing rather than just being able to start and see what you come up with. You can go back and change things, but it starts to become a process, and after a point you're wishing you had started with a different default state for the piece.

    I don't know Dorico, personally, but one of the authors claimed in interviews that their design model was the opposite. They specifically wanted to do away with having to make decisions about a piece before you even start writing it. From what you describe wanting to do, this may be a direction worth looking into.

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  7. #6

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    I am learning a lot. Thanks for all the responses. I have a 13yo who excels at flute, a 10yo on trumpet and another 10yo on cello. I want to take the tunes they play, and manipulate the arrangements into duets with me on guitar.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I'd suggest you read this: Experiences with ScanScore anyone? | MuseScore

    It seems it depends on who you ask regarding scanning software for music. And it costs $$

    MuseScore is a good notation software that is free. You might as well give it a try to see if you take to it. It saves me time versus a pencil and paper. Not like a pencil though, writing three notes of a triplet for instance, much easier with a pencil and paper unless you're fluent with the software.

    In musescore click quarter note, then hit ctrl 3 to change it to a triplet, then click in the notes on the stave or type in the letter notes on the keyboard, if the typed in notes land on the wrong octave (this depends on what the previous note was) use control arrow to change octave. So that's a lot of steps compared to pencil and paper. If you can get fluent enough to be doing all that without thinking then notation software is much better. I can notate a triplet in musescore in about 2 seconds which is probably faster than pencil and paper. Where musescore really saves time is using copy and paste and how easy it is to edit a score (no need for an eraser).

    Speaking of editing, how about when you find you need an additional measure in the middle of a score. This is a hassle when working with pencil and paper. Just a couple of keystrokes to fix with notation software.

    And the final product for me is much better with the software, the score looks professional and is easy to read.
    Hello Frank. I'm fooling with Musescore, and so far so good. Seems straight forward enough, and the scores I'll be working with are pretty basic for now, so I'm wondering to what degree I'll even need ScanScore.
    But for about $35, I'll probably end up trying it. Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. #8

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    I used Sibelius 5 & 6 for a while, and I switched to Dorico 2 which I find much easier to use by far.

    No surprise, since its developpers are those of Sibelius and they were quite aware of the UI problems. No more complex menu hierarchies. For sure there is a learning curve, but the music input mechanism have been thought out from start, and there is a logic behind it. That helps a lot.

    The only thing which I dislike at this time with Dorico 2 is the playing part. Assigning instruments may require to fight with MIDI channel and port assignment for the used virtual instruments.

    I read that Dorico 3 has been improved in this respect but I didn't switch to it yet. For sure I will.

    No music scanning exists for Dorico. In the Dorico forum, I read that the only considered import mechanism is Music XML. Put another way, one must use a scanning tool to create an xml file, and then import it into Dorico.

    By the way, I have no links with Steinberg/Dorico !!

  10. #9

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    I use Musescore always.

    I have experience with music scan software and abandoned it as manual error correcting needs more time than typing it in again. At least if you don't have a pristinely printed original.

    I use a two hand technique. Right hand on the number block gives the note length and left hand types the note. I do it without looking meanwhile and got really fast. I do the formatting in the end (inserting repeats, segnos and that kind of stuff).

    It's even faster than playing it on the piano keyboard as I'm not the greatest piano player.


    PS. In the learning phase I found Google better than the manual. You just type "Musescore, enter triplets?" and Googe gives you the answer.
    Last edited by DonEsteban; 12-10-2019 at 03:50 PM. Reason: typo

  11. #10

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    I use musescore a lot as my 'sketch pad' meaning if I come up with an idea I'll write it out so I remember it. This morning's bit is an example of how I use it... slashes without stems for playing some sort of improvised rhythm part, slashes with stems when playing a specific rhythm, and actual notes if I have something specific I came up with. I have a bunch of these on the back burner in a file waiting for melody and lyrics.
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  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by DonEsteban
    I use Musescore always.

    I have experience with music scan software and abandoned it as manual error correcting needs more time than typing it in again. At least if you don't have a pristinely printed original.

    I use a two hand technique. Right hand on the number block gives the note length and left hand types the note. I do it without looking meanwhile and got really fast. I do the formatting in the end (inserting repeats, segnos and that kind of stuff).

    It's even faster than playing it on the piano keyboard as I'm not the greatest piano player.


    PS. In the learning phase I found Google better than the manual. You just type "Musescore, enter triplets?" and Googe gives you the answer.
    +1 to all of this, but especially the p.s....

  13. #12

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    For a guitarist that's a wannabe arranger, Finale, although pricey, is a great way to go. It allows you to write horn arrangements in the concert key of the tune, and once you have chosen the instruments and set up the score, inputting the notes can be done a number of ways, and you can hear each note. Playing back a fully-scored section shows your mistakes audibly. Doubling a part (for instance, trombone and tenor sax) involves writing one part, then copying the line to the other staff, where it automatically transposes to the correct key, and, in the newest iteration, the correct range! Once you're done, hit the button to transpose all the parts to their instrument keys, extract, and print. With a decent arranging book beside you (I use Mickey Baker and Russ Garcia), pretty good arrangements can be done and printed in a professional, readable manner. You can also export the score into a DAW program like Logic, add drums and play the bass and guitar in "live", giving it a less machine-like feel (although Logic's "humanize" feature works pretty well), and send the resulting mp3 recording off to the client for approval and rehearsal purposes, especially useful for singers. I just got a contract for 25 arrangements for a singer who is adding a 5-horn section to his quartet for casino shows, and sending off recordings of the finished charts gives the singer no excuse to miss endings or screw up the form. Very useful, saves rehearsal time as well, since generally (with good readers), only a run-through is needed.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    For a guitarist that's a wannabe arranger, Finale, although pricey, is a great way to go. It allows you to write horn arrangements in the concert key of the tune, and once you have chosen the instruments an .. snip parts deleted.. only a run-through is needed.
    No offense, but all that can be done in Musescore too. And without the price tag.