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  1. #1

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    Hi Folks,

    I am beginning to move from comping jazz standards using Chord sheets to the beginning stages of working up solos and needing to write down my jazz lines. It seems there are an overwhelming number of sheet music software options out there. I thought I would check in here on the Forum to see what recommendations some of you might have for me to consider, your favorites or what are the top few most people use I should look at? I would like to be able to clearly lay out/document my jazz lines by measure. I would like to be able to add vocals into my sheets as the vocals help me keep track of where I am. The easier to use the better, I really feel like a dinosaur when it comes to using technology like this. I am not very good at it.

    FYI Some Songs I have been working on.


    Mood Indigo Bill Ward and Melvin Fong


    My Blue Heaven, Bill Ward Rhythm Guitar and Vocals


    Mood Indigo/Someone to watch over me Bill Ward Guitar and Vocals

    Thanks in advance!

    Bill

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    A lot of us, including myself, are using Musescore and it's free.
    Free music composition and notation software | MuseScore

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    A lot of us, including myself, are using Musescore and it's free.
    Free music composition and notation software | MuseScore
    That's all I've been doing during the pandemic. 22 arrangements/compositions for big band. I even composed a piece for chamber orchestra recently. I love it, but the sax sounds are pretty cheesy.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    That's all I've been doing during the pandemic. 22 arrangements/compositions for big band. I even composed a piece for chamber orchestra recently. I love it, but the sax sounds are pretty cheesy.
    Thanks guys for your recommendation on the use of Musescore. I will definitely start looking closely at that package. fepand you mentioned really making use of it during the pandemic to get a lot of work done with it. I think we can all relate to the extra unwanted time we have had due to the pandemic, not being able to play and trying to make some good musical use of this time.

    I have used this extra unwanted time to put some time in online Jazz courses and also documenting our bands 30 year history of playing together. Documenting our bands 30 year history in 3 chapters was much more fun than the Online Jazz instruction. The closest thing to jazz we played over the years has been Western Swing Music I am proud of but I am working hard to bring jazz music into our future repertoire. For those interested here are the final and 2 best chapters of this work I managed to get done due to the pandemic.


    Western Lights, a 30 year History
    of Treasured Memories and Music
    Chapter 2, with Gene and Bobbie


    Western Lights. a 30 year History
    of Treasured Memories and Music,
    Chapter 3, the Trio

    Best Wishes to all!

    Bill

  6. #5

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    I haven't tried it, but you may be able to import other sounds into Musescore.

    Or, if you render as MIDI from Musescore and then import into Reaper, you can get other sounds for Reaper.

  7. #6

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    Bill....I recently tried the 30 day free trial of guitar pro....man...absolutely wonderful.....It is so intuitive those guys did a great job with this software....great for solo jazz tunes ( cord melody style)....but just over all great software.....

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by artcore
    Bill....I recently tried the 30 day free trial of guitar pro....man...absolutely wonderful.....It is so intuitive those guys did a great job with this software....great for solo jazz tunes ( cord melody style)....but just over all great software.....
    Wow, now that is the kind of positive recommendation that is great to see! I took a quick peak at the website and think I will do just what you did, try that 30 day trial offer.

    If it is ok with you maybe I could communicate with you via pm as I get into it?

    Thanks my friend!

    Bill

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I haven't tried it, but you may be able to import other sounds into Musescore.

    Or, if you render as MIDI from Musescore and then import into Reaper, you can get other sounds for Reaper.
    The electric guitar sound really sucks on MuseScore. It's basically unusable on the jazz scores, but it does work on my arr. of an obscure rock tune from the 60s, at least for the first part of it. Then, I transform the tune into a hip jazz waltz, and I tell the guitar player to take a powder for the rest of the tune.
    One thing that MS has made me more sensitive to is how dissonances really stick out more than they would in a live situation, because everything is hitting you from the same physical sound source, whereas in live performance, the sound source is physically all spread out.
    In my pre-MS writing, I'd stack tensions to try to be hip like Maria Schneider, but with MS, only the 'right' tensions seem to work.
    At the same time, plain dom. 7th voicings sound like barbershop harmony on MS.
    Marc Sabatella, a jazz pianist who used to post on the RMMGJ site, is one of the bigwigs on the MS forum site; I should bring it up with him there sometime.

  10. #9

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    I haven't found the renderings with Musescore of an entire 4 horn track to sound very good. I use them to hear the arrangement in the writing process, but that's mostly it.

    For lead sheets I've often used the harmonica sound for melody (which is converted by Reaper into Tango Accordion, which sounds like I'm kidding, but I'm not).

    I do like the Acoustic Bass sound in MuseScore and I've made use of it, and a few of the percussion sounds, in a final track. I have one where I preferred it to the live bassist. Unfair comparison, of course, since Musescore played the exact line I wrote whereas the live bassist, for some reason, had a mind of his own <g>.

    The piano sound isn't bad, but it's hard to write out a really good piano part because you have to nail the ringing notes as the part moves along.

    If you can write out a part well you can export to Midi, import into DAW and have the DAW render the sounds. That may provide a lot more flexibiity.

  11. #10

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    sure Bill...I didn't use all the features but if I can help..would be glad to...I think you will find it very friendly....its a tab program...

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by artcore
    sure Bill...I didn't use all the features but if I can help..would be glad to...I think you will find it very friendly....its a tab program...
    Thanks!

  13. #12

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    Regarding Guitar Pro: there's also tuxguitar which is the same but it's free....

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar

    For lead sheets I've often used the harmonica sound for melody (which is converted by Reaper into Tango Accordion, which sounds like I'm kidding, but I'm not).
    That's funny to me, because I once used Musescore to create a digital version of the "I Cried for You" piano sheet music (which is now public domain), and I tried all kinds of sounds for the vocal melody line before deciding on accordion. Somehow, even though it sounds like something you'd hear at a Shriner's convention, it at least sounded "real" to me. The piano sound is passable. Strings, winds, brass, and "human voice" all sound a bit too Casio-tone for me in that context.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by 44lombard
    That's funny to me, because I once used Musescore to create a digital version of the "I Cried for You" piano sheet music (which is now public domain), and I tried all kinds of sounds for the vocal melody line before deciding on accordion. Somehow, even though it sounds like something you'd hear at a Shriner's convention, it at least sounded "real" to me. The piano sound is passable. Strings, winds, brass, and "human voice" all sound a bit too Casio-tone for me in that context.
    Accordion and harmonica are both blowing air over a reed -- and can sound similar. I guess it's one of the easier sounds to model.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Accordion and harmonica are both blowing air over a reed -- and can sound similar. I guess it's one of the easier sounds to model.
    Unfortunately that's true and as a result, all the reed instruments on MS have that same accordion/harmonica sound.
    The saxophones and clarinets all sound like freaking accordions to me, both solo and in harmony. This is especially annoying on the sax solis, which sound like an accordion playing a chord solo.

    The flute sound, OTOH, doesn't involve a reed so it has a much superior sound to the other woodwinds on MS, As a result, I'm using flutes way more than might be practical, because it sounds so great compared to the alto sax, especially on ballads. It also sets you free on the higher range spectrum of sound, so you don't have to worry about going higher than Ab on the Concert Pitch setting for the alto saxes.

    The downside to this is when we get back to live playing, you're at the mercy of alto and tenor players who double on flute. Unless they're being paid for it, most sax players would rather not double on flute, and might not even bring one with them. There's also the problem with dynamics in a jazz big band. The flutes get buried completely by unmuted brass instruments, and even the remaining sax players have to play at piano and pianissimo levels to allow the flutes to cut through without a microphone.

    Add to this that a study I read here said that the flute is the most COVID-19 spreading instrument in the orchestra, because the air is directed across the sound hole rather than directly into the instrument, like all the other brass and wind instruments, and you've got a set up logistics problem that might be insurmountable.