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Eulogy on Noteworthy Composer - my favourite notation software

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If one wants to get the music onto paper, and is used to working with notation to do this, then I think Noteworthy Composer is hard to beat.

It is so fast and easy to enter a score, and one can immediately get a pretty good idea of what it sounds like.

All the tempo changes, and dynamic variance and on the score are respected in the playback. However, what is even better, repeats and flow directions are respected too.

E.g. when you do special endings for a repeat section, just click the play button and you hear them all exactly as written. Similarly, D.C Al Coda, D.C. Al Fine, D.S. Al Coda, etc are all supported for playback

In the dynamics, crescendos, and diminuendos are all respected. Also in the tempi , accelerandos or decellerandos are respeced

Do any other score editing programs do that I wonder?

You can also save the whole piece immediately as a midi clip without playing it through first.

One thing I particularly like about NWC is the word processor like philosophy.

There's no checking of syntax - you can just type any sequence of symbols, and do the "spell checking" yourself. Place several clef signs, time signatures and key signatures one after another followed by bar lines, then a cluster of notes, and all that is completely acceptable. Then one can move them around as one likes. It works really nicely; one feels so free, able to work just as one might when writing.

Most notation software programs require you to set the bar lines in advance, and add the notes later. However with NWC, it's the other way round You can enter as many notes as you like first, then go back and add the bar lines and time signatures in later. This is great if you like working with varying metres a lot.

You can also add midi events to the score. Also has linear sweep option for the midi controllers, and one can use those to add pitch glissandi.

The midi keyboard is used in an interesting way as a method for entering music notation at ones leisure. (Also has an option to use it to enter notes by playing along with a metronome, which is the more common approach).

As program developer myself I much admire their program layout - it is extremely well thought out. It has extensive keyboard short cuts for everything, so you can enter notes readily from teh keyboard without needing to use the mouse.

Some things aren't in it yet. Has triplets of all types, but doesn't have n-tuplets for larger values of n like 5, 7 etc. I believe there is some kind of a work around for those, but I haven't tried it. It would probably be quite hard to compose a 5 and 7 polyrhythm in NWC say - probably that would be easier in say Sibelius.

Then not all the notations get played on playback. It's trills and the harp glissandi (fast arpeggiated chords) are notational only - if you want to hear them on play back then you need to write out the trill in full, and you need to make the broken chords using a sequence of tied grace notes, which is a little awkward, but workable with. I hope they will deal with this in some future update.

It depends on your way of working.

If you work by writing the score out, and if your aim is to get something on paper as a composer, I think NWC is hard to beat, except as I say, possibly for scores with n-tuplets in them for n>3.

The speed of entering ones ideas really shows up here.

If you are a music publisher, maybe you'd use something like Finale or Sibelius.


Some things I'd like to see in future versions of NWC

I've added some of these to the nice NWC wish list web page:

Some way of saving a low resolution score suitable for web page graphics, harp glissandi (at present you have to write them out as a broken chord), trills respected on playback (at present you have to expand the trill yourself as a sequence of semiquavers - sixteenth notes), and n-tuplets respected on playback - at present only triplets are.

Also would be nice to have a word processor like spell checker - highlight a region of the score and get it to count the number of beats to check they add up to the time signatures, and have option to correct things automatically where it makes sense to do so, - but preserving the word processor like philosophy, and only correct it if one asks for it.

Or underline the "spelling mistakes" as is done in Word.