[ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Recommendations concerning notation and publishing software in a non-partisan environment.
jrethorst
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[ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by jrethorst » 16 Jul 2017, 18:22

This document presents a one-page score as engraved by ten of the most popular music notation programs: Dorico, Encore, Finale, LilyPond, MuseScore, Music Press, Notion, Overture, Score, and Sibelius. Although all of these applications feature extensive flexibility and offer high quality engraving, each has its own personality, and comparison may be helpful to the musician or engraver making a choice among them.

Unsolicited comments about earlier versions of this document include:

Absolutely amazing! . . . Interesting! . . . This is certainly a worth while endeavor . . . a really great idea and I’m glad that someone is taking the time to do it the right way . . . I love seeing how each program handles music . . . I don't think I've ever seen a lineup of professionally engraved scores like this before. It's a great idea. I must say, I find it very encouraging that there is still a large element of personality to be found in every one of the engravings, despite the nature of computers. Long may that continue! . . . Very interesting indeed to see the subtle differences in the notation and how the eye perceives it for clarity . . . Nice work! . . . Thank you so much! . . . This is wonderful!

This second edition includes revisions to the samples done in Dorico (version 1.1, engraved by Daniel Spreadbury) and Notion (version 6.2).

Free at:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/84he2sb57x8bw ... 2.pdf?dl=0
John Rethorst

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John Ruggero
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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by John Ruggero » 17 Jul 2017, 21:58

Thanks, John.

For me, the usefulness of this document is limited by the fact that the output is so dependent on the engraver's settings and style and the font used. For example, the Finale example would look completely different were it engraved in Maestro rather than Engraver. One wonders what the other examples would look like engraved with different music fonts. One hopes much better, because many of the fonts shown are very unattractive.

Also, for me, the engraving could be improved all around. None of the versions get the first and second endings quite right: the numbers are too small and thin, and the brackets have various issues. I see arpeggio signs that are too long or too short, or too close or too far from the notes, fermatas that are too close to notes and beams, and badly-positioned rests. And while the Dorico is one of the most attractive of the examples, it also has a few of these engraving problems.

A couple of errors: the heading "Dorico" is missing and "Notion" is upside down and at the bottom of the page. Also, the final arpeggio signs are missing from the Finale example.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

jrethorst
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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by jrethorst » 18 Jul 2017, 03:44

John Ruggero wrote:
17 Jul 2017, 21:58
A couple of errors: the heading "Dorico" is missing and "Notion" is upside down and at the bottom of the page.
Only when viewed in a browser, for reasons I don't understand. Download the file and open in Adobe Reader or another standalone PDF viewer to see these labels correctly.
John Rethorst

jrethorst
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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by jrethorst » 18 Jul 2017, 04:10

John Ruggero wrote:
17 Jul 2017, 21:58
For me, the usefulness of this document is limited by the fact that the output is so dependent on the engraver's settings and style and the font used.
How could it be otherwise, unless one engraver did every sample, and used the same music font (which is not always possible, e.g. Musescore, or a whole lot of work to remap fonts)?
For example, the Finale example would look completely different were it engraved in Maestro rather than Engraver.
Of course it would. And, just as with e.g. Henle and Schirmer, we're discussing taste.
One wonders what the other examples would look like engraved with different music fonts. One hopes much better, because many of the fonts shown are very unattractive.
Yet the fonts shown are the defaults, which is part of the point here. Engravers were asked to use defaults to the extent, but not beyond the extent, that they were comfortable with their chosen program's defaults.
Also, for me, the engraving could be improved all around. None of the versions get the first and second endings quite right: the numbers are too small and thin, and the brackets have various issues. I see arpeggio signs that are too long or too short, or too close or too far from the notes, fermatas that are too close to notes and beams, and badly-positioned rests. And while the Dorico is one of the most attractive of the examples, it also has a few of these engraving problems.
Many of these are at least the programs' defaults and in some cases hard to do otherwise. Several programs just put arpeggio signs a set distance from the notes. Ending numbers, brackets and other elements are either defaults or that engraver's taste again. Either way, quite possibly a useful comparison to a composer/arranger/engraver who is making a choice of application.
A couple of errors: the heading "Dorico" is missing and "Notion" is upside down and at the bottom of the page. Also, the final arpeggio signs are missing from the Finale example.
I collected individual PDF files and applied program name headings in Adobe Acrobat 8, and they're all present and correctly placed when viewed in Adobe Reader or Apple Preview. I just don't know why browsers such as Chrome and Firefox show them as you describe. The missing final arpeggio signs in Finale are either that engraver's editorial choice or an oversight, neither affecting the point of the document.
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John Ruggero
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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by John Ruggero » 18 Jul 2017, 15:04

In my version (Finale 2014.5), the Finale default font is Maestro, not Engraver.

For me, the document would be more useful if one saw each program in its Sunday best.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

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Fred G. Unn
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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by Fred G. Unn » 18 Jul 2017, 20:04

John Ruggero wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 15:04
For me, the document would be more useful if one saw each program in its Sunday best.
I'm in agreement here. I mean it's nice to see what each program does by default, but most better engravers aren't going to limit themselves to the defaults, they are going to tweak them to achieve the best possible output. I think it would be interesting to see a version with the shipping defaults and minimal manual tweaking, and then a top shelf version by the same program and engraver using whatever settings they feel appropriate.

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Fred G. Unn
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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by Fred G. Unn » 18 Jul 2017, 20:24

Was there ever a consensus on whether it is a D# or D natural in the 3rd bar? I see some engravers adding a #, some a natural, and some just leaving it alone.

erelievonen
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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by erelievonen » 19 Jul 2017, 09:55

jrethorst wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 04:10
Yet the fonts shown are the defaults, which is part of the point here. Engravers were asked to use defaults to the extent, but not beyond the extent, that they were comfortable with their chosen program's defaults.
As John Ruggero already pointed out, Maestro is the Finale default font, not Engraver - but some of the other examples are also not entirely done using the programs' default fonts. For sure, the text font in the Sibelius example is something else than Sibelius' default text font.

The comparison might indeed be much more interesting if there were two versions done with each software: one with using the defaults as much as possible, and another showing the program's best by a skilled engraver.
Although I could already predict differences of style and taste causing disagreements over what is a program's "best"... in fact it seems people are not in agreement over what the defaults are either!

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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by erelievonen » 19 Jul 2017, 10:03

Fred G. Unn wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 20:24
Was there ever a consensus on whether it is a D# or D natural in the 3rd bar? I see some engravers adding a #, some a natural, and some just leaving it alone.
I don't know about consensus, but D# must be the musically correct note (in this style and context).

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John Ruggero
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Re: [ANN] Ten Music Notation Programs, second edition

Post by John Ruggero » 19 Jul 2017, 13:37

Fred G. Unn wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 20:04
I think it would be interesting to see a version with the shipping defaults and minimal manual tweaking, and then a top shelf version by the same program and engraver using whatever settings they feel appropriate.
Yes, this would be a very interesting document that would point out the deficiencies in the defaults of these programs.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

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