[LAU] GPL Scoring/Engraving Programs

Werner Schweer ws at seh.de
Mon Aug 20 09:13:23 EDT 2007

On Montag 20 August 2007, tim hall wrote:
> David Baron wrote:
> > There was a thread on this a while back, the need for opensource or
> > free/minimal cost alternatives to Sibelius and such on Linux.
> >
> > One can run Finale Notepad or various lower cost upgrades using Wine and this
> > may be the best alternative if one can get the MIDI and printing working this
> > way.
> >
> > For lack of a handy staffbook--and it is easier to simply grab a staffbook, a
> > extra fine pen and a typex stick--I tried what I have on my Debian Sid box:
> >
> > Scoring:
> >
> > Notedit--KDE's scoring program will get the job done. Most functionality is
> > there. Chord entry is very awkward and the ui needs more toolbar items. But
> > it works and will export to most everything needed including abc which opens
> > the door to many Windows and Linux programs that can print score, Lilypond,
> > MusicTex and MusicML.
> >
> > Canorus--successor to Notedit. Too early for this one.
> >
> > Denemo--GUI for Lilypond. Too early for this one as well. Nice start but had
> > to go back to Notedit to continue.
> >
> > Musescore/mscore--new boy on the block. Coming along nicely and will soon be
> > the best around. Still work to be done, text field editing is nigh-impossible
> > but this is the alternative to Finale and Sibelius to watch. Imported MusicML
> > from Noteedit.
> >
> > MIDI keyboard to any of these is precarious at best.
> >
> > For printing (engraving when doing music):
> >
> > Lilypond--works well with its peculiarities. Not enough control of formatting
> > when exporting from noteedit, et al. Denemo not ready so need to know its
> > markup language to really use it well. It is supposed to be the standard.
> >
> > MusixTex--works nearly as well as Lilypond but does not handle UTF8, foreign
> > characters out of the box.
> >
> > Musescore--one when sets the formatting parameters (not defaulted properly)
> > produces very nice results. Its scoring is WYSIWYG once the formatting params
> > are set up. Again, the one to watch.
> I find this all slightly depressing. I thought Rosegarden / Lilypond
> ought to be the tools for the job, but the message I keep hearing is
> that they don't come up to the standards required for professionally
> printed music. I wish somebody could properly explain why.
> I've been commissioned to write a book of choral music, which requires
> multivoice staves, so obviously Rosegarden will fail there. I shall have
> to let them do the setting in Sibelius unless I can come up with some
> solid arguments to the contrary.
> It just seems ludicrous to me that we have all this incredible
> multimedia software at our disposal, but every time someone wants to
> typeset music we have to consider going back to proprietary tools like
> Finale / Score / Sibelius. This is terribly disappointing.
> Please say it isn't so. ;)

It isn't true that you cannot produce professionally quality printed music
with lilypond - you can.

There are reasons why there is no such program as Finale/Sibelius as open source:

      - the task is complex
      - these programs are huge; a lot of instruments/music-styles need special
        handling, think of drum notation or guitar tabulature notation
      - the LAD community is very small and most do not care about notation

But there are projects which try to provide a WYSIWYG score typesetter. If you
need something like Sibelius, you should buy and use Sibelius, but if your can
come along with something smaller you may find something which works for you or
you even can push the developers in the right direction to make it work for


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