Vidas: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 544 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Emmanuel. He writes,
Hello Sir, I thank God and you for your kind support to me indeed it's helpful as I can now play well some pieces, music chords and compositions, my request to you is to let me know if I can get a free music notes software that will guide me in composing songs.
V: Well, what do you think, Ausra? What is this question about, about software like Sibelius?
A: Yes, I think so.
V: But Emmanuel doesn’t want to pay money, right?
V: Or isn’t able to pay money. Mm hm. So what we can do is to type into Google, “free music notation software,” and what we come up with, the first hit is MuseScore, free music composition and notation software. Musescore.org. And yes, it’s written, “Create, play, and print beautiful sheet music. World’s most popular notation software.” Which is free download. Works for professional music and for amateur music, easy to use, but powerful in its open source. We can input via MIDI keyboard, and transfer your music to and from other programs, via music XML, MIDI, and more. So if you want to write piano, guitar, orchestra, jazz choir, band, marching band, organ music, and much more, you can check it out. Do you think that’s a good place to start, Ausra?
A: Sure, of course.
V: I think this is more than a beginner composer needs, actually.
V: It’s really comprehensive, it’s open source, many developers are contributing, there are many guidebooks, videos, handbooks, forums, tutorials, how-tos. It’s very, very comprehensive. Why we don’t - why we choose to use let’s say, Sibelius, Ausra?
V: Because Sibelius started first.
A: Yes, and when we started to print out music, we didn’t have this kind of good, free software, so we just had to buy it.
V: Mm hm.
A: So there were two, at that time, it was Finale or Sibelius. And Sibelius had this much more beautiful graphic design, at least for my eyes.
V: Right. Sibelius, yeah, for me too, it’s much easier, much more easy to understand than Finale. But I like another feature that Sibelius has, and to my knowledge, only one other software has, which is called Composer. I have that, too, but don’t use it that often. Sibelius has the opportunity to input music in real time. Play your music as you, let’s say, improvise and listen to a metronome beating, and your playing appears as a score right away. And you can just edit the score with plug ins, various, or by hand, and make it a beautiful composition. But this way it’s very practical for me, because my method of composition is based on improvisation primarily.
A: So, this is a very handy feature for you then.
A: Another thing what I thought while reading Emmanuel’s letter, his question, was, Why do people not try to Google things nowadays? How many words do you have to type to find this kind of problem?
V: Let’s see, I think four - “free music notation software.”
A: Well, that’s it.
V: 1-2-3-4 exactly. Four.
A: So, I think nowadays it’s really easy to find information.
V: But, MuseScore was only the first hit on the top of the page. But for example, Sibelius First has also a free version. It’s called Sibelius First. Basically, free music notation software for composing music using the same tools professional composers use. Let’s see what it has to offer. It is much more simpler version, probably. Start composing music with free music notation software and get many of the same tools that pros use. Sibelius First is a new streamlined version of Sibelius that makes it easy for beginners and hobbyists to create simple, professional-looking scores. If you’re just starting out, it’s not necessary to invest a lot of money.
V: Because you don’t know, perhaps, if your passion will…
V: Exactly. Just like playing the organ. You don’t buy the most expensive model right away. You maybe start with a keyboard, even without pedals. Like a...
A: That’s right.
V: An electronic version. And then after several years, when you outgrow this version, then you search for something else. After Sibelius First, there is a hit for NoteFlight. NoteFlight is online music notation software. You basically don’t need to download anything. You just write your music in the browser, right? And you can sign up for free, but it has a premium version. So, they have a free version with limitations, again, but also a premium version. This free version, again, can be quite enough for starters, right? What else? Score Cloud. I’m not familiar with this one.
A: So I think…
V: You think…
A: I got an idea that there are more than enough to…
A: To go around. To look around.
V: And I think Finale also has a free version.
A: Yes, I think it also, yes. Like Sibelius.
V: So guys, please look into those - basically, type those four words, “free music notation software” into Google, and you will find many options to choose from. I suspect people also cannot sometimes invest money into decent program, because they have limited resources, right? Living in underprivileged societies, and every penny counts that way. Right, Ausra?
A: But if you have an access to the internet, you can definitely search for free things.
V: Right, of course.
A: You don’t need our permission for that.
V: Yes. Maybe they only need a nudge, like push toward being more active, more proactive, let’s say. Ok guys, this was Vidas
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
A: Miracles happen.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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