Music software

Notation software

Notation software is used to prepare a finished score and to provide playback of the composition. Composers input notes and expression markings using a computer keyboard or mouse. A musical keyboard can be connected to the computer, for the inputting of notes. Classical composers such as Errolyn Wallen, composers of musicals such as Andrew Lloyd Webber and writers of music for film and television such as Howard Goodall are examples of composers who may make use of this type of software for preparing their notated scores. Notation software is also useful for trying out ideas and hearing what they sound like.

Tips and guidelines for working with notation software:

  • Map out the structure for the piece before you begin and include all sections in your score. This makes working on sections at different times much easier.
  • Standard composition techniques can all be explored within the software, such as repeating phrases with variations, adding ornaments, adding harmonies and using retrograde or inverting melodies.
  • Always listen to your work as you go along to make sure it sounds exactly as you want. You are the composer!
  • Make sure that whatever you write is technically possible for the instruments you have chosen.
  • Remember that MIDI playback can only give an indication of what the piece will sound like when played on real instruments.
  • There is more to writing a score than pitch and rhythm. It is important to consider tempo changes, variations in dynamics, instrumental playing techniques and expression markings where appropriate.