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25 of 25 found the following review helpful:
Excellent buy for the price Jan 17, 2011
By Eleanor Rigby
I have always loved music and have always had music running through my head, that of others as well as my own, but had little formal education beyond sight reading and some basic skills in piano and guitar. This program not only helps me write my music clearly, which is great since I have very slow handwriting, which gets very sloppy if I try to go any faster, but I get to hear it much better than other, cheaper music transcription programs. It would sound even more realistic if I sprang for an instrument library (I think that's what it's called), since transcription programs aren't primarily designed to sound realistic, but the human playback, with its various styles, helps to make the music sound more like what you're envisioning, as opposed to many ~$20 programs where the MIDI playback practically grates on the ears.
The interface is also very intuitive given the many functions I can perform with this program. At first the SmartShapes seemed a little confusing because I only tried single clicking before dragging, but as soon as I consulted the manual, which is very clear and easy to refer to, it became apparent that it would work if I double clicked prior to dragging. It would probably have less of a learning curve if one were inclined to read the manual straight through before diving in, but I am not that sort of person, even when manuals have lots of pictures like this one does (I like to tinker in applications to figure out firsthand how they work before reading the details laid out for me, but if you prefer the latter approach, it is easy to take).
It's also great too, because while I love being able to write notation directly, sometimes I just feel like playing the music, and I would rarely think to record or keep track of anything as I was playing. Using a cable and MIDI keyboard, I can play a melody, chord progression, or whatever I think of directly, and set the smallest note value so it can transcribe the shorter duration notes played appropriately. This can be a fast way to get the bare bones of something in, then making edits along the way (my fingers navigate a music keyboard more efficiently than a computer keyboard, apparently).
The lyrics tool is useful too, and intuitive, good things for someone like me who enjoys composing for musical theater.
I haven't yet tried everything Finale PrintMusic 2011 is capable of, so I can't review, say, the scanning function. It won't have all the features of the Pro version, but a lot of people won't need them and that's something you'll have to decide, looking at their lists of features and thinking of your own needs, depending on whether you're using this for your career and what that entails, but for non-professionals this is an excellent, five-star package, which you'd only really need more than this if you had enough money so it wouldn't dent your budget to upgrade although I do admit that unlimited staves is a tempting thing...but multiple parts of the same instrument easily and routinely go on the same staff, so it is not a big deal, at this time for me anyway.
If you're a musically knowledgeable person who enjoys composing/arranging, is interested in or needs a computer program for composing/arranging, and either can't or doesn't want to spend a huge amount of money, this is a good investment.
40 of 44 found the following review helpful:
Powerful affordable notation software Oct 15, 2010
I purchased PrintMusic because I know Finale is a very good program but I don't need all the features in the full version. PrintMusic is quite powerful for the price. It is quite intuitive and I was up and running very easily. The scanning works very well and the playback sounds are a very nice touch. I highly recommend if you are looking for pro results without a pro price-tag.
43 of 48 found the following review helpful:
A clunky throwback to DOS based software Jan 05, 2011
The software is "powerful" in the sense that it lets you do lots of things and, so far, I've been able to get it to do everything I wanted. However, the interface is still anchored to antique "secret-handshake" DOS-based programming that require remembering all sorts of keyboard-based commands and using procedures that are anything but intuitive.
..Can you click on a note and drag it to where you want it? No. Change pitch yes, but to move right/left, delete it and then enter a new note.
..Want to write two quarter notes over a half note? It's only possible by placing the half note on a different layer than the quarter notes and entering and then hiding rests before/after the half note to make it align where it is needed.
..Want to select a half-dozen B's at different places in the music and make them all B-flats? Not that I've been able to discover. Do each note separately.
..Select and copy a line of lyrics and paste at a different location? Again, not that I've been able to discover. You get to retype the lyric.
The procedures for doing things are often obscure and unduly complicated. For example, to move or delete a syllable in the lyrics, the procedure is as follows:
"To move or delete a syllable
* Click the Lyrics tool image\Lyric_Tool.gif. The Lyrics menu appears.
* Choose Adjust Syllables from the Lyrics menu.
* Click on the staff at the position of the syllable you want to move. Don't click the syllable. Just click within the staff lines in line with the syllable you want to move or delete; its handle appears.
* Drag the handle to reposition the syllable. Select it and press the arrow keys to "nudge" it for fine positioning; select it and press delete to remove the syllable. Note that this method of deleting a syllable doesn't pull the following syllables one note to the left; it allows you simply to remove a selected syllable, leaving all other syllables where they are.
* To restore a syllable to its original position, click its handle and press backspace."
Note that this procedure omits the important step of specifying from the menu the lyric (verse) to be edited, and allows you to put two, three, or more words on top of each other (try singing that). Why not just click on the word/syllable, move with arrow keys or delete with delete key?
The help file is close to useless in that an effective search option is lacking.
Perhaps with time I'll learn all of the tricks that allow me to efficiently use the features of this program, but so far, I've found it to be very clunky and non-intuitive.
24 of 27 found the following review helpful:
Good product Nov 11, 2010
By Paul Patricks
Got Print Music for my music classes. It is a very easy to use program. The scanning was an important feature for me and works very well. You can scan and then edit/transpose the music. I also use this for my own song writing. The interface is very intuitive and this gets me thinking about the music not thinking about how the program works.
16 of 18 found the following review helpful:
Worst Program Ever Mar 18, 2012
By Shame On Them
If word processing were this bad, we'd all be using pen and paper.
This program is the most ridiculously difficult to use thing I have ever dealt with, and I've seen it all. I'm sure there are ways to do what I'm trying to do, but I cannot figure it out, and I'm not wasting my entire Sunday trying to figure it out. And this is coming from someone who works on the computer every day with very advanced engineering software.
To the makers of this program: I spent over five minutes trying to learn how to do something as simple as insert a rest somewhere OTHER than the end of a measure. This should not be so hard. Every other program in the world has this thing called dragging. You can drag things from a menu where you want. Or, in CAD types of programs, you can draw them wherever you want. In the case of word processing programs (not exactly new technology), you can click between two letters/characters, type what you want to go between said characters, and it goes there. Simple as that. HOW HAVE YOU NOT FIGURED THIS OUT!?
This program is so difficult to use, you will have trouble even selecting a note you wish to manipulate because, as far as I can tell, the mouse tracking is worse than programs from the 80s. It should be a source of unending embarrassment to the creators of this software, and SHAME on whoever in the company decided that it was good enough to put up for sale. I've seen some bad products in my day, but this takes the cake.
To anyone looking at music writing software, run for the hills. They want to charge how much for this? They could offer to PAY me that much to use it, I still wouldn't. I don't know if the other software out there is any better, but when it comes to using this garbage, you would be better off writing it by hand. Even Microsoft Paint, of all the worthless programs in the world, would be better suited to write music than this insanely stupid piece of software.
Oh by the way, pianos let you hit multiple keys at the same time. So sometimes you can put a whole note at the beginning of a measure AND put other notes afterwards. But this software doesn't let you write that either.
Let me say it one more time, SHAME on the entire company for producing something so monumentally bad.
I just found a piece of FREE software called "Crescendo Music Notation Editor." It is everything this program is not- SIMPLE to use. And it's FREE! I can hardly believe it. You can simply drag notes wherever you want- egad! rests too!- and even custom drag the measure lines to make this music look exactly how you want it to. It's like being able to hand write it, only with a computer.
The existence of such a simple program for FREE should only further shame the writers of this abomination of a program.
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