Professional Music Writing Software Reviews and Buyers Guide

Updated September 2012

Every year brings major updates and improvements to many of the major music notation software companies.  New features are added, others dropped, prices change, and ease of use goes up and down.   This document shows the major features and key comments regarding several of the big names in sheet music notation programs.  All have been reviewed in greater depth here on MusicEdMagic and whenever possible links are provided to Amazon.com to provide the most up to date pricing and availability on each product.  Feel free to leave a comment below and voice your own personal opinion on each of these programs.

 

 

2012 Comparison of Professional Music Notation Software Programs

 

Sibelius 7

Finale 2012 Maestro Composer Notion 3
 
Current Pricing
$199.00
Available via
Maestro Composer's
web site
Site License? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Academic Pricing? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Upgrade Pricing? Yes Yes Yes Yes 
Crossgrade Pricing? Yes Yes Yes Yes 
MEdM Editor Rating
MEdM Review Read our review of Sibelius 7
Read our review of Finale 2012
Read our review of Maestro Composer
Read our review of Notion 3
Max # of Staves Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Custom Staff Styles
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Complex time signatures Yes Yes Yes Yes
US/UK Terminology Both Both US US
Tablature support Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Plugin Support Yes Yes No Yes  
Live tempo, vamping, and skip ahead support Live tempo (tap time support) No Yes All*  
Input via MIDI Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Input via microphone Yes Yes No No  
Input via scanner Yes, with PhotoScore Yes, with SmartScore Lite (included)  Yes, not included Yes, not included  
Exports to MIDI, MusicXML MIDI, MusicXML  MusicXML, Karaoke, MIDI MIDI, Music XML  
Imports from MIDI, MusicXML MIDI, MusicXML MIDI, MusicXML, Karaoke MIDI, Music XML  
Imports image file formats for use in scores
TIFF JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF,TIFF,EPS JPG, GIF No  
Parts dynamically
linked to score
Yes Yes  Yes Yes  
Custom note head styles Yes Yes  Yes Yes  
Video support Yes Yes  Yes No  
Audio Output MIDI, VST, WAV
MIDI, VST, WAV, MP3
 WAV, MP3 MIDI, VST, WAV  
Save files as WAV, MIDI, TIFF, EPS, BMP, PNG, EPS MIDI, MP3, WAV, AIFF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, EPS TIFF, PNG, JPEG, GIF, WMF, EMF, WEB  MIDI, Music XML, WAV  
Open files in StarPlay SmartMusic Studio N/A N/A  
Teacher Control (computer
lab capable)
No Yes  No Yes  
Support options Phone (9 months free, $99/yr after), online forum, email Phone, online forum, email Email, online forum Email, Phone  
Additional Info Scores can be posted on Internet using the Sibelius Scorch plugin Over 300 educational worksheets, range checking,magnetic layout Maestro Composer for MS Word allows interactive insertion of music notation into Word documents.  No need to cut and paste between the two programs.

- Pro-Audio Mixer  
- Bundled with ove 10 GB of sounds including exclusive London Symphony Orchestra Sample Library  
- VSTi presets in Score Setup for Vienna Symphonic Library SE and SE PLUS,        East West Quantum Leap Platinum, Miroslav Philharmonik, Garritan Personal Orchetsra (ARIA version) with more to come  
- ReWire Slave and Host  
- Sequencer Staff  
- 4 internally mapped MIDI out ports  
- All Score symbols are a single click away from entry

 

* Live tempo, vamping, and skip ahead during performance, specify exact rhythms for tempo control or use default beat, pause on fermatas,cutoffs support, take 2nd ending support, navigate the score while performing

Disclosure notice: The owner of this web site has had a previous writing relationship with the authors of the Maestro Composer software in which he was compensated for services rendered. However, no payments of any kind were received by the author in regard to the information or reviews on this site.

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0
Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.
terms and condition.

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Ron Johnson

    I need a program to transpose band music parts quickly. Am I better off with Sibelius or Finale?<br /><br />Thanks<br /><br />Ron

    0 Like Short URL:
  • Guest - Chad Criswell

    In reply to: Guest - Ron Johnson

    I need a program to transpose band music parts quickly. Am I better off with Sibelius or Finale?<br /><br />Thanks<br /><br />Ron
    <br />All products make it pretty easy to transpose parts, using a quick keypress and then selecting the key that you want to transpose into. The thing that is more important is how you will get the notes into the computer in the first place. <br /><br />Both Sibelius and Finale offer scanning options, which for scanning clean originals work pretty well. For scanning full scores you will need to buy the commercial version of the free scanning product that ships with each of them (SmartScore or PhotoScore).<br /><br />If you don't mind entering everything in by hand then you would not need the scanning upgrade.

    0 Like Short URL:
  • Guest - anonymous

    Sibelius 6 cannot export to MusicXML -- you'll need to spend another $199 for that.

    0 Like Short URL:

Get Our Newsletter!

The Music Education Magic Newsletter
Email address:


Login Form