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Yc Music Notation Program - In Development

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Hello Young Composers,


I want to take this time to discuss a new development I have been working on, which is a standalone music notation program for Windows.  The program will integrate with this website which will include comments and music management/uploads.  I haven't made any official announcements because I wanted to make sure I was actually able to follow through.  The first version of this program will be for Windows, and I am happy to say that none of this will be outsourced.  Because it will not be outsourced, fixing issues or adding new features will be much easier to accomplish.


I plan on making all files saved by this program exportable to Lilypond, which will be worked on after the main phase has been complete.  Thus, the vision is after a score has been saved it will be integrated with Lilypond and export a PDF.  This will mean that the program could be used exclusively to create Lilypond files.


The features of this program will contain everything you would expect in a typical music notation editor.  However once the basic framework of the program has been complete, we can be creative and add features that may not exist on competing products.

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I don't get it.


Well, the idea is to have a music notation program that integrates with the website, which would make competitions possible, and comments more visible.  As composers, we spend a lot more time in front of "music", then we do a website.  I think integration of a music notation program can serve this music community better than it is currently being served.



What do you mean by "not outsourced"? That you're not paying anyone to develop your program or just that you won't release the source code?


This just means I am developing the product, I am not hiring someone to develop the product for me.  Back in the day I used to outsource programming work when I didn't know a thing about computer programming.  The benefit of keeping everything local to Young Composers, aside from saving on costs, is that we can fully custom tailor the product to our needs.  We can eliminate any contractual obligations as well in case we decide to make any major updates or changes.  This means, even though the initial development may take longer (really, the research involved is the biggest time cost), additional updates will be much quicker to address.

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  • 1 month later...



Since I plan on integrating Lilypond with this program for note output, I don't think I will enable too much "free formatting".  I will allow auto-formatting to take over heavily.  The idea is to keep the program very simple, and if there is too much free formatting allowed, the program will get complex quickly.  Here is what I've accomplished so far:

  • Initial Score Creation
    • Adding measures
    • Spacing the staves
    • Initial key signature
    • Set # of staves
  • Editing the score
    • Eliminate flickering and refresh issues
    • Stave spacing
    • Note/chord entry, including grace note entry.
    • Modify notes
    • Cursor moves with note entry to allow for quick edits
    • Tuple support
      • Automatic grouping of tuples depending on ratio
      • Any Tuple ratio allowed
      • Will add quick buttons for most common tuples
  • Page Layout
    • Multi-document support
    • Single page layout, for example, one page displayed, no right scrolling to navigate other pages like in Finale.  The benefit of this is the program will load much faster.  However if there are overwhelming complaints about this, I can add support later.
    • Auto paging in header
      • For example, if a score has 3 pages, icons will dynamically generate and the user can click through the pages at will
    • Hand tool like in adobe reader, to pan through the score as needed
    • Real time stave spacing by dragging mouse


Obviously there is more to do such as dynamic graphics, tempo changes, playback, but I feel the most difficult parts are nearly complete (note entry, tuples and score layout).  Integration with the site will be much easier to accomplish, and lilypond formatting will be tedious, but definitely doable.


I will continue to post updates with my progress.

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This is very exciting. I'm getting pretty sick of working with finale. How much is it gonna cost? Do you need beta testers?


Also, how does this differ from Denemo, Frescobaldi, and Laborjo, in particular? I guess note entry & editing is easier?

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This is very exciting. I'm getting pretty sick of working with finale. How much is it gonna cost? Do you need beta testers?


I haven't come up with pricing structures yet, so I don't know what this will cost at the moment.  I am hoping we can adopt this program within the community, to make reviewing fun, interesting and collaborative.  I will for sure need beta testers, and will send the program for free to those who want to help me test the product before launch.


Also, how does this differ from Denemo, Frescobaldi, and Laborjo, in particular? I guess note entry & editing is easier?


Where the product differs from these programs, is that this product will not be a text editor, it will be a standalone graphical interface like Finale and Sibelius.  For example, note entry will be real time and graphical.  What I plan to do is take the real time graphical interface to the next level and have it output a Lilypond generated PDF.

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  • 1 month later...

Update for 4/23/2015:

  • Completed a "dynamic note cursor" for note entry.
  • Fixed and addressed issues in dealing with "editing notes" and "grouping tuples".
  • Note entry: Click and move mouse up and down to position in real time.
  • Note entry: Building chords will auto lock and display a visual cue (a notehead) for clarity upon entering a chord.
  • Added ability to auto group eighth notes by 2's or by 4's, user's choice.
  • Added functionality to delete notes.
    • Mouse cursor follows next note/rest while being deleted, in order to allow easy note deletion.
  • Added a measure selection tool in order to copy measures - Work in progress
  • Will add support for muti selection of notes - Work in progress

Next steps will be to add midi events (dynamics, tempo markings) and the handling of the playback of music.


My plans for this site is to move the forum back to the root site, and migrate our uploads/directory into the forum so that posting will be handled by Invision Board completely, making maintenance simplified.  Then the last part of development would be to integrate the new product with this website in hopes that we can make the forum more interactive and enjoyable.


I have a name for the new product, but I won't release it yet until I am ready for beta testers.   It won't have the bells and whistles of Finale or Siblelius, however it should be a powerful alternative if you are a classical music composer.  The actual "music presentation" is planned to be handled by Lilypond, which will be part of another phase of development, however I am working hard on the native presentation to look nice as well.  The aim of the product is to be powerful alternative that supports complex composition in an easy and intuitive manner.

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  • 1 month later...

Update for 6/9/2015:

  • Added ability to add "dynamics and symbols" to score.
  • Created playback for score in an intuitive manner.  Hover over a measure, and press "space" to play back your score "starting at that measure".
  • Fixed issues with "tuple auto beaming" and beaming incorrectly to previous note while deleting tuples
  • Fixed issues with the "magnetic" delete
  • In Development, most likely finalized this week: Copy and paste full measures (ctrl-c) while holding shift to multi-select.  Paste (ctrl-v) to another window, or within current score.  Fairly standard, but important.
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MuseScore seems to be missing from this discussion; it's a free and open source graphical playback-enabled scorewriter for Windows, Mac and Linux that has excellent support for MusicXML. It supports extensive free formatting, but its default behavior should be satisfactory in the majority of cases. It doesn't export to Lilypond directly (anymore), but going through MusicXML still yields very high fidelity. And of course it can render to PDF natively.

I commend you for leveraging the ever excellent Lilypond software, but do you really think that a program which consists of simple note entry with a one-click render in Lilypond is 'the next level'?

Edited by Monojin
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MuseScore is awesome, especially since it is open source.  Finale and Sibelius are also very powerful.  But the product I am developing will not be MuseScore, Finale or Sibelius.


There are features I am developing that are not available in the above programs which I will explain in my demo.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow. This sounds amazing. I could really use another program. I use MuseScore mainly, with a bit of finale, but none of them really fit my needs. Please let me and others know when the BETA or regular release for this product is. I am super excited. Thanks!


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Well, this certainly catches my interest.  I'd love to help out with the beta testing process, whenever it's ready.  Since you seem to be going for a program which will have its own identity among competition, I'm especially interested in what the unique "features" will be.  I look forward to trying it out.

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