Notation Software

Posted by: pianowillbebach

Notation Software - 08/13/19 10:17 AM

For years, I've been switching off between musescore and sibelius because they were the notation softwares that I had heard of. I'm starting to look into other options. I found one called Forte (https://www.fortenotation.com/en/) and plan on installing the free trial. Has anyone used this, and do you have recommendations? Or have any suggestions on other notation software?
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 08/13/19 10:22 AM

I've tried it. I think John Ford has also.

The only way you can know is to try the demo as you suggest. Everyone has preferences for how the software fits your workflow, and how intuitive it seems to you.
Posted by: jford

Re: Notation Software - 08/13/19 12:05 PM

Forte is okay,but don't use it much. I generally migrate back to Noteworthy Composer, as it fits best for my workflow, is familiar (I've used it since the 1990's), and for its speed of entry using a mix of keyboard/mouse input. Doesn't support plugins or instrument libraries, but once you learn the shortcuts, you can do quite a lot with it. I also like how it handles lyrics. And it's not too expensive. It had friendly user forum as well. And the programmer often responds directly to user requests. It even supports a programmable language that lets you automate tasks that it doesn't perform natively.
Posted by: MusicStudent

Re: Notation Software - 08/14/19 04:23 AM

Originally Posted By: jford
I generally migrate back to Noteworthy Composer, as it fits best for my workflow, is familiar (I've used it since the 1990's), and for its speed of entry using a mix of keyboard/mouse input.


Back in the day, this was one of my favorites ...
Posted by: pianowillbebach

Re: Notation Software - 08/30/19 07:52 AM

Update: Forte is currently running a promo where you can get the full version for free. I tried the demo, but didn't play around with it much so I guess I'll use this as my way to try it out without worrying about money
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Notation Software - 08/30/19 11:43 AM

Originally Posted By: pianowillbebach
Update: Forte is currently running a promo where you can get the full version for free. I tried the demo, but didn't play around with it much so I guess I'll use this as my way to try it out without worrying about money


pianowillbebach, Please give more information. Which (Basic, Home or Premium) full version is free? What web site is advertising the sale and how long does the sales last?
Posted by: MusicStudent

Re: Notation Software - 08/30/19 02:42 PM

This?

FORTE FREE is a special gift from FORTE Notation just for you!
The free edition will give you limited access to the features of FORTE.
Try the FORTE FREE edition to see just how easy this notation program is!
For more software features, check out FORTE Basic or FORTE Home.
Click here to compare all four editions of FORTE.

FORTE Free is completely for free!

Download it now! https://www.fortenotation.com/en/products/writing-scores/forte-free/
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 08/30/19 02:51 PM

Whatever that was, the link does not work.
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Notation Software - 08/30/19 07:08 PM

I don't think he means the demo.

In pianowillbebach's first post he stated,
Quote:
I found one called Forte and plan on installing the free trial.
In a follow up post he stated,
Quote:
Forte is currently running a promo where you can get the full version for free. I tried the demo, but didn't play around with it much


That's why I was asking for more details. I don't read notation so it's a moot issue for me but I know many forum users do read and write notation so I thought answers might benefit some one.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 08/30/19 08:03 PM

There are several levels of Forte, and to my knowledge none has ever been free. They did apparently offer a basic version for free in that link but that promo appears to be over?

EDIT: It’s back - see below.
Posted by: jford

Re: Notation Software - 08/31/19 02:22 PM

The free offer is for Forte BASIC. I just saw it in my Facebook feed.

https://www.fortenotation.com/en/giveaway/
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 08/31/19 05:15 PM

Yes, I see it too. It's Forte 10 Basic for free, and it runs until September 8.

https://www.fortenotation.com/en/giveaway/
Posted by: cooltouch

Re: Notation Software - 09/24/19 05:49 PM

I just noticed this thread. Wish I would have seen it before the expiry on Forte 10 Basic.

I've got a long history with this product. It used to be known as MidiSoft Studio. I bought a copy of it back in 2000 -- for about $60, as I recall. It was my first introduction into a notation-based sequencer, and to me it was the equivalent of discovering a word processor after writing longhand all my life. I took to it with a passion. I was running Studio on Win98 back in those days and it was kinda buggy. Between the inherent instability of Win98 and Studio's bugs, I learned to save my work early and often. This was the product I used to get my thoughts down into the computer for my first two albums. I used Cakewalk's Pro Audio 8 and later 9 to complete the projects. Back in those days, I had BiaB, and I used it for rhythm sections on a few tracks, but that was about the extent of its use.

I really liked Studio a lot, despite its bugs. But then MidiSoft went out of business, so there were no more bug fixes. Something like a couple years pass, and I notice Studio 6 is on the market, released by a new outfit that had bought the rights to it. Studio 6 was basically a bug fix of the earlier Studio, which was also v6, so sorta confusing. It worked pretty well, but by then I was running Win XP. XP broke Cakewalk's Pro Audio and Cakewalk never offered a fix. Instead they wanted everyone to upgrade to Sonar -- at a pretty steep price, as I recall. So I balked and it was years before I finally upgraded to Sonar. During this time, I was busy with a number of other projects and my musical output was just about nil, so Studio didn't get used much.

But this new outfit that had re-released Studio didn't last and the I'm seeing ads for Forte, and it sure looked like Studio to me. It was, in fact. The early version of Forte was scarcely different. Except this new German outfit was asking a lot for their product, so once again I balked. Even back then you could d/l a copy of Forte. But it was crippled. You couldn't save your work. I don't like this sort of crippling because you can't really get anything done. So I've always said "no thanks" to Forte, cuz I just didn't want to pay their inflated price. And then Forte started coming out with premium versions of Forte and these premium version were getting really expensive. So I've remained on the sideline, frustrated.

Why frustrated? Well, by Win7 or so, I found that I couldn't get Studio to run anymore. It would crash almost as soon as it would load. This was frustrating because I had dozens of files in Midisoft's *.mmm format, and I wasn't able to access any of them. And I couldn't do anything with them with Forte because it was crippled.

Until now. Forte Premium is being offered as the full program for a 14-day try out period. I doubt seriously I'm gonna buy it because it's too expensive, but I checked, and Forte still supports the old MidiSoft *.mmm format. I just d/l'd and installed it a little while ago, and I'm converting every single MidiSoft format file I can find to MIDI. So, I'm gonna get some mileage out of this product before it turns into a pumpkin.

Forte's interface is still very similar to Studio's. In a lot of ways, I feel like I've come home after a very long absence. Some of the menus and the general look of the console and staff views are all straight Studio -- but this version has a lot of additions. I've just touched the surface as to all it will do. It's definitely more full-featured than Studio, but you know -- I was able to get a lot done with that old product, so I'm wondering just how useful all this additional stuff is. I'll be sure to check it out pretty well before it expires, though.

So, here's my recommendation -- if you're into using musical notation to score out your music, this product is definitely worth considering. It's full-featured and easy to use. But the downside is the more full-featured versions are expensive, although those folks are starting to wise up. Forte Home is available for a reasonable $109. These days, I've been using Muse, which is free to download. I bought a copy of Notion a few years ago, and really didn't like it. But there are other products out there, like Sibelius (very expensive unless you're a student or educator), and Finale, which is a solid good product that's been around probably the longest. It can be picked up for as little as $99. I think a bit of test driving is in order. Each of these products has its own way of getting things done. Some may appeal to you and some may not. Me, I've always liked Studio -- well, Forte's interface, but a couple of the others are pretty good, too. Except Notion. Yuck.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 09/24/19 08:23 PM

Michael, I think that's really a very low price comparatively, and the upper versions can cost many hundreds.

When you convert to MIDI you will have all the notes but you will lose markings, text, and chord symbols. Still, it's better than starting over.

If your trial version supports export to Music XML, try saving to that format as well. You are more likely to get more of your full score transferred into other notation software.
Posted by: cooltouch

Re: Notation Software - 09/24/19 08:34 PM

Hey, Matt. Actually, I didn't use any of that stuff when I was writing the originals, so conversion to MIDI was all I needed, otherwise I would have converted to XML. I'm just so happy to finally have a way to get back my old files without having to pay through the nose to get them. These days I'm happy with Muse otherwise I'd seriously think about getting a copy of Forte Home. It's a comfortable interface for me.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 09/25/19 09:09 AM

Very good. I assume you mean MuseScore. It's an amazing product given that it's free.
Posted by: jford

Re: Notation Software - 09/25/19 09:22 AM

Interestingly, Forte Premium (not sure about the other editions) includes Bandora, which gives you BIAB like MIDI accompaniment generation features. When I first launched it, I was surprised to find that it was actually the old Jammer Pro program (which hadn't been updated in what, over a decade or so) bolted on to Forte to create accompaniment parts in your notation program.

I've unfortunately been busy with so many other things that I haven't had a chance to see if the old Jammer Pro styles I had would work with Bandora. One of these days I'll test it, since I actually still have Jammer installed on my computer, but don't really use it (more just to play with it).
Posted by: cooltouch

Re: Notation Software - 09/25/19 10:07 PM

It includes Bandora and one other add-on, whose name escapes me at the moment. Both are free and available separately, according to one review I read.

Yes, Matt, I meant MuseScore.
Posted by: jford

Re: Notation Software - 09/26/19 08:49 AM

The other program is the integrated ScanScore (ScanScore Pro is available as a separate purchase, although I think you get a better price on it if you have Forte Pro).
Posted by: jford

Re: Notation Software - 10/22/19 10:51 AM

Thought I'd add another thought.

I see that Bandora is now available as a stand-alone version (not just as the Forte Notation Premium integrated version).

There are three versions, Bandora Arranger ($39), Bandora Creator ($89), and Bandora Producer ($169). Producer isn't available yet. I did confirm with Forte Notation support (Forte and Bandora are the same company, but use two different web sites), that if you currently own Forte Premium, it comes with the integrated Bandora Creator, so there is an upgrade price to Producer when it ultimately comes out that will be the difference in price between Creator and Producer ($80).

I also confirmed from Forte that Bandora is in fact based on the old Jammer Pro. They don't guarantee that old Jammer Pro styles will work with it, but suggested that I give it a try (which I will do after setting up a sandbox environment to do so).

I do find that the Forte user interface is somewhat non-intuitive, but I admit I haven't spent a lot of time with it. I'll have to figure out some shortcuts and go deeper into the help system, and then re-assess. Noteworthy Composer and Notion are still my go-to's for notation, but I do have Finale 26. I have an older version of Sibelius 7, but never upgraded when they went to a subscription model. They claim version 7 is not fully compatible with Windows 10, although I have installed and loaded it and it seemed to work, so it just may be some esoteric features that don't work. I use Finale mainly to work with Finale files I receive from other people. I certainly could just use Music XML files, but when I can I find that native format generally works better.

I certainly don't need all those notation programs, but once bought, the upgrades are cheap enough, so I keep them up to date.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 10/22/19 11:07 AM

Forte 11 is about to be released. That explains the free offer for version 10.
Posted by: Pipeline

Re: Notation Software - 10/22/19 11:16 AM

Don't forget Reaper is a great notation editor and has a free DAW that comes with it. I heard users were saying Bandora was just Jammer Pro ?
Posted by: jford

Re: Notation Software - 10/22/19 11:52 AM

Quote:
I heard users were saying Bandora was just Jammer Pro ?


I got confirmation from Forte Notation that Bandora is a revamped version of Jammer Pro (when you run it, it's easy to see; works exactly like Jammer worked - set a style, set your loop points; click on Compose to generate the arrangement; top half of the screen is the "mixer"; bottom half is the chord grid; etc.)
Posted by: pianowillbebach

Re: Notation Software - 11/03/19 10:49 AM

Originally Posted By: jford
The other program is the integrated ScanScore (ScanScore Pro is available as a separate purchase, although I think you get a better price on it if you have Forte Pro).



Scanscore is good too (especially with the handy edit-before-export feature to correct any mistakes the software made in scanning), and it works really well with Forte, as well as other softwares like Musescore. I don't know if there's a discount on that one, since I also picked it up for free with a coupon I found on Facebook.
Posted by: Larry Kehl

Re: Notation Software - 11/03/19 04:54 PM

huh! I have Jammer Pro and while really, REALLY dated, and its been unsupported (at least with anything new) for well over a decade, I keep it around and running ( BTW it runs fine on Win 10 Pro) because there are things about it that I like(ed).

No hate mail from the peanut gallery please. I've been with BIAB probably a lot longer than a majority of users here (DOS V2, receipt dated 9 Oct 1990). I forget but I think it was originally released on the Atari platform prior to MS DOS in 1990, but am probably wrong on which platform was first. So those folks, and anyone who bought it prior to Oct 90, have been using BIAB longer than me.

Larry
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Notation Software - 11/04/19 04:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Larry Kehl
So those folks, and anyone who bought it prior to Oct 90, have been using BIAB longer than me.

Ha Ha, you can probably count those forum members on one hand!
(I'm a newcomer. I didn't start with BiaB until 1992 grin)
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 11/04/19 07:13 AM

Yes, I'm 1993. Newcomer indeed. I think Larry might have it nailed.

What a lot of people do not realize is that there was a different forum software before 2000 (the date it says I joined the forum), so the actual date some people started participating predates 2000. There was an overlap period, too, but they did not carry those earlier dates forward. Of course, the Internet itself wasn't used for such until the mid-1990s.
Posted by: Larry Kehl

Re: Notation Software - 11/04/19 06:26 PM

While with BIAB longer than most I am a true, and total, slacker when it comes to helping others here.

However, NO ONE contributes more to help the BIAB folks here than especially you Matt. However, there are dozens of other over the top contributors and I admit I’m missing at least more than I’m naming: Mario, John, Neil, Pipeline, Bobs (Notes & Jazzmammal), the "Fogle twins" Jim and Charlie – LOL, David (dcuny), rharv, and at least a few dozen more – THIS IS A GREAT and the best on-line COMMUNITY!

I truly apologize to those I didn’t name, I’m old and names escape me . Also there are parts of the forum I usually don’t visit so I’m sure there are additional folks I don’t even know about

The one forum member who contributed with no nonsense inputs and advice, and usually with no coddling allowed grin and who I miss the very most is Mac!


Posted by: jford

Re: Notation Software - 11/05/19 04:56 AM

I agree about Mac, Larry. I have unfortunately lost track of him over the years. I did try to call him a few years back (we had chatted previously), but the phone number didn't work. He did have some health issues, but hopefully he is just living and loving life.
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Notation Software - 11/05/19 06:00 PM

Larry,

Charlie and I have been called MANY things but twins, that's a FIRST. smile
Posted by: Larry Kehl

Re: Notation Software - 11/05/19 10:07 PM

grin
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Notation Software - 11/06/19 07:54 AM

Thanks for your kind words, Larry. This really is an amazing team.

And I didn't even realize Charlie and Jim were brothers until this week.
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Notation Software - 11/06/19 11:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
And I didn't even realize Charlie and Jim were brothers until this week.

That's nothing. Jim and Charlie didn't even realize that they are twins! grin grin grin