Software Question


I like to learn new songs, and I have used the Transcribe software Josh recomends. But I am looking for what people use to actually document the notes / tabs of music when you learn songs. This way you would have the “sheet music” if you want to go back to songs after a while of not playing them, you would not have to re-learn them. What software do you recommend (I use a Mac)? An analogy to my question would be, “what do you use for word processing vs hand writing or printing?” Also, what software do you use to display music on an iPad or Mac? I appreciate the guidance here! Thanks!


I’m all about Sibelius.

It’s hideously expensive, IMO, but I’ve been using it for years and I found it really easy to learn, and does everything I want it to do. I even laid out my ebooks in Sibelius!

The main alternative that’s been around for years is Finale… which to me was a really ugly, hard to learn program (at least back when I tried in college). Not a fan.

There are some good free options too. I’ve used Noteflight a fair amount, and it’s totally adequate (although I prefer Sibelius since I’m really good at it after years of use). Musescore seems solid too.

Not sure I understand what you mean here, if you mean just looking at a PDF of sheet music, I just use Preview on a Mac. Not sure for iPad, I’m sure there are lots of free PDF viewers though.


Thanks Josh! I will check it out in detail but in my first pass look it appears there is a free version that may do the trick for my needs! Also, yes I can do pdf viewing on my iPad, I asked because I’ve seen musicians using their iPads for their music. I guess sheet music must be in pdf. As you can see I am totally a novice with this.


If transcribing / writing / arranging / printing music is something that you desire to do AT ALL… it is indispensable.
It has been a lovely and wonderful tool for me in my band work, my lessons and every other musical part of life.


I’m not versed in these things (let alone music language!), but had to do some research recently for my daughter who is studying composition, so thought I may as well pass the info along…

I think what you may have seen on other musicians Ipads could be Avid Scorch, I think it “connects” with the Avid Sibelius desktop app too, being more than a reader, there’s some (limited) editing abilities, it dinamically displays the sheet, etc.

Maybe ForScore?


From what I recall, Scorch is the application that scans existing music and then re-formats it for Sibelius?
Is that close?
They definitely talk to each other. I couldn’t give any real feedback from the links that were sent, as I have no experience with iPad apps and notation software. Everything I have done has been laptop or desktop.


Not sure about scanning…

I think what it does with regard to sibelius is pulling/dynamically displaying your sheets from sibelius, the app is kind of a music stand assistant/library/online sheet shop.


Before you spend money, try MuseScore Open source, impressively powerful. Bit of a learning curve, but the online documentation is thorough. Lots of freely contributed scores. Tabs as well as conventional notation.