Re: [linux-audio-user] Note typesetting for Linux

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] Note typesetting for Linux
From: Michal Seta (
Date: Fri Jul 09 2004 - 16:34:17 EEST

Mikhail Ramendik <> writes:

> I understand these particular problems may get fixed. But Finale's very
> concept, as a primarily note editing-and-typesetting tool with some sort
> of WYSIWYG, is umnatched on Linux; for both NoteEdit and RoseGarden,
> this sort of use is not the main idea of the author, and this leads to
> all sorts of missing features.

This is weird, but most people I know hate Finale's WYSIWYG solution
(although they still use it). Typesetting a score for performance (3
instruments and a computer part in a somewhat graphic notation) and
extracting parts for musicians was a major pain, I recall. Finale was
only good for doing quick music theory assignments and typesetting
examples in papers. A lot of tweaking and juggling with various
levels of dialog boxes was necessary to get half-decent looking

Someone mentioned some big publishing companies here (in this thread)
but I doubt they actually use finale for final scores. Apparently
Score is still widely used in the music publishing business.

Sibelius is even worse. Quick and dirty lead-sheets are ok in Sib.
The best piece of notation software I have seen was NoteHeads Igor
Engraver. However, the development stopped a few years ago and at
that point it was terribly slow and needed at least 256MB RAM! It was
written mostly in Lisp and did decent typesetting (although Lilypond's
default output beats it) and had 'intelligent' playback, which was
quite nice. It played dynamics, articulations and such. If you want
a wysiwyg score editor bug noteheads. But i wish you godspeed as they
have been very unresponsive in the past 2 years or so, I wouldn't be
surprised if they're out of business by now. I know some users moved
to lilypond, too.

> The success of TeX for formula editing came, I think, from the fact that
> TeX somehow matches the way a scientist *thinks* about a formula. But
> IMHO, neither Lilypond nor any other alphabetic editor can approach the
> way a musician thinks about score! And that's why this won't work.

I found text editing much quicker than wysiwyg. Aforementioned Igor
had a great input tools that worked very well with keyboard only and
it was the quickest entry of all WYSIWYG editors I've seen (if you
ignore the garbage collection happening once in a while and sometimes
for several minutes... bad design, I guess). With lilypond's text
you can get quite fast to where you want to get.

Different musicians think about score in different ways. Those who
play from scores need in fact a good visual layout and such, but those
who write the scores work in different ways. Of course, some need
WYSIWYG but that's probably only because that's they have been used to
be doing for years of computer score making. A lot of people do
scetches on paper anyways, before entering it into the computer.

Point & click is the worst way of entering & tweaking scores.

      __  __ (_)___   Michal Seta
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