[linux-audio-user] Linux music notation editor criteria

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view Other groups

Subject: [linux-audio-user] Linux music notation editor criteria
From: Dave Phillips (dlphilp_AT_bright.net)
Date: Thu Jul 15 2004 - 01:00:05 EEST


  As promised, here's a set of test criteria used by Alan Belkin in his
1994 review of notation programs for the Macintosh. I hope that the
authors of Linux music notation software will consider this list against
the features of their own efforts.

  I'm not interested in comparing "ours against theirs". The Mac
programs tested were all WYSIWYG notation editors, including Finale,
Composer's Mosaic, Encore, Lime, and Nightingale, while some of the best
Linux music notation software is devoid of any GUI. Nevertheless, the
criteria seem adequate as base requirements for any music notation
software, and I'm very interested in the opinions and evaluations of the
Linux developers of such software. I know that the authors of NoteEdit,
LilyPond, MusE/Musescore, Denemo, Rosegarden, Common Music Notation, and
perhaps other significant notation editors are represented on the
LAD/LAU lists, and I hope they will respond on-list to the criteria
presented here. I also welcome comments from users regarding the
presence or absence of the listed features in their favorite Linux
notation program.

  I have only slightly altered Mr Belkin's original criteria where it
was Mac-specific. The evaluations in his original article were either
qualitative (good, bad, ugly, etc), quantitative, (1, 4, 12, etc), or
affirmative/negative (yes/no). So, here we go:

Note entry:
    mouse & keyboard
    MIDI step-time
    MIDI realtime w. flexible quantization
    audition other saves while recording
    retain performance data for playback
    number of independent rhythmic layers per staff
    maximum number of staves per system

Entry of slurs, articulations, dynamics, etc.:
    intelligent default placement
    apply to multiple staves at once

Selection in regional edits:
    vertical, horizontal slices within and across measures, staves,
system, pages, etc.
    conditional selection

    click & drag positioning of symbols
    transposition (note, staff, selection, etc)
    enharmonic change by region
    rhythm: change note values (ease of use)
    rhythm: auto-rebar
    cut/copy/paste: music
    cut/copy/paste: non-musical items, formats, etc.
    mirroring (intelligent copies)

Special/custom notation:
    unusual staves
    simultaneous key signatures
    unconventional time signatures
    additive time signatures
    simultaneous different time signatures
    drawing tool
    user-created symbols
    user-selectable fonts for all elements
    chord notation: graphic, playback, learn via MIDI
    fretboard notation
    figured-bass notation
    unusual note heads (slashes, harmonics, etc)
    easily adjustable cross-staff beaming

    mass create
    create on page
    import from text editor
    auto layout
    multiple fonts
    flexible placement

MIDI playback:
    ALSA or OSS support
    channel support
    playback includes modifiers (crescendi, dynamics, etc)
    direct editing of MIDI data
    import patch lists (GM, GS, etc)
    scrolling playback
    edit during playback

Entry layout:
    flexible engraver spacing within measure
    account for dynamics, slurs, annotative text, etc.

Page layout:
    auto layout with engraver spacing
    reduce or enlarge symbols, staves, text, systems, by any percent,
locally or globally
    full control of measures per system
    full control of systems per page
    remove empty staves within systems
    flexible spacing of staves within systems

Part extraction:
    automatic with new layout
    dynamic links to master score

File operations:
    follow Linux standards (?)
    simultaneous multiple files open
    printed output: PS, PDF, DVI, etc.

Interface/overall ease of use:
    undo/redo any operation
    user-defined key bindings
    user control over notational defaults
    views: scroll, page, template, any percent, multiple simultaeous views
    priorities clear
    logical organization
    simple language and icons
    overall speed
    on-line help
    ease of learning
    general solidity and stability

In his article Mr Belkin also addressed the problem of tuplets, noting
that at that time only Finale realized anything other than triplets when
converting from MIDI input (file or realtime). I should also note that
this list is hardly meant to be a complete set of expected features:
after all, it's from an article published ten years ago. I'm sure we've
advanced well beyond the state of the art in 1994... right ? :)

Best regards,

Dave Phillips

New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view Other groups

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b28 : Thu Jul 15 2004 - 00:25:34 EEST