Rank #1: Guitar notation with Doug Gibson
Doug Gibson joins Philip Rothman and David MacDonald to discuss guitar notation. Doug is a Scoring Notes contributor who has reviewed the guitar features of Sibelius, Dorico and Guitar Pro, and he has a special perspective on this particular aspect of music notation software. As a guitarist, educator, composer, orchestrator, and music preparer, Doug has been on every side of the process of creating guitar music. He shares his process of transcribing and notating music, gives us his opinions on what the various software platforms get right, and tells us his wishes for what could be improved. If you’ve ever wondered what TAB notation really is or how to voice a 13th chord, you’ll get tuned up by hearing what Doug has to say.
More on Scoring Notes:
Jan 23 2021
Rank #2: Scanning the music scanning apps
We’re talking all about optical music recognition software, or what you might call “music scanning apps”. John Hinchey is back on the show, and he has written a review for the Scoring Notes blog that covers four of these leading apps: PlayScore 2, ScanScore, PhotoScore Ultimate, and SmartScore 64 Pro. On the podcast, Philip Rothman and David MacDonald talk with John about his approach to working with these apps and how he evaluated them. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each program, and how you can incorporate them into your own work. John’s also prepared a step-by-step checklist of the items to look for once you bring your music into the scanning software, and he tells us what to do to get the music in top shape, whether you’re preparing the music for playback or exporting it to MusicXML for use in your favorite music notation software.
More on Scoring Notes: A review of optical music recognition software
Jan 16 2021
Rank #3: Conquering Finale with Jason Loffredo
Jason Loffredo is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, copyist, keyboard player, and music director. He’s an expert in all things musical theatre and has worked on some of Broadway’s top productions. Philip Rothman and David MacDonald talk with Jason about the ins and outs of the musical theatre world as it pertains to preparing music for those shows and the special circumstances that arise when he turns to music notation software. And speaking of software, Jason tells us all about his extensive video tutorial series called Conquering Finale, which we’ve started to cross-publish on the Scoring Notes blog. We discuss how Finale and how Jason’s video series is organized, what led to him creating it in the first place, and what you can expect to learn from it, whether you’re new to the program or you’re a long-time user.
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Conquering Finale tutorials:
Jan 09 2021
Rank #4: Score preparation and production checklist (encore)
Philip Rothman and David MacDonald discuss the essential elements of score preparation and production that make a difference in not only the perception of your music, but how it gets rehearsed and, ultimately, performed. Everything from rehearsal marks, placing cues, laying out your music, and page layout can be expertly fine-tuned by music notation software — but only if you know what results you’re looking to achieve in the first place.
Jan 02 2021
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Rank #5: Emily Grishman (revival)
For decades, Emily Grishman has been one of Broadway’s most sought-after copyists, and her list of credits includes the most acclaimed music and theatrical productions. Philip Rothman talks with Emily about her career and how the means and manner of producing music has changed along with advancements in the music notation software she uses every day. Learn what Emily has to say about the world of music copying, the process of getting the music from the composer’s pen to the player’s stands, and the tools she uses to achieve superior results.
Plus: the secret to being an expert in your music notation software of choice, everything you ever wanted to know about bar numbering schemes… and what not to do when working on a horror film score.
Further reading: Women Who Wow Us: Emily Grishman
On Scoring Notes: Scoring Express templates for Sibelius
Photo credit: Jamie Maletz
Dec 28 2020
Rank #6: Music fonts and open standards with Daniel Spreadbury
Daniel Spreadbury returns to Scoring Notes for the final episode of the year. As one of the co-chairs of the W3C Music Notation Community Group, Daniel is responsible for maintaining and developing the Standard Music Font Layout, or SMuFL, an open-source common set of font specifications which he created. On today’s episode, Daniel talks with David MacDonald and Philip Rothman about the forthcoming updates to that standard, which in less than a decade has been adopted by many diverse and robust music applications. Daniel takes us through a bit of music font history, from the early days of Adobe’s Sonata Font, first-generation implementations in Finale and Sibelius, and the sequence of events that ultimately led to the development of the SMuFL standard and the creation of its reference font, Bravura, for use in Steinberg’s scoring application, Dorico. We also get a look ahead to technical improvements in Dorico that will soon allow it to run on Apple’s newest M1-based computers.
More on Scoring Notes:
- Daniel Spreadbury on music fonts: past, present, and future
- MakeMusic and Steinberg transfer development of MusicXML and SMuFL to web community group
- An interview with Robert Piéchaud about the November font
- An interview with Nor Eddine Bahha, musician and font designer
- A fount of fonts at Notation Central
Dec 19 2020
Rank #7: Importing into Sibelius 2020.12 and Scoring Express
We review the latest Sibelius update, 2020.12. This final Sibelius update of the year rounds out the importing feature with the ability to bring Sibelius files directly into a template. Philip Rothman and David MacDonald talk about why you would want to that, what the differences and similarities are to importing a MIDI or MusicXML file, and what it all means for scoring and arranging workflows. I also talk with David about a brand-new product we’ve launched at NYC Music Services called Scoring Express. Scoring Express is a suite of templates, manuscript papers, fonts, and house styles, all designed with an eye towards getting professional-looking music quickly on the page, and optimized to take advantage of the latest Sibelius features.
From Notation Central:
Dec 12 2020
Rank #8: John Mlynczak and Noteflight
Noteflight is the web-based music notation software that allows musicians to create, share, teach, sell, and purchase music. John Mlynczak is Noteflight’s managing director, and on today’s show, Philip Rothman and David MacDonald talk with John about how Noteflight is used by musicians across the professional and education spectrum. If you see interactive music online that you can click and transpose, there’s a good chance it’s using Noteflight technology, thanks to its integration with the Hal Leonard catalog and wide acceptance on practically any desktop browser or mobile device. We discuss Noteflight’s other offerings, which encompass an arranging feature, allowing anyone to legally arrange and sell music through their platform, and we’ll also learn more about their new assessment tool called SoundCheck, where students can get instant feedback by directly playing along with any Noteflight score.
More on Scoring Notes: Noteflight, education, innovation, and inspiration
Dec 05 2020
Rank #9: How to write for percussion
Sam Solomon joins David MacDonald and Philip Rothman to talk all about how to write for percussion. It’s a good thing, too, because Sam’s got a book with that same name: How to Write for Percussion: A Comprehensive Guide to Percussion Composition, published by Oxford University Press. Sam’s got a ton of experience as an active percussionist and collaborator with some of today’s top composers, and fortunately he decided to share his incredible knowledge in the form of this 300-page book and hours of accompanying videos. Composers and music preparers alike will enjoy what Sam has to say about percussion-centric topics like multi-stave parts, improvisation, unpitched music, instrument keys, and more — and because this is Scoring Notes, we explore the role the software has in achieving the results that he recommends.
More on Scoring Notes: Sam Solomon on writing for percussion
Nov 28 2020
Rank #10: Make the most of Black Friday
Whether you’re looking to score some notes or score some deals, we’ve got the podcast episode for you. Philip Rothman and David MacDonald kick off Black Friday, which has gone from being just one day to now encompassing Cyber Monday and many more days on either side of the calendar. We’ll share some of the items on each of our wish lists in the music notation and tech universe and which products we’ve already stocked up on. More broadly, we’ll discuss why this time of year is a good time to think about upping your game when it comes to the tools you use, and how you can get the most out of the offers that are out there without breaking your budget.
More on Scoring Notes: Black Friday 2020 deals for music notation software and related tech
Nov 23 2020