Today at NYC Music Services we’ve released a brand new tool for Sibelius users to dramatically speed up their work. It’s called Notation Express and it’s a fully customized profile for the Elgato Stream Deck console that makes powerful Sibelius features easy and fun to use.
Notation Express includes more than 250 commands that are just a touch or two away, with an intuitive layout and beautiful icons. See it in action:
I came up with the name “Notation Express” because of the buttons you “press” on the Stream Deck. Ah, who doesn’t love a play on words!
A few months ago, Scoring Notes contributing author Dan Kreider reviewed the Stream Deck and talked about how he used it in Dorico. The idea of using it more in my work was kicking around in the back of my mind ever since then, but it picked up stream — er, steam — recently when David Newman asked about putting something together for Sibelius.
Here’s the home screen:
And now, here we are! Yes, you could certainly build your own Stream Deck profile. But for $29, you can have the benefit of getting up and running in a matter of minutes with Notation Express, which took many, many hours of work setting up the shortcuts and designing the custom icons.
An example of it in use, with dynamics:
And with lines:
Notation Express is available for Mac and Windows.
The Notation Express profile is based on the default Sibelius shortcuts, although many more have been added. If you use the default Sibelius shortcuts, you can continue to use them just as before, and also use Stream Deck. If you have modified the default Sibelius shortcuts, you can either modify them to work with the Notation Express profile, or easily change the shortcuts in the Notation Express profile to match yours (making sure that they don’t conflict with other shortcuts in use).
And of course, you can still create your own profile to use in addition to Notation Express, and switch between the two (or buy another Stream Deck and run two side-by-side!).
Notation Express is available from NYC Music Services. Be sure to purchase the correct version for your operating system. It costs $29.
If you’re looking for Notation Express for Dorico, it was released on April 29, 2019.
Updated on March 11 with the release of the Windows version.
Updated on April 29 with the release of Notation Express for Dorico.
Very cool. Looking forward to the Windows version.
It is a shame that software is so easy to steal that you either have to ask people to buy their own copies or burden everyone with copy protection that can still be hacked. $29 is very cheap for the amount of work required to create software like this, not to mention having to create an infrastructure to distribute it and provide tech support. I hope enough people will pay for it to allow you to continue working on it.
Thanks for producing this!
Thanks, Bob! I truly appreciate your comments. You know better than anyone what’s involved. But it was fun to make and I hope lots of people get Notation Express and save time using this. It’s really fun to use!
Awesome, Xmas in March! Thank you, Philip, for a great solution
Thanks, Andrei! Enjoy!
This looks wonderful!
The profile is just a data file; how can it be platform dependent?
Hi Bill, thanks! Indeed, you’re right, but I haven’t yet fully tested it out on Windows yet and want to make sure it works as intended in both Stream Deck and Sibelius, what with the differences in command keys (like control/command, etc.). Very soon!
Ahh yes, the command keys.
Wow, that was fast! Thanks!
Your Notation Express software looks wonderful but I no longer use Sibelius. Will you eventually release similar Stream Deck related software for Dorico or Finale? I realize this would be a big project but I’m sure many users of Dorico (myself included) and Finale would be interested potential customers.
Hi Mike, thanks! I appreciate it. Regarding the other software platforms, the best answer I can give at the moment, is, stay tuned!
Beautiful! Best of luck with the release of this.
Thanks, Derek, nice to hear from you always, and I appreciate the support!
Great idea, Philip! I wish you had announced this last week, I just finished making my own Stream Deck profile. I used mostly text labels and it was still a bit of a time investment. Anyone wondering if it is worth it, YES! Both the Stream Deck itself and a pre-made, well thought out layout. It will pay for itself in productivity gained. One request; if you are working on Finale and Dorico versions please try as much as possible to keep the layouts consistent. Then we are all a big step closer to reducing the need for having competing sets of keyboard shortcuts in our heads!
Thanks, Tom! I’m very grateful for your comments and support. Regarding Finale and Dorico, points well taken, for sure. It’s a fun new paradigm we’re exploring here!
I bought both Stream Deck and the deck profile. The best addition to Sibelius ever! many thanks for this very efficient shortcut tool. It really speeds things up and make things very easy to find and to use. I can recommend it w/o any limitation.
Thanks, Michael! That’s quite an endorsement and I’m so glad you are more productive as a result.
Are you planning to make similar software for Dorico users?
Hi Dmitriy. Regarding the other software platforms, the best answer I can give at the moment, is, stay tuned!
Hi Philip & Company!
After reading this incredible post and helpful software I wonder if you made or you are planing to post an article about special keyboards that are vital for a proficient editing, like gaming keyboards and so in different ranges of prices. I’m sure you all know better this gadgets since you’re copying and crafting for several years.
Thanks in advance and congratulations for all your work!
Hi Álvaro: Thanks for the suggestion! Good idea; I’ll keep it in mind for the future.
If/when you release a version for Finale, it’ll be an automatic purchase for me.
Hi Luke! Duly noted. The main impediment at the moment is the lack of ability to program global custom shortcuts directly within Finale.
Reading the euphoric announcement of Notation Express on Stream Deck as highly valued complement to Sibelius, I didn’t hesitate and ordered the Elgato Stream Deck and also bought and installed Notation Express. But – one week later – after trying out what I bought in order to make working with Sibelius more effective, I was harshly confronted with reality – and that means: I was extremely disappointed, because Notation Express made only 3 or 4 buttons on Stream Deck really working. Most buttons opened the list of effects, but after that the buttons of that list did not react in any way. Of those which seemed to work some worked wrong – like for example trying to set the tempo: After pressing the button with the symbol “note equals 120” one sees the content, that is the different pictures. But after for example pressing the button “quarter note equals” what appears in my Sibelius score shows instead of the “equal sign” an apostrophe. This way there’s no increased effectivity – more the contrary! This is only one example of my frustrating experiences with this combination of “Notation Express on Stream Deck”.
I am working on an iMac (2,5 years old) with Sierra and a MacBook Pro (2 years old) with HighSierra. (Both have high velocity i7 processors). My Sibelius version is 2019.1 – so it’s the latest.
Unfortunately Elgato doesn’t provide a Manual – the socalled “Quick Start Guide” is really ridiculous and good for nothing! (Regrettably the program “Notation Express” also didn’t come with a manual). So I did the only advisable – giving the Stream Deck back to Amazon – the money spent on “Notation Express” is just money lost ……
Hermann: I’m very sorry to hear of your experience. I wish you had reached out to me directly to try to solve the issue. It sounds like there may have been something wrong with your configuration setting. But I do not see any correspondence from you other than this comment on the blog.
It sounds like it may be too late, since you’ve returned the Stream Deck to Amazon. But if not, hopefully we can resolve the problem and get you sorted.
Notation Express does come with an 8-page user guide.
I should also add that if you are not on a US English keyboard, some additional configuration may be required. This is explained in the FAQs on the web site, and also in the documentation included with Notation Express: “Notation Express has only been tested on US English language setups. If you work on a computer with a different language, Notation Express should work, but you might need to modify some of the shortcuts in the profile on your own if they don’t work in your localization.” This may be the case in your situation.
Hi Philip – as there is nothing to hide, I copy in the following the content of my elctronic answer to your friendly e-mail:
….. thank you for your very fast reaction to the posting I entered.
Maybe I should have acted “wiser” (or at least more “rational”), choosing to contact you before devolving the Stream Deck to Amazon, but feeling disappointed was based mainly due to the bad experience I had with products of Elgato. The User Guide for Notation Express tells me how to install the program – that’s OK with me. But 1. the “Quick Start Guide” from Elgato can be read only using a magnifying glass, 2. it doesn’t explain enough and 3. the “Stream Deck Application” doesn’t explain anything.
So I decided to devolve the Stream Deck, because even with Amazon there is only a limited time to give something back. (That still leaves me the possibility to buy it again some later time, when there is another version of Notation Express – hopefully it will be in my time, because this month I will complete my 88th…).
And yes – I use on my computers only German keyboards, because I am German and many years ago I learned to type with 10 fingers …. (maybe because I’m used to do it also on my piano ….).
Thanks again and have a nice day!
Anyone tried Notation Express on OS 10.11?
The wait is over! Notation Express for Dorico is here!
Hi! I’ve installed Notation Express on Stream Deck XL to control Dorico PRO 3.5 on Win10 and followed the procedure but can’t get it to work. Dorico does not receive any command. The SD works with other apps. Please help! Thanks!!
Thanks for your message! I am sure we can find a solution.
The easiest way to troubleshoot would be to create a very simple command on the Stream Deck yourself to control Dorico using a shortcut you know, like 6 for quarter note.
Does that work? If so, then the problem is with the Notation Express profile (unlikely).
If not, then the problem is not with the Notation Express profile, but more generally with Stream Deck and Dorico. Still, I will try to help.
Occasionally when I have heard of this happening, you need to make sure that you run the Stream Deck app as an Administrator.
Quit the Stream Deck app and re-launch it by following the directions in the above linked article, and please let me know if that solves the issue.