Summer is here! At NYC Music Services, and Scoring Notes, we’ll be taking it easy the next few weeks as we recharge with that solar energy after a very busy first half of 2023. Don’t worry, things won’t go totally dark around here, but if activity seems a little lighter than usual, that’s the reason.
Fortunately, there’s lots around here to catch up on. For your summer reading, there are the many news articles, reviews, tips, and tutorials that we’ve produced, to get you all caught up for the second half of this year.
For your (re)-listening pleasure, of course, there’s the Scoring Notes podcast, with many episodes where we talk all about our favorite topics: music notation software and related technology.
And over at Notation Central, our marketplace for music notation technology, there is a summer sale going on, with price reductions across the board, to help you make the most of the music notation software you use.
Wishing you a very happy holiday and summer season, from all of us at NYC Music Services and Scoring Notes!
If you use music notation software, the first place to start your summer reading list would be our Product Guide, where we keep current with every major release of Dorico, Finale, MuseScore, and Sibelius, and most of the intermediate updates, too.
No doubt Dorico users will be interested to read all about Dorico 5, released in May, with many new features and improvements found in Dorico 5 range widely and touch most areas of the program.
Although there haven’t been any Finale updates in 2023, there was one, to version 27.3, that appeared in December 2022, so we’ll include that in here if you missed in during the winter holidays. The inclusion of the most popular JW plug-ins is reason enough to take note of this one.
Likewise, although MuseScore 4 came out in December 2022, we’ll mention it here, since it such a massive upgrade from any other versions that preceded it.
Sibelius has seen three updates in 2023 already: 2023.2, with improvements to score subsets and dynamic guitar staves; 2023.5 with new hiding options, and 2023.6, introducing AI-powered auto-completion of chord symbols.
NotePerformer, the user-friendly solution for realistic-sounding playback of Dorico, Sibelius, or Finale projects, saw a major update to version 4, with the new NotePerformer Playback Engines (NPPE), which allows you to leverage the musical intelligence of NotePerformer with the robust sample libraries that are commonly used in DAWs and sequencers.
We released Lelandia, a new suite of music fonts for Sibelius migrated from Leland, which is the default music font used in newer versions of MuseScore. Leland is inspired by the look of the SCORE engraving program, created by Leland Smith.
A nice match for Lelandia is Nepomuk, a text font inspired by the type commonly found in music plate engraving from the late 19th to the mid 20th-century.
We have some tips on using RGP Lua, a free plug-in that uses Lua scripts to interact with Finale documents.
Graphical MIDI Tools for Sibelius was updated to version 2.1. This significant update adds a transport bar directly to the GMT interface. It also adds several new editing and navigation features.
Special coverage and tips
David MacDonald completely overhauled one of the most popular and useful reviews on Scoring Notes: his review of the leading iPad score reader apps — forScore, Newzik, and nkoda — to assess the current state of the category, and to help musicians decide which of the excellent options best suits their needs.
The topic of iPad score readers was just one of many conversations had at the 2023 MOLA conference in Berlin, where David and I attended four days’ worth of sessions, presentations, and gatherings most pertinent to music performance and orchestra librarians. New this year at the conference was a day-long Tech Fair, which put the spotlight squarely on technology.
Need a primer on the thorny copyright issues that arise in music? It’s no substitute for a law degree, but attorney and music music publisher Jim Kendrick expertly steers us through the intersection of creativity, copyright, and technology. We published a complete transcript of one of our most informative podcast episodes.
Real estate is valuable, and that’s true with digital real estate. Adding a second portable display is easier and cheaper than you might think, and is a good investment in your productivity when working with music notation, or any software.
We have a review and chronology of a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a thoroughly enjoyable experience for anyone, from the music neophyte to the most credentialed professional musician.
In music scores and parts, page numbers and headers are some of the most underappreciated and overlooked elements of what appears on the page, and we have some special tips for how to handle them.
We know everyone reading here is already subscribed to the Scoring Notes podcast! But if you’re not doing so already, here are all the places you can follow us: Amazon | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Pandora | PocketCasts | Podchaser | RSS | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn
If you haven’t caught up with all of our episodes, here are some highlights.
One of the great personal highlights was our very latest episode: An interview with Elaine Gould, senior new music editor at Faber Music, and the author of everyone’s favorite book: Behind Bars: A Definitive Guide to Music Notation. Faber has published the first third of that book separately, which makes for an easier way into to details of good music preparation.
Justin Bianco, the creator and developer of forScore, joined us for a lively discussion about the tech, his philosophy, his background — and why his mom is his target user.
Reduction (in prices)
At Notation Central, you can chill out this summer with some cool deals.
This is the first sale all year, with 20% off nearly everything in the store, through Sunday, July 9, 2023.
This includes items like:
- 20% off all Scoring Express templates for Sibelius, Dorico, and Finale — including the bundles!
- 20% off all Notation Express profiles for Sibelius and Dorico, including the 15-key/XL bundles
- 20% off all music and text fonts
- 20% off ebooks and video tutorials like Using Sibelius Effectively, SWA Masterclass Sibelius Ultimate, and Dorico Basics
- 20% off the Sibelius plug-ins Graphical MIDI Tools and UltraMix…
- …and more!
Just use the code SUMMER at checkout to see the discounts applied.
There are some extra savings to be had, too: Use the code SMUFLME to get 25% off when you purchase two or more SMuFL fonts from NorFonts together. This includes BopMusic, Da Capo, Groove, Mezza, Mezzo, RealScore, Rhapsody, Scordatura, Soli, The Copyist, and Tutti, for use in Dorico and Finale 27. Stack the code SMUFLME with the SUMMER discount for super savings of 40% off.
Just last week, iPad owners got some great news: Elgato released Stream Deck Mobile 2.0, a major update to its mobile platform that supports iPads natively, so that Stream Deck Mobile users with a Pro license can enjoy not just the same 8 x 4 configuration that’s supported on the Stream Deck XL, but an even larger 8 x 8 configuration, if desired — gangbusters news for users of our Notation Express XL profiles for Sibelius and Dorico. Not only can you finally use those profiles on an iPad, you can do some additional things with them.
Nearly a year after the first release of the popular Scoring Express suites for Finale and Dorico, in May of this year we finally released the Scoring Express Jazz package of templates and libraries for Finale.
Scoring Express for Finale – Jazz is on par with the versions already available for Sibelius and Dorico, and includes 11 professional Finale templates for stand-alone use, plus corresponding manuscript papers, document styles, and libraries, so you can use Scoring Express to start a new score from scratch or beautify an existing score.
The Scoring Express bundles are ordinarily $45 off compared to buying each genre separately, so this is a great opportunity to pick up the bundle of all the Finale collections, the bundle of all the Sibelius collections or the bundle of all the Dorico collections and stack your savings by using the SUMMER code for an incredible combined value of more than $75 off. It’s like buying the Chamber and Jazz collections and getting the Theatre & Studio one nearly for free!