Developer asks how computers could help people to compose music


Software developer Mark Walsen has been writing music notation software since 1994, when he founded Notation Software. He tells a fun story about how he cornered Bill Gates after starting working at Microsoft in 1988 as Program Manager for the Windows SDK and Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC):

I then started at Microsoft. At a party for new employees, I had Bill Gates ear for 15 minutes, trying to interest him in the market of musicians. Being a much smarter guy than me, it was immediately obvious to Bill that there was no sizeable market in music software –- at least not big enough for Microsoft.

Mark’s personal blog is an entertaining read on lots of subjects, and I recommend you check it out.

Anyway, Mark is also now writing a blog for O’Reilly Digital Media’s Audio Blogs section, and in his first post he asks a simple question:

What would you like to do musically, and how could computers make that easier?

This gets right to the heart of what a product manager wants to know from the users (or potential users) of his product, and it’s always a great question to ask. At Sibelius I spend as much time as I can with individuals and groups of users, picking their brains to find out ways in which Sibelius could make their lives easier, or open up possibilities to them that they could previously only dream of. Mark’s post may well reach people who have a passing interest in music but who don’t even know that software exists out there to realise their creative dreams. I’ll certainly be watching the comments on his posts to see what ideas bubble up.


  1. Mark Walsen

    Daniel, this is a fun way to meet you. Peter McAleer of the Sibelius community quoted your above friendly blog post over at my newly started blog at O’Reilly. As I replied to Peter in my blog, you should know that I have a huge amount of respect for the Sibelius products, its product development team, and the original Finn borther founders.

    Feel free to drop in at my new O’Reilly blog, and say good things there about Sibelius. As you mention in your post here, all of us developers of software for musicians need to reach out to new musicians who are taking their first steps into song writing, arranging, and composing.

    — Mark

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