Friday, January 30, 2009

Free music software; MagicScore Classic 5

I just downloaded a free program for writing and playing music called "MagicScore Classic 5." If you're interested you can start here to learn more:

The version I have is a freeware version of "MagicScore Classic 5," it's music composing and composition software and the full package would cost somewhere around $59.95 or $69.95, a more expensive version, called "MagicScore Maestro 6," is selling for $109.65 if you want more advanced functionality.

Both programs use the same common musical grammar you might have learned in any music theory class. The kind of theory you can learn or, like me, brush up on, at Ricci Adams' or at Think Quest.

That means that if you're following Bear McCreary's blog you can copy his little snippets of music notation onto the music bars and play the music in lots of different kinds of virtual instruments and even compose for an orchestra or band.

In fact, someone who can’t read music, The19thNervousCylon, on Bear's blog asked if Bear could do some type of HTML coding whereby the music notes Bear showed could be played as an audio snippet, something clickable. However, Bear said he was swamped just doing the blog and scores, but it was a revision he'd think about in the future.

It would seem that MagicScore has such a feature, an online player I can link through my blog. As soon as I learn how to use it I may subject my poor readers to the next evolution in Metal; Squid Metal. It will come from a band that doesn't exist, Vampyroteuthis Infernalis.

Other than that I'm not entirely sure what else the MagicScore software does, but it apparently does a lot. (I've only played with it for a day or so.) You can import and export scores in MusicXML, MIDI nd karaoke format. The standard editing features are there; copy, paste, delete, and transpose either a single note or entire selected blocks. You can do guitar chord tabs and most of what you might expect for such a program. It's like Microsoft Word for music notation.

I've also grabbed a couple of virtual synthesizers, Tekky Synths' PsYbAsSyX, a new free bass synth for Windows, and Physic Modulation's plug-ins for a synthesizer I don't yet have; Arptron, Meteorite and Pandemonium. Apparently Physic Modulation went out of business and is now giving away its software. Their website is now an archive for the freeware.

Anybody else out there using this kind of software? Got any advice?

Like the other music posts, on Bernard Herrmann, Devil music, and Christmas Metal, this one will probably get updated later with your help.


I got some advice on software from Bear McCreary by asking, on his blog, what software he used. He uses Sibelius. I assume that means Sibelius 5. It sounds similar to the MagicScore programs as far as function, but I'd assume you'd probably get better sounding instruments to play your music on Sibelius. MagicScore has some really poor MIDI imitations of an electric guitar. Also, the price for Sibelius 5 is about ten times more, $599.00, which is more than I paid for this computer.

Am I that serious? I'm not sure yet. I'll doodle around in my spare time with the MagicScore program for a few weeks more and then see how I feel. Right now it does feel like I've got some creative fire burning in my brain. I feel inspired now but it may not last. I get creative compulsions in every art form from time to time, painting and drawing, story writing... Hell, I've got an unfinished novel I haven't touched in over a month. The fire has to burn pretty hot before I'm willing to put up with the frustrations and the discipline of an art form I haven't taken seriously since just after high school. I used to play in a rock band, but I wasn't that good and my tastes in music are so out-of-the-norm I'm doomed to have a small audience... if any.


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