Composing harp music

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #159621

    I am always jotting down on to manuscript paper little harp pieces that I compose, and I now want to put them on my computer and print them out. I am sure lots of you are doing this, and I wondered what program you use. I have looked at some and they look very difficult. There must be one that is easier to use that won’t take me forever to learn. I would appreciate any advice in order to start doing this so I can get rid of the bits of manuscript paper littering up my studio.

    alice-freeman on #159622

    Part of it depends on how much you want to pay for a music notation program. If you “Google” for ‘free music notation software’ you will find a number of easy to use programs. I have heard good things about Finale Notepad and Noteworthy, although I have never personally used them.

    Because I wanted the features of a full notation program, Sibelius is my preference. It is really pricey, but if you are a music teacher, there are educational discounts available. I highly recommend this program (especially the harp pedal charts) and because I had used previously used MusicTime Deluxe, I did not find the learning curve at all difficult.

    The Yahoo Groups Sibelius list is monitored by a Sibelius Senior Product Manager, so the tech support is really good. Even basic questions are answered without making you feel stupid.

    Hope this helps.

    — Alice in windy Wyoming (

    Karen Johns on #159623

    Most of the Finale software can be tried out for free (I think on a 30 day basis). I’ve used it before and it works well.


    tony-morosco on #159624

    I use Finale. It isn’t easy to use and it isn’t cheap, but it is extremely flexible, has a ton of useful features that, once you do learn them, save you lots of time, and it comes in different version depending on your budget.

    Sibelius looks good too. I played around with it, but I didn’t want to have to relearn everything. I don’t know if one is actually easier to learn than the other, but it seems that once you learn one most people stick with it and don’t bother trying to learn the other.

    tonie-ogimachi on #159625

    I’ve been fiddling with the trial version of Sibelius, and it really seems to meet my needs.

    jennifer-byrne on #159626

    I also use Finale.

    unknown-user on #159627

    Thanks everyone for your answers to my question. I am going to look into buying one of the programs mentioned once I have tried it out first. Happy composing!

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #159628

    Do not get hooked into Sibelius. It is not that harp friendly, and does not have a lot of our notation needs in mind. You have very little control over how it looks. I regret having gone that route, though it is an easier one to learn (only took several months). Score is a highly reputable program for publishing music. If you are sketching doodads, a free or cheap program may be all you need. You could also do it by hand. It works.

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