Transposing software

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    Gretchen Cover on #192765

    Does anyone use transposing software? I am accompanying a singer in May who sings in Ab. The song we agreed upon has a nice harp accompaniment, but my arrangement is in Eb. I also play with a clarinetist and find our repertoire is limited by the transposing factor. Bottom line, I find it will be useful to have an ability to transpose music easily. The software I found that transposes 3 staffs is the Musitek Smart Score Piano Edition X2. It is $199 so before I spend that much money I thought I would ask for advice. Any thoughts?

    Biagio on #192766

    Gretchen, you might take a look at Finale Notepad, which is free:

    Up to 8 staves and it does transpose, but does not have all the bells and whistles of the full blown Finale product. Which is sometimes offered at a deep discount to Reader owners as well.


    carl-swanson on #192768

    Biagio- Do you start by scanning the printed music you have into the program and then tell it to change it to another key?

    Biagio on #192769

    Carl, I haven’t used Finale Notepad since getting the full version in 2012; but as I recall Notepad can read in a MIDI file. Otherwise one would have to enter the score by hand. Transposition happens with one “click” – being sure to specify whether it is to transpose up or down.

    The full Finale can import a TIFF file that has been scanned from the printer (so they say but I haven’t tried that).


    sueblane on #192772


    This is my first time posting. I’ve been reading this forum for quite a while, but thought I could add something to this topic.

    My husband uses Finale professionally for a publisher. But I’ve gotten adept at it as well. What I believe you’re asking about is music scanning software. It’s been a few years since I’ve tried it, but the results I got weren’t what I’d hoped for. It seemed that the more complex the music, the less accurate the scanning was. I found myself spending quite a bit of time fixing the mistakes that scanning introduced. I find it easier and more accurate to just enter the music directly in Finale without scanning, then transposing the key if necessary.

    Without seeing your music, I can’t be sure. But if you’re planning on making a transposition from Eb to Ab, you might need to do some editing as well as the transposition. Make sure that the transposition of a 4th doesn’t move any notes out of your harp’s range. Since this is to accompany a vocalist, it might help to also be aware of the tessitura of the voice. Sometimes changing an inversion of a chord is helpful when transposing, so it doesn’t interfere with the soloist. All of this editing can be done easily in a music notation program.

    Good luck.

    kimberly-goodwin-helton on #192784

    Has anyone here used Staffpad for Surface, yet? I’ve watched a couple of videos for it, and of course it looks like the best thing ever. If it lives up to the promises, it could be a great tool. Only available for Surface, though, last time I looked.

    kimberly-goodwin-helton on #192785

    Just read through the home page on the link above, and it looks like they have made a version for Windows 10. I’ll have to check it out!

    Andelin on #192817

    The company you mentioned has a smart score app ($10 I think) that claims to capture printed music, then convert to .mxl files, which can then be imported to notation software on a computer, for further editing. If it really does this accurately, it’s better than spending $200 for basically the same thing. Although to expect a $10 app to do as well as a $200 program seems too good to be true. It might be worth a try, if it I will save you $190.

    There are also some other tablet/smart phone apps that claim to take a picture of music and export it as a .xml file, so that may be worth looking into.

    If you are ok with entering the entire score into notation software, I’d go with musescore or finale notepad. I know musescore has worked on getting an editable score from a PDF, but when I tried it (maybe a year ago?) I had no success. Maybe they’ve improved since then?

    Please let us know what you decide to go with and how it works…I’d be interested in being able to easily and quickly transpose or edit a score. 🙂

    I have seen some youtube videos for staff pad, and it looks amazing!!! Thank you, Kimberly, for pointing out the version for windows 10! I didn’t want to buy a surface tablet just for music writing, so I’m happy to know it’s no longer required!

    Gretchen Cover on #192821

    Thank you everyone for your helpful comments. Any other advice is welcomed. Musitek has a trial download which I am going to try next week. I tried Musescore and found that too laborious. With that you have to write in every note. It was difficult to correct mistakes.

    Sue, I quickly recognized that in transposing, the beginning to the song would be in the wrong octave. Thank you for pointing out you need to think about what happens when you transpose and the editing which may ensue. Andelin, I will check on the app. I do not have Finale or other music software. I will let everyone know what ultimately works (I hope something works!)

    Gretchen Cover on #192850

    Update: The singer and I just agreed to use an arrangement in G so there is not a need to transpose the music. I will revisit this in a few months when I have time.

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