PROS / MagicScore Maestro features easy note entry with a computer keyboard and virtual piano. It also includes a virtual guitar deck for easy guitar notation.
CONS / The interface is not as intuitive or professional as other music notation software reviewed on our site.
VERDICT / Its small size and powerful features make MagicScore Maestro an excellent solution for your music writing needs.
MagicScore Maestro 7 is the latest and greatest version of music notation software released by DG Software, and it has earned our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award. It may not have the most beautiful interface, nor is it as intuitively laid out as some of the other software we reviewed, but it is still an excellent choice for music notation software.
MagicScore has many useful features that enable both novice and experienced composers to create beautiful pieces of music. Because it has a virtual piano for note entry, this notation program is a great choice for realizing your musical ideas. The primary thing that keeps us from rating this music software even higher is that the application's layout is not as intuitive as it could be.
This music notation software application includes many features to help you easily create professional-looking musical compositions. You can enter notes one at a time using step mode with your mouse, virtual piano or your computer's keyboard.
This application's virtual piano is the best we’ve seen in all of the music notation software we reviewed. It allows you to add a note and its duration with a single click. You can move the cursor up to select shorter durations (up to a 128th note) or down to select longer durations (such as a whole note). Most virtual pianos require you to select a note's duration on a separate tool palette before clicking the note on the virtual keyboard.
The sophistication of the features in MagicScore Maestro 7 is what really sets it apart from the other music notation software applications we reviewed. Because of the many instruments to choose from, you will feel no limits as you compose your songs. One of the recently added features is a drum map list that allows you to add drum notes as if you were actually playing them.
Hotkeys offer smooth navigation and composition, making it easy to switch between entering modes and the symbols you want to add to the score. The software's tools give you the best variety possible, including a wide range of drum notes, guitar tablature, virtual piano keyboard, text, expression markers and much more. This makes composition very easy for difficult instruments. For example, a simple mouse click is all you need to start composing a guitar part.
If you want to spice up your black-and-white score, you will enjoy the ability to add pictures or images. This creates a theme to your sheet music and adds flavor. You can import personal photos or drawings that tie in with your music. You can also export your entire musical score in a graphic format to share it with others.
Another nice feature we enjoyed is the software's ability to change tempo and dynamics by using musical terms from the expressions palette. As the file is played back, the application reads these tempo and expression markings and alters the playback accordingly.
MagicScore Maestro 7 lets you use a MIDI keyboard connected to your computer to compose songs in both real and step time. The advantage of using a MIDI keyboard in a real-time recording is that this music notation software records note velocity, duration and other MIDI data as you play. With step-time notation, you can place notes and chords precisely where you want them on the staff and manually edit their velocity, duration and other MIDI information to make the playback sound less mechanical. If you are only concerned with creating high-quality sheet music, step-time note entry is a good option because the MIDI playback data is not as important.
You can also import MusicXML, MIDI and karaoke files so you can edit scores that were created with other music notation software. You can save your music in these formats as well. This music notation software is capable of converting your score to MP3 digital audio files as well.
Editing is easy with this music notation software. You can use templates to get you started in the song-writing process and then add your own notes. If you are not satisfied with the notes you choose the first time, you can quickly click and drag them to a new position on the staff. Adding musical expressions or tying notes together is also very easy. You can select the symbol you want to add from the Symbol palette and then click the appropriate location on the staff. There is also an empty staves auto-hide option for imported MIDI files, which will save you a lot of editing. Additionally, this application offers a useful volume mixer to give your music the perfect sound.
The help option on the menu bar provides many resources to aid you with your composition. We found the online forum helpful as well. It is full of the same comments and questions from other users that you might have. The help system provides instructions on nearly every task you can imagine. It is similar to a user manual, and you can print it out if it is easier for you to handle. You can email any questions that are not answered on the FAQs page, and you can expect an answer within one business day. There are many ways for you to resolve any problems you may have, and this is why MagicScore Maestro 7 ranked so highly in this category.
We were very impressed with the overall performance of MagicScore Maestro 7. It is easy to use and it has all the features you need in a music notation software application to compose beautiful music on your computer. It seems like the tool functions are endless, as the limits for composing music will be. We would like to see the software developers simplify the layout for those who have never done anything with music. However, for the most part, if you play an instrument or know how to read music, you should have no problem using this music notation software.