PROS / This music notation software has convenient tools and palettes. It also easily imports MIDI files.
CONS / The software documentation seems to emphasize modifying existing MIDI files rather than creating new music.
VERDICT / Notation Composer is easy and fun to use, but it does not have the advanced features of our top-rated music notation software.
Notation Composer by Notation Software is convenient music notation software that includes all the standard notation tools and features you need to make your musical ideas come to life. It allows you to easily import popular songs, and then edit and customize them to your liking.
This music notation software includes a simple, text-based Quick Start Tutorial in its electronic user guide that helps you get started working with music. We found it odd that the emphasis of the tutorial seems to be on how to open and modify existing MIDI and karaoke files rather than focusing on how to create your own musical scores. How to create a new song is not even mentioned until page seven of the tutorial.
That said, Notation Composer is still an easy program to use. You can find every tool you'll need on the main interface. The notation software does not include templates like you will find in our higher-ranked products, but you can save your project as a template to use the next time you want to create a similar song. You can also choose from a list of pre-made MIDI files that you can import into your score and customize.
Becoming familiar with the software on your own can be difficult, but if you watch the video tutorials online and read the manual, you will be surprised by how easy it is to get into the swing of things. To be sure that you know your way around, you can refer to the shortcuts in the help menu.
We found many of the features of this music notation software easy to use. A nice feature that is readily accessible is the mixer. Right on the window view, next to each staff, you can click on only the specific instruments you want to hear, and even change the instrument that you want to hear during playback.
Of all of the music notation software we reviewed, Notation Composer has the easiest way to insert lyrics into any song. This notation program has made it easy to copy and paste lyrics into songs; the words are automatically matched with the corresponding notes. This could be great for scoring hometown hits and family reunion sing-alongs. The manufacturer, Notation Software, seems to have centered the software on being able to download MIDI files and put them into a score effortlessly.
On the home screen when you first open the music notation software, you have the options to create a new song, search the internet for MIDI files and open an existing MIDI or Notation Composer file. When you search the internet for MIDI files, it is organized so that you can search for songs by music style, artist/composer or instrument. With Notation Composer, you have the ability to export your songs as MIDI, Karaoke and MusicXML files. You cannot export a song as a graphic file. While you can export songs as MusicXML files, we could not find a feature that would allow us to import MusicXML files.
Editing isn't too difficult using this notation software, but it was not as easy as it is with the best music notation programs we reviewed. One thing we really like about Notation Composer is the ability to import other songs into the score and then customize the arrangement to your liking.
There are many ways to learn more about the software. On the Notation Software website, you can watch four video tutorials to inform yourself about a few of the product's features. Through the help menu, you can read the user's guide and learn about the keyboard shortcuts.
Notation Composer is great music notation software program for people who write music as a hobby and for people who are interested in manipulating existing MIDI files. It is fun and easy to use. It doesn't have some of the more advanced features of the best music notation software we reviewed, but it has adequate features that make it fun.