PROS / This software has a nice feature set for its low price.
CONS / There is very little technical support, and only a sparse help file that doubles as a user guide.
VERDICT / You may want to spend a little more money to get more features and better customer support.
This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Play Music is reasonably priced music notation software that offers a number of easy-to-use features that aid in music notation. The program includes all the standard tools and palettes you would expect to find in the best music composition programs on the market today.
The main disadvantage to Play Music is the lack of help. The tutorial is unclear, and when you select any option from the menu, there is no help available.
Though the tutorial offers little help, the software is fairly easy to figure out. If you have any experience with music notation software, you'll catch on to Play Music in no time. Even if this is the first notation program you've ever used, you'll be able to figure out how to enter notes with the mouse.
The application has a nice layout, and the tools and palettes are easy to find and work with. The software includes more than 30 templates to help you quickly set up your new compositions. After you have created a score, you can save it as a template to use the next time you want to compose a similar song or in a similar style.
Play Music has an extensive feature set and can notate both guitar tablature and percussion instruments. The software offers short duration times of 128ths notes, which is comparable to some of our top-rated programs.
Play Music can import MIDI files. All files, including MIDI files, need to be converted into the Play Music format before you can edit them. After you have edited a file the way you want it, you can export it as a MIDI file. Converting a MIDI file to the Play Music format and then converting it back to MIDI after you finish working on it seems like an unnecessary extra step. Other software we tested does not require you to convert MIDI files to another format before you can work with them.
It is easy to enter notes on the staff, and the editing tools are sparse but work well. The palette selection makes changing and using different editing tools convenient.
Technical support from the manufacturer is sparse at best. The help file is a small 17-page PDF with general instructions for using Play Music's basic functions. It does not go into much detail on how to really use the software.
According to the manufacturer's website, a Mac version of Play Music is coming soon. However, the website looks out of date, and the current version of Play Music is still version 1.0.
For the price, Play Music is great notation software that you can learn to use fairly quickly. It has enough features and tools to help novices and intermediate users create nice compositions. However, novice users will have to rely heavily on a weak help file and learn by trial and error. Given its shortcomings, you may want to spend a few extra dollars to purchase one of our top-rated music notation software packages.