Forte Home has an intuitive, streamlined interface that makes it easy to start notating a song idea within the first five minutes of opening the software. The recently improved music ribbon sits atop your score and includes all the important input and editing tools needed to add notes, accents, dynamics, lyrics and chords to your final composition. This one of the best music notation software (opens in new tab) for musicians who want to quickly write parts for bandmates and take them to the stage with Forte’s free companion reader mobile app.
Forte Home: What you need to know
Some of the other programs we tested require you to specifically select a rest and then manually place it on the score. However, Forte recognizes the number of counts missing from a measure and automatically adds the appropriate rests, which can speed up your workflow. You can also add notes using your computer's keyboard, a virtual piano or a MIDI keyboard. MIDI live recording is also available on Forte 11, which can support up to 16 instruments and 6 verses and four voices per staff.
Another feature added to Forte in the latest update is the Forte Scan App. Unlike the Notion (opens in new tab) app, it is free and allows you to take a picture of a score with your Android or iOS device and send it to your PC to edit or export in a different format. Forte isn’t compatible with Mac computers, like Musescore (opens in new tab), but its apps work on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.
The Music Palette makes it easy to enter notes with your mouse. To place notes, you select the duration from the Notes tab, then click on the appropriate line on the staff. The music ruler appears around each measure where you enter notes to help you add them exactly where you want them.
Forte has one of the best volume mixers we tested. You can use it to import audio to play in conjunction with your composition. In addition, you can use the mixer to control the volume and panning and to manipulate the pitch of each instrument in your composition. Once you get it sounding just right, you can export an MP3 or WAV audio file to share with your fellow musicians.
This music notation software can import and export all the important file types, including MusicXML, MIDI, PDF, and graphic image files like JPEG and GIF. We came across a couple blurry sections when we exported a PDF for our tests, but it wasn’t significant enough to make it hard to read.
Should you buy Forte Home?
Forte Home is easy to use and has an intuitive interface that allows you to quickly start composing music. Its free companion apps, which allow you to scan music and take your compositions to the stage, are useful and easy to link with the software on your PC. If Forte made this software for Macs, it might be the best notation software available for less than $100. However, if you have a Windows computer and are more of a hobby musician, this is the music notation software we'd suggest.