StaffPad maintenance update improves MusicXML export

by Philip Rothman on January 17, 2017 · 2 comments

in News

PrintStaffPad Ltd. has released a minor update to its flagship StaffPad music handwriting app. Made available over the past weekend, v. includes the following fixes and improvements:

  • Improved MusicXML export for improved support in Dorico
  • Improved MusicXML support for correctly exporting other dynamics text
  • Portamento line no longer has “port.” text by default; this can be switched on a case-by-case by doing a long-touch on the line itself and choosing Switch Port Style
  • Added sleigh bells (a month too late!)
  • New instruments in the store: Hammond B3 and Accordion
  • A few instrument fixes for gong, cymbals, etc.

The update is free for all existing users. The latest significant update in November added support for the Surface Dial and a number of other feature enhancements in the areas of beamed groups, tuplets, copying and pasting, symbols, bar number changes, and several other miscellaneous areas.


Headed to NAMM 2017

by Philip Rothman on January 12, 2017 · 6 comments

in News

We’re off and running in 2017, and next week I’ll be taking my show on the road…to another show. A much, much, larger show.

I’ll be attending the 2017 NAMM Show, and I’ll try to take in as much as I can in my 48 hours on the ground in southern California. This year’s show runs from Thursday, January 19 through Sunday, January 22, although due to prior commitments I’ll have to leave on Saturday before the conclusion of the exhibition.

If you won’t be there, don’t fret; we’ll plan on publishing several NAMM-related posts to try to get a flavor of the experience. I’ll be sitting down with representatives from MakeMusic, Avid, and Steinberg to talk about the latest happenings in their respective corners of the music notation universe. My good friend and SoCal resident Doug LeBow will be filing a guest post on these pages as well, as he’ll be covering Daniel Spreadbury’s pre-NAMM presentation at the American Film Institute on January 17, along with a Cubase Pro 9 demo from Daniel’s Steinberg colleague Greg Ondo.

Although I have several appointments scheduled, I should have some free time. So if you plan on attending and would like to say hi, feel free to drop me a line. Or you can likely find me hanging around one of these booths:

  • AirTurn (2396)
  • Alfred Music/MakeMusic (booth 4618)
  • Avid (booth 6400)
  • Hal Leonard (booth 5720)
  • Newzik (booth 201C15)
  • PreSonus Audio Electronics (booth 5700)
  • Semitone LLC/Komp (booth 201C3)
  • Sonic Scores (booth 7708)
  • Soundslice (booth 1670)
  • Virgin Musical Instruments (booth 6110)
  • Yamaha/Steinberg North America (Elite 3 ballroom in Marriott)


Last spring, you may recall that MakeMusic announced that they were going to include PDF importing directly into Finale 25. Mark Adler, MakeMusic’s notation product manager, snapped a photo of a piece of music with a mobile scanning app, sent the file to his computer, and demonstrated opening the file directly with Finale.

The inclusion of this planned feature was a relatively modest evolution in that it obviated the need for separate music scanning software (priced at around $300) to read these files, save them, and then open them in your music notation software of choice.  There was no real breakthrough in terms of music recognition capability, for which the technology had been available and modestly improving for a couple of decades already.

Surprisingly, though, a row ensued, with one prominent composer predicting lawsuits over the feature along with “the collapse of music sales” and declaiming “no upside” to it. This misguided opinion gained a following on social media, and in light of the brouhaha MakeMusic decided to pull the feature prior to release of Finale 25.

Nevertheless, the music recognition technology which had been available all along remained so.

Without burying the lede further, Musitek, the maker of that technology, has released it as a separate $100 product called SmartScore Music-to-XML that will do the exact same thing as what was planned for inclusion in Finale: take a PDF containing scanned music and convert for use in music notation software. The Mac version can be purchased from Apple’s App Store and the PC version can be purchased from Microsoft’s Windows App Store.

What is SmartScore Music-to-XML, exactly, and how does it differ from what’s already available, or indeed, what was going to be included in Finale? Read the full article →


2016: The Sibelius plug-in year in review

by Philip Rothman on December 30, 2016 · 2 comments

in Tips

zawalich3This blog post is written by Bob Zawalich, composer, guitarist, software designer, and creator of hundreds of useful plug-ins for Sibelius. In this post, Bob reflects on the past year of Sibelius plug-in development.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Bob for all of his guest posts to the blog over the past year, and for his continued selfless help and support of the Sibelius user community through his plug-in development and general assistance.

For a year-end review of our coverage on this blog, please read our 2016 year-in-review published earlier this week. — Philip

This year, 19 plug-ins were published to the plug-in download page, and were made available for free download. Six were written by Kenneth Gaw, one by Tom Curran (welcome to the published plug-in writer’s club, Tom!), one by Hans-Christoph Wirth, and 11 by me. Many of these plug-ins have writeups on the Sibelius Blog or Of Note, and I have linked to those posts in the table below, which is in the order that the plugins were written.

Plug-in nameVersionAuthorCategory
My Plug-ins01.90.00Bob ZawalichOther
Order and print parts from multiple scores1.0Kenneth GawBatch Processing
Add repeat with 1st and 2nd time bars 1.0Kenneth GawLines
Delete top/bottom notes1.0Bob ZawalichNotes and rests
Harp Gliss and Octave Notes01.76.00Bob ZawalichHarp
Dot Undot Rhythm01.40.00Bob ZawalichNotes and rests
Hide MIDI Messages01.30.00Bob ZawalichFilter and Find
Clipboards01.24.00Bob ZawalichEngravers' Tools
Trace MIDI Messages01.37.00Bob ZawalichText
Harp Gliss Playback01.95.00Bob ZawalichHarp
Beamed Note Groups01.05.00Bob ZawalichNotes and rests
Guitar Capo Notation01.50.00Bob ZawalichGuitar
Impose Sketch onto Template3.01Tom Curran Other
Adjust Start Repeat Barline01.14.00Bob ZawalichLayout
Create N by M Tuplet01.51.00Hans-Christoph WirthNotes and rests
Add Rehearsal Mark Plus Double Barline01.05.00Bob ZawalichOther
Intelligent Ties1.0Kenneth GawLines
Multi-paste1.0Kenneth GawText
Complete Copy and Paste1.0Kenneth GawOther

This is a relatively small number of published plug-ins compared to previous years. There have been no new shipping plugins (the last shipping plugin was released in Sibelius 7.0 in 2011) and no new features have been added to the ManuScript language in the releases of this year. One consequence of this is that the new plug-ins are available in English only, since the volunteer plug-in authors do not have the resources to translate plug-ins into the various languages supported by Sibelius. Read the full article →


Thumbnail image for Dorico PDF reference manual now available

Dorico PDF reference manual now available

December 29, 2016

The first version of the Dorico guide is now available to download as a PDF from Steinberg’s help site. While far from exhaustive, it is easy to follow and logically structured, making it a comprehensive, well-organized resource to help you make the most of the new software.

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for 2016: A year in review

2016: A year in review

December 26, 2016

Have some down time during the holidays? Or looking to get ahead for the new year? Here you’ll find many of the posts 2016, from industry news to tips and tutorials in the field of music notation software and related technology.

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Second Dorico maintenance update released

Second Dorico maintenance update released

December 20, 2016

The second Dorico update, version 1.0.20, is available. New features and improvements abound, with arpeggios, more page layout options, better bar rest handling in voices, and a new playback options dialog among the many enhancements and bug fixes.

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New Sibelius plug-ins for ties, text, and pasting

New Sibelius plug-ins for ties, text, and pasting

December 15, 2016

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve found a few presents under the tree! Three new Sibelius plug-ins from Kenneth Gaw will surely make the season bright: Intelligent Ties, Multiple Text Entry, and Complete Copy and Paste.

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Get 3 free months of Backblaze cloud backup

Get 3 free months of Backblaze cloud backup

December 10, 2016

It’s time to start thinking about those new year’s resolutions. One resolution that many computer users have is to get serious about backing up their files. If that’s on your to-do list, check out Backblaze, a simple and affordable solution for Mac and PC that gets even more affordable with three free months.

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Finale v.25.2 maintenance update is released

Finale v.25.2 maintenance update is released

December 8, 2016

Finale 25.2 is the second maintenance update to Finale. It adds two long-requested options: instruments that transpose at the octave can retain their transposition in concert pitch scores, and a ruler to display bar numbers.

Read the full article →