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MagicScore Maestro 3.8
MagicScore Maestro is a pretty cool application that allows you to create music quickly and easily either with a single instrument or many. There are several ways to go about this (one of which is through a midi device) and we'll cover the others later in the review. Also for the larger screenshots you'll need to click on the thumbnail images to see the full size. We felt it necessary to give you a complete view of the software.
The software is capable of two languages, English and German. The interface is very, very intuitive and a lot of fun to work in. Everything is easily accessible making workflow a breeze. Below is a screenshot of the main user interface.
From the File menu you can access standard File menu program operations. Instead of a Recents list you have the Reopen list.
You can save files you create as .sfd (native MagicScore Maestro files), .mid (midi files) and .kar (karaoke files). You are able to open these files also for editing and playback.
You are able to export to .bmp, .gif, .jpeg and .wmf. Although we tried to save as .pdf we were unsuccessful and think this may be a future feature.
The Edit menu is also standard which we like as most of us are familiar with software edit menus and it is nice to see that things follow a standard.
The Composition menu is an asset and allows you to access various properties of the Staff, Row and the whole piece you are working on.
The Music staff properties dialog allows you to name your instruments, choose an instrument, set the channel and mute the channel and lets you change the accolade style.
The Row properties dialog allows you to set up a name, instrument, channel, mute and view.
From the Musical Staff properties dialog you can set up your staffs.
The Composition properties dialog is very cool. Set up your music, page layout, printer options, drums and signatures all in one place.
The Templates menu allows you to adjust the program symbols, the Expression dynamics, Expression tempo, the chords list and the drum map. The following screenshots represent what is available.
You can extend the program by adding your own symbols which you will only have to create once and can then use them over and over again.
Adjust the dynamics of Expressions from the Dynamic Expressions dialog.
Adjust the tempo of Expressions with the Tempo Expressions dialog.
Add your own chords or modify chords that are pre-built into MagicScore Maestro 3.8.
The Tools menu is the long route for playing, recording and moving through a piece of music. The main toolbar has buttons for this that makes it very handy.
The Options menu is where you'll find a place to make your general program settings and set the language of your choice.
When you create a new document or open an existing one you end up with a word processing looking area in the interface. You can also see the instrument list that shows the channel for each instrument and allows you to set the volume for each instrument. Editing channels, volume and even the instrument couldn't be easier. If you don't like it there, simply close it with the arrow button and reopen it the same way.
Below is the Notes palette of the navigation area. This palette is loaded with the tools to enter notes quickly and easily and is only one way to get those notes onto the canvas.
The symbols, Extended and Expression palettes have all you need to add expression to your music.
Below is a screenshot of the Chords palette.
Adding text and images to your sheet music couldn't be easier with the Design palette. You can add text, lyrics, graphics and limited custom drawn graphics.
These next two palettes are really awesome and another way to enter notes onto your music canvas. You can manually click the notes you want on the virtual keyboard or you can hover your mouse a different points on the virtual keyboard to let the software know what duration you want for each note you enter and use your computer keyboard to enter the notes. This works pretty slick. It takes a little getting used to but not much. I was flying right along just a few minutes after learning to use it.
The next palette is the Modify palette. It allows you to modify your sheet music to your own tastes. Connect and disconnect notes, move them closer or further from each other, change the measure widths, heights and much more from this valuable palette.
Now we'll go through a quick set up for a piece of music. The Music staff properties dialog opens when you start a new file. I just happen to have an old copy of Für Elise laying around so I chose that one to practice with. As you can see from the screenshot below, in just this one dialog we're pretty much ready to go after filling in all the information. One thing I am impressed with is the Upbeat or make up measure. You tell the program how many notes to make up and their size and it does all the rest for you. You don't have to mess around with that after your piece is completed.
Once we clicked the ok button we had a nice blank canvas to start working with.
We used all the various ways available to enter notes and each one was quick and easy. One of the really nice things that I like a lot is being able to add slurs and other notation exactly where I want them. As mentioned earlier getting all the notes in correctly and quickly was easy. I didn't have a lot of fussing around because something got entered wrong.
Below is a link to the Für Elise midi created with MagicScore Maestro.
All in all I liked the program for its user friendly interface, its ease of use and the quality of the finished product. I neglected to mention that you can preview your files before printing them so that you can make adjustments if necessary before printing.
This has turned out to be quite a large review and I haven't touched on everything that the program can do. There is a demo available here and I suggest you try it out for yourself. Dare to explore because every time I tried something new I found more that the program can do.
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