Composition Tip #15: Grand Finale

Finale_1

(Photo credit: CLF)

Sibelius (software)

It’s a good idea to use pencil and manuscript paper in the first stages of composition: it’s quicker and you can do stuff that’s not necessarily easy on on the computer.

But later use a computer notation program such Finale or Sibelius to check for sounds, errors, etc. I catch lots of mistakes when I get to hear it played back as written (even considering the stiff computer rendition), and I can quickly tweak, improve, and correct the manuscript. Printing out parts is quick and easy. Revisions are a snap.

People play better when you present them with manuscript is very clear. There is not much excuse any more not to do this. Music calligraphy is still a great skill to have, but everyone expects to see computer notation these days.

Many publishers expect you to submit your work as a flawless Finale or Sibelius file, so it behooves you to work up some serious computer music notation chops.

Example of a music manuscript: Johann Sebastia...

Caveat: it is also possible to do very cheesy work with these programs – you still have to learn the art and craft of producing good music manuscript to make sure it looks professional – it doesn’t do it by itself.

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