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  • Mac Software To Create Basic Lead Sheets?

    Hello all,

    I was wondering if anybody has come across a good (and relatively simple) tool for creating lead sheets on the Mac. I am in the process of creating a sort of "fake book" of my band's material and just want to notate chord symbols and some lyrics. I don't even need to transcribe melodies -- typically I just use slash marks on the staff to indicate rhythm and have chord symbols above the staff and lyrics below. Pretty barebones.

    Anyhow, I have already tried two approaches:
    1) I own Sibelius, which I have found to be too complicated. The program is a powerhouse, but is cumbersome to use (at least for my purposes). There is no built-in way to play a chord on a MIDI keyboard and have it create a chord symbol automatically. Instead, you have to create the notes and then use a plug-in (which isn't too accurate) to create these symbols. And then if you change things, the chord symbols aren't actually linked to the notes below, so you need to re-run the plug-in. Bottom line is that it just takes too long.

    2) BBEdit was another option, as is any decent text editor. For awhile I just wrote out the lyrics and put chord symbols in brackets, thereby avoiding all music notation. But I found this to be too limiting. For example, sometimes I want to notate a specific lick or chord voicing. Or sometimes I need to indicate a certain rhythm. Thus, I would like to retain the ability to use proper music notation when needed.

    In any event, sorry for the long-winded question, but I figured I can't be the only one who's ever needed to create basic lead sheets. My dream is to sit down in front of a MIDI keyboard, select an interval (i.e. quarter notes), play some chords, and have the chord symbols automatically appear above a staff with slash marks below them. Does anything like this exist or am I still stuck with pen & paper?

    Thanks in advance for any help,
    Ben

  • #2
    i don't use any, but this link shows many different notation software...

    http://www.audiomidi.com/software/notation.cfm
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Good deals with: lossforgain (x2), cale76</div>

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    • #3
      Maybe try this out, its free. I havent used it, but I've heard it's OK.
      http://www.finalemusic.com/

      Click on the Finale Note Pad link on the left.
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      </font></font><font size="2"><br />
      </font></div>

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      • #4
        Chiisu/multitrack mind -

        Thanks for the resources.

        As far as Finale goes, I've checked it out and didn't find what I was looking for. The free version doesn't accept MIDI input (which is essential for me as I'd rather not type out every note) and none of the versions run on OS X without using classic mode(although the forthcoming update is supposed to remedy this).

        Anyhow I appreciate you taking the time to help out and I would welcome any other suggestions.

        - Ben

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        • #5
          Originally posted by hoffstein

          1) I own Sibelius, which I have found to be too complicated. The program is a powerhouse, but is cumbersome to use (at least for my purposes). There is no built-in way to play a chord on a MIDI keyboard and have it create a chord symbol automatically.


          Sometimes you have to have a powerful and complicated program in order to do simple things. From my Finale 2000 manual (and remember, Finale has gotten even more powerful since then):

          "CHORD MENU: MIDI Input: When you select this option, you can click a note or rest in the score, and a tiny ear icon will appear. Finale will add a chord symbol above the note you clicked when you play the chord on your synthesizer."

          And: "The Chord Tool lets you create, move, and delete chord symbols in your score. These symbols are musically intelligent; they play back when you play back the piece, transpose when you transpose the music, and can be placed in your score automatically if you wish. You can even teach Finale to recognize nonstandard, complex, or unusually spelled chord symbols".

          So, you get what you pay for (and for the effort it takes to learn Finale, the Sherman Tank of computer notation programs). Finale doesn't just give you the salt and pepper, but the tobasco and soy sauce as well. You may not need them all the time, but it's nice to know it's all there, especially at 3 in the morning with a deadline the next day. Finale can do anything IMO. Personally I'm going to upgrade to the 2004 OS X version soon.
          <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;Music is the best&quot;<br />
          --Frank Zappa<br />
          <br />
          For a good time, try <a href="http://analogkid.us/yabb/YaBB.pl" target="_blank">http://analogkid.us/yabb/YaBB.pl</a></div>

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          • #6
            Birdienumnum -

            Thanks very much for the information about Finale. I may have to take the plunge it seems. I did come across a homemade plug-in for Sibelius written by Jack Sweet that allows you to do what I'm looking for, but the fact that Finale has this functionality built-in is a big selling point.

            - Ben

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            • #7
              You're welcome!
              <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;Music is the best&quot;<br />
              --Frank Zappa<br />
              <br />
              For a good time, try <a href="http://analogkid.us/yabb/YaBB.pl" target="_blank">http://analogkid.us/yabb/YaBB.pl</a></div>

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              • #8
                didn't cubase vst have a score option? i bet you could get one for pretty cheap if you can find it.
                <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;When I say be skeptical of everything I mean it. Just because someone was elected to do a job doesn't mean that person has any idea of what they're doing.&quot;- Sen. Bob Kerry<br />
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              • #9

                I was wondering if anybody has come across a good (and relatively simple) tool for creating lead sheets on the Mac. I am in the process of creating a sort of "fake book" of my band's material and just want to notate chord symbols and some lyrics.

                Have you looked at TuneSmith yet? It produces a lyric sheet with chord charts and has a built in chord dictionary but you can create custom chords if needed. It's free as well.

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