I'm not destined to be a musician, but enjoy trying to make it. Due to an injury, there is no 'normal' instrument I can play, so inputting notation is the most practical way for me to make music. I first used a Passport sequencer, then went to Cakewalk. I just discovered notation software and it sounds like a better way to go. Am I on the right track? One problem with Cakewalk is the inability to enter non-standard note durations, like grace notes. Is there software to enable me to do this with a sound card? I'm not heavy into waveforms or the like, but easily inputting things like grace notes, glissandos and more would bring more enjoyment for the reward.
All three companies offer flagship options, with probably a lot more than you're looking for, and slimmed down, more affordable options. They all also host VSTs and soundware, and Fin and Sib come with their own set of playback instruments, ready to play and interpret notation. Personally I think Overture is the fastest to use with a mouse, with Finale and Sib tying for second in that category. Sibelius is fastest entry at the keyboard, and Finale has the best playback interpretation. Sibelius and Finale are the larger players and tend to implement more features first. They also are perceived as being more professional engravers than Overture, but all three will let you make printable, playable music!
They also will export to MP3 for listening on other devices and MIDI for importing into a sequencer like Cakewalk.
I recommend trying out the demo versions to see which feels most intuitive to you.
I've been a Sibelius user for many years, and you can certainly use Sibelius to create music, including things like grace notes and so forth. I'm certain you also can with Finale, and I'd be very surprised if you could not do the same thing with Notion.
(Notion, in particular, emphasizes its use in live playback, including accompanying touring stage performances. You can't do that for very long--or with the list of shows they have toured with--without extremely good playback control.)
MuseScore enables you to hear the notes while you edit. You may also take part in the tune right from the start or simply pay attention to part of it. Right now feedback causes it to be super easy to understand immediately if you possess the right note or otherwise.
Exactly what a useful tool! I have tried on the extender to set up my very own harmonies and also to transpose tunes. The playback is much better than I was expecting.
David S. Hunt Ambit Energy, Sales Consultant
Bay City, Michigan