Score writer for the PC
Settling scores on the PC
Looking for a quick, easy way to score? It only takes Dr T and a PC...
QuickScore Deluxe combines music notation and sequencing software in one package. However, whilst Dr T maintain that this is the only package you will ever need to buy, it has to be said from the outset that the sequencing side of things is rather "weak" and you'd have to be hard pressed to rely on it as your sole means of control.
It does, however, provide the means by which music can be recorded directly onto the staff in real or step time, and offers more advanced editing functions than certain other notation packages at this end of the market. As well as direct entry from a music keyboard, QuickScore allows you to enter notes one at a time directly onto the staff using the mouse and computer keyboard. Text for lyrics and musical symbols can also be placed anywhere on the score just as easily. Any time signature and key signature can be used, and tempo changes may be added at any point in the score.
Up to 16 staves are supported, with one track per stave, and it is possible to view the entire score page by page, or isolate a single track on a separate staff. The 'staff split' option will automatically produce treble and bass staves and place the notes in the appropriate staff as they are recorded - ideal for piano pieces.
All operations are performed from a single screen which has a menu bar across the top covering the usual file, edit, print and play options. At the bottom of the screen is the status bar which houses the track name, tempo, current note value, current time display (bar, beat and tick) and tape recorder-style transport controls. As I mentioned earlier, step or real-time recording is possible, and you can change tracks, alter tempo, and switch between score and track display - all at the click of a mouse on various points of the status bar. Moving around your score is simple too - you can either click on the fast forward control or simply type the destination bar number directly into the time display.
Editing is performed by selecting an object (or group of objects) and applying an 'operation' from the Edit menu. An object can be a note, a text string (for titles, staff legends or lyrics etc.) or a musical symbol. Editing operations include cut, copy, paste, transpose, quantise, make legato - as well as the ability to change the time, velocity or duration for any collection of notes.
Legato extends the length of notes to the start of the next note, smoothing out the performance, whilst quantise works in the same way you would expect with any sequencer. If you don't wish to quantise the performance but human timing errors have resulted in a couple of unwanted rests in your score, the 'quantisation amount' option in the track and score menus will quantise the score whilst leaving the performance itself untouched - nice feature.
Transpose allows you to change the pitch of a group of notes and add accidentals to natural notes, and can be performed chromatically or in the specified key.
When it comes to saving your work, files can be saved in QuickScore Deluxe or Copyist format, as well as standard MIDI files. Standard MIDI file types 0, 1 and 2 can be read in quite happily.
But with any package such as this, it's the finished score that most people are interested in and here, options under the Score menu allow you to control the way this will appear. Selections such as number of bars per line, number of staves per page and whether or not to beam or include bar lines are included, together with key signature, time signature, and so on.
But what of the print quality? Well, in conjunction with the HP LaserJet III printer I was using, I have to say that the output, whilst perfectly acceptable, wasn't quite all it could have been. Sloping beams and some symbols, for instance, had a decidedly 'ragged' look to them, and for the most part did not appear to make the most of the resolution of the printer.
But as ever, this has to be weighed against the price. And it's here that QuickScore really does, er, score. Though it may not be in the same league as the big notation packages, if all you need is an easy-to-use program that won't restrict your creative flow and which is capable of producing an acceptable printed score, you could do a lot worse than Quick Score Deluxe. It definitely achieves bargain status in my book.
More from: Zone Distribution, (Contact Details)
Review by Bob Walder
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