After my paean to MuseScore last week it was pointed out to me that I had neglected to mention another music notation program that is available for free, Finale NotePad. Finale NotePad is easy to use and has many of the same features as MuseScore. It is available for Windows and Apple computers.
Finale NotePad was the first program I used when I started writing music. To be honest, I can’t remember exactly why I switched over to MuseScore. It may have been that the program was not available at the time for the platform I was using. It is a versatile program and is easy for a beginner to use. Should the need to notate more complex music arise, Finale has a family of products at a variety of price points. I would say MuseScore and Finale NotePad are like two flavors of ice cream; only you can decide which you like best. So give them a try, and let us all know what you think.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention two other products.
LilyPond is free software for music engraving. It is open-source software, meaning, if you know what you’re doing, you can modify the program itself. The method of entering notes is text-based—no dragging and dropping notes here. So the programmers among you might find this an interesting choice.
I can’t let you go without some music! In thinking of suitable finales, I couldn’t help but think of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from the Ninth Symphony. Here is a great flash mob video of Ode to Joy.