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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:12 am
Posts: 1070
This may be of interest:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... ormat-rot/

Pogue mentions three music-writing apps, two of which are available on abandonware sites, though the other seems to have gone missing.

The missing one is HB Engraver, which seems to have become Music Engraver in its final version (1.2.3?).

Professional Composer and Deluxe Music Construction Set seem easy to run, if the abandonware sites are correct. Anyone have the Engraver software to add to these?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 1:21 am
Posts: 64
Hi Ed,

I remember these three programs: I owned Deluxe Music, was lent a copy of Professional Composer for a while, and tried the demo of HB Engraver. All much different:

DMCS was easy to use, created very nice output with Adobe's Sonata font, and had serious limitations in the complexity of music you could notate.

Prof. Composer was less limited, although much more so than any of today's engraving programs, and also produced great output with the Sonata font. It was difficult to use, especially fixing mistakes (I'm thinking of version 2.2; later versions, renamed Composer's Mosaic, may have been easier.) Prof. Composer was also renowned for fierce copy protection.

HB Engraver had an unusual interface: music was entered with the mouse on a highly magnified score. A note head was about the size of a penny stuck to the computer screen. The thinking was that mouse clicks in approximate locations would put the note in the right place. This made note entry easy but made the program hard to use in terms of seeing much of the score you were working on. A Print Preview was helpful but you had to switch back and forth frequently.

I'm sorry I no longer have copies of any of the three programs.

The very real problem of format rot in music notation may be addressed by interchange formats. MIDI works but is limited. NIFF (notation interchange file format) was not a success. MusicXML may be better. There's also a file reader called PDFtoMusic that will take a PDF file created by a music engraving program (not an image), apparently read how the vectors were drawn for the PDF, and reconstruct the score as MusicXML. I don't know how well it works, but it could be a lifesaver.


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