Encore Music Notation Software
What's new in Encore 5 | Feature comparison sheet: Encore 5 vs. Music Time Deluxe
|Instant startup (1 to 2 second launch)||Slurs now attach to notes|
|Dozens of predefined score templates||Instrument/Tuning presets in tablature|
|User definable templates||Reorganized chord symbol window|
|Helpful "New score" Wizard||Double click chord symbol to edit|
|Toolbar is user customizable||Pan and reverb for each staff|
|Toolbar can include all tools!||Optional pre-roll clicks before playback|
|Open Recent added to File menu||Garritan Personal Studio ready|
|Improved zoom interface & presets||DLS (DownLoadable Sounds)|
|Zoom offers live preview||SoundFont support|
|Extremely smooth playback head||Music XML import and export|
|Lots of new keyboard shortcuts||Legacy scores open perfectly|
|Escape key returns you to Arrow tool||File compatibility with Encore 126.96.36.199 .enc|
|Simplify Accidentals command||File compatibility with MusicTime .mus|
|View concert pitch or transposed pitch||Support for OS X long file names|
|Command Shift + for transpose octaves||User Forum (www.gvox.com/forum)|
Encore 5 now includes an extensive library of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. These are not merely MIDI files, they are actual Encore scores. I created the example scores and Flash movies provided above using the Encore scores from this library, making only very minor changes.
Here's an audio recording of my abridgement of the Bach Concerto No. 16, BWV 987. Aside from removing measures to create the abridgement, I made only minor adjustments to note volumes. Otherwise this is straight from Gvox's Bach collection, which is free with Encore 5 and Encore 5 upgrades, and included in your Encore download or install disk.
Here are some of the J. S. Bach works included in Encore format in Gvox's Bach library:
Anna Magdalena's Notebook
Fifteen Two Part Inventions (BWV 772 - BWV 786)
Fifteen Three part Symphonias (BWV 787 - BWV 801)
English Suites (BWV 806 - BWV 811)
French Suites (BWV 812 - BWV 816)
Six keyboard Partitas (BVW 825 - 830)
Toccatas (BWV 910 - BWV 916)
Well Tempered Clavier (Preludes and Fugues) Book 1 (BWV 846 - BWV 869)
Well Tempered Clavier (Preludes and Fugues) Book 2 (BWV
The Italian Concerto
The Goldberg Variations
17 Chorals (BWV 651 - BWV 668)
Four Concertos (BWV 592 - BWV 595)
Six Trio Sonatas (BWV 525 - BWV 530)
Tocatta and Fugues (BWV 538, 540, 564,565)
Encore 5 / MusicTime Deluxe Comparison Sheet:
MusicTime Deluxe, also by Gvox, is essentially 'Encore Lite.' It offers most of Encore's features at roughly a quarter of the price! Encore and MusicTime Deluxe share the same file format. In other words Encore and MusicTime users can share Encore (.enc) and MusicTime (.mus) scores without exporting or converting in any way. Some features like Guitar tablature are restricted in MusicTime. For instance, although MusicTime can open and display files that have tablature, it can not edit the tablature, nor can it create tablature.
Here's a brief comparison sheet between Encore and MusicTime Deluxe:
Staves per page
|Up to 64||Up to 26|
|Staves per system||Up to 64||Up to 16|
|Number of open scores allowed||16||2|
Note Attributes / Beams
|Extended control||Limited control|
|Guitar Tablature||Yes (Create and edit)||Display and print only|
|Hide Staves||One or more systems||No|
|Dynamic symbols||Redefinable effect||Fixed effect|
|Percussion Staff tools||Extensive||Only General MIDI|
|Export to EPS||Yes||No|
Encore's Notes/Attributes allows you to set details like note head type, stem height, accidental shift, and beam thickness.
Encore 5's Customizable Toolbar allows you to design your own palette of tools to enhance your workflow!
Encore's Expressions palette lets you add customizable score expressions that you can drop into the score as easily as the default expressions "dolce" or "poco a poco". These can be set in any text in any font, size and style.
Encore allows you to add marks, such as accents, to an entire group of selected notes at once, instead of added each mark individually. These 'group functions' are not available in MusicTime Deluxe.
Encore 5.0 contains many workflow improvements. Honestly, I can edit scores about twice as fast as before, largely because the shortcuts are so logical. Some of the new keystrokes are logical extensions of preexisting shortcuts. For instance, we've always had command + for and Command - for nudging notes up or down. Now with with Command Shift + and Command shift - we can nudge notes an octave.
There's a Shortcuts section on page 5 of the QuickStart.pdf, three pages in length! Encore's new 'command key' shortcuts are my favorites -- even though some are real wrist twisters! Here are some particularly logical and easy to remember strokes, most of which Encore publicizes in its menus:
|Key Signature [Ctrl]+[K]||Add Measure [Ctrl]+[M]|
|Time Signature [Ctrl]+[T]||Delete Measure [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[M]|
|Duration change [Ctrl]+[D]||Add Staff [Ctrl]+ [S]|
|Velocity change [Ctrl]+[V]||Delete Staff [Ctrl]+[X] [S]|
|Barline Type [Ctrl]+[B]||Add Page [Ctrl]+ [P]|
|Endings [Ctrl]+[E]||Remove Page [Ctrl]+[X] [P]|
|Measure Numbers [Ctrl]+[N]|
|Make Chord [Ctrl]+[C]||Text Elements [Ctrl]+ [H] (think header?)|
|Make Grace/Cue [Ctrl]+[G]||MIDI Device/Instrument [Ctrl]+ [I]|
|Make Tablature [Ctrl]+[Z]|
|Compress Rests [Ctrl]+[R]|
'Show control points' shortcut is a real winner: Command-apostrophe. No more trips to the menu and dialog!
Other time savers include: Improved pasting, Auto Spacing, Auto Spacing override, the vastly improved Zoom interface, z to zoom in, Shift z to zoom out, 'escape' to Arrow tool, Encore's horizontal constraint of vertically dragged staffs (which prevents staves from drifting left or right when dragged. This last feature also prevents systems from narrowing and invoking needless note alignments (Align Spacings), which can overwrite nudges -- the user's engraving refinements. Long file names and Open Recent are surprisingly useful -- granted these are features normally considered standard faire, but they're here now ... and they really help! So, in fact, many Encore 5.0 improvements further refine Encore's strength: usability. I'm all for that. I no longer have to set up a macro program just to work quickly in Encore — however, I would like to see a shortcut map, where the user could reassign shortcuts.
There's a particularly exciting addition. Encore now includes MusicXML export and import. This allows 'score exchange' between notation applications, in a much more complete manner than MIDI exports. Encore MusicXML export/import presently supports clefs, meter, note heads, stem direction, slurs, accidentals (including enharmonics and courtesy), dynamics, marks, symbols, voices, and text ... and in addition to MIDI playback duration Encore also specifies notated durations. None of these notational matters are included in a MIDI export, except for meter, and therein lies the superiority of MusicXML.
Oh ... ever forget to deselect before printing? Encore used to print the selected portion of the page, rarely what was intended. Good news. Command-p always prints the full page now. You'll no longer waster paper by inadvertently printing a selection. However, you still can print a selection if you want to. Simply choose File>Print Selection.
Here's a list of important features yet unimplemented in Encore:
|Multi-level undo / Undo history||Rhythmic symbols in tablature staves|
|VST hosting||Notation/Tab 'string assignment' property|
|Document styles & Staff styles||Mixed fonts & styles in tablature staves|
|User defined 'engraving styles'||Draggable tablature numbers (x & y)|
|Finer object/control point placement grid *||Tablature 'fret entry' mode (Like TablEdit)|
|Draggable selections (notes & objects)||Tablature-to-treble-clef function|
|Paste styles: paste over, paste after, etc.||Import ABC, ASCII Tab & TablEdit|
|Preservation of user's engraving offsets **||Violin/Fiddle fingerings in Tablature|
|Show user's engraving offsets (for review)||User definable chord diagrams|
|Delete user offsets from selection||Offset chord symbols up or down|
|Linked parts||Chromatic/Diatonic note drag (switchable) +|
|Inspector Panel (to view & set properties)||MIDI interpretations of ornaments|
|Preview/Apply of all dialog effects||Microphone input|
|Facing Pages view||Tap tempo|
|Improved Grace notes & interface||Internal notepad for project comments|
|Better 'pickup' paradigm||Control point color preference|
|Keypad skins (for Finale & Sibelius users)||Background color/pattern preference|
|Sequencer/MIDI data & Raw Data view||Dialogs and text entry that silence QWERTY|
|Search/Filter for selecting notes, etc.||'Encore Player' plug-in for browsers|
|Instrument range warnings||Save as audio: MP3, WAV, AIFF, etc.|
|Measure overload warnings||Commands via MIDI Keyboard/Controller|
|Lyric window (as alternate to line entry)||Kerning in title text|
|Video window for scoring soundtracks||AppleScript support|
|Stereo audio track||Internal scripting language|
It's been a winding road to the present. Fortunately the present is bright for new and loyal Encore users. Today >and Encore is in good hands at the new Gvox.
Encore's resiliency is testimony that excellent products have a way of surviving. For nearly a decade, until a just a few years ago, Encore's development was relatively dormant. Many releases between version 4.2 and 4.5 were primarily maintenance upgrades, focusing on operating system compatibility and MIDI connectivity. During that time Encore's feature set stalled, bugs were introduced, many features were broken, and longstanding behaviors were lost. In contrast, the competition expanded their list of features and captured considerable market share. Nevertheless Encore retained a loyal following.
Encore 5.0 addresses the lion's share of residual problems. Development also re-engineered much of Encore's foundation architecture, and that's thankless work ... because we don't yet openly see many benefits. I trust though that the recent groundwork will lead toward rapid future development.
I've used Encore for over 15 years and have created thousands of beautiful scores with this remarkable tool. I've found nothing superior for my needs.
During Encore's dormant period I tried the top competitors for transcribing, composing, and publishing music -- but none successfully enticed me to switch, because none offered a compelling balance of simplicity, usability, depth and quality. Many things easily accomplished in Encore were impossible in Finale and Sibelius. Indeed these applications have many features that Encore lacks, but mostly those are tools for high-end orchestral scoring and part making ... and none were critical to my needs in creating guitar, fiddle notation and tablature, vocal lead sheets, and small scores. It just wasn't worth the effort, even though I sorely miss the tablature staff rhythmic notation that these other product offer.
Regarding Encore's longstanding superior ease of use, actions that were always easy in Encore have only been simplified recently in Finale. Look no further than Finale 2008's new feature list. Here's a description of Finale's new Selection Tool:
... and its Cut/Copy/Paste improvements: http://www.finalemusic.com/Finale/features/edits/cutcopypaste.aspx
Finale and Sibelius are geared primarily toward professional music engravers. Unfortunately, whether you're serious or casual about notation, you'll pay a price when you encounter steep learning curves, an awkward interface, or staunch inflexibility. I gave each package a serious try, on numerous occasions, in various releases over many years. I always came away frustrated, and found myself ensconced in an oxymoronic irony: astonishing features, but too much effort required to access them, and the inability perform numerous mission critical tasks easily accomplished in Encore.
Encore is a suitable choice for professional engraving, and due to Encore's blend of usability and depth, it appeals overwhelmingly to amateur and semi-professional music notation users too. Encore scored a "bronze medal" in 2007 at http://music-notation-software-review.toptenreviews.com
One of the original music notation starlets, Encore was a true music notation pioneer and featured many first-to-market features. Originally created by MIDI innovator Passport Designs, Encore came to market around 1990, not long after Passport created the original PC/Macintosh sequencer. Passport was also a primary developer of the MIDI itself: the Musical Instrument Digital Interface protocol. A pioneer in hardware too, Passport developed of the first MIDI interface for personal computers.
Over Encore's long and venerable history, usability has always been its strong suit. It has always provided the best balance point between power and simplify. Because Encore's interface is so clear, it encourages you to explore, discover and use more features.
It's astonishing that, while breaking ground in the fields of MIDI sequencing software and the entirely new field of notation software, Passport Designs struck user interface gold, forging the user interface design patterns and interface simplicity that remain an example for other. Even today few applications cut straight to the core of sequencing and notation like MasterTracks Pro sequencer and Encore notation software.
- Encore, MusicTime - http://www.gvox.com
- Finale, Allegro, G7- http://www.finalemusic.com
- Harmony Assistant - http://www.myriad-online.com (Myriad)
- Lilypond - http://lilypond.org
- Logic - http://www.apple.com/logicstudio/logicpro/
- MagicScore - http://www.musicaleditor.com
- Melody Assistant - http://www.myriad-online.com (Myriad)
- MIDINotate - http://www.notation.com
- Mozart - http://www.mozart.co.uk
- MusEdit - http://www.musedit.com
- Music Publisher - http://www.braeburn.co.uk (Braeburn)
- Nightengale - http://www.ngale.com (Adept Music Notation Solutions)
- NoteWorthy Composer - http://www.noteworthysoftware.com
- Notion, Progression (for Guitar) - http://www.notionmusic.com/
- Overture - http://www.geniesoft.com
- Personal Composer - http://www.pcomposer.com
- QuickScore - http://www.sionsoft.com/
- Score - http://www.scoremus.com
- ScoreWriter - http://www.geniesoft.com
- Sibelius - http://www.sibelius.com
More information at: http://ace.acadiau.ca/score/others.htm
The MusicMXL XML file format provides a music notation interchange standard. It triumphs where NIFF (Notation Interchange File Format) failed. A significant part of it's success is its widespread adoption, making it today's de facto industry standard, and probably the standard for some time to come.
MusicXML allows sharing of music notation between MusicXML-ready music notation applications ... but it has other potential as well.
This page last updated: 02-16-2009
© Singingwood Music 2008
Tags: Music software, music notation software, Encore 5, Gvox