What? There’s FREE music notation software?

After being a Sibelius fanatic for many, many years (at one point it was only really Sibelius, Finale, or GULP(!) Evolution Audio Pro). That takes me back! Evolution Audio Pro was on 3 ½ inch floppies - I remember crassly arranging Captain Pugwash for bagpipes on this. Yes. Look, I know. What was my 8 year-old self thinking?

My Sibelius license expired recently, and I thought what are the options? In the consumer-centric, globalised world we live in, am I enslaved to this rather magnificent music notation package?

I was staggered just how many free notation packages there are. There’s an entire symphony of them! The ones below however have been my favourite to use so far. I’m not yet in a position to review them, I need to live with them a little longer. However, I will always have a soft spot for Sibelius, as it is the notation package I grew up with. I had one of the original versions on my parents’ first computer, 24 years ago.

The programmes below are my all-time favourites. Click on the links, download them. Find one you’re comfortable with - and don’t get too frustrated by the different interfaces!


Finale Notepad


Sibelius | First

Sigh. I still can’t get over floppies. Those were the days. Actually, sack the computer. Quill and parchment for me. I would rather compose by candlelight than LED.

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