NOTATING MUSIC ON THE APPLE MAC

This site and the music it contains have been produced using Apple Macintosh computers; the music itself has all been notated with Sibelius - currently (as of February 2021) I use Sibelius Ultimate 2021.2 7.5 for Mac (https://www.avid.com/sibelius).

Files are posted as PDF (a familiar format that can be read on almost every computer and mobile device and readily printed out), Music XML (as compressed MXL files) a music exchange format that can be read by scoring programs and Digital Audio Workstations, and MIDI a digital format that can also be used to open music in notation programs and DAWs.(
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Notating Lute Tablature on the Apple Mac The leading programs for notating and engraving lute tablature are all are designed to run on Windows operating systems. As far as I know they can all run successfully Apple Mac computers with VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop. or on Boot Camp.These programs are: Fronimo, Fandango, and LuteScribe 

There are now numerous Apple Mac programs for notating music (and several that have versions for the iPad). Most of them will handle guitar tab and several of them can also notate lute tablature. Of these the best now available for lute tablature is undoubtedly the Mac version of
MuseScore - which is a free (open source) program - versions 3 and above have this functionality. MuseScore scores over other Mac programs by having a built in facility to correctly notate and play back diapasons (ie courses below the sixth).

TablEdit is a cross platform program that is available for Mac OS X and can be used to enter tablature and convert it to staff notation, but I don’t find it suitable for producing tablature arrangements as the only way to handle diapasons is to create extra staff lines. However TablEdit does have some useful features. It can import some tablature formats, and it can import and export MIDI and Music XML.

NoteAbility Pro is an Apple Mac music notation program that does have a reasonably good implementation of lute tablature including correct notation for courses 7 - 9. It is is fairly straightforward to enter tablature though the dedicated ‘Tablature’ font is disappointingly difficult to read on screen. In addition the process of converting staff notation to tablature is troublesome, requiring separate entry of rhythm flags. It does have the advantage of a version for iPad (though I haven’t tested that) and it is now available free.

Harmony Assistant is a cross platform program that has an implementation of tablature but, like TablEdit, it doesn’t handle bass courses well.

Finale, which is one of the leading cross platform notation programs, does have an implementation of tablature, but I have not tried using it for lute tablature. The Finale manual is not helpful on this topic and a search of the Finale forums suggests problems implementing rhythm flags and bass courses, but it is a powerful and customisable program so there may be a workaround for these problems - I’d like to hear about it if there is!

Sibelius is also a powerful cross platform program and it can be used to produce first class lute printed lute tablature but you do have to ‘fake’ the diapason notation. The Sibelius manual does now have a chapter on Lute tablature, but it's quite short and for the new user it's still quite difficult to work out the options for for producing different styles of lute tablature.

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