It's time for the annual notation reboot. In addition to setting up new template files for the new edition of Finale, my primary engraving software, I've been doing practice runs to keep up some facility with the other notation software on my computer. In addition to Finale, I have Lilypond, Sibelius, Turandot, Graphire Music Studio, and have recently downloaded Berlioz (a commerical program now turned into freeware) and MuseScore (free and open sourced) to try. Each product has useful features and a distinct workflow and I find that it's useful to have several approaches available to solving the same problem. The new Finale (2010) doesn't have any dramatic changes, but does have two features that were worth the upgrade: an easier way of working with percussion and more possibilities for the import and export of graphics.
But don't get the impression that I'm spending all my composing time with my computer: a fresh box of black uni-ball micros has arrived, I've ultra-sounded my Rapidographs and calligraphy pens completely clean, and have even purchased a fresh Noligraph, my favorite five-lined staff writer. I'm now ready to compose with or without electricity and on the backs of envelopes or cocktail napkins should inspiration hit. There are no more excuses: time to write.