Archive for November, 2009

I’ve had an interest in playing piano for a long time — a time mostly spent with wishful thinking that I could play rather than actually learning something. Though, over the course of trying to learn, I’ve had opportunity to try out a few computer-based music notation apps. I think I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for in MuseScore.

NoteWorthy Composer, Mozart, Finale NotePad, all of these I’ve used to some extent or another. NoteWorthy’s fast and efficient, Mozart is elegantly designed, and NotePad (was) free and easy. But, of course, they all are for-pay, or, in the case of NotePad, limited in the feature department (now both).

But I just recently found out about MuseScore. Around since 2002, MuseScore in its purest form is a free, open-source clone of Finale (or, indeed, any other notation software). The mechanics are essentially the same: click to add and move notes and rests, etc.  and play back the notes straight from the sheet music (via SoundFonts — so it sounds better than straight MIDI).

It has many of the capabilities of Finale NotePad (last I checked), including MIDI input and multiple note layers, as well as features that only come with more upscale products, like time and key signature changes, clef changes and unlimited staves.


MuseScore provides an interface reminiscent of Finale

Of course, I wouldn’t be me without some negativity:

MuseScore has a tendency to misinterpret what I’m trying to do (or rather I’m doing something wrong). Sometimes the methods of selection don’t make sense. For instance, you have to enter a special “Note Input” mode in order to insert notes, but you have to exit it in order to move notes around.

Playback is difficult due to the lack of an “indication bar” in the status bar that has functionality for skipping forward and backward through measures. Although the current measure is displayed, the only “rewind” option I can find goes back to the first measure which is sometimes cumbersome when trying to scrub through a particular section.

This is remedied, however, by a keyboard shortcut to accomplish the same thing (Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right, although I prefer the mouse to do this) and a “Play Panel” that can set the start time.

My only other real complaint is the particularly noticeable load time. On Windows, when I timed it by running it for the first time after a cold boot, it took 38 seconds from icon click to main screen. Subsequent starts take about 13 seconds. I have yet to install it on Linux.

MuseScore is soon to release version 1.0. It’s licensed under the GPL and is available in the usual Windows, Mac, and Linux flavors.


Mind, though, that “the tools don’t make the talent” and all that. I still can’t play piano.

From now on, thanks to the miracle that is autopublish, Freakin’ Cool App of the Week will attempt to be updated on a regular basis — hopefully at least every other Friday.


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WordPress diff Easter egg

I just found out by playing around that the proofreading tool on WordPress also works in HTML editor mode. I tried it. It didn’t work (or it took longer than I waited) but that was the least of my worries.

Self-destructing... hopefully not my post

HTML mode has a rather nasty tendency to strip out breaks between paragraphs (among messing up other things). Guess what? The visual editor didn’t add them back.

I worried but then I remembered I could use WordPress’s integrated diff viewer to restore from yesterday. I tried to find the last sane version, but me being idiotic me, I chose to compare the same revision to itself.

And something very strange happened (see screenshots). My post was self-destructing and I was thrown into the Matrix.

The Matrix has you... (it goes on like this)

I may have been about to lose my post but that led me to this which otherwise wouldn’t have been here to brighten my day. Think of the positives in life.

The fact that I’m using IE is not one of them.

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I like to listen to The World’s World in Words podcast occasionally, and after going through the archives I found the above useful Spanish expression in this episode.

What does it mean? This (from here) is a solid definition:

es la verguenza que sientes tu cuando alguien relacionado contigo (pero que no eres tu) hace algo que te parece totalmente incorrecto, inoportuno, desafortunado… en tu presencia y de mas personas, momento en el que te gustaria poder desaparecer, salir corriendo, volando, volverte invisible, retroceder en el tiempo, etc…..

Google Translate + my tweaking (I learned a lot from this heh..yes my Spanish sucks):

It’s the shame you feel when someone associated with you (but not yourself) does something that seems to you as being totally incorrect, inappropriate, unfortunate… in your presence as well as others’, and a moment in which you want to be able to disappear, run away, fly, turn invisible, go back in time, etc…..

Essentially, the phrase is colloquial and means “shame for someone else”. It’s that feeling you get when someone else does something embarrassing and you dread the reaction other people are going to give to that person.

There seriously needs to be a word for this in English. I experience it almost daily.

It’s a great podcast.

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