How to Write a Song in a Minute – Part 1

Choosing Your Software | Continued

There are tons of music notation and audio mixing software choices out there in the sea of technology. In this list are a few of the more mainstream ones. Each item will be marked on whether it is commercial or freeware, and most of the priced ones link to their free trial downloads, in case, yknow, you don’t know and you accidentally enter your credit card information onto the site before downloading a registered copy and you’re wondering where the $600 went.

Piano Roll Editors:

  • FL Studio – Commercial
    Fruityloops Studio is one of the most popular choices for creating music, used by a wide variety of composers, novice and advanced. With a lot of available VSTi‘s, it’s perfect for creating both traditional music and electronic. Click here to watch a sample of some sicknasty piano melodies made in FL Studio.
  • Logic Pro – Commercial, no free trial
    Mac’s response to the world of audio mixing. Garageband not enough for you? Step it up with GARAGEBAND ON STEROIDS. Featuring an enormous amount of editing, recording, and MIDI options. Click here to watch a sample of an epic orchestral piece made in Logic Pro 9.
  • MixcraftCommercial
     Simple enough to be completely user-friendly, but with a complex variety of effects and sounds to get your music sounding professional. Import MIDI files or start composing or recording on the spot, then turn it into something great! Click here to watch a sample of some chillin’ mellow guitar melodies.
  • Cubase – Commercial, PC & Mac
    Complex software from the developers of Virtual Studio Technology, or VST, now used industry-wide — which basically means this software is going to support a crap-ton of effects and virtual instrument plug-ins. A full recording, mixing, and creation station (yeah I just made that rhyme) that offers a number of streamlined versions to suit your needs; not to mention they have wallpapers for all their products in case you want to go the extra mile in software fandom (hey, it saves you from making your own!). Click here to watch a sample of user interface in Cubase.
  • ACID Music Studio – Commercial, PC & Mac
    Sony’s answer to music software. This one’s relatively cheap compared to the others, and with your purchase, according to the site, you can also get a free download to a pack of Sony loops of your choice. Though we’re professionals here, and we DON’T USE LOOPS! Watch here for a sample of how this program works.

Score Editors:

  • MuseScore – Free (finally!)
    A very basic way to edit simple sheet music, with easy input and .pdf format support. Basically the best way to try your hand at some first-level music editing.
  • Anvil Studio – Free, with premium plug-ins
    Ah, good old Anvil Studio. While it does look like it came out of the 1990’s Geocities era and half of the screen is covered in help information with mismatching colors, Anvil Studio is versatile enough to support a number of tracks and a lot of ways to input notes. Great for the exploring musician, methods for composing include using a connected keyboard with a USB, the virtual MIDI keyboard, musical typing, and more~! *rainbow* Anvil Studio also has a piano roll editor.
  • Sibelius – Commercial – $599.99
    Though the price may give you many a heart attack, Sibelius is definitely the grand-daddy of all the score-writing software. Use it to compose your conductor scores for orchestras, transcribe music, and capture ideas. You can probably get a student discount, if that quells your doubts. ;D

That concludes part one of this tutorial. I’ll continue to update this list, but for now, try downloading some software and explore your options. Also, brush up on your music theory for next week, because that is when it will get so hardcore you won’t even believe. Preparense ustedes.

– Ragtime


One thought on “How to Write a Song in a Minute – Part 1

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