This page lists many of the questions asked by people who are trying to determine whether MusEdit is the right tool to meet their needs.
Folks who already are using MusEdit and want answers to questions, suggestions, and tips on how to get the most out of the software might find it more useful to go to: Answers to Questions For Current MusEdit Users, Suggestions and Tips, and Tip of the Day.
General Questions About MusEdit - What it is, what it
can and can't do
What You Can Do With MusEdit
Appearance, Templates, Page Layout
Music Playback and MIDI
1) What is it?
Above all, MusEdit is like a word processor for music. In the days before computers you had to type or write documents by hand, take them to the photocopy shop to make copies, and then put them in a mail box to send them to a friend. Then came computers and word processors, and everything changed. MusEdit does the same thing for music. When you write your music with MusEdit you can enter, copy and paste music just like with a word processor, then print out great looking scores whenever you want, e-mail them to friends, and post them on a web site. Not only that, but you can also play back your music at any tempo, translate it to Tab or treble, transpose it to different keys, and a lot more.
To see slide shows about what MusEdit can be used for, please see MusEdit-What It Is For and MusEdit-What It Can Do.
2) How does it work?
MusEdit starts with "a blank sheet of paper", then you can type a title and author info (and anything else you want), and then enter the kind of staff line you want (treble, tab, or something else). Then you enter music by:
|dropping symbols onto the staff with the mouse, or...|
|typing the music with the computer keyboard (such as "h" for half note, "q" for quarter note, etc.), or...|
|clicking on a "virtual fretboard" or "virtual keyboard" to enter notes , or...|
|hooking your computer up to a Midi guitar or keyboard and enter music by playing your instrument.|
You can also import text-Tab files from guitar Tab sites, or Midi files from many sites on the web (search for the music you want on the net as a Midi file, then drop the Midi file onto the MusEdit window to automatically turn it into notation).
When it comes to adding lyrics, the title, or teaching notes, MusEdit behaves a lot like a word processor, permitting you to add text to your manuscript almost anywhere you want.
Once you have the music entered it is then easy to play it back, print it, transpose it, send it as e-mail, and many other things.
For a slide show introduction on how to use MusEdit, please see MusEdit - How To Use It, and for a self run animation, please see How To Use MusEdit.
3) Can MusEdit transcribe directly from a CD, or from an mp3
or wav file?
Unfortunately, no. It would be great if you could put your favorite Rolling Stones or Nirvana CD into your computer and get a complete transcription of the music, but there is no software which can do this. The overlapping sounds of all the instruments and vocals are just too complicated to untangle and transcribe.
4) Can MusEdit transcribe from a
A Midi file (a file ending with the letters ".mid") can sound a lot like music you might hear on a CD (click here for an example), but it is created by a computer or other electronic device, so it is easier for another computer to "decode" compared to music created by natural instruments. MusEdit can do a pretty good job of converting the music in a Midi file to notation - even if the Midi file has several instrument sounds, including drums! So before you go through the trouble of entering the music for a song "by hand", you should try to find a Midi version of the song, drag that Midi file onto the open MusEdit window, and then let MusEdit create the notation in just a second or two.
Can MusEdit create notation from performance with a live instrument?
This is similar to the problem of CD music versus Midi music... The sound created by the vibrating strings of a guitar is too complicated for MusEdit to decode into notation, but if you have an instrument with Midi output (such as an electronic keyboard, or a guitar with a Midi pickup) you can hook this up to your computer and MusEdit will do a pretty good job of converting your playing into notation.
6) Can music be scanned into MusEdit?
No, you have to enter the music yourself by one of the methods described above.
7) Is it easy to use?
As with anything involving computers, this is a matter of opinion... Many people find MusEdit easy and intuitive to use right from the start. Some other people who are used to using other music notation programs expect MusEdit to behave the same way as their old programs and might be frustrated at first, but after little while they "get the hang of it". Several "How To" tutorials can help you get started with MusEdit, and then the extensive built-in help, plus the 280+ pages in the printed manual will explain the more advanced features. Plus, users can always send e-mail or call 800-234-0427 for immediate "live" help whenever a question arises.
8) What if I purchase MusEdit and I decide I don't like it?
We will refund your purchase within a reasonable time (at least 30 days) if you discover MusEdit is not the right tool for your needs. (After seven years and thousands of sales we have only received about two dozen requests for refunds!)
9) What is the upgrade policy?
Once you purchase a copy of MusEdit you are entitled to all future updates for free. You will be notified a couple of times per year when new updates are available, and you can always write to Yowza Software to request the latest update version at any time.
10) What if there is something I want MusEdit to do, but it doesn't do it?
We are always open to suggestions on how to improve MusEdit or add new features. Many of the changes in MusEdit over the past years have come about as a result of user requests and suggestions - and upgrades are always free, so you can get the new feature as soon as it is released. Of course we can't promise to change MusEdit in response to every request, but you'd be surprised to see how quickly a good idea might be added to MusEdit. (Try phoning Bill Gates and ask him to tweak Windows to meet your needs!)
11) What equipment do I need to use MusEdit?
Although it can do a lot, MusEdit is a relatively small program (about 6 MBytes of hard disk space, including help and samples) and it can run comfortably on very basic, older computers without much memory (32 MBytes of RAM would be fine). You'll want to have a basic sound card with a Midi synthesizer so you can play your music back through your sound system - but almost every computer made in the last ten years has that - and you'll want an ink jet or laser printer to create nice looking printouts. That's it! If you want to use a Midi guitar pickup or keyboard for music entry you can do that, but they certainly aren't necessary. MusEdit runs on any version of Windows since Windows 95 (ie. 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, and beyond).
12) Is there a Mac or Linux version of MusEdit?
Sorry, but there isn't. MusEdit will run very well on a Mac with "Virtual PC" (a Windows simulator), or on a Linux machine with "WINE" if you want to take that route. But the music images MusEdit creates can be viewed on any kind of computer, can be sent by any kind of e-mail program, and can be posted on any web site. Also, music exported from MusEdit as a Midi file can be played on any kind of computer. But if you want to edit music or play it back from the score you'll need to run MusEdit on Windows 95 - XP or something simulating Windows.
13) Are there any discounts for music teachers or students?
There is a "student discount" available for teachers and their students. Please see Special Offer for Teachers for more information.
1) Can I show just tab, or just treble... or does it always have to have both?
MusEdit is completely flexible about what music you enter and what music you show on the screen or when printing out. You can just enter treble music and never deal with tab at all if you like, or you can translate the treble to tab, but then hide either the treble or the tab. Or you can just enter tab, or chord diagrams, or anything else you want. Basically it's completely flexible about these things.
2) Can I enter lyrics?
Yes, you can enter lyrics, titles or any other text you wish, anywhere you want, in any font available on your system (the only catch about fonts is: you can only set the font for a whole line, rather than individual words in a line - but for most music this is the natural way to do it anyway).
3) Can MusEdit handle scores with several instruments?
Yes, MusEdit can easily handle groups with up to 20 instruments, such as keyboard, guitar, vocals, and drums, for example.
4) Can I e-mail MusEdit music to friends, or give it to my students?
You can send nice looking images of your music via e-mail, and/or you can send the actual MusEdit file. The images can be used for printing or viewing on the computer, while the MusEdit files can be used for real-time playback by using the __MusEdit Viewer__, a free utility which enables anyone to view, print out, and play back your MusEdit scores.
5) Can MusEdit be used for publications, books, or lessons?
MusEdit is very flexible about mixing text and different kinds of music, so you can create very professional looking manuscripts and lessons using only the MusEdit program. MusEdit does not have all the power of a desktop publishing program however, so if you want to use a program like that you can use MusEdit to export very sharp looking images of your music and then embed those images into a document created with a word processor or desktop publishing software. Many people use MusEdit to create lessons, magazine articles, or complete instructional books.
1) Every time MusEdit starts it has a floating keyboard, fretboard, and other
things which block my view of the MusEdit window. Can those be hidden?
MusEdit has many "User Preferences", so you can choose which tools will be shown or hidden when the program starts, what size the initial window should be, what method will be used to enter music, and many other things.
2) Can I start with a basic staff layout and put the music into that, or does
MusEdit always have to start with a blank sheet.
There are several "templates" available in the MusEdit samples folder to get you started with different styles of musical scores, and it is easy to create your own template to meet your own specific needs too. If you start new scores with these templates it will save you the effort of setting things up from scratch every time, plus your scores will have a standard, professional look.
3) In the music on the screen some lines (such as beams between tied notes)
are jagged... why is that, and will they print out that way?
Because of the resolution of most monitors (about 72 dots per inch) gently sloped lines have to be approximated by a series of steps which are visible as a jagged edge when you view them on a monitor. But most printers have resolutions ranging from 300 dots per inch to over 1200, so when you print the music out the sloped or curved lines will appear very sharp -a microscope would be needed to see the jagged edges.
The example below shows a "screen shot" of some music. This is what you'll see on your computer screen when you are working with MusEdit. Because of the low resolution of your computer screen sloping lines and many other details appear jagged. (Click on the picture to see it in more detail, then click on the magnified view to come back to this page): Screen shot (what you see on your computer screen):
Because of the resolution of most monitors (about 72 dots per inch) gently sloped lines have to be approximated by a series of steps which are visible as a jagged edge when you view them on a monitor. Even quite primitive printers (dot matrix in graphics mode) usually have 2-4 times the resolution of the screen however, and ink jets and laser jets have resolutions ranging from 300 dots per inch to over 1200, so on most printers sloped or curved lines will appear very sharp -a microscope would be needed to see the jagged edges.
The example below shows a "screen shot" of some music. This is what you'll see on your computer screen when you are working with MusEdit. Because of the low resolution of your computer screen sloping lines and many other details appear jagged. (Click on the picture to see it in more detail, then click on the magnified view to come back to this page):
The example below shows high resolution scan of the same music as it will appear when it is printed out on an average printer. If you click on the picture below you will see a detailed view of the printout, which shows that sloping lines and other "jagged" features you might see on the screen end up looking very good when they are printed out: Scanned Printer Image (what the music looks like when it comes out of the printer):
return to Notation
(in case you came here from that page)
4) Can the appearance of the printed music and page layout be controlled?
MusEdit prints out very accurately what you see on the screen, so if you've hidden treble lines on the screen (showing only the Tab, for example) the printout will also hide the treble. MusEdit has many page layout and appearance options which you can set. You can set margins, print in "portrait" or "landscape" (sideways) mode, adjust the size of the printout from very tiny (25% of normal) to very large (400% -useful for teaching purposes). In fact, MusEdit will automatically scale music to fit on a page if you wish, giving you the option to reduce printing scale size appropriately. You can also specify how you want pages numbered and where the numbering should appear on the page.
1) Does MusEdit play back the music (ie. output Midi sound)?
MusEdit plays back your music as Midi sound, either by playing the score directly through your sound system in real time (if your sound card has a Midi synthesizer, as most do) or by saving the score as a MIDI file. The MIDI file can then be played "stand alone", e-mailed, posted to a web site, etc. MusEdit plays notes, chords, tab lines, and multi-instrument scores. You can set different instrument sounds, set loudness values individually, adjust tempo, and play either a whole range or just between "Midi Marks", and loop over and over if you want. MusEdit even plays "Drum Lines" as drum tracks, with 47 different drum sounds, so you can actually create your own little "drum machine"!
2) Can MusEdit import Midi files and turn them into notation?
Yes, MusEdit can import almost all MIDI files - simply drop a MIDI file onto the MusEdit window and it will be converted into standard or Tab notation. Sometimes the transcription isn't 100% perfect, but there are many import options available via the MIDI Import dialog, and sometimes small adjustments will correct any transcription problems.
3) Can music be input to MusEdit from a MIDI keyboard or MIDI guitar pickup?
Yes, but it is a bit tricky... MusEdit is mainly a notation editor rather than a real-time MIDI scoring tool. If you want to do live Midi input you will need Midi hardware to hook up to your computer, get the drivers installed correctly, and then learn how to synchronize your playing with the computer. If you are comfortable with doing those things you can try out MusEdit's live Midi input feature and see if it meets your needs.
4) Do I need any special MIDI equipment?
As long as your computer has even a simple sound system it probably will be able to play your music back to you as MIDI sound. Even most laptops can do MIDI playback now. If you have a special MIDI card, a high quality sound card, or an external MIDI keyboard you'll be able to get better sounding output, but that's not really necessary. And you don't need any MIDI equipment at all to input the music.
5) Can I speed up, slow down, loop over music during playback?
Yes, you can play music back very slowly if you wish, or loop over difficult parts while learning a piece, or single step through the music a single note at a time if you like.
6) Can it play more than one instrument at a time?
Yes, MusEdit handles up to 20 instruments together.
7) Can I assign different sounds to each instrument?
Yes, you can choose from 128 different instrument sounds for any of the notation or instruments in your score.
8) Can it do percussion sounds?
Yes, you can use MusEdit to create a simple drum machine if you wish by using a "drum line" and assigning different percussion sounds such as cymbals or drums to each note on the line. This is very useful for creating your own drum accompaniments.
1) Can MusEdit translate standard music notation (notes on treble staff) to tab?
Yes, this is one of MusEdit's strongest features. You can either see the translation occur as you enter each note, or you can enter a whole piece of standard music and translate the whole thing to tab in one step after you're done. And it can translate to tab for 4, 5, or 6 string instruments, in any tuning, including bass staff to bass guitar tab. And the tablature can show the note values just as they appear on the treble line, or you can hide the note values if you prefer.
2) How does MusEdit figure out which Tab fingering to use?
Generally MusEdit tries to keep new tab fingering close to fingering which is already present on the Tab staff. For example, if a melody is being played near the 8th fret and you enter an open first string E on the treble staff this will be translated to E on the third string, 9th fret to keep it close to the other tab fingering. It is easy to change this fingering to a different position later if you wish - either by shifting one or two individual fingerings or by selecting several measures and letting MusEdit shift all the fingerings to new fret positions.
3) Can MusEdit make standard notation from tab?
Yes, MusEdit translates from tab to treble, or treble to tab equally easily. You will have to enter the note values (eg. quarter, 8th, etc.) for the tab notes if you want the timing to be correct, but this is easy to do with MusEdit, and you can play the music back to confirm that it sounds correct.
4) Can MusEdit transpose a piece of music into a different key?
Yes, MusEdit can transpose treble, bass, tablature, and even chord diagrams to and from any musical key. You simply select the music you want to transpose and tell it what you want the new key to be. It will add sharps and flats as needed, or shift the tab fingering around to keep it easy to play in the new key.
1) Do I have to show note stems on Tablature?
By clicking on a menu option it is easy to hide note stems and just show bare numbers on a tab staff. The nice thing about showing note stems is that you don't need to have a treble staff above the tab to show the musical timing, but you can choose the style you like best.
2) Can I change the size and font of the digits on the Tab staff?
Yes, you can choose any font on your system for the tab digits, and you can adjust the tab staff line spacing to accommodate different size fonts.
3) Does MusEdit handle alternate tunings?
Yes, MusEdit can handle any kind of alternate tuning you want to work with. It can translate between tunings in one easy step (eg. change a piece in "Open G" tuning to standard tuning, or vice versa) and it can even translate between, say, a six string guitar tuning and a four string mandolin tuning. Also you can create entire chord dictionaries in alternate tunings.
4) Can MusEdit handle "text-Tab" as seen on many web sites?
MusEdit can import text-tab (tab drawn completely with text characters, such as using ------ for staff lines) and convert it to graphical tablature which looks much better and is much easier to edit. It is also easy to export MusEdit's graphical tab as text: for example, you can copy a tab line in MusEdit, open your e-mail editor, then hit Paste and a text version of the tab will be created automatically. (It would be better to send a nice looking graphical image of the tab though!)
1) Does MusEdit handle chord diagrams?
Yes, MusEdit has a huge built-in chord dictionary with 35 different types of chords in every key, and an average of 12 different variations of every chord (different fingerings, or different positions on the guitar fretboard) for a total of over 8,700 chords. And you can always design any other chord you may need. You simply start typing the name of the chord you want and MusEdit automatically looks up the chord as you are typing the name, and then if you wish you can choose one of the many variations available, or accept the variation MusEdit offers as its first guess.
2) Does MusEdit handle chord diagrams for different instruments or tunings?
MusEdit's built-in chords are all for guitar in standard tuning, but if you are working in an alternate tuning or with a different stringed instrument MusEdit can translate its built-in chords for the new tuning or instrument. Hopefully these translated chord diagrams will prove useful, but the fact is the translation is done "mathematically", without the expertise which comes from really playing an instrument, so they may not be the best versions to actually use. But if that's the case it's easy to create your own custom diagrams (see next question).
3) Can I create my own chord diagrams?
MusEdit comes with a built-in chord dictionary with over 8,700 chords, but you can create 2 - 8 string chord diagrams, with up to 7 frets, in any tuning you wish. You can give the chord any name you wish and show chord fingering (which fingers to use to hold the chord). The chord designer is very easy to use and gives you lots of interesting information, such as the pitch of every fingered note, and how the chord will appear on a treble or tab staff.
4) If I enter some notes or a chord fingering can MusEdit tell me what chord it is?
Not at this time. You can create the chord diagram and save it, but you will either have to figure out the correct name of the chord yourself, or else give it any name you wish.
5) Can I use MusEdit to create chord charts - say, just chords with lyrics below them?
Yes, you can create charts with just the chord names, chord names with the diagrams beneath them (just hit a button to make the diagrams pop in or out of view), you can have a staff with strumming symbols below the chords if you wish, or just lyrics - MusEdit is very flexible in terms of how it allows you to lay out any piece of music, including chord charts.
6) Can I make the chord diagrams larger?
By default MusEdit's chord diagrams are about the size of chord diagrams seen in books and magazines, but if you want to have very large chord diagrams which can be visible on a music stand or in low light conditions its easy to enlarge them by up to 400%.
Yowza Software, P.O. Box 4275, Berkeley CA 94704 USA