NoteAbilityPro for Mac User Reviews

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  • 4.0 stars

    "For the person who likes page layout & manual tweaking"

    June 29, 2011  |   By iaml

    Version: NoteAbilityPro 2.463


    Basic note entry is perhaps easier/quicker than any other notation app.
    Has unique features like integration with MaxMSP.
    Very capable for contemporary music composers.
    Regular, no-charge updates.
    Beat-level formatting control in a page layout style.


    Playback is only a rough representation.
    No automatic formatting/engraving.
    Palettes are numerous, so non-basic functionality can be difficult to uncover.


    NoteAbility Pro was arguably the first Mac OS X music notation app (since it was originally written for NEXTStep). Occasionally, some parts of the UI feel that old, but the rewrite at version 2 made it a much more modern Mac app. NA Pro uses a page layout metaphor, so you add new pages and systems when you need more digital manuscript paper. (In contrast, Sibelius uses a word processing metaphor and Finale a roll of measures.) Note entry is easy with or without a MIDI keyboard - similar in some ways to Finale's Speedy Note Entry, you press a key(s) on the keyboard to set note duration (e.g., q for quarter note, e for eighth note, h.. for double-dotted half note) and press a key on the MIDI keyboard or click on the screen to enter the note.
    Some of the UI is stuff only a geek could love (arguably the target audience), but it is usually the most efficient way to do what you need to do. Some of the more esoteric features that persons composing electroacoustic music would want are not even on the radar screen of the big name notation apps but are present in abundance here.
    Documentation is solid and the sole programmer (a professor at the University of British Columbia) updates the app regularly with new features (a recent addition was MusicXML support). Factor in to the price of the app that you will not be on an annual or semi-annual upgrade plan - we paid for the app once and have been using it for years with numerous upgrades.
    I definitely recommend you give the demo version of NA Pro a try before you buy anything else. If you want automatic everything, this will not satisfy, but it is a good general purpose notation program and, for a subset of the market, it provides features that no one else does.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Music Engraving Alternative to Finale & Sibelius"

    March 28, 2011  |   By rowanwood

    Version: NoteAbilityPro 2.452


    It isn't Finale or Sibelius. Enough Said!!!


    Can't test it. the installer failed to install the frameworks files necessary to run the program. Why aren't the frameworks embedded inside the main application? It cannot be tested or used in the present format.


    Potential alternative to Sibelius and Finale, both of which no longer support millions of pre-Leopard Macs. These two also stick you with buggy "updates" that cure one problem and then introduce a whole gang of new ones for future "revisions' to "cure. This is NOT an acceptable marketing scheme!

    I need to create scores in non-Western formats; Turkish, Cairo Convention and Persian, just to mention three of many "non-standard" areas I deal with musically. Both Sibelius and Finale keep drifting back to what they perceive as their "base": church choirs, high school music teachers, rockers and other musically semi-illiterate types. Everyone else on this planet get ignored... about 95% of the planet!

    Although NoteAbility pro also fails in these areas, I am hoping that they will respond to requests where Finale and Sibelius have studiously ignored all requests from us. I speak from personal experience trying to speak face-to-face with Finale reps whose attitude was as I would describe it... snide.

    If NoteAbility continues to fail, I will have no choice but to continue using older versions of Finale which can at least be forced by kludges to imitate the correct formats.


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