MuseScore Notation Program

MuseScore is a free cross-platform WYSIWYG music notation program, that offers a cost-effective alternative to professional programs such as Sibelius and Finale. You can print beautifully engraved sheet music or save it as PDF or MIDI file. That’s what MuseScore website says. By the way, MuseScore is available for the PC, Mac, Debian/Ubuntu, Fedora, and Mandrake.

I’m currently working on a jazz piece by Lee Morgan called Ceora from his 1966 album Cornbread. I’m not a professional musician, so I need help in interpreting some of the difficult passages. What I needed was a music notation software to play the original melody. I had a slightly older, circa 2001, music notation software on my PC that simply refused to work.

So, I searched for a music notation software online. I was even willing to pay up to a certain amount. I came across MuseScore. And the best part of it all, it’s free. I downloaded the software on my MacBook Air and went to work right away. By the way, there are several how-to videos of MuseScore in YouTube.

Creating a new score is quite easy. It’s very intuitive. Placing notes on the score wasn’t difficult. Adding rests and incidentals were a bit tricky, but I learned how to do it after a few tries. Adding triplets was the difficult part. I had to get help. Thankfully, there is Help Me file available in the program.

After an hour, I was able to place the melody of Ceora on MuseScore. I have the option to save it as a MID, WAV or the Vorbis OGG format. If you’re a jazz fan, here’s the original track of Ceora as recorded by Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock, Billy Higgins and Hank Mobley.

Ceora – Lee Morgan

Word Lens Is Amazing

Word Lens. I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but if you haven’t, you have to see this video. The name of the software is Word Lens, a perfect companion for travelers that need translation. Word Lens is able to read the text images from the iPhone camera and translate it to another language almost instantaneously. Watch!

Word Lens is free to download, but you’ll need to buy a language pack. Each language pack cost $4.99. If you need translation the other way, it’s going to be $9.99. That’s good, I guess, for English speakers. The coolest part about this application is that, you don’t need to be online for it to work. All you need to do is point the phone’s camera in the direction that need translation.

If you’re not iPhone user, don’t fret. Quest Visual, the company behind Word Lens, plans to have the software released to other phone platforms: Android, Blackberry and Windows 7, in the near future.

Just a couple more things worth mentioning. Word Lens’ text recognition software works optimally on well-lighted signs. Don’t expect Word Lens to work in the dark. The other limitation is, Word Lens is not designed to read eBooks, but it recognizes a few words. I’m curious how big the vocabulary is for each language pack. How accurate is it?