A New Encore Music Publishing Software Upgrade
“Whatever we do, we always keep in mind that our customers are first and foremost musicians, and they shouldn’t need a degree in computer science to use any of our software.” - Richard Hotchkiss of GVOX
I may be among the last of the last generation who were taught music calligraphy when I was coming up, and my experience with music notation software goes back to my years as a Synclavier owner, and its Music Printing Option was the first music printing software system EVER. Of course, it was ponderous to use by today's standards - and a degree in "Manual Reading" was required - but it was SO COOL to be able to develop and save a score as a file in a computer.
But, the Synclavier also had a streamlined (and crude looking in classic green on black) notation entry feature for the Digital Memory Recorder. This revolutionized my compositional process: I could play back what I composed and audition it virtually immediately. Of course, it was a menu driven interface: There was no GUI with floating palettes &c. and WYSIWYG was a brand new term that applied to almost nothing at the time (Mid 1980's).
What I wanted was a program that would combine the beautiful score printouts of the Music Printing Option and the ease of use of the Notation Entry Option: Basically, the MPO interface was too slow - it was not possible to integrate it with my compositional workflow - and the NEO printouts didn't even beam notes on the beat.
Around 1990 I had my first encounter with Finale. OK if you are a publisher, but worse than useless if you are a fast working composer. The interface was actually user-hostile. Nope. Then I ran into Encore 3 in 1992 or 1993: FINALLY - a program that printed out nice looking scores, and that was easy enough to use so that I could integrate it into my compositional process. I got it and never used the Synclavier's systems again.
Changing from PC to Mac was a nightmare (I had to print out the scores and re-enter them manually), but once I got past that, it has been smooth sailing for almost fifteen years now. The current Mac version, 22.214.171.124, is quite nice, but I noticed that some of the new palettes come up in strange places and saving the template does not fix the problem: It has all the looks of an intermediate step toward a more complete release. It is a LOT more stable than 4.5.4 though: I have NOT been able to crash it, whereas 4.5.4 unexpectedly quits more often than any other Mac OS X program I use: Quite a relief.
4.6 sounds great: XML import will be fantastic, and Quartz rendering will move it closer to true WYSIWYG (We'll have to see how close): Planning for PDF renderings presently requires some... er... planning. I'd like a little more science than art in that particular area.
Now, if they ever come up with one of those Star Trek Holodeck dealies...