1998 Editors' Choice - Notation Software

(Win; $179.95)

Sion QuickScore Elite Level II 6.0

The dividing line often gets blurry between sequencers with strong notation capabilities and notation programs with lots of sequencing tools. Sion's QuickScore Elite Level II keeps you guessing for a while, but ultimately the program proves itself to be first and foremost a notation program. Nonetheless, this "integrated scoring and sequencing program" includes a respectable midlevel sequencer with piano-roll editing, an automated mixer, and graphic display and editing of continuous controller data. You can even attach WAV files to your sequences. An Event List window shows the usual MIDI data but also includes the appearance of non-MIDI events such as clefs, text, and symbols - each color-coded for easy identification.

QuickScore Elite Level II can handle up to 48 tracks with a resolution of up to 960 ppqn, which is a higher resolution than many "professional" sequencers can boast. It supports real-time, step-time, and tap-tempo recording as well as looping. In addition, you can sync the program to SMPTE/MIDI Time Code or MIDI clock, which is not bad for a program that sells for less than $200. And there's much more.

Several other features set QuickScore Elite Level II apart from similar programs in its price range. For example, QuickScore automatically inserts "reminder" clefs in a score and shows "canceled" key signatures where appropriate. The program supports figured bass notation (a rare feature) and lets you create your own guitar chord grids. In fact, the program can analyze groups of notes on a staff and generate the proper chord symbols. Guitar players will especially appreciate QuickScore's support for guitar tablature. The program can even transcribe standard notation into guitar tablature - pretty cool stuff!

Finally, QuickScore lets you adjust the shapes and positions of slurs, crescendo wedges, and several other symbols by dragging little grab handles with the mouse. And when your score is finished, you can export the result as a BMP or TIFF file for use in graphics applications. In spite of its modest price, this little program caught our attention with its surprising list of features.

Sure, you could pay a lot more money and get additional features, but this direct descendant of our 1995 award winner (Dr. T's QuickScore Professional) is all the scoring software many Windows-based musicians will ever need.

Electronic Musician January 1998

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