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I hesitate to call this a review. It was prompted by a need to find a music program that could be used to enhance the pages of COMMON STOCK. Nor are the three programs under consideration selected from a special list. They just happened to be three I knew about.

Being computer illiterate myself, I was of a mind to hand over the job of evaluation to a computer buff. However it appears that these exalted people are sore pressed for time, so decided to try and do the job myself. No bad thing, on reflection: if I can understand and work a music program, then everyone else and his Granny will find that program easy.

The three Music writing programs are:

Capella 2.2 Mozart

and NoteWorthy 2

The first of those three originated in Germany; the other two are home grown,

First the cost. Capella carries a price tag of £120; the others are £45 each. Mozart, which requires Windows, cannot handle Grace Notes - which, as we know, need not be a problem when putting down Lowland music. Capella 2.2 also requires Windows if Grace Notes are required (there is a good DOS version, but it can’t handle Gracings). Noteworthy 2, which may be run on DOS or Windows, not only has the ability to write Grace Notes, it has a     selection ready formed on a Stave which may be copied and pulled down as required.

Capella 2.2 requires more memory than the others, while Mozart has the ability to “deinstall” if memory is required for some other application - after which it can be re-installed, And as far as I am concerned, installation is the first test for any program. All were easy to load, although when I’m faced with computer-ese (like “The best place for this command is in the file AUTOEXEC.BAT ...” - in Noteworthy’s manual) I tend to turn the pages rapidly!

Apart from that, both NoteWorthy and Capella provide very good guidance manuals, well indexed, clearly written, and, in NoteWorthy’s case, an excellent assumption that what appears obvious to those familiar with high-flying musical terms, may be totally obscure to others (like myself) who only want to get on and do the job. I did not include the Mozart program in these comments because no manual was provided - all explanations being given in a very good on-screen help toggle. (Incidentally, both the others also have on-screen help available).

Being on the extreme side of lazy, I hate reading manuals, so look for a program that is

self-evident on the screen. Of the three only Capella 2.2 allowed me to work in this way right from the start (having said that, I still had to telephone for help), although NoteWorthy has a one page chapter entitled “For ThoseWho Don’t Read Manuals”!

Which brings us to the back-up provided. All three have a “call me on the phone if you need help” service, while at the same time asking (either directly or by inference) that calls be made only during sociable hours - and preferably not on some point that is already fully   explained in the manual or on screen.

One could go on for pages on the different facilities and commands available on each program - whole manuals are written on the subject! - but here I will limit myself to dealing with how the dots are entered.

Both Capella and NoteWorthy utilise the QWERTY keyboard for putting down notes - for instance, type in ‘D’ (using a number to indicate its duration) and the note ‘D’ appears on the stave, Mozart on the other hand puts in each note using the space bar, while indicating its position on the stave with the cursor. Both systems take a bit of getting used to, and it’s a slow old business to start with (although commands become clearer and more logical once the philosophy of the programmer is understood). Capella has an alternative in the form of a mouse keyboard that can be dragged down onto the screen and which, for me, is favourite.

(Capella can also insert notes by clicking on the stave; but this I have yet to try).

As mentioned above, Mozart doesn’t support Grace notes (though they are planning to             rectify that). In Capella, the gracings have to be entered individually on each occasion (although samples could be made in advance and kept for other occasions). Once having been entered, they can then be copied as required as the piece is written, or added afterwards. One problem arose when a grace note was needed in between two beamed notes. The only way to do this is to pull one out from the (extensive) table of symbols, and position it where required. This has three disadvantages; it can’t be duplicated, so the whole process has to be repeated each time; if the staves are moved (perhaps the space between staves is adjusted) the imported grace note doesn’t move with it but stays with the page   position; those particular notes from the Symbols, while they can be grouped to form, say, a doubling, that doubling cannot be barred.

NoteWorthy 2, on the other hand, has the facility of being able to position any note anywhere along the stave. This has the advantage of allowing you to set up the appearance e.g. distance between notes etc, of the music exactly to your own particular taste. And as mentioned earlier there is a whole nest of Doublings, Toarluaths etc, already made up that can be pulled down at will and placed in the music to best visual effect.

Anyone who is already using one of these programs might, on reading this, ask why I’ve not mentioned this facility or that. The answer is simple; I’ve only just begun to experiment and explore, my criteria being to be up and running with minimum fuss and maximum               result.

Further information

Capella; Software Partners; PO Box 201; Station Rd; Claverdon; Warwickshire CV35 8ZU;            Tel 01926 842998.

Mozart: David Webber; 484 Warrington Rd; Culcheth; Warrington WA3 SRA Tel. 01925 762617

Noteworthy: Braeburn Software; Hawthorn Bank; Scott’s Place; Selkirk; TD7 4DP                         Tel 01750 721854

                                                                                                                         Jock Agnew