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#1683841 - 05/24/11 05:24 PM HarmonyBuilder  
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Starr Keys Offline
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Has anyone heard of or had any experience with HarmonyBuilder software? I need a scoring program to record my arrangements and HarmonyBuilder seems to be the only one out that plays what you write. I have three hesitations with it, 1) I’ve seen absolutely no reviews on it on the web, 2) it is web based, so you don’t actually own the program, and 3) it only records 4 voices. The last is a minor consideration since I’m mainly concerned right now with recording accompaniment arrangements for a vocal. It cost $30 for the basic program but you can add upgrades to Basic later if you want which provide harmonic analysis and correct and point out theoretical considerations. Its main selling point seems to be that you are able to compose and listen to what you create away from the piano. But it’s a mystery to me why more people aren’t talking about it if it’s so unique. Please, I’m only interested in responses from those unaffiliated with the company.

Last edited by Starr Keys; 05/24/11 05:42 PM.
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#1683860 - 05/24/11 05:55 PM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Mirior Offline
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I haven't had any experience with HarmonyBuilder, but I can tell you that the ability to playback compositions is not unique to that program. The two programs that I've heard the best things about are Sibelius and Finale - both can playback compositions and can handle more than 4 voices. They're both substantially more expensive, though - I know the full versions of both are in the triple digits, although there may be cheaper versions.

If that's outside your price range, there are other options that can playback compositions for cheaper. The only one I'm even vaguely familiar with is MuseScore - it's free software, last time I checked. I have no idea how it compares to HarmonyBuilder qualitywise, but it'd be worth looking into.

#1683882 - 05/24/11 06:37 PM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Thanks Mirior, I should have said HB was the only one that I found in my price range that played them back:) And I know there are those that will play back with midi -- there have been those since the 90's but that won't let me take my arrangements to a cafe to work on them with headset and play it back sounding the way it would on a piano and not a synthezier. Will MuseScore play through your computer without midi, do you know?


Last edited by Starr Keys; 05/24/11 06:42 PM.
#1683962 - 05/24/11 09:34 PM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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I think MuseScore uses midi, but I'm not sure.

#1683978 - 05/24/11 10:13 PM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Yes, MuseScore uses midi. I emailed Harmony Builder's founder today for more information but I think the difference with HarmonyBuilder is that you can hear through all the notes you write as you write them in the program in a good piano voice. Don't other programs in this price range that you are familiar with only allow you to save your document as a midifile to be played back when you're not using the program for writing notation but not when you're actually doing it so you can try out different ideas and see what they sound like?

#1683994 - 05/24/11 10:47 PM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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I use Noteworthy Composer
It is inexpensive and offers a free demo for evaluation.
It can playback all, or any section of the score, whilst you are compiling it. ( I believe most notation sofware has this capability)

The sound quality is dependent on your computer soundcard's built in synthesizer, although, you can route the MIDI to an external sound module, or digital piano, if required.

For mobile use, you could use the computer's sound card, for composing, then export the MIDI file, and play it through a better quality software piano, such as Pianoteq, True Pianos, or similar.


Rob
#1684070 - 05/25/11 01:23 AM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Hi ROB,

Thank you for the link and the explanation:) I visited the site and used the search and FAQ but could not find out how many voices Noteworthy will allow (Harmony Builder is limited to only 4).

Also, I found this description of Harmony Builder at its website,

"Unlike any other notation software, it focuses primarily on playback flexibility, allowing you to move easily between notes and chords, and hear every detail in the process. This makes it ideal as a music composition tool that will effectively substitute for the piano keyboard. Key-related 4-part chords can be entered with one button click, and notes can be adjusted by simply nudging them"

I've also read the creator describe it as the "First Truly intelligent composition software" and claim it was the only scoring program to do so and so...But the intelligent claims might apply more to score harmony analysis that was included only in the more advanced versions or upgrades...

Is there anything in this description you know of that the other programs don't do? And do you know how many voices Noteworthy can write?

Last edited by Starr Keys; 05/25/11 02:20 AM.
#1684171 - 05/25/11 07:56 AM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Why not compare the demo versions of the various programs? So far as I know, free demos are available of Sibelius, Finale, and a bunch of others.

Harmony Builder is well-priced, but even $30 is too much if it doesn't do what you want.

#1684244 - 05/25/11 10:18 AM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Starr Keys Offline
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Hi Kevin,

Thank you for the suggestion. That's a great idea. I did try the free demo for HB some time ago but unfortunately some unexpected things came up in my life and I didn't have time to use it much in the 30 day period. I've asked the creator if I can try again, but if I can't, I do have some means of comparison with Noteworthy

One of the things that most drew me to HB was its score analysis features (I was studying voice leading at the time) and ability to upgrade--they are not available in the $30 version--for $100 more to upgrade you can get these features.

One thing I hadn't considered is Noteworthy's huge access to free music libraries which could be a great advantage for practicing sight reading on a daily basis. Also, I notice that you can import music into the program. That's something I also need to check out if HB does.


#1684254 - 05/25/11 10:31 AM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Originally Posted by Starr Keys

One of the things that most drew me to HB was its score analysis features (I was studying voice leading at the time) and ability to upgrade--they are not available in the $30 version--for $100 more to upgrade you can get these features.


It's hard for me to comment, because I don't really use anything except Sibelius and ABC, and ABC is something only a computer programmer could love.

But for $100 or so you can get the student version of Sibelius, which is a pretty capable piece of software, and at least worth considering if it's within your budget, I would have thought.

One good thing about Sibelius (and Finale) is that they are widely used, regardless of their own particular merits. So it's reasonably easy to get advice if you get stuck (and I still get stuck all the time). With little-used applications you're relying on the generosity of the vendors to provide individual support. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.


#1684279 - 05/25/11 11:20 AM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: kevinb]  
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Quote
But for $100 or so you can get the student version of Sibelius, which is a pretty capable piece of software, and at least worth considering if it's within your budget, I would have thought.


Sibelius Student seems to be quite limited in functionality, but is quite cheap. However, music students/teachers can also get the full version for much less than the normal price (termed, somewhat confusingly, "Sibelius Educational"), which is what I would recommend getting. But you need to be able to prove that you're either a student or a teacher at an institution of musical education.

That said, Sibelius never announced updates before they're almost ready to ship, but when one looks at the update cycles of previous versions, it seems that a new version is just around the corner, so it might be wiser to wait a little bit.


I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.
#1684282 - 05/25/11 11:23 AM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Hi Starr Keys (your screen name is soooo close to my own surname)

As far as I know, in Noteworthy, you can add as many staves as you like.
I suppose you would only be limited by your soundcard's polyphony.

If you view the samples in the demo, it will give you some idea of it's capabilities.
For example, for vocals, there is a SATB template, and several orchestral scores.

The program does have some limitations, compared to the big players in the field, but the forums offer much information on how to overcome these.


Rob
#1684283 - 05/25/11 11:23 AM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Starr Keys Offline
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Starr Keys  Offline
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Originally Posted by Kevinb
One good thing about Sibelius (and Finale) is that they are widely used, regardless of their own particular merits. So it's reasonably easy to get advice if you get stuck (and I still get stuck all the time). With little-used applications you're relying on the generosity of the vendors to provide individual support. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.


That’s something I hadn’t considered and I appreciate your pointing it out. I found the Sibelius student version for $39.99 at this site.

http://www.genesis-technologies.com...;utm_medium=shp&utm_campaign=froogle

#1684300 - 05/25/11 11:53 AM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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Originally Posted by Starr Keys
Originally Posted by Kevinb
One good thing about Sibelius (and Finale) is that they are widely used, regardless of their own particular merits. So it's reasonably easy to get advice if you get stuck (and I still get stuck all the time). With little-used applications you're relying on the generosity of the vendors to provide individual support. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.


That’s something I hadn’t considered and I appreciate your pointing it out. I found the Sibelius student version for $39.99 at this site.

http://www.genesis-technologies.com...;utm_medium=shp&utm_campaign=froogle


Is that price not for the upgrade from previous Sibelius versions? I'm not sure it would work on its own.

#1684305 - 05/25/11 12:00 PM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: kevinb]  
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Starr Keys Offline
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Again, I am beholden to you for pointing out something I didn't see. Missed the word "Upgrade". tired smile

#1684581 - 05/25/11 08:07 PM Re: HarmonyBuilder [Re: Starr Keys]  
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At the beginning of this thread I described HarmonyBuilder as a web-based program--I was wrong about this one aspect of it. It does allow you to download your arrangements to its website for discussion in its forum, but it is a stand alone program. I confused it with Noteflight which, like box.net, does allow you to share your music online and which is free.

www.noteflight.com

Last edited by Starr Keys; 05/25/11 08:07 PM.

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