I’m endebted to J. Simon van der Walt for (inadvertently) alerting me to a free, open source, music score-writing programme entitled MuseScore. It is intuitive to use for anyone accustomed to the basic commands which feature in most programmes e.g. hitting the space-bar to start/stop playing.
The program saves in its own file format but opens a variety of other file types, including Midi files.
While it’s not Sibelius, it’s not £449.95 either and, in these difficult times, it might be the only way for some to get their foot inside the score-writing software door.
In the spirit of open source, the first thing that happens, upon opening the program, is that you are invited to join the community. The news menu of this is reminiscent of Twitter with many (shortened) urls leading to how to videos such as this one on how to transpose a score. A quick search for similar videos on YouTube revealed about 1,000 results.
You can download the programme (Windows, Linux or Apple) here.
And, finally, congratulations to Simon on his recent PhD in composition! You can hear some of Simon’s work here.
I was delighted to receive, from friend and colleague, Gordon Wood, the anthems for all 32 World Cup teams. In addition to the notation for each tune, there is a short history of the tune and, in some cases, lyrics. Not only a labour of love, but a rich task. Generously, Gordon encouraged me to pass them on to as many people as would find them useful.
Here they are:
Algeria Argentina Australia Brasil Cameroon Chile Cote d’Ivoire Denmark England France Germany Ghana Greece Honduras Italy Japan Korea Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria North Korea Paraguay Portugal Serbia Slovakia Slovenia South Africa Spain Switzerland Uruguay USA Wavin Flag Wavin’ Flag Lyrics
In order that these can be accessed by as many people as possible, I’ve converted them to pdf format. These are mostly in keys suitable for military band. If you would like the original Sibelius files, so that you can transpose to suit particular instruments, just post a comment and I’ll email them to you.
If your memory of a song you’d like to play is a little vague, or your harmonic ear challenged, why not turn to Chordie? The front page defaults to alphabetical search by artist, but you can change this to browse by song.
Having made your choice, you’ll be taken to a version of the song containing lyrics, chord names and guitar chord diagrams e.g. Downtown – written by Tony Hatch and performed by Petula Clark (cited as the most successful British female solo recording artist).
Should the key turn out to be unsuitable for your voice, there is a transpose function. The song, originally in E is shown here in the key of G. Should your mandolin-playing cousin show up, the chords can transcribed – like this. It is even possible to see the chords for left-handed players.
Even if you don’t play, and assuming that the lyrics are accurate, this might also be one way of avoiding mondegreens.
If you’re too young to remember this song, here is a video of Petula Clark performing it in 1964. If nothing else, you’ll be struck by how dancing styles have changed in the last 44 years!
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