Recommend me music software

First off, I should say that I am not a musician. I studied music at school, and enjoyed doing a little composition, and would like to give it a go again.

Several years ago, I used a piece of software to write on a set of staves, choose a MIDI voice for each stave, and have the computer play it back to me. I used this to write the composition part of my school studies.

Around about the same time, I used a program that had a set of samples (and it let you sample your own sounds), and you built them up into a table, which created a .MOD track. Quite entertaining, but ultimately rubbish.

Can anyone out there recommend me a piece of software (preferably freeware - I am not prepared just yet to invest a bunch of cash in my rubbish musicianship) that would let someone like me use samples or MIDI voices to create music? Ideally it would be a graphic interface letting me structure sounds on multiple staves.

I’ve tried Google but I don’t really know what best to search for - here’s hoping my Doper friends can help me out! Thanks in advance.

Bumpitty Bump Bump…

Well, there’s the free version of Anvil Studio - I’m not a musician, but I’ve used it myself in the past to trim, tweak and change the instruments in midi tunes (to use as mobile phone ringtones). Seems quite versatile.

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

Audacity will supply what you want, with regards to using samples etc. As for Midi software, I’ve no idea, I’m afraid.

Maybe NoteWorthy Composer? I haven’t used it much, but it’s about the cheapest of the MIDI notation software you’ll find. Packages like Finale and Sibelius can run upwards of $500.

Seconded. I orchestrated an entire (short) opera on it. You can try it for free, but you’ll want to spend the $39 on full version pretty soon. It’s still a good deal.

The only real problem with it is the printouts. They’re not great. Lilypond is much better, but porting from Noteworthy is a real bear.

I don’t suppose you have a Mac? Garageband sounds like it might be right up your alley (plus you get iMovie, iDVD and iPhoto to boot).

My father in law, who is almost 90 and still composing, likes Sibelius - which is not free. It can capture notes from a keyboard for editing. The newest version can scan in sheet music and edit that, which is really helpful to him since he has lots of old m usic he wrote decades ago.

It’s probably too expensive for you, but I think the ability to keep writing even when he can’t write notes on paper as well as he used to has kept him alive and his brain active.

The Sibelius people have very good customer support. He needs a lot of it.

Personally, I couldn’t distinguish a note from a squashed bug.

My favorite was MIDIGraphy, one of the apps I still boot into MacOS 9 for. Unfortunately I don’t know that it will work in the Classic environment. (It might if you had the most up-to-date QuickTime bits 'n pieces for your MacOS 9, I don’t)

Screen Shot

To me, this makes intuitive sense; Garageband just kind of doesn’t. (I suppose it might if someone explained it to me, but all I can figure out from it is how to select some prerecorded sequences and tell them to loop until you go nuts). And I hate staves.

Thirded. I wrote an anthem for my niece’s wedding on it (actually I spliced together Franck’s Panis Angelicus and Dykes’s Strength and Stay, and it worked not too badly IISSM). The printouts are an unimaginable improvement on my handwriting, and it’s much faster to write the notes down in the first place.