Speaking From Experience

This is a portion of an article originally published in the Clavier Companion Jan/Feb issue. You’ll find my regular column in the must-have magazine called “Teaching with Apps”

Although Finale or Sibelius are considered to be the standard desktop notation programs in the industry, I was interested in finding a more basic program with a user-friendly interface that would produce a pleasing end-product at a minimal cost.

Noteflight seemed to be the perfect solution. This online notation software allows a student to set up a free, individual account to create, store, listen to and print compositions. Because it is web based, composers can access their accounts in the studio or at home on a computer or iPad. 

Note: With a premium Noteflight Crescendo account ($49/year) combined with a downloadable adaptor, notes can be entered with the help of a MIDI keyboard called “step entry.”

A few of my students who own iPads were happy to acquire Notion, a notation iPad app that allows users to compose, edit and playback scores. The steps to enter notes, signs and symbols with a finger tip or stylus are simple but slightly different than those of Noteflight. There are prompts throughout the app to help first-time users. A first grade student managed her way around the app quite well but my high school composer and I found it to be less than intuitive when editing and formatting the document.

Note: With the right MIDI to USB cable, an iPad adaptor and a MIDI keyboard, Notion composers can use step-time entry or record real-time MIDI input into a score.

Both Noteflight and Notion produced professional-looking manuscripts for my budding composers. 



Free with Upgrades Available

Supported by most browsers

Can be viewed on iPad and most mobile devices


Notion Music, Inc


iPad Only

Links and Other comparable programs

MuseScore (another favorite of mine!)



Windows, Mac, Linux

Can be viewed on iPad and most mobile devices

A downloadable music notation program which offers an alternative to the powerful but pricey Sibelius.  Notation can be entered via a keyboard, mouse or MIDI keyboard.


Make Music


Windows, Mac

Finale’s introductory downloadable desktop program ideal for future Finale users.


Neuratron, Ltd

Free – $39.99

iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android

Hand-written notes and symbols entered by a finger on a tablet screen are magically recognized with instant playback and reproduced into standard notation.

Symphony Pro 3.4

Xenon Labs, LLC


iPad Only

First released in 2011, Xenon Labs pioneered the first notation app for the iPad but because of numerous bugs it was pulled from the App Store. Their Symphony Pro is now back and a strong competitor of Notion.

More Details


You can now view and play Noteflight scores on most mobile devices and platforms, including iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle Fire. You can view and play your scores anywhere – just login to on your mobile device and tap any score. There’s no app to install or purchase – the mobile viewer is a feature of the website. It automatically comes up when you view a Noteflight score on a mobile device. Here’s a blog about their newest release for the iPad. Here’s the blog about its recent release.

Notate Me $22.99

Ground-breaking music composition and notation software from Neuratron, featuring handwritten music recognition. Read Tim Topham’s blog about here.


Notion $14.99

A notation editor and playback tool for your iPad, giving you the convenience of an easy-to-use music creation tool right at your fingertips. A composition app for any musician, NOTION gives you the ability to compose, edit, and playback scores using real audio samples performed by The London Symphony Orchestra recorded at Abbey Road Studios. You can capture your musical ideas anytime, and with the mobility of the iPad, you can take this helpful application anywhere.



4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Euro – Millions lottery email address particulars
    are also displayed right after the draw held, it’s also possible to view result videos.
    Ideally, payout percentages for online casinos needs to be above 98 percent, and practically all the major ones are.

    If you fail to be well prepared for your interview, it might lead to delay or
    denial of one’s visa.

  • If you are looking to get additional benefits and then make a
    cordial trip to the playing sites with this network.
    The best online casino gambling can be found in two distinct formats: play-for-pay and free casino
    sites. We think the overall game deserves a square square credit card game, isn’t it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.