Finale for Mac and Windows by MakeMusic, Inc. This program (currently in version Finale 2012) is considered to be a standard bearer of music writing software. Although it provides a shape-note font, the program allows the user to specify one's own music font, and thus to use a shape-note font such as the more versatile Doremi, font described below. It is sold by designated dealers (see Web site). Although the retail price is high, very substantial academic and ecclesiastical-theological discounts are available to students with any kind of valid student ID (even high school) and to educators and ministers of music.
Sibelius for Mac and Windows is a British, high-end, feature-rich, desktop music publishing program for professionals. It is another standard-bearer of music writing software which appears to be gaining in popularity in the U.S. It has a variety of notehead fonts, including shape-note fonts. Versions for Windows and Mac are available. Version 1.4 through the current version 7 give some needed visibility to contemporary shaped-note music composing through its presentation as a sample score the tune "Memorial Anthem" by Bruce Randall and Dan Brittain. The regular price is high, but there are attractive discounts for students and educational or church organizations.
Lilypond is a free open-source music notation program which is becoming increasingly versatile and feature-rich. It also attempts, more than other programs, to emulate the appearance and the aesthetics of traditionally engraved music. According to reports from users, Lilypond will do Sacred Harp shapenote heads with a preset command, but seven-shape systems require more customization. Robert Stoddard writes: "Shapenote support was substantially improved with version 2.13.20, so be sure to install that version (or higher)." It works with Unix, MacOS, Linux, and Windows and appears to require a high level of computer literacy. It does not have a graphic user interface, but other developers have created them. Robert Stoddard has a few Sacred Harp templates for free download listed under Lilypond Resources on his BostonSing.org Music page.
Music Ease Professional by MusicEase Software. Available for Windows and Mac. Gary Rader, the author of this highly rated program and former Sacred Harp singer reports that Music Ease Professional ($249.95) provides support for shape notes (the four-shape system of the Sacred Harp as well as seven-shape systems). Any piece of music can be converted to shape-notes, and customizable note fonts are possible. (The MusicEase standard version, which can be downloaded from http://www.musicease.com, does not have shape-note support.). For more information, check the Web site mentioned above, which presents an image of a shape-note score produced by the program, or contact Mr. Rader at email@example.com.
Melody Assistant and Harmony Assistant, by Myriad Software, are available for Macintosh and Windows. Both programs produce notation and MIDI playback, and both now support music in four shapes or seven shapes (Aikin and Swan systems). Melody Maker also allows MIDI input many other features. Both programs are shareware, and may downloaded from the Myriad Software Web site.
QuickScore Elite Level II 2008 and Copyist 9.0, products of Sion Software of Vancouver, BC, support both the 7- and 4-shape notehead systems. QuickScore Elite is comprehensive, integrated software for music composition, incorporating notation, arranging, MIDI and audio sequencing and recording. Copyist 7.0 is a music notation program without the other features of QuickScore Elite. Both programs are for Windows only. More information and demos are available from the Sion Web site.
Songworks by Ars Nova Software of Redmond, WA is a relatively easy to use and inexpensive music notation program for Mac and Windows. It supports shape notes using the 4-note and 7-note (Aiken) systems, as described in a chapter of the manual and tutorial video no. 10 on the company's Web site.
List of music notation software. On the Web site of the School of Music at Acadia University in Nova Scotia is a list of many notation programs and relevant other information, as reported by Ted Johnson.
Doremi for Macintosh and PC, by Karen Willard. Ms. Willard writes:
Doremi is a shapenote font that has the shapes for the systems used by Aiken, Funk, Walker, The New Harp of Columbia, and The Sacred Harp. Aiken's system is the seven-shape system used by almost all of the modern songbooks using a shapenote system. Funk's, Walker's, and that in the New Harp of Columbia are not used by any modern songbooks, but are of interest to those wishing to employ a historic system and for those wanting to print songs for the still-existing singers of the Harmonia Sacra and the New Harp of Columbia. The Sacred Harp system is the only four-shape system in the font. Macintosh customers will get a diskette with the printer and screen fonts and ATM file, templates for all four-shape systems set up for Macintosh Finale versions 2.6.1, 3.2.1., and 3.2, a printed Font Map showing the keystrokes needed to evoke each element of the font, a sample MIDI file of all scale notes both stems up and stems down, half notes and quarter notes, and tips and hints for using Doremi with Finale to typeset shapenote music. There is a similar version for Windows.
The price for each version is $50.00 (or barter) including shipping and handling. Orders need to specify Macintosh or Windows. Order from Karen E. Willard, 15215 Tubbs Rd., Buckley, WA 98321. E-mail Karen@Weelyrd.net.
Musica, Inc., the company of Glen Wright and Susan Mampre, 8 Briarwood Rd., Rutland, MA 01543-1754. An example of their work is The Sacred Harper's Companion (see Tunebook section)
Karen Willard (Weelyrd Publishing) 15215 Tubbs Rd., Buckley, WA 98321. (e-mail Karen@Weelyrd.net). An example of her work is An American Christmas Harp (see Tunebook section).