Why is MuseScore not a 'professional' program?

• Jul 24, 2011 - 17:15

From the MuseScore home page:

"MuseScore is a free cross-platform WYSIWYG music notation program, that offers a cost-effective alternative to professional programs such as Sibelius and Finale."

First, a detail of punctuation: the comma in that sentence doesn't belong there unless you change 'that' to 'which' (in which case the meaning would be altered subtly). (This is a grammatical issue of restrictive vs. non-restrictive relative clauses.)

But -- of more importance -- what defines 'professional program' in this context? Even if MuseScore's feature set isn't fully competitive with those of Finale and Sibelius, isn't the critical difference that they cost big bucks while MuseScore is free? For a product to describe itself (even by implication) as not professional isn't exactly a ringing endorsement -- so wouldn't 'commercial' be a better word choice than 'professional'?

(I'm also thinking that 'cost-effective' doesn't precisely describe a product that has no cost at all -- but I believe that the substitution of 'commercial' for 'professional' is a much bigger priority to consider.)


MuseScore does not endeavor, perhaps, "to do every single thing" that Sibelius and Finale et al set out to do, and the authors freely say so. But (as everyone on this planet very well knows by now) what it does set out to do, it does extremely well.

Personally, I don't object to that kind of phrasing, and I don't think that MuseScore's authors are "talking down the program" by saying things in that way. It's usually better to focus attention on the things that you do extremely well, than to invite unwanted comparison about features that are out of the scope of your intended design (and not theirs).

In reply to by mrobinson

because the phrasing to which you have no personal objection -- viz., the comparison of MuseScore to 'professional' programs, with the clear implication that it is not one of them -- actually does draw attention to MuseScore's deficiencies rather than focusing on what it does extremely well.

And although there are shortcomings in MuseScore's present feature set, it seems inaccurate to suggest that there are also limitations on its 'endeavor' or on the scope of its 'intended design'. I don't believe that to be true, else development might as well stop in its tracks right now. But it isn't stopping -- and the goal of the next major release(s) does in fact appear to be to continue making MuseScore as competitive as possible with Finale and Sibelius.

Anyway I would still maintain that, even as things stand at version 1.0, the fundamental distinction between MuseScore (on the one hand) and Finale and Sibelius (on the other hand) is best described as 'free vs. commercial', not 'non-professional vs. professional'. Or does software actually have to be a commercial product (i.e., made to be sold for profit) in order to qualify as 'professional'? (If that's the case, so be it -- but I'm surprised! It never occurred to me to equate 'non-commercial' with 'non-professional', and that's the whole reason I questioned comparing MuseScore to 'professional' products.)

And what about other free or open-source software? Would Lilypond, OpenOffice or Audacity, for example, be described as non-professional products just because they are non-commercial? In the world of athletics and performing arts, professional does mean 'makes money from it'; is that same distinction valid here, too, such that a non-commercial product can never, by definition, be described as 'professional'?

FWIW, I've been cleaning up some of the wording in a few places here and there, but I hadn't looked at the main site pages yet. I do agree with some of the comments here and hope to keep them in mind when I do get around to this.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Even if there's no consensus about whether MuseScore should or shouldn't be describing itself as something distinct from 'professional' programs like Finale and Sibelius (with the unfortunate implication that MuseScore is not a professional program), there is unquestionably a punctuation error in the first sentence on the home page.

Is there any reason it cannot be fixed now? The first thing people see and read when they come to the MuseScore site should not, in my opinion, be an improperly punctuated sentence -- unless you truly wish to create an unprofessional impression of a 'non-professional' product!


It quite frankly never occurred to me that my comments could possibly be interpreted in a negative way, or demeaning in any aspect whatsoever to the MuseScore software. Any such interpretation is entirely an error on my part.

Quite frankly, to my way of thinking, MuseScore has nothing to prove, and nothing to defend. It is a truly excellent piece of software, "period, end-of-sentence."

My intention, therefore, was to say that ... "if it is different from [insert name of 'professional' program here], then this is truly beside the point." Someone who wants to write musical scores, and to check those scores quickly and easily, probably has no reason to care whether they've paid money for the privilege or not. What all of us want is, simply, a reliable software tool that works. We all have several very good choices. Some are what you pay money for; others are not. And, happily, "it just so happens that" one of the most solid contenders, MuseScore, falls into the category of "others are not." (Cool, huh?)

I actually have this same question. For weeks now, I have been trying to figure out what is so great about Finale and Sibelus. Can anyone tell me specifically what they do that Musescore doesn't? I honestly just want to know what the main differences are.

In reply to by Graham Lyons

Unless I'm missing something the string "MuseScore is a free cross-platform WYSIWYG music notation program, that offers a cost-effective alternative to professional programs such as Sibelius and Finale." is long gone from the MuseScore.org homepage. It now reads: "Professional music
notation software"

In reply to by svmoody

It can be a shock to the system to see such an old thread revived that I initiated. :-)

Is there a list of known issues in MuseScore that represent functionalities that other notation programs have that MS does not (yet)?

The only one that comes to my mind mind is one I've advocated for repeatedly: inability to beam notes over line breaks/system breaks. However, I'm familiar only with one notation program (MuseScore) and with one instrument (piano) – so my perspective is pretty limited, and I don't even know for a fact that beaming over line breaks is indeed supported by alternative programs.

Anyway ... I just wondered if a more direct answer could be given to svmoody's question, which would have the additional benefit of clarifying what is being worked toward for MuseScore's next major release. (And if this was answered already, I apologize. I admit I haven't followed the forums closely for a while.)

In reply to by svmoody

I compose arrange music professionally, and I also teach at universities and have worked as an editor for some major publications, and I have very many colleagues who do the same. I feel quite safe in saying that there is no simple answer to a question like this, but I can give some observations based on the where things stand today (which is a very different place than where things stood five years ago when this thread was started!)

First, real time MIDI input is a feature valued by some people, of course, but it's not really a differentiator for most. Most people - professionals included - find other note input methods equally or more efficient. So that's a red herring, even if one or two people on this forum happen to be among the small minority who find it to be a deal breaker.

When this thread was started in 2011, MuseScore was lacking a number of *other* features that many professionals *would* consider very important, however. Probably the single biggest was linked parts, which Sibelius had had for many years, and Finale had recently added as of a few years before this thread started. Of course, FInale had not had this feature for the first decade+ of its existence and yet it was still considered the top "professional" program, so like any other feature, it is more of a "high want" than a "need", but once people became accustomed to it in MuseScore, they definitely missed it in MuseScore. So it became the almost unquestioned #1 missing feature, but since the release of 2.0 last year, MuseScore now supports this.

Other features that were missing at the time but have been added since include tablature for guitar & other stringed instruments and various other notation features needed for jazz or pop or Renaissance music or some 20th/21st century music, etc. There were also some limitations in the ability to make large scale edits to a score - applying text styling globally, ways of making large-scale selections and performing operations on them, etc - that professionals often found irksome, and great strides have been made over the past five years here as well. Similarly, the default positioning of many elements was less than ideal and less customizable than many wanted, thus requiring more manual adjustment than people who produce large amounts of notated music or need it to look as professional as possible would prefer, and again, the current version is much improved in this respect over what was the case in 2011.

Based on many conversations with other professional composers / arrangers / editors, I think there can be no question that MuseScore *is* now as "professional" as any other notation program, although of course as with any software, there is still room for improvement, and still a small handful of specific areas where one might need to use Finale or Sibelius instead.

Some of the areas that I and other professionals have identified as areas that could still use work to make it even better include:

- Performance when handling with large scores. MuseScore does get quite slow with scores of hundreds of measures, dozens of parts, etc. To the point where each click might take several seconds to take effect.

- Text handling could still be improved, especially with respect to lyrics. It's more cumbersome than it should be to create scores with lyrics both above and below the staff (the norm in many choral contexts), or to work with lyrics on more than a one-at-a-time basis. Educators and editors also value ways of attaching markings to scores that are not necessarily part of the final score (eg, comments).

- Page layout is more powerful and flexible than five years ago, but still could stand more improvement - ability to have different margins or staff spacing on different pages, attach markings

- While the actual quality of the scores produced now clearly rivals Finale and Sibelius in their current versions, those progreams continue to improve, and as new programs arrive that do even better still, we do need to continue to improve the quality of our output. The differences are the sort of things the average person might never notice, but if you are producing scores for publication, these details can matter.

That's my take, anyhow, as a professional user of quite a number of other programs for over a quarter of a century now.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

To me, layout is most important, and while MuseScore has made great strides, there are great strides that still need to be made. Issues like #76046: Apply collision avoidance rules for marcato to sforzato accent as well and #81121: Dynamics and Hairpins overlap are only the most overwhelmingly common examples; problems like them can occur in virtually any circumstance. Another regular one that I've most recently been going through a large score fixing occurs any time a rehearsal mark and a tempo change occur at the same time—worse if there's also a textual note (such as "divisi"). Style tweaks don't go very far. Trying to prepare "professional" scores, I have to spend tedious hours moving things around. And the time spent on it is stressful time.

LilyPond, of course, is famous for laying everything out so that no manual repositionings are needed (which is a good thing, because how are you supposed to manually reposition things with LilyPond?). But Sibelius is proof that this is possible with a GUI.

Forgive me if it seems like I'm advertising a rival with what follows, but I want to quote this. From http://www.sibelius.com/products/sibelius/7/compose_edit.html:

The revolutionary Magnetic Layout feature takes care of almost every detail of score layout for you. As you write, it gives everything just the right amount of space and avoids collisions—producing beautiful results. This single feature saves you up to half your writing time.

Write perfect scores up to twice as fast
Magnetic Layout takes care of almost every detail of score layout for you. This one feature saves so much time, it may be the greatest revolution in music engraving in 20 years.

Magnetic Layout makes objects like slurs, accidentals, and tuplets stick to notes, and repels other objects to avoid colliding with them. You get truly professional results–with much less effort.

Magnetic Layout in practice
While you’re writing music, the dynamics, lyrics, chord symbols, rehearsal marks, and all other objects quietly shift around to make sure your music is as clear as possible. They’re attracted into neat rows and columns, and repelled by other objects, making the best use of space on the page.

Dynamics line up in rows and columns, while avoiding notes, slurs, etc. Lyrics shift out of the way of low notes, but stay lined up in verses. Tempo marks, chord symbols, and many other objects also organize themselves neatly while avoiding collisions.

Drag something across a complex score, and other objects will helpfully jump out of the way. And on the rare occasion things get so tight that Sibelius can’t prevent a collision, it will mark it in red so it’s easy to spot and fix.

Staff room
Staves behave just as intelligently—Sibelius can optimize the space between them to allow room for low/high notes, lyrics, tempo markings, and rehearsal marks. It adds extra space between instrument families to make large scores easier to read, and saves space between other staves that don’t have much on them.

Advanced options
But there’s more: advanced users can freeze the positions of objects for complex engraving situations. You can also turn off Magnetic Layout for individual objects or the whole score. And though you’ll probably never need to, you can even set which objects’ positions matter most, how much white space to allow around them, and which ones to align.

That's what I need. That's what MuseScore needs.

This, more than anything else, is what "professional" rivals can hold over us.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

These are good points. But it's important to put this into perspective - there is no black and white litmus test like "programs that have magnetic layout are professional; programs that don't are not". After all, Finale has still been the #1 choice for most professionals for a very long time despite not having anything like this. And Sibelius didn't have it until quite recently. That's not to say it isn't a useful feature and that MuseScore couldn't benefit from it, but that's far cry from saying a program isn't "professional" because it lacks this feature. Implying that would be to deny decades of history that tell us otherwise. It's more a question of how to take an already professional program and make it even better.

FWIW, it's also worth noting that many professionals using Sibelius end up turning magnetic layout off a lot because too often it makes the "wrong" choice as to how to resolve collisions. And it may end up being easier for the user to make the "right" choice starting from a simple predictable default. So it's not really a panacea especially for professionals who tend to want to take more control themselves over these details rather than let the program decide for them. Part of the trick in implementing anything like this for ourselves will be avoiding the trap of making it easier to get semi-decent results, but harder to get truly professional results.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Just a footnote on Marc's comments here....

Both Marc and I are professional musicians who routinely produce scores as part of our work.

Both of us were Finale users until we discovered MuseScore, and by the looks of it round about the same time, when 1.1 was just out IIRC.

The fact that we were both prepared to abandon Finale in favour of (at the time) a relatively unknown open source scoring application known more as a front end for Lilypond output rather than the standalone score engraving application it has a reputaiton for now speaks volumes, both for the professionalism of the application and for the dedication of the development team.

I think that just about says it all :)

In reply to by Thomas

Ah, if only there was a way to gasp with delight in text media! (I'm too mature to use the keysmash.) I'm not sure how to interpret the screenshot, but it doesn't matter. MuseScore is just plain the best thing in the world. :^)

Any leaks from Germany would be the subject of great interest on my part.

In reply to by xavierjazz

All great to read, especially when my most recent visit to the forums had brought to my attention an angry and vulgarity-strewn rant of almost entirely baseless complaints by someone who wouldn't be bothered to learn how to use MuseScore and even considered the interface unintuitive and unpleasant.

While most of the nonsense could be dismissed as exactly that, dissatisfaction with MuseScore's interface struck me as particularly strange and sad. To my eyes, it has always been both elegant and economical in the minimal amount of real estate it occupies – to the extent that it is *so* intuitive that many new users may feel so prematurely confident that they jump in without 'studying' it first to get a foundation for best practices. :-/

In reply to by Thomas

In an attempt to bring a slightly different perspective to the fore, I'm going to make a few comments on the subject of 'Magnetic' or 'Intelligent' layout that I hope will not be taken the wrong way. I truly think MuseScore is the equal of anything available out there, and the Developer Team is incredibly responsive and intelligent. But I believe there's an important distinction among the various types of 'professional' users that needs to be made.

1. Professional performing musicians. Before digital scorewriting software, this segment of the professional music world simply wrote things out by hand on manuscript paper as quickly as they could and got on to the (for them) really important work of actually playing it. If the score or parts were a bit sloppy, the musians would correct what needed correcting with pencils (remember the old maxim, 'No Pencil, No Job!') and get on with it. Nobody cared much if the notes were unevenly spaced as long as each performer could read them. (If you doubt the truth of this, take a look at some of the manuscripts used by the Dresdener Hofkappel musicians (many available on IMSLP or through the 'Schrank II' collection)). With the advent of digital scorewriters, most professional performers producing their own parts now rely on the program to do that 'grunt work' for them, and are fairly uncritical about the fine points of the graphic rendition.

2. Professional composers. These professionals need to produce a graphic rendition of their work that is clear and 'professional-looking' enough to get past the first assistant associate editor at any of the large music-publishing firms to which they hope to sell their compositions. For composers, a program offering 'magnetic' or 'intelligent' layout--automatic avoidance of bad graphics according to an algorithm designed by a programmer--could be a strong selling point.

3. Professional music publishers. Here's where the rubber really meets the road, as the old adverts used to say. No professional publisher operates without having established its own 'house style' of graphic and typographical standards, which are almost certainly going to be different to anything produced automatically by a scorewriting program. Publishers go through a long and painful series of proofreadings before committing to print, and in most houses, the last step of the proofing process is a note-by-note and measure-by-measure examination of spacing of every element that will print. It is at this point that the score and parts are brought into line with the House Style Sheet, and no algorithm is going to satisfy the slightly different House Styles of every publisher. For these professionals, 'intelligent' or 'magnetic' layout is no more than a starting point. The actual resolution of the images, the fine control of elements which the program offers their editors and compositors, and the choice of fonts the program offers are far, far more important features.

In reply to by Recorder485

Great overview Recorder485 which entirely applies to paper sheet music era. Now let's think what will happen with the shift to digital. What follows is an over simplification, so bare that in mind. It's just meant to change the direction of thinking process, from the past to the future.

1. The performer will be consume interactive sheet music on a digital device which offers the ability to change the note size, transpose, select which parts to show/hide, add annotations which nicely take their position in the score, fix a mistake in the score, toggle fingerings or other markings, etc. Basically, the readability of a score will greatly depend on the layouting algorithms of the score rendering software.

2. Composers want their work published asap, looking great without having to spent much time on making the score look good. It's the real-time era. You create something, you push it out there and see if it resonates with your followers. The so called WIP which we see more and more on musescore.com.

3. The publisher will still have a house style, but it will be part of the digital score. Quality Assurance (QA) will have to be redefined, as the quality will much more depend on the software rendering the digital score. But if the software does it well, less time and resources will be spent on QA, which will reduce the cost of the finished score, which is beneficial to the consumer.

Basically everyone will benefit from Intelligent Layout in MuseScore. Feel free to add your thoughts, but remember, this is an over simplification.

In reply to by Thomas

Thanks, Thomas. You are quite correct in pointing out the differences between print product and digital product, as they comprise an important element in the discussion. However, permit me to point out another distinction within that category.

I am not so convinced as some that the days of print music are numbered, because the requirements of performing differ from those of all other endeavours in music. Yes, the technology is there to produce 'digital music stands'...but I have seen very few professionals use such things for performing. I think this is partly (mostly?) because of the sheer, physical size (not to mention the cost) of devices appropriate for actual performance use. Reading music on stage in a live performance from a screen the size of an I-Pad or Kindle just isn't a reasonable demand to make on a performer. On the other hand, having a 12x18 screen set up in front of every player in a symphony orchestra would not only be prohibitively expensive, but would be a major visual distraction for the audience. A standard Manhasset music stand costs about $US50; an 12x18 screen costs about 10 times that and requires AC power as well.

In fact, reader-apps and digital scores from many professional publishers are primarily intended for study purposes, not performing. (A case in point from one of the world leaders in music publishing can be seen here: https://www.baerenreiter.com/en/program/digital-media/baerenreiter-stud… ) There is no doubt that in the study/office environment, digital scores and parts are extremely convenient to work with, and I am a great user of them for all the obvious reasons. (In fact I dread learning from music librarians that a particular manuscript I need has not yet been scanned and digitised, because it means delays and extra costs while physical photocopies or prints from microfilm are produced and then sent to me by post.) But although I will often play passages from my computer screen while working on a score, I would never attempt to perform from a screen. Yes, digital technology allows us to 'zoom' a part to readable size on a small screen, and to turn 'pages' at the tap of a toe...but having to turn pages every six or eight measures is an unacceptable price to pay for a so-called convenience. (So is the requirement to use a stylus or rather complex finger-swiping to mark the conductor's directions on the individual players' parts.)

Add to all this the reticence on the part of many publishers to venture into the digital-score market at all. Digital product is simply too easy to steal and re-sell. No matter how much DRM software is incorporated into the product, any half-baked teen-aged hacker can find a way to break the code in a few clicks, and then it is his to do with as he pleases. No, thank you. I work too hard on my editions to have them stolen and re-sold under someone else's name. And I am not the only publisher who feels this way. I will not 'publish' digital editions until there is some absolutely foolproof way of protecting them...and I don't see that coming anytime in the recent future.

No, I think that print music is here to stay for a good while, yet. :o)

All that said, I want it to be clear that there is nothing wrong with improving MuseScore's default graphic rendering to avoid collisions and improve general layout. 'Intelligent Layout' is a good thing...but I think it is important to point out that those who believe it is the be-all and end-all of graphic programs are expecting too much. The limits of technology have always had their effect upon the look and quality of sheet music--even as long ago as the changeover from quills to metal-nib pens!--but in the end, it is the intelligent individual artist--the copyist, the engraver, the compositor, the user of a score-writing program--who will ultimately produce a high-quality printed score, making decisions based upon his artistic judgement.

I reiterate: the danger is in unrealistic expectations, not in the 'Intelligent Layout' project itself. We, the users, should not and cannot expect you, the programmers, to anticipate every layout conundrum that might arise. As one small example, page turns acceptable for a woodwind player (who can play some notes with one hand while executing a v.s. might be completely impossible for a cellist (who can play others one handed, but perhaps not those particular ones!).

In reply to by Thomas

Hmm. My impression from what I have heard of the new layout work is that it is really mostly trying to solve a different set of problems (relating to note and staff spacing primarily) than what Sibelius is addressing with magnetic layout. While some amount of automatic collision is apparently part of this, I didn't get the impression Werner was really working on a general purpose collision avoidance scheme for all markings. Maybe I'm wrong though. I still haven't had time to check out the new layout work.

I just read your 2016 comments, and I noticed that none of you considered thar there are many professionals around who use MuseScore for teaching. That's a peculiar professional area with very peculiar needs, four of which are 1. zero cost and 2. easy access (licence and copy protection included) and 3. ease of use and 4. the ability to "run" on not-so-recent hardware. MuseScore is now a winning software as regards all these four points, and I somewhat fear that introducing too many features could provide more harm than advantage at least to #3 and to #4.

I would like to add that a software good for the professional area of education shouldn't only take into account the needs of teachers. Rather, it should take into account the needs of learners as well. MuseScore IS such a good software, and I hope that the developers are going to seriously consider what I just pointed out. Please, be careful as you add new features or modify the existing ones. Make your choices wisely.

I'm in the camp that believes MuseScore is not a professional notation program. I don't consider Encore one either and I've been using it for over 25 years—its faster than Finale which is why I still se it. Both are much faster, easier and more intuitive than MuseScore.

No working pro I know uses it. No composition professor I know will use it in the classroom. I've stated in other threads why.

Linked parts is important enough that many used Mosaic in OS 8 until Finale finally had the feature. It's nice that MuseScore 2 has it but it's not enough.

Mark's "red herring" is another's bread and butter. Lack of real time note entry is an absolute deal killer for every film and AV composer I know but they're all using Finale, Sibelius or a DAW that exports notation like Digital Performer or Logic (both of which can now export MusicXML now).

'Collision avoidance' or whatever you want to call it makes things faster. Not only for pros but for students who have to turn in homework. Encore, Finale and Sibelius have had varying degrees of success with it. Faster is good, often critical.

The lack of rests and notes on the palate at the same time is plain stupid—or was—the stubborn defense of this bad decision is arrogance at best. Even Deluxe Music Construction Set on the Amiga had that. It is one of many missteps makes MuseScore less intuitive. For educators, it means you spend more time teaching the program when you should be teaching music. For most, this is a minor inconvenience but not for me — use one hand only to build a score and you will see why that something so simple is a real annoyance and makes note entry much slower for some.

MuseScore is a good looking, I'll give it that. Its MusicXML input is pretty good even if its export to Finale leaves a little to be desired. Layout is faster and easier in Finalle. Yikes!

I've owned more notation programs over the last 31 years than most know ever existed. I consider only two Professionsl and that is Finale and Sibelius. I don't like Sibelius but I need it sometimes so that I can play with other children.

Encore isn't a pro program either — not even 15 years ago when the disparity between it and Finale wasn't so huge. It looks terrible but used to look horrible. It is fast and intuitive, however which is why I use it for note entry. By intuitive, I've cracked the documentation open only once to find out how to do something not in the drop down menus (reduce note stem sizes globally). Unfortunately, I've opened it other times to discover it can't do other tasks — worse, it details functionality that worked in v.4.5.5 but no longer works in 5.x. I don't need linked parts as they exist in Finale.

I'm ok with MuseScore not having the features I need. "Red herring" explanations that they don't exist because they are not needed by professionals is arrogant nonsense.

Don't mistake my statements for complaints. They're not. MuseScore is free and I can buy other tools that do the job. Perhaps, someday, I can recommend it to others but not yet.

I came to this as part of an evaluation committee for a major music school (not on faculty but I consult). I'm the only one posting here but we were unanimous in our rejection. The school has a site license for Finale so there is no itemized cost to the students.

Besides the red herring, the big issue for most is the documentation. For me, if the interface is intuitive enough, the documentation isn't as important—not the case here. I find the documentation not that much worse than Finale—at least it doesn't describe features that don't exist.

I like the idea of MuseScore but don't like the product. I hope it gets better.

In reply to by MikeHalloran

No one ever said *some* professionals don't value real time input. *Some* clearly do. But others clearly don't. So you simply cannot say it is "not a professional program" because it lacks a feature that only a subset of professionals need.

Very many of the professionals I know simply don't use real time time entry with other programs, because it doesn't suit their workflow. Either they do a lot of their composing while away from a MIDI keyboard, or they are composing on the fly and simply don't have a pre-composed line to just play in, or they are writing music of sufficient complexity that automatic notation of the rhythms and accidentals would likely require more work to fix than to simply enter in the first place, or - as is the case for most of my colleagues - *all* of these statements are true, making real time MIDI input completely useless for them. For people like this - and we are talking many thousands of professionals here - the presence or absence of real time MIDI input is a non-issue, and thus whether a program has it or not has *no bearing* on their work or their consideration of what constitutes a "professional" program. I get that *you* value it greatly, but don't assume that this means *all* or even *most* professionals do.

As for the rest palette, I don't "defend" ithe decision, I just question why something that takes all of 15 seconds to learn seems like such a big deal to you. Most professionals enter notes and rests using keyboard shortcuts, as this is far more efficient than clicking with a mouse. So a separate rest palette would never be used even if it existed. For the vast majority of professionals, I assure you this is a non-issue, because they already enter notes and rests the msot efficient way: usng keybaord shortcuts. Not that a separate palette wouldn't be nice for *beginners*. And sure, educators might be happier if they didn't have to spend those extra 15 seconds explaining this feature. But I can't imagine anyone being so shortsighted that they would consider those 15 secondas a deal breaker when you consider the many many many many other advantages.

As for documentation, the free documentation is what it is - as you say, not much worse than the single most professional program ever produced. So I don't see how that disqualifies it as being "professional", But in any case, someone who requires more documentation is welcome to buy my book.

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