NoteWorthy Composer (NWC) is a graphical score editor for Microsoft Windows computers (from Windows 95 to Windows Vista), and is also reported to work on PCs under Linux with WINE. Versions 1.xx of NWC have been available since the release of Version 1.00 in October 1994, and Version 2, which has been in beta development since around 2004. Version 2 was released in September 2008.
NWC is intended for the creation of sheet music, but it can also import and export MIDI and Karaoke files as well as graphical WMFs. The user interface is driven mostly by key touch, rather than by mouse movement. Visual result is immediate, and audible result is also available at any time. Notes can also be entered by playing on a MIDI device, when configured. In version 2.xx, the notes can be heard as they are entered.
The NWC file format is undocumented and facilities to convert it into documented formats are limited. Early versions of the NWC file format could be converted to Lilypond files via a free third-party program, but this program has not been updated since 2005 and does not appear to support recent NWC formats. A free Python program to convert NWC format to Lilypond, which does appear to support recent NWC formats to some extent (although the program is also apparently unmaintained and fails on some of the sample files on the NWC web page), can be found as part of the LilyPondTool package.
A feature of the user interface is that notation is displayed during editing. Each staff proceeds linearly from left to right, without being wrapped to the screen. Staff systems are visually broken to fit margins during page layout, allowing many possibilities at "print time", so solo instrument or full conductor can be produced with the same file. Many users prefer this editor layout over the so-called WYSIWYG editors because slowdowns in note entry, as the composition becomes larger, are much less dramatic than in WYSIWYG editors. Print preview is available for adjustments to page layout.
The program lacks the more advanced engraving, graphic sophistication, playback and publishing capabilities of other expensive, complex software such as Sibelius or Finale. It does, however, allow the rendering of custom key signatures which do not follow the usual circle of fifths order of sharps and flats. It is also much less expensive (US $39) than Sibelius (US $599) and Finale (US $600).
Based on a sample of music files that can be found in directories, it appears that the NWC user base includes classical, church, and educational musicians, as well as jazz or world-music composers. The "unofficial" catalog of compositions and helpful files contributed by users is the NoteWorthy Scriptorium. One major project was the scoring of the entire Handel's Messiah. Due to the collective work of NoteWorthy Composer users, the score is now available on the Scriptorium's Messiah page.
If the demo or the program is not wanted but NWC files are to be viewed, the NoteWorthy Composer Viewer can be downloaded from NoteWorthy Composer's website. The Viewer also allows people who can not download NWC to view NWC files. There is also a browser plug-in, but it is not supported by Internet Explorer.
NWC does not support Macintosh computers.
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