Mon, 23 Jun 2008 Melody Assistant 7.4.2 Review
Write, transcribe and transpose orchestral arrangements
- Manufacturer: Myriad Online
- Pros: Use standard musical staves, guitar tabs and chord charts, add multiple instruments and audio channels
- Cons: Clunky looking interface
- Price: €20 (£16)
- Star rating:
Melody Assistant is a mature application that’s main purpose is music notation. With its extensive playback features – supporting polyphonic, multi-instrument scores – it can be used for music creation too.
We have to admit that first impressions weren’t good. This is an application in dire need of an interface makeover; it’s a master class in why programmers shouldn’t design icons and document layouts. However, get past this and you’ll find a comprehensive piece of kit with tools you might expect to find in programs costing three times the price. In fact, Melody Assistant has a ‘premium’ sibling – Harmony Assistant – that fits that bill. There’s little missing from this low-budget brother.
In short, the program enables users to create musical notation in a variety of ways. You can use standard musical staves or string instrument tablature. The program will automatically translate between the two – very handy if you’re a guitarist with rusty notation skills. You can add multiple staffs to a score, selecting instruments for each. Chords diagrams and lyrics can also be inserted.
Even if your music reading skills need polishing, writing to staves is easy and quick. You select a note and length from the toolbar, and hover the symbol over the stave. Tool tips appear to let you know which note you’re selecting before it’s positioned. Of course, everything remains editable. Though Melody Assistant lack the ‘Page Mode’ of its more expensive stable mate, you can print finished scores with a preview to make sure everything looks like it should.