Many DAWs/music production softwares (Reaper, FL Studio ...) rely on piano-roll to edit midi tracks.

Are there nice sequencers/daws with very good notation/score editor (along with VSTi/plugin support for rendering the score).

I know Cubase etc offer usable score editors. I'd prefer to work with the entire musical work as the score (as in Sibelius etc). I've used Harmony Assistant for sometime. Liked it very much. It has an internal sound synth, doesn't support vst plugins.

  • Cubase, Logic & Sibelius are good. Anything new in the market? New and not as expensive as these? (Just curious.) Dec 9, 2010 at 3:55
  • Trying out Muse Score with FluidSynth's Soundfont; not a replacement for DAW, but qualifies for a fantastic Scoring software. Feb 11, 2011 at 5:34

5 Answers 5


You can try Rosegarden since it is totally free. It has score editing and recording functionality.

  • Note that Rosegarden is only available for Linux.
    – BenV
    Feb 10, 2011 at 13:58
  • Thanks Turion & Ben. I've been trying out Rosegarden along with Fluidsynth etc. for a while now. It's indeed decent. Reminds me of Cakewalk. Feb 11, 2011 at 5:31

I believe Sibelius and Pro Tools are integrated, so you can write in Sibelius and import cleanly into Pro Tools, where you can use Pro Tools TDM or RTAS plugins. I have never done this personally though, so consider this hearsay :)

  • 1
    You're correct, as of Pro Tools version 8.
    – BenV
    Dec 8, 2010 at 19:34

"Decent" makes this a bit subjective (and heck, tool questions can border on religious from time to time) but I'll recommend looking at Logic Pro.

I moved from a Cubase SX 3 to Logic 8 Pro system three years ago. I used to think SX 3's scoring capabilities were decent to pretty good but Logic, once I got used to the Mac and the Logic way of working, does a fantastic job at managing score writing and playback. You can move between piano roll and score editing. Because it's completely integrated with Logic you can audition the scores with whatever VSTi's you'd like to use (and Logic Pro comes with some impressive and extensive VSTi's). And you can produce some very nice looking printed score sheets at the end. I've scored about a dozen pit band pieces with Logic 8 now and I'm a convert.

This tutorial covers producing printed sheet music, but it gives you a good overview and you can see the screens you'd be working with.

  • +1 I have used Cakewalk (in the "old days"), Cubase and Pro Tools and Logic's piano roll and score editors are both really nice tools within a great overall package. But like Ian says, the Logic way of working takes some getting used to.
    – bogeymin
    Dec 10, 2010 at 23:55

Reaper now has a notation (score) editor


I had good results with Logic. While it is only available for Mac OS X as it has been bought by Apple many years ago, the old Windows version 5.5 was quite pleasing in this as well.

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