Music Press Features
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Computer keyboard: Notes and rests may be typed directly onto staves from the computer keyboard.

MIDI keyboard: Notes and chords may be played directly in step-time. Rests and many other functions may be programmed into unused octaves.

Lyrics: Lyrics may be entered by typing directly onto the page, and are aligned and spaced automatically.

Chord symbols: Chord symbols may be entered by typing directly onto the page in a similar way to lyrics, and are aligned and spaced automatically. Chords are specified by a simple code (e.g. c-7 for C minor 7) and typeset automatically.


Tools: Editing of the music is done graphically, using fast and accurate point-and-click operations. There are tools for every common musical symbol. Tools may be selected with keystrokes or by reference to an existing symbol (similar to the "eyedropper" function of many paint programs).

Automatic positioning: Most symbols are positioned automatically during normal operation using a rule-based expert system. This greatly reduces editing time and ensures consistency. You have full control over all values used during automated operations, and any object may be positioned manually if desired.

Pointer Tool: The normal pointer may used to reposition or shape any symbol, just as in a "draw" program. There are no "modes", and all symbols are accessible at all times.


Automatic spacing: Music Press has automatic note (horizontal) spacing and staff (vertical) spacing, allowing music to "flow" from page to page and adapt to different margins in the same way as text in a page layout program.

WYSIWYG: Pages are presented in 'page view' so the image on the monitor is always a faithful representation of the printed page.

Making changes: You can easily change the location of line and page ends, the density (color) of the page (and hence the number of pages), the page size and margins, and the music size--even after the piece is finished. Adding or removing music is also easy, since the music flows from page to page.

Avoiding changes: Once the layout is as you want it, it will never change unless you specifically change it. Even if you have to re-space the music to accommodate changes, you can freeze the layout. For example, if necessary you can put an unusual amount of music on one line and still have a nice layout elsewhere.


Automation: All of the expert information may be changed to suit your personal taste or your client's house style. All aspects of the look of the music, from large-scale layout parameters to line weights, are individually adjustable.

Profiles: The complete set of values governing all aspects of the look may be saved as a "profile" and used by yourself and others. Since engravers often work for several different clients who have differing specifications, these settings may be saved as a profile of a particular client, making switching between clients simply a matter of selecting the appropriate profile. For publishers, this means that a house style sheet can be prepared and distributed to anyone working for them, in-house or independently.

Computer Keyboard: The keystroke layout is fully customizable for maximum adaptability to any working style. (The Macintosh version offers three fixed keystroke layouts)

MIDI Keyboard: The MIDI keyboard may be programmed with any function or keystroke, so unused octaves may be set up with durations, accidental controls, rests, etc. Many specialized layouts are possible. (The Macintosh version allows selected functions to be programmed.)


Precise printer control: You have complete control over positioning of the image and paper feed. Adjustments are provided to match printer resolution without aliasing effects, and to avoid dropout.

Imposition: Page imposition is the ability of the software to print more than one page on a single sheet of paper, with surrounding crop marks and a slug line (information stamp). Selection of the correct pages for the desired type of binding, and correction for 'creep' due to folding, are automatic. Pages may be imposed into printer's spreads or into two-four page accordion-fold spreads. This feature also allows you to print folded parts directly onto final stock, without the need for taping or duplicating. If you are preparing camera-ready output for offset printing, this can eliminate costly steps in the prepress process.

Crop marks: Crop marks are completely adjustable. A slug line with information about the document can be included.

Compatibility: Printing is supported on any Windows-compatible printer. (The Macintosh version requires a PostScript-compatible printer or PostScript emulator.)


Tutorial: Music Press comes with a printed tutorial that covers all of the basic procedures necessary to do real work with the program. After doing the tutorial, you will be able to tackle a project of moderate difficulty with confidence.

On-line Reference: Later this summer, Graphire will release a completely new electronic reference manual for Music Press. This will be a complete reference and guide to all of the program's features, and will contain lots of procedures and hints which will help you get the most out of your software. This manual will be sent to all Music Press 9.0 customers free of charge.

Interim documentation: Until the on-line reference is complete, interim documentation is provided which documents all of the features of Music Press.


Technical support: Customer service, technical support via e-mail and telephone, the Graphire Discussion Group, and the support features on the web site are all included with Music Press. All customers are encouraged to join the Discussion Group.

Customer feedback: Music Press is, to a large extent, the direct result of customer feedback. Our job is to create software which meets your requirements and helps you to do your job the way you want to do it. We want suggestions and bug reports from all of our customers, not just Beta test sites, and we especially want to hear your complaints. Praise is nice to hear, but it is the complaints which will ultimately help Music Press grow and improve.

Discussion group: Graphire hosts a discussion group for all customers. Topics range from details of program operation to notation issues to job offers. We encourage every customer to join.

Specific Features

Text and graphics: Music Press has natural text handling, drawing tools, and powerful page-layout features which allow Music Press to set title pages, tables of contents, performance instructions, and other pages with combinations of text, graphics, and music.

Part extraction: Music Press has several very powerful features which make part extraction fast and easy. You can extract a part, transpose it, adjust the stems and beams, reposition and shape objects, and lay the part out at the appropriate music size and page size--all in a few keystrokes. At this point, you can edit the part as necessary, paste in cues from the score, and so on. It is easy to copy the conductor information (tempi and such), which is usually found only in some parts in the score, into every extracted part. It is also easy to do things like extract a divisi part into separate First and Second parts.

Transposition: Music Press offers a sophisticated transposition system which supports transpositions by any interval. Stem direction, beaming, and positioning of symbols can be corrected automatically after transposition.

Pricing and Availability

Price: Music Press costs $895 USD for either the Macintosh or Windows version. Upgrades to Music Press 9.0 from earlier versions cost $99 USD for customers who purchased before July 1, 1998, and are free to those who purchased more recently. See Pricing for a complete discussion of pricing.

All prices are subject to change without notice.

Availability: Music Press is available exclusively from Graphire Corporation. We accept the American Express® Card, Visa®, MasterCard®, wire transfers, and personal, corporate, and bank checks (money orders). We also accept purchase orders from qualified educational institutions. See Pricing for complete information, or go directly to our on-line order form.

Versions: See the News page for the latest news about releases and versions. See the Download page for information about the current shipping version.

Cross-grades: You can cross-grade between platforms free of charge (once per year). See Pricing for complete information.

User Interface

Ease of use: We have made it a major design goal that Music Press be very easy to learn to use and very fast to use once you know it. We feel that ease of use is not just an issue for beginners, but rather a basic quality crucial to any professional tool.

Design: Music Press uses a state-of-the-art graphical human interface. Menus, toolbars, icons, tabbed dialogs, and hierarchical lists make learning and remembering how to use the program easy. There is very little to memorize, as the interface provides ample reminders and encourages serendipity.

Display: You can view any array of pages you want. Common views include one-up, two-up, and thumbnails, but occasionally you may find other arrangements useful. You can zoom in and out at any time over a large range. At very small magnifications, greeking occurs automatically. All Music Press operations are functional at all magnifications, and there is no separate viewing mode--you are always in page mode.


Screen drawing: Music Press for Windows draws the screen instantaneously even on an older Pentium (P 133). Music Press for Macintosh draws the screen instantaneously on a modern Mac (G4). On a very old, slow Mac (IIci) it will draw fast enough so that most of the time you will not think about it. (A typical fairly dense page of music will draw in about a second.)

Printing: Music Press is not the limiting factor for printing speed, even when printing large, dense pages on a slow computer. Typically, if you have a reasonably modern printer, you will get music out of it as fast as blank pages, once the first page is printed. (The extra time to print the first page will depend on the speed of your network.)

Processing: Music Press functions identically with very small and very large documents. Processes which are related to the amount of music, such as re-spacing, will naturally take longer as the document grows, but document size does not affect the performance of the program in general. Re-spacing a long piece will take proportionally longer than a short piece, but the time required to re-space only the last page will be the same (if the music on it is the same).

Platform comparison: Music Press for Windows performs comparably to Music Press for Macintosh with the exception of screen drawing. For example, a Pentium 200 will re-space the music at about the same speed as a Power Mac 7300/200. Screen drawing under Windows is much faster than on the Mac, although it is fast enough on the Mac not to be noticeable.

Document size: Music Press files are of modest size for the amount of information they contain and they compress very well. For example, the Beethoven example on this site is 46K. There are no reliability issues related to document size. The program is just as reliable working on a 5K document as on a 5,000K document, or on fifty 100K documents at once.

Memory (RAM): Music Press requires a modest amount of memory. It is difficult to generalize since music varies so widely, but a fairly large score--say 100 pages of 32 parts with average density--can be handled easily in 16 MB. Remember that there must also be memory available for the operating system, and any other programs you may wish to run at the same time.

Hard disk space: Music Press requires about 10 MB of disk space, including the on-line documentation. The program itself is about 2 MB.


Documents: There is no practical limit on document file size, length in pages or measures, or page complexity. There is no limit on the number of objects attached to a note, number of objects on a page, or on the number of simultaneous open documents. The only limiting factor is available memory. Under Windows, memory can grow as it needs to, so there is no practical limit if there is sufficient disk space available.

Systems: Systems can contain up to 255 staves.

Staves: Each staff can hold four completely independent voices (lines of music).

Notes: Note values can range from double whole-note (breve) to 256th (demisemihemidemisemiquaver).


Previous versions: Music Press is 100% backwards compatible. Music Press 9.0 for Macintosh will correctly open any Music Press file created since version 7.0 (released in 1994). Music Press 9.0 for Windows will open any Music Press file version 8.9.7 or later (no earlier versions exist for Windows).

Cross-platform: Music Press provides true cross-platform support. What this means is that you can operate Music Press in a mixed environment (Macintosh and Windows) with no compatibility concerns. Music Press 9.0 for Windows will correctly open any Music Press 9.0 for Macintosh file, and vice versa. Special characters are automatically mapped and font substitution facilities are provided. There is no "export" format or conversion process--the files are identical on both platforms.

File transfer: Music Press files are directly transferable as plain binary across Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX platforms. There are no problems transmitting GMP files across the Internet. (Macintosh file type information may be lost, but this is readily restored with a supplied file typer utility.)

Operating systems: Music Press takes advantage of the modern features of each operating system it runs under. Neither version is a "port" of the other--both are native to their respective platforms and have the appropriate look and feel.

Requirements: Music Press is available for Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0, and 2000 on x86 computers, and for MacOS 7.0-9.0 on 68K and PPC computers.

Output Quality

Revere font: The music is set in Revere, a new typeface designed by Alan Talbot based on an earlier design he created for the Synclavier Music Engraving System. Revere is the result of the detailed study of numerous engraved examples and eight years of refinement based on feedback from engravers and publishers. It captures the best aspects of the 'German' style, but shows a consistency of design not often found even in classically engraved music. Its name is a tribute to Paul Revere, America's first music engraver.

Endorsement: The Revere font recently received the following industry endorsement: The notehead design and notehead-to-staff relationships of Graphire's Revere font have been certified to meet the specifications set forth by the Music Publishers' Association of the United States, the Church Music Publishers' Association, and the International Federation of Serious Music Publishers.

Musical Styles

Classical: Whether the music you prepare is classical, romantic or modern, Music Press has the features to notate it. Many old style conventions, and many widely used and even some quite obscure modern notations are supported.

Jazz: Music Press offers a sophisticated chord symbol system which makes correct spelling and transposition into any key easy. It also has many of the special symbols seen in jazz charts.

Pop and Rock: Along with the chord symbol system is a fully flexible guitar chord frame (fingering chart) feature. You can create any chord frame with any fingering and position, and add it to the library for use in your music. Chord frames may have any number of frets, and any number of strings, so lute and bass frames are easy. Chord frames are entered automatically based on the chord symbols in the piece. Chord symbols and chord frames may also be transposed in the same way as notes. Music Press also fully supports guitar (and lute) tablature (TAB). This feature is fully automatic, but of course is also fully customizable. Many common TAB notations (such as bend) are supported.


Music Typesetting: Music Press was designed specifically for the music publishing industry. It excels at music typesetting (or engraving, if you prefer the traditional term). Its page layout features, precise control, consistency, and accuracy all make it the clear choice for serious publishing.

Copying: Music Press is a powerful copying tool offering several features which are specifically designed for commercial copying. It has a flexible system for automatically limiting the number of bars on a line, allowing a piece to vary in layout as the music changes to keep the start of phrases at the beginning of the line. Clefs and key signatures may be omitted from the beginning of each line, and repeats may be adorned with score bracket style lips. The transposition and chord symbol features also facilitate working with this type of music.

Composing and Arranging: While Music Press was designed to be a typesetting tool, many composers and arrangers have found that it is a superb authoring environment in which to express their creativity. Some of our customers have moved away from paper and pencil altogether. They compose directly on the screen, using cut and paste and transposition to arrange as they go.

Text Books: Music Press is an excellent tool for creating examples for insertion in larger works. It works smoothly with other professional tools, such as page layout programs and line art programs, and produces accurate and predictable results. It has a wide range of notation and drawing tools which can be used to create a variety of complex illustrations. For example, a considerable amount of Schenker analysis has been done with Music Press.

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