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Denemo is a free software (GPL) music notation editor for GNU/Linux, Mac OSX and MS Windows that lets you rapidly enter notation which it displays beautifully typeset by the LilyPond music engraver. See a comparison with other score writers, or watch a demo (or some other ones). You can compose, transcribe, arrange, listen to the music and much more.

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What is Denemo?

Denemo is a music notation program for GNU/Linux and Windows that lets you rapidly enter notation which it typesets using the LilyPond music engraver. Music can be typed in at the PC-Keyboard (watch demo), or played in via MIDI controller (watch demo), or input acoustically into a microphone plugged into your computer’s soundcard.

Denemo uses LilyPond which generates beautiful sheet music to the highest publishing standards. During input Denemo displays the staffs in a simple fashion, so you can enter and edit the music efficiently. The typesetting is done in the background while you work, and is generally flawless publication quality. Any final tweaks to can be done on the final typeset score with the mouse if needed (watch demo). This represents an enormous practical improvement over the most programs which require you to re-position colliding notation constantly as you enter the music. See comparison with Musescore, Finale or Sibelius.

Unique to Denemo are methods to enter music in a musical, rather than mechanical, manner. This can be used for transcribing scores. In an ideal world we would just ‘play in’ the music, but this cannot be done reliably. We would not enjoy playing in music in such a mechanical way that a computer could reliably detect the rhythm. Instead, Denemo allows you to use the numeric keypad as a kind of rhythm instrument – you play in a phrase or two of the music using the number keys to indicate the note durations. Audible feedback lets you hear what you have entered; playing the phrase a second time on a real instrument adds the pitches to the rhythm. Again, Denemo gives you audible feedback so that you don’t enter E-flat when you meant D-sharp etc. You have to play the right notes in the right order, but the your timing can be as sloppy as you like. Watch a 5 min demo

Another great feature is the ability to put links in the score to the original source document that you transcribed from. Clicking on such a link opens the document for you and highlights the bar you are looking at. You can use this to continue work from where you left off, or for looking back at the source to check a doubtful bar.

The name Denemo is thought to be a corruption of the French word dénouement. From Wikipedia: In literature, a dénouement (IPA:/deˈnuːmɑ̃/) consists of a series of events that follow the climax of a drama or narrative, and thus serves as the conclusion of the story. This would mean the pronounciation has to be French, but all other ways have been heard, too. To (double-)quote Denemo’s developer Jeremiah Benham: But it in the spirit of Linus Torvalds, “I don’t care what you call it, just as long as you use it.

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