Although there are now a number of choices for notation products for the iPad, one app is truly advanced over all the others (in terms of “traditional music notation program), and that is Notion for the iPad. You can even connect an external MIDI keyboard to your iPad and enter notes that way through Notion for the iPad.
One of the reasons to buy Notion for the iPad is that there is a desktop version, too (Windows or Mac). The iPad version of the app very closely resembles the desktop app, which solves many of the problems of a learning curve. When Notion released Notion 4, it did so at a massively reduced price from Notion 3…selling for only $99.00. Since that time, Notion was purchased by PreSonus, but remains in development.
In the desktop form, the two unique selling points for Notion (above the other apps that exist) were that it comes with some of the best audio samples for a notation program (and indeed, this is true…these same samples are used with the iPad app), and that you can use its N-Tempo feature for live performance.
Yesterday, PreSonus announced that Notion 5 was available for immediate download. The price of the program has gone up to $149, and existing owners of Notion 3 and Notion 4 can upgrade to Notion 5 for $49.
Truthfully, I do little work in Notion (full version) as I do most of my editing in Finale, but there are features in the desktop version that are not yet on the iPad, and the way the iPad app was created, the iPad app can act on certain things you can do only on the desktop version (import the file, and it plays correctly on the iPad). Notion (full version) was able to interpret MIDI from my Casio Privia keyboard (HD MIDI), whereas Finale 2012 could not. So, it has been useful to have the program on my computer from time to time.
While I am sorry to see what seems as a jump in price for Notion (and the upgrade), I am reminded that a full copy of Finale 2014 is $600, and the upgrade cost for Finale is $139.95. Avid's pricing for Sibelius 7 is similar ($599.95, and $49 to $150, depending on which version you owned previously). As a result, that is still a bargain (unless you compare it to the MuseScore, free, which just isn't going to sound like Notion).
I am most excited about Notion 5 because I believe that the Notion team was focused on that product while the iPad app had reached a reliable state, so I am looking forward to new features on the iPad app soon!
So…if you own a previous version of Notion, or have been thinking about it, Notion 5 is out. Go to www.notionmusic.com for more information.
Note: if you install the program, you will have to reinstall all of the sounds for Notion 5…the downloads take a while!