Since writing yesterday, I’ve learned of two other pieces of notation software that are, I’m reliably told, well worth consideration.
1) NoteAbility Pro “combines both musical intelligence and graphical flexibility in a direct and intuitive graphical user interface.” I’ve heard that people have made some beautiful scores with it. I’d love to see an example. In briefly looking over the screenshots, one standout feature that distinguishes it, as far as I know, from Finale and Sibelius is that it’s very easy to apply different colors to any element on the page. It costs $225 CAD (Canadian dollars), but as with the other options, you can try it out for free.
I followed a link on the company site to NoteWriter and got very excited when I read that it “treats music images as graphics, so that any image can be placed anywhere on the page.” But then I was quickly disappointed to learn that it’s not compatible with Intel-based macs. I have an old laptop lying around, but it closes diagonally and doesn’t hold a charge for over 2 minutes.
2) MuseScore is cross-platform and free. I’m told that it is “missing some more advanced features but is definitely worth a look,” depending on the complexity of your notation practice. Again, I’d love to see some examples.
I’ve been surprised and pleased by the poll responses so far. I’m hoping to get about 10 more before sharing the results.