Monday, 5 October 2009

Getting It Down: Power Tab Editor 1.7

Sharing written music can be an absolute pain. Physically person-to-person you could use photocopies, or, at a push, copy the stuff in manuscript. Neither option is really ideal. Over the web things are little better - scan the the music as some form of image file, with all the problems that will present its end user, or find some way of representing it in ASCII.

Things aren't a whole lot better if you're just trying to get a paper record of something. You could get yourself some music notating software and save a huge amount of grief - what you might not save, of course, are money and the imposition of a substantial learning curve.

Enter Power Tab Editor. It's freeware, so it'll cost you nothing to use it, and it's simple to learn, so you can spend your time getting some work done rather than sitting reading helpfiles and tutorials for weeks. It's aimed at guitarists, though, so would-be Mozarts will need to look elsewhere...

Power Tab Editor has a functional and uncluttered interface.

As the name implies, this is a Tab editor. You enter your music onto a Tab stave and the standard music notation stave above is auto-populated, pitches following the tuning you have previously defined for the tab (absolutely great if you use loads of altered tunings but need standard notation that other instrumentalists may need to be able to read). Note lengths are edited on the standard staff. As you might expect, you can define key and time signatures, etc, indicate odd groupings, add expression marks and so forth. You also have access to the whole usual range of guitar technique indications - slurs, bends, slides etc.

The printed output from Power Tab Editor 1.7 is fantastic - clear and very professional. If you want to share stuff over the web then just send the file, the recipient will need a Power Tab reader (or the editing software itself) but these are free, so there's no problem there. Most of the Tab repository sites use Power Tab as one of their standard formats, btw.

This would be a fantastic tool for teachers, I have to say, but frankly just about any guitarist will have a use for this program. It's free, easy to install and use and you know you want it.

You can get it here.