SP note-entry productivity study using Meditation (Massenet) score

edited August 2014 in Symphony Pro
I just finished entering the violin/piano score for Meditation (from Thais, by Massenet) into Symphony Pro on my iPad Mini. The score is the first one for violin in the list on www.8notes.com when you search for Meditation.

First, it amazes me that SP can handle a score like that. I found only a few stylistic choices that didn't seem optimal, and only 1 "bug" (and an obscure one at that). We should all thank the developers for creating and maintaining such a superb piece of software. Every time I watch the play cursor scroll by the measures while the music is playing, I am amazed at the complexity of it all.

Second, the Meditation score contained 3 clef lines, 71 bars, the usual notes and dotted notes, syncopated triplets, quintuplets, clef changes in the middle of a bar, multiple voices in each of piano parts, and all manner of ties, slurs, and dynamics including ritards, a-tempos, crescendos, decrescendos, an arpeggiated chord symbol, and so on. Quite the challenge for the software (and for me too)

Third, I kept track of the time it took me to enter the score -- 13 hours total, 4 for the violin part, and 9 hours for the piano accompaniment. I'm sure I am not the most coordinated Symphony Pro guy around, so your numbers might be lower. But I would certainly argue that these numbers are characteristic of your average SP user (unless SP users are a group of super score-entering people).

Fourth, I found that it was faster to enter a part at a time (violin first, then treble clef piano, then bass clef piano), then go through all three parts sequentially again to check for ties and slurs, and then all three as a group to add symbols that had a bigger scope than one set of staff lines (>, <, p, f, ff, text, etc). It was much easier to concentrate on doing one thing at a time for the whole part, rather than trying to handle 3 parts and the dynamic symbols while proceeding measure by measure. I think I felt this way because of the time and keystroke costs of constantly switching between notes and symbols. Far easier to do all the notes, then all the slurs, then all the crescendos, then all the fortissimos, etc.

Finally, I'm posting this to start a thread on user productivity on this particular score, because it's a score of consequential size, complexity, and time cost.That way, if the SP user interface should improve in the coming months/years, I can reenter the whole score to see how much efficiency was gained. Who knows, maybe one day the SP guys can advertise on ITunes, and say "User productivity is 50% improved by this new release" (or something like that. :-)

I welcome your own test numbers and comments on this thread. The more numbers and people we have, the better our measurements are going to be on future UI tests.


  • Meditation on an iPad Mini... I take my hat off to you, well done.
    I myself am a newbie user, and I only started using SP because my laptop has died so I'm confined to my iPad, and I struggle with manual note entries on my 9 inch touch screen... Zooming in to place notes, zooming out to check and see where I am, I'm a right Zoomer now...
    I am also Very impressed with the functionality of SP, so I'm with you all the way.
    Not particularly interested in measuring productivity to be honest, it's the result that counts to me. And productivity is very subjective, someone with more nimble fingers, and better eye sight maybe, could be much quicker than I am with the same experience, I like to check what I've done pretty much at every bar, whereas if you are more self confident, you check at the end of every line or even page. anyway, etcetera etcetera........
    Good Luck to you.
    Amateur musician on harmonicas, in a duet with a friend of mine.
Sign In or Register to comment.