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Manuscript Writer (1993-99)

Manuscript Writer was a C++ music notation program I made in the mid-1990s to help with school music work.  Its input was based on SMX code (e.g. O2L4cdL8efL4g) with many additions.

Manuscript Writer is rarely needed nowadays, because:

Manuscript Writer also had support for Braille music, graphical Braille tutorials, and various old PC hardware and file formats, but I no longer distribute Manuscript Writer because:

  1. The text-to-phonemes table for its built-in speech synthesiser was derived from a commercial BBC Micro speech program (this was supposed to be temporary while I wrote my own table, but I forgot and left it in), plus its low-level driver for Creative Labs soundcards was based on code that wasn't mine and I've forgotten what the license was. I could remove those features, but I no longer have the compiler needed by the DOS version of Manuscript Writer, so at the very least I have to discontinue the DOS version.
  2. The Unix version lacks the support for various esoteric DOS devices and fancy user interfaces, and the only thing it does that's still special is Braille output, but:
  3. Manuscript Writer's Braille is now out of date: the various Braille authorities agreed on a new international standard just after the time I stopped working on Manuscript Writer, and the number of people wanting their Braille music to be done in the old style has now dwindled. Anyway, if Braille conversion is what you want then you are probably better off finding a program that reads a more standard input format. Manuscript Writer has its own language and can also import a bunch of other formats, but all of these are quite old and no longer widely used (except the ones it doesn't handle very accurately), and it might be quicker to write the Braille yourself unless you also want print at the same time.
If anyone is desperate then I could ship a version of Manuscript Writer with the dubious parts removed but it will have to be Unix. Meanwhile I highly recommend Lilypond, and I hope Lilypond's Braille support is coming soon.


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