I am writing a book about the piano, in Word. I want to be able to show examples of music in the book. Nothing deep, piano clips, chord symbols, that’s about it. I need Word for many powerful reasons - Table of Contents, Indexing, formatting text…It’s great with words.
Word sucks at musical notation. Word has always been pretty useless for this. They always recommend using symbols. This does not cut it, you can’t have staves for example.
The only way I can think of doing this is using Dorico (which, TBH, seems overkill) and using the sipping tool to take out what I want.
Not very elegent.
Anyone have other ideas? How is it done for books?
I’d agree with Dan that using Dorico to produce illustrations as graphics for the page is the standard method. Ideally, you should use PDFs as your graphics format, so that your images won’t appear ‘bitmapped’ – pixellated and jagged.
Traditionally, Word isn’t the first choice of professional publishers.
If you want complex or varying page layout, decent typesetting, stable image position, pre-press compatible PDF export, then really you need a DTP app, not a word processor.
Thank you all. Seems like Graphic slices would work.
As for book writing software, I took a look at scrivener and a lot of minor players, although they may have plusses, they also have minuses. I know Word pretty well, so I am sticking with this pro term. Recently Word has lost the plot a bit, it wants me to use the online version and offers me a ‘copilot’ and other nonsense like A1 generated covers. The whole area is getting too distracting. I stick with Word365 on PC.
Affinity Publisher 2 is excellent for text with music examples. And it’s relatively inexpensive. You could get the whole Affinity suite of Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher and be able to do almost anything in terms of designing and publishing your book. And if you already have Dorico, by all means use it. If not and you feel Dorico would be overkill, MuseScore is free and might be able to do what you need.
Just FYI, AP has a major memory leak that causes problems for large projects with many placed PDFs of music notation. It was a disaster for me, and that was fairly recent. Hopefully they fixed it in an upgrade.
Thanks for that information, dan_kreider. I did once run into a memory issue with a large file imported from InDesign, but that resolved itself. Otherwise Affinity has worked well for me, but I am only doing smaller files. Sorry to hear about your issue. How did you fix it?
Sorry ZeroZero, so maybe InDesign would be better for you if it is a large project. But you seem happy with Word.
I only noticed this issue when projects were exceeding 200 pages. By the time I got to 500 pages, it was a truly unstable and took 45 minutes to open a project without crashing. For projects around 10 pages or so, it was absolutely fine.
I dread that. I just opened that file I mentioned and one of the music PDFs was missing. I closed the file and reopened it and it was back where it should be. Along with the problems you mentioned, did you also encounter this kind of issue? I never had this issue in AP 1.
We make quite sophisticated Word documents, containing a lot of bookmarks, cross references, automatic counters, indexes, table of contents, literature references, etc.
For music we used Dorico snippets in png format, but we realised that using SVG exports gives much better results (because it’s vector graphics of course). Drawback: even when you save the Word document in PDF format, you are not 100% sure that your SVG renderings will be displayed correctly on another OS platform (example: you generate the PDF on Windows, and you look at the PDF on Mac: not sure the result will be exactly the same; see this thread for example). @ZeroZero , I think your Word solution is the correct way to go. And high resolution graphics snippets are probably the most practical workpath.
If it is really very demanding, maybe look at @dan_kreider 's solution for his magnificent hymnal that he created with Indesign. But maybe there are Word features that you absolutely need, and that are missing in Indesign.
For documents with musical notation figures I use Affinity Publisher for simple and shorter documents (less than roughly 50 pages, may include table of contents, index and internal anchors). For reliably producing longer books (up to more than 1,000 pages) I use LaTeX computer typesetting; absolutely reliable when it comes to TOC, figure and table numbering, bibliography and index generation. Professional typesetting quality of symbolic and mathematical notation. (ASCII source files with mnemonic commands will be readable into the distant future). The genius of Donald Knuth still bears fruit.
In both cases I use Dorico PDF slices for music notation, occasionally full pages. I do most annotations in Dorico (waiting for harmonic / musical analysis implementation without workarounds), but may add additional labels, markings, complex lines etc. in Affinity (Publisher or Designer) or in LaTex as a top layer.