The current cost of registering NWC is $49US.
This will enable you to download a full version, and enable you to obtain free updates for all 2.* versions of Noteworthy Composer.
The Help/About page of the evaluation program will lead you to detailed ordering information. It can be also be done directly from Noteworthy Software via secure http at
and by mail.
These are free for all registered users of version 2.*
Alternatively, Select "Access NoteWorthySoftware.com" from the Help menu of NoteWorthy Composer.
The NWC users community are a friendly bunch. Noteworthy Software have provided several support "nodes" and forums for discussion/help. It is best to "help yourself" by using the online help provided with the software. If you can't find something by using the contents, and are using Win 95/98/NT/XP/7, try the Find page of the Search facility to find the phrase you are after.
Other good places to get your frequently asked questions answered are
The Forum, the Newsgroup, and support
There are several friendly places to ask questions and discuss Noteworthy topics. If you have a technical question, try and help yourself using the online help, user tips, newsgroup and forum. If you ask a question on one the venues below, just ask in one place, to save folks duplicating answers. The forum and newsgroup are often frequented by Noteworthy Software staff. Before asking publicly, avail yourself of the above resources and the common questions answered below, in section 3.
The online forum is a web-based message board.
It is located at
The newsgroup runs as a standard password protected internet newsgroup from a private host. Because news is accessed directly from a single host, this means that the news is always "up-to-date" (no propagation delays, and no lost newsitems), but you must be able to access the news server (it is not sent to the wider "usenet" network).
For instructions on how to join the newsgroup, please see
Authorize. Once you have entered your details, proceed to bonus features area which will give you details on how to get access to the newsgroup.
Many, but not all, newsreaders are capable of reading from a news host that is different to your usual news host, but because conditions and software vary so greatly, it is beyond the scope of this document to provide more detailed advice. It may be helpful to post a question to the forum, including which newsreader you use and who your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is. Some ISPs have security arrangements which prevent using a "foreign" news host. In that case, you are stuck, and should try the mailing list or forum.
Folks on the newsgroup (and the forum and the mailing list) are very friendly and helpful.
Usual newsgroup etiquette prevails:
- Talk politely when addressing folks. No flaming, please. If someone flames, it's best to ignore it or e-mail objections privately so as not to prolong the annoyance.
- It's okay to complain about aspects of NWC, but try and do so constructively if possible. It may be a Mercedes at a Volkswagen price, but it ain't a Lamborghini (yet). Often, however, if you are stuck when doing something with NWC, more experienced users will have already found a workaround, so it may well be worth your while to ask. If you are posting a wish, don't forget that Noteworthy Software have a special web page at http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/composer/wishlist.php for you to provide that sort of feedback.
- When quoting other users, try and make the quotes brief and relevent to what you want to say. Avoid requoting whole postings simply so that you can say "LOL" (Laughing Out Loud) or "Great!".
- When posting unusual attachments, it may help to explain how it was produced, eg
Alt+Prt Screen | Paste to MS Paint | Winzip
to aid readers in unpacking and deciphering.
- Refrain from posting large binary files (eg large pictures, MP3 or WAV files), as many users end up paying substantially more (through connection costs) for using the newsgroup when this is done. A good alternative is to make the file available on the web somewhere and simply post a link to it.
- Avoid posting in HTML format if possible (most newsreaders will give you the option), as it unnecessarily increases the volume of posts, and there still exist newsreaders that don't care for such formats.
Everyone on the newsgroup is encouraged to protect themselves from
internet-borne computer viruses, worms etc by using a good antivirus
program and KEEPING IT UP TO DATE. We rarely get any posted to the
newsgroup, but it has happened.
The three venues above receive questions that are asked fairly often. We'll try and answer them succinctly here.
Select them, by dragging your mouse across them, or using the shift and right- and left-arrow keys. Then use Ctrl-Shift-Up or Ctrl-Shift-Down to move the notes vertically. Note that this will preserve notes' relative positions with respect to the staff, but not their relative pitches (ie it ignores key signatures).
Position to the right of the note where you want to put the chord, move up or down appropriately and use Ctrl-Enter.
Oh! You can remove chord members individually, by positioning to the right of the chord, move up or down appropriately and use Ctrl-Backspace.
Select which way their "tail" will go (the right most buttons show quarter notes with tails pointing up or down), and enter a single rest. Then select the opposite direction and enter the note as a chord member. The main thing here is to enter the rest first.
NWC will accept input from an external midi device, like a keyboard or some such thing which will plug into the MIDI IN of your computer's soundcard.
If this is not working for you, ask yourself the following questions:
It may be handy to turn on Tools | Options | Records | Echo Midi Input (using your standard MIDI out channel). This will help verify that notes are getting through, or may simply be used as aural feedback to help in composition.
- Is the keyboard turned on?
- Is the keyboard's MIDI OUT connected to the computer's MIDI IN? Often these can be reversed due to confusing naming conventions. If things don't work, try swapping around the leads and see if that makes any difference.
- Check Tools | Options | Record to see that the correct Midi Input Device is selected. It may be handy to switch on echo midi input (and make sure it echoes to somewhere that will generate a sound) just so that you can hear when things are working.
- Make sure that Midi Input Active (either the button, or the Tools menu entry) is ON.
NWC has a great facility to allow users to specify other fonts to use when entering text. Note that specifying fontfaces other than Times New Roman and Arial may make your NWC file less portable, as other readers of your score may not have the right font files. However, the NWC community uses a suite of fonts developed by Lawrie Pardy of Melbourne, called Swingdings. Swindings replaces the previous "Boxmarks" font. Swingdings is available from http://nwc-scriptorium.org/helpful.html#Fonts
It contains rehearsal marks, glissandi, arpeggio, trill, tremolo, turns and many other useful marks.
- And here is how you do it:
- First of all download one of the Swindings suite from the Scriptorium at
- Extract the font into your Windows fonts folder. Win 95 and later should automatically install the font.
- In Noteworthy Composer, open (or create) your NWC file.
- Go to File | Page Setup | Fonts.
- Scroll down to User 1 (2 - 6) and modify it (Alt-M), selecting the font. You may need to experiment later with the size of the font, but start at about 12 to 18 for now. Click OK to save your font specifications.
- In the score, use the X command (Insert | Text) to bring up the Insert Text Expression dialog.
- Select User 1 (2 - 6) as the display font.
- In the expression box, enter the appropriate character that you want to use. You can use the character map to find appropriate symbols. Press OK.
- The appropriate glyph should appear on your score.
Another great NWC feature is hidden staves. These are entirely the same as all other staves, except that they are concealed from view when first opening files in NWC.
Staves are concealed and revealed by
A staff's group can be changed (and new groups created) in the General tab in the Staff Properties dialog (Staff | Properties, or F2 key). Simply type the name of a new Group (eg Woodwind, Percussion) or, if you've already created a group for other instruments, select the Group from the list.
- going to the Contents tab of the File | Page Setup dialog.
- An X marked in a staff's box in the Visible Parts list means that the part will be displayed. So simply change this by clicking in the appropriate box.
- Whole groups can be displayed or hidden by checking/unchecking the Group in the Groups list.
So then the trick for for high quality display and performance is to create two staves;
one which is decorated using a Swingdings font but is not heard (click the Mute button, or use Tools | Mute), and
one which is the actual implementation of the marks (esp. arpeggios, glissandi, turns, etc), which is then hidden.
NWC can transpose a complete staff (as opposed to selecting a whole lot of notes and moving them up and down with the Ctrl-Shift-Up/Down).
- Make sure you have a key signature at the start of the staff. If you don't need a key signature, enter the C key signature
(Insert Key signature - C major).
- Goto Tools | Transpose.
- Choose how many semitones up or down you want to go.
- Clear the Update staff box (unless you a writing for a transposing instrument, like some of the woodwinds and brass, and are transposing a part that you want to keep the pitch of).
- Click OK.
- This is normally enough. Sometimes, however, a little more work is needed. Enharmonic spellings may be incorrect. For instance, F# may be written as Gb. So there are additional options available - "Minimize sharp/flat count in key", "Favour Flat keys in ambiuous cases" and Favour Sharp keys in ambiguous cases". It's always worth checking after transposition and some manual changes may be needed,
Multipoint controllers, or MPCs, are little streams of special midi instructions which NWC can squirt into a channel (or, with tempo - the conductor's track) to do special things like altering pitch, volume, stereo pan etc. This can be handy for special effects, as well as "humanising" performance with things like swing, portamento, hammer-on on a guitar, swell on sustained notes, etc. Note that some soundcards do not implement these features. For example, say you want to create a Swedish fiddle piece that's in triple time, but the first quarter note of each measure is long, followed by two shorter ones (a typical Swedish fiddle trick!) You can do this by creating one MPC for the first bar (see below for an example) and then copying and pasting it into the start of each other bar. This method can be used to do swing for jazz pieces, too. To fill out the MCP dialog entries, you may do:
Similarly, depending on your sound card, you may wish to use this for smooth "lip-off" effects on flute (smoothly dropping volume before a note finishes), volume swells (of ensembles, church organ, choirs). Note that this is for notes that are being held for a while. For crescendo and decrescendo of phrases or passages of notes, simply use dynamics marks and insert a Dynamic Variance.
- Start by doing Insert | Multi-point Controller (or press L)
- Controller: Tempo. Well, that's obvious!
- Style: Absolute, Linear Sweep. For many effects, you will want a sweep to obtain a smooth transition. However, this can generate many MIDI commands, which may slow down the replay of your NWC file. This MIDI "traffic" can be reduced by making the Sweep Resolution larger.
- Time Resolution sets the "granularity" of the time offsets listed at the bottom. In this example, we could make it Quarter note.
- In this example, initial time offset is zero (we want it to happen straight away). Say the piece is to be at a tempo of about 80 quarter notes per minute. But because of the "stretching", the first beat of the measure is at about 60 quarter notes per minute, so that is what we set the controller value to.
- We enable setting 2, and set it at time offset of 1 (quarter note), and set the tempo back to 80.
- Because we're getting good at this, we decide to slightly adjust the last beat of the bar to be at tempo 85, as it feels as if we always speed up at the end of the bar.
- The tempo will remain at the last value set. This is worth keeping in mind, especially with pitch bends! (Sometimes you may need to string a few MPCs together to achieve a "zero-point" at the end of an effect).
Dynamic Variance (crescendo, decrescendo), and Tempo Variance (accelerando, ritardando, ritenuto) work by finding a "before" setting (of dynamic - ppp to fff - or tempo) and an "after" setting on that staff. So even though you get a default tempo of 120, and default velocity of f, you need to explicitly provide settings somewhere on the staff before your variance, and a "final setting" somewhere after it, for the variance to work properly.
It is sensible to keep all tempo settings on one staff, as they are global (ie no matter which staff a tempo setting is on, it will affect the whole performance, even if the staff is muted or hidden).
Dynamics are not global. If you want your whole brass ensemble to play crescendo, you will have to enter the crescendo mark (and dynamic or tempo marks) on each staff.
Each instrument that you assign to a staff (either through the Staff | Playback Instrument dialog, or though Inserting and Instrument Patch to change it later in the piece) can specify a MIDI bank select command to send as well. You will need to (carefully) read your sound card's manual to work out which banks to use.
That depends on what you are wanting them to do. NWC uses the word slur for phrase marks (groups of notes that should be played together smoothly, or sets of notes that are sung to one syllable), and tie for notes of the same pitch which are held for the combined length of the tied notes.
Notes are slurred by using the ";" key (or Notes | Slur command).
Most likely because
Notes are tied by using the "/" key (or Notes | Tied command).
Because the convention is that accidentals are not rewritten on tied notes - but are assumed, it is an easy thing to forget to do. However, in NWC, accidentals on all tied notes must be made explicit. NWC will then hide the latter accidentals so things will look right.
- you tied notes across a bar line and
- the first note had an accidental (natural, sharp, flat, double sharp or double flat) and
- the second note is also supposed to have the same accidental, but
- you forgot to set it.
Layering allows you to superimpose one staff directly on top of another (v1.50 and later). In fact, you can layer as many staves as you like up to the limit of the number of staves allowed on the screen at one time.
So how do I layer staves over each other?
In order to make layering more useful, the following recently (v1.70) added features of NoteWorthy Composer may also be of use :
- Ensure that Layering has been requested for the file you are working on. In the PageSetup/Contents tab, ensure that the allow layering box is checked. If you canít see this box.
- You will now be able to layer any staff with the staff that is immediately below it.
- Select staff properties (F2) and from the visual tab, check the Layer With Next Staff box If you canít see a Layer With Next Staff box in the visual tab, check steps 1 and 2 above again and also check that you are using version 1.5 or later.
a) Vertically displace a rest, either up or down on the staff.
b) Horizontally displace a note by up to three positions
c) Horizontally displace an accidental by up to seven positions
These three functions can be achieved by highlighting either the note or the rest and then pressing Ctrl-E and following your nose !
There are numerous effects that can be obtained by layering including bi-directional beaming, complex timing patterns, dual language lyrics highlighted at the same time, complex chord patterns with rests, chords with rests of equal value. ( i.e. a sixteenth note tails up with a sixteenth rest directly underneath it).
Just insert text on the top stave as the first item and give it a Staff Position of about 20, Page Text Font, and uncheck Preserve Width. You will have to experiment (using Preview) to get this text aligned with the right hand name. And don't increase the Upper Vertical Size of the top staff.
Any note, rest, expression or barline can be made invisible by highlighting it and typing Ctrl+e. Under ‘Visibility’ choose ‘Never’. The item in question will appear light grey in the editor, but will not print. Sometimes you may want something to only print on the top staff of a score (like rehearsal marks, general directions etc). In this case, choose "Top Staff Only".
Why would I want to make something invisible?
The main reasons for doing this are
- to produce empty bars,
- to avoid printing items which are included in the score to facilitate playback and
- complicated tricks such as cross staff beaming.
- Empty bars.
This can be useful when layering tracks. Quite often long sections do not require a layered track, and this function can hide the full bar rests. Empty bars (or sections of bars) are also useful in piano music when one hand changes staff, or in vocal music when a part is ‘spoken’ instead of sung.
Another use is in printing blank manuscript paper. Fill the staves with a number of invisible bars, and force a system break at the end of each. See section 3.21 for exmple files.
- To avoid printing items which are included in the score to facilitate playback.
If you want to produce a score that plays well, as well as looking great, there are certain expressions that you will need to insert. In piano music you may need a pedal marking for each staff, and possibly dynamics for each staff. Flow directions will also need to be repeated. Making all but one of each of these expressions invisible means that you don’t have to have separate scores for printing and playing. It also allows you to realise some ornaments without having to resort to a hidden staff.
- Complicated tricks.
The manner in which beamed notes disappear when rendered invisible allows you to do a number of tricks. New tricks are often posted to the newsgroup or the forum.
In v1.70 and later, when you enter a text expression, you have a number of options as to how this will be placed in the final score. These will be hidden when you enter a text expression (X command, or Insert | Text) if you have Smart Properties Insert set in Tools | Options | Editor.
- Justify left
- means that the expression will start where your insertion point is, and extend to the right.
- Justify right
- means that it will finish at the insertion point, and extend to the left.
- means just that. It will centre on the insertion point.
- ‘Preserve width’
- means that a space will be made in the score to fit your expression. If this box is not checked the text will go over or under the surrounding notes or rests.
- ‘Before or after other staff signatures’
- dictates where the expression will be placed in terms of signatures which occur in other bars.
- ‘At next note/bar’
- means that the text will be centred over the following note. This is useful for placing ornaments when using a font such as Boxmarks.ttf. If this is used with ‘Preserve width’ turned on there will be a strange looking gap before the said note.
- ‘Best fit’
- is self explanatory.
Use ‘Insert | Performance style | Legato’ for each staff.
- Select the barline you want to break at in the top system.
- Type Ctrl+E.
- Check ‘Force system break’.
Yes. ‘Page Setup | Options | Staff labels | First system’ puts a label in front of each staff for the first system of a piece. These labels are the titles you can give to staves under ‘Staff | Staff Properties | General | Name’. If you would like to indent the first system without placing labels, simply name the staves using the character Alt+0160. (This is the non-breaking space character in Times New Roman, NWC's default font for printing this information).
Either print blank_12.nwc or print
blank_15.nwc. Both require NWC v1.70 or later.
The file, blank_12.nwc, simply has twelve empty staves, and has File | Page Setup | Options | Extend Last System selected. This is very elegant, but has a joining line on the left.
The file, blank_15.nwc, uses hidden rests and hidden bar-lines to create fifteen staves of completely empty staves.
Yes. Probably the most elegant way is to use WinAmp 2, a freeware media player available at http://www.winamp.com, for which Noteworthy Software have created a plugin that will make NWC files one of the file types that can be played by it. The plugin is available at http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/composer/winamp.htm.
Alternatively, you can use a batch file. Simply copy the text below, create a batch file (eg PLAYLIST.BAT), paste the contents into it, put your desired playlist files into the directory, and execute the file...
REM This batch file demonstrates how to set up play lists for NoteWorthy Player.
REM This example will play any song files with a name of type "*.nwc" in c:\music\temp
REM It assumes that the NoteWorthy Player program is in the default location
REM It is easy for the user to change these details if need be.
REM make the directory with *.nwc files the default
REM change this line to your playlist directory
if not exist *.nwc goto next
REM check for the existence of *.nwc files
REM and play them. When finished jump over "no files" message
for %%n in (*.nwc) do start /wait "c:\Program Files\NoteWorthy Player\nwplayer" %%n /play /close
echo there are no nwc files in this directory
Note that this batch file will only work with real NWC files, not with shortcuts to files, unfortunately. This is a restriction imposed by Microsoft's batch processing language.
Metronome markings for different tempi specifications (crotchets/quarter notes per minute):
These tempi are indicative only, and should be adjusted according to taste.
| 40 || Grave || 42 |
| 44 || Largo || 46 |
| 48 || || 50 |
| 52 || Lento || 54 |
| 56 || Adagio || 58 |
| 60 || Larghetto || 63 |
| 66 || Andante/Andantino || 69 |
| 72 || Sostentuto || 76 |
| 80 || Comodo/Maestoso || 84 |
| 88 || Moderato || 92 |
| 96 || || 100 |
|104 || Allegretto || 108 |
|112 || || 116 |
|120 || Animato || 126 |
|132 || Allegro || 138 |
|144 || Allegro assai/Allegro vivace ||152 |
|160 || Vivace || 168 |
|176 || Presto || 184 |
|192 || || 200 |
|208 || Prestissimo || |
NWC lacks a header/footer feature in its document print process. This can create chaos if you drop your portfolio of manuscripts because pages past the first do not include the title or anything else
helpful. Here's a workaround:
- Open a new document with Microsoft Word (or the word processor of your choice that supports headers and footers and pasting WMF images).
- From NWC's Print Preview function, use the Copy command to put the first page of the score in the Windows Clipboard.
- Switch to Word and use the "Edit/Paste" command to insert the score page into the document.
- Use the mouse to place Word's insertion cursor at the end of the inserted page.
- Press the Enter key to insert a new line.
- Iterate steps 2 through 5 for each successive page from NWC's Print Preview (substituting "nth" for "first" in step 2)..
- In Word, use the "View/Header and footer" command to add headers and/or footers to the document.
- Print the score from Word.
There are several approaches available. The most straightforward is to
"Play" the NWC file whilst recording with some wave file editor like CoolEdit, WaveStudio, or even SoundOLE (this has a 60 second limit which can be overcome by recording twice). This step requires a soundcard with full-duplex (can play and record at the same time). The advantage here is that most folks like to tweak the recording anyway (with reverb or whatever).
An alternative is to save the NWC file as a MIDI file (NWC command File | Save As), and the use a MIDI file "renderer", which creates a WAV file directly from a MIDI. See http://www.musicmasterworks.com/midi_to_wave_converter.html for more info or look for TiMidity or AudioCompositor (http://home.att.net/~audiocompositor/index.html).
This can be a little trickier, as you need something that will encode MP3, which normally involves software that you must actually pay for, or adding another step which will take a wave file generated from the above hint, and convert it to MP3. Most high quality wave file editors will have high quality MP3 codecs (that will encode MP3 for you - look in "Save As", or read their help file). There are several freeware MP3 encoders now available on the net.
Alternatively, save the NWC file as a MIDI file and use a MIDI renderer which saves to MP3. With the right plugins, you may be able to convince WinAmp 2 to do this. MusicMatch has also been suggested as a good application for this.
Follow the steps for 3.25 above for each song you wish to put on the CD, and then use your CD-writing application (something like Nero, or Adaptec's CreateCD is good. Most CD writers come with some form of software for creating audio CDs.) for the final step of burning the tracks onto CD.
Many Noteworthy Composer users have been so enamoured with the software that the newsgroup was created by Noteworthy Software to allow users to send in NWC files to share around. This led to us wanting a place to keep them, and hence the Noteworthy Composer Scriptorium was born. Noteworthy Software's website also contain a list of users' links, which can take you to some very interesting sites. This is at
The "Scripto" contains many many useful things for NWC users, including
- a set of printable help references written by Barry Graham (updated by Richard Woodroffe), very handy for the NWC beginner. In MSPublisher, PDF and Postscript formats.
- auxiliary programs to help musical "tinkerers".
- an archive of NWC files (over 8000) to inspire Noteworthy Composers.
These files are all presented with their creators' permission, and
are of songs/pieces either in the Public Domain or being used with
the copyright holders' permission.
The Scriptorium also has some hints on how to produce NWC files for public performance/consumption at http://nwc-scriptorium.org/submit.html#hints
Sites with just midi files are best added to Noteworthy Software's User Links page, at
Most recently updated 7th May, 2001