Aria Maestosa Icon

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ease 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5 4 / 5
features 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5 4 / 5
design 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5 4 / 5
support 1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5 4 / 5
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  • simple-review
    1 of 5 2 of 5 3 of 5 4 of 5 5 of 5

    Aria Maestosa is a surprisingly intuitive, easy-to-use and potent music composition software that surpasses its price tag (but quality "free" software has been going up in number lately, which is a good thing!) The biggest draw for me is the layout: tracks are stacked atop each other. This way, one can clearly see and compare tracks (and if there's a lot of 'em, one has only to scroll!) Changing the size, or order, of tracks is as easy as holding down the mouse button and dragging! There's also a universal Zoom, but it's rather awkward, as it only makes notes appear more elongated/shorter, as opposed to bigger/smaller. Aria also features some neat time-savers, which I think are absent even from some higher-end music software: Shift+up/down arrows move highlighted note(s) by an octave; Shift+right/left arrows move note(s) by a bar; Ctrl+right/left arrows change note duration, etc. Other features are a few clicks away, and most can be applied to individual notes or a group. Additionally, there're welcome bells and whistles: notes appear darker/lighter in color as you change their volume, etc. The program Sourceforge.net page keeps an exhaustive and well-explained list of bugs and missing features, and the conclusion is clear: for *scoring* and/or printing sheet music, you're better off with a dedicated "scorewriter". I mainly use the Piano Roll, and about the only feature I'm missing is *any* Redo + plenty more Undo. When you keep changing the position of a note (or a bunch of 'em!), passing thru every pitch/postion in between (say you're doing it with the keyboard), or changing any other note attributes, and you want to go back, the usefulness of redo/undo may not be overestimated! The current workaround is to make regular saves, then when things go messy, close the project and reopen it! Or open the project file + a *copy* simultaneously (yes, A.M. allows multilple tags), then when one of them has been heavily edited, a user can quickly listen to the difference in the other. While the plethora of native instruments are for the most part of unexpectedly decent quality, they can sometimes sound weird and 'artificial'--no surprise there: e.g. a note just a half-step apart may suddenly sound a very different pitch, even timbre (decreasing the volume of the offending note usually softens the effect). So, it'd be nice if Aria could host third-party VSTs (virtual instruments). Also, the efficacy of controls (pan, reverb...) could be improved. In an email exchange in which the developer of Aria helpfully answered some questions I had, she mentioned not having enough time to update the software. What a pity, because as good as Aria stands, I do think it has more potential. Thankfully, the code is out there. I'm just an aspiring musician, not a coder, but I urge musicians who double as coders (or vice-versa) to support this intuitive, hassle-FREE music composition software.

    Posted 06/12/2014