Saturday, May 19, 2018

Free guitar tablature and notation software: Tuxguitar

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are going to talk about a free, open source songwriting tool: TuxGuitar!

Tuxguitar is a notation, tablature writing and songwriting tool, similar to the more famous Guitar Pro, but free and open source.
The software lets the user write in staff format (the one for classical music) and in tablature format (for guitars and bass), letting us choose tuning, number of strings and so on, and it features a real time midi engine that allows multitrack playback, so that the user can write also complex, multi instrument songs, using a variety of General Midi sounds (drums, classical guitar, distorted guitar, orchestra and so on).

The software lets us visualize a guitar keyboard or a regular keyboard and see the notes played in real time, import and export midis, and export the music sheet in a variety of formats, from to ascii, to pdf, letting us also import Guitar Pro files (but not the latest version ones).

I come from a generation of musicians that still likes to share the songs with the other band members by writing a drum track with a VstI and tracking on top of it the guitar and bass parts, and handing them also the tabs exported via pdf with this tool (here is a guide on how to make rough mixes super fast), but there is a new generation of guitarists that writes songs directly on these notation tools and hands the files to the other band members in order to give them directly the tabs and notations of all the instruments, using the integrated sequencer to create a song structure by copying and pasting the various song parts.
For some of these guys using a software like Tuxguitar is faster, more complete and easier to share, and probably it is the most rational solution.

Recording the guitar and bass tracks, on the other hand, gives us a clearer vision of what we can do and what we cannot, and the risk of not recording real instruments is to write parts that are completely beyond the musicians skills, so it's important always to keep in mind the band members when writing their part, or letting them write the part on their own.

Finally it's important to add that a drum track exported in midi format from Tuxguitar can be imported in any Daw and used with a Drum VstI, if someone feels more comfortable in writing it with the notation tool instead of the piano roll.

Thumbs up!

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