How to Make Your Own Sheet Music
By Carl Hose
Sheet music is the format in which songs are written down. Sheet music begins with blank music staff paper consisting of graphs that have five lines and four spaces, each of which represents a note. Songwriters who compose songs in standard musical notation use staff paper to create sheet music, which can then be passed on to musicians who interpret the sheet music for a music performance. Today, making your own sheet music is easier than ever. With notation software such as Finale, or the free web-based Noteflight service, anyone can turn their musical ideas into professional music sheets.
Use Noteflight to get started (see "Resources). Noteflight is a free web-based music notation service that allows you to write, print, and even save your sheet music as music files for playback. Noteflight has a clean, easy-to-use interface that makes it possible for even a beginner to create a song in sheet music. Since Noteflight allows you to listen to to what you've written, you can experiment with different notes until you create something that sounds good, even if you are unfamiliar with music composition.
Create a Noteflight account and log in to begin creating your sheet music. You can begin writing your song immediately. At the top of the page, located on a toolbar, click "New Score" to create a blank sheet music document. Select whether you want your sheet music private or shared. Noteflight presents you with a blank music sheet in the Key of C with a 4/4 time signature.
Click "Edit Title" at the top of your sheet music and type in the name of your song, then click "Edit Composer" and type your name. Make any changes necessary to your key signature or time signature on the "Score" menu with either the "Change time signature" or "Change key signature" command.
Add notes and rests to your sheet music by clicking on the blank music staff. A notehead appears, and you can drag and click where you want the note to appear. You can also use the floating palette to select different note durations. As you insert your notes, Noteflight will automatically reformat your sheet music to keep the proper number of beats per bar. To listen to what you have written at any point, go to the "Play" menu and select the playback option you want.
Print your sheet music when you finish composing your song. The result will be a professional score of your song composition. You can also use Noteflight to make an audio file of your composition. Noteflight lets you assign actual instrument sounds to the appropriate parts. Go to "File" and select "Export" to save your finished sheet music as an MP3 or wav file. This allows you to take an example recording to your band.
Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.