Lightweight notation editor with a fast startup time

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Basslint
Established Member
Posts: 396
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:25 pm
Location: Italy

Lightweight notation editor with a fast startup time

Post by Basslint »

Hello, I need a lightweight notation editor with a fast startup time when a .mid file is loaded.

I don't need audio, but MIDI input would be nice.

I tried the most popular ones while trying to configure them in the most optimal way (audio backend disabled, ALSA or portmidi for MIDI input, no soundfonts loaded). I tested them on a short, single-instrument MIDI clip in the public domain, this one. These are my results:
  • Canorus - Reasonable startup time, very lightweight but doesn't have a way to load .mid files from the command line
  • Denemo - Slow startup time, also some CPU hits when I use it
  • MuseScore - Slowest startup time, in general it's more of a full-featured package than a lightweight program, I don't think there is a way to change that
  • nted - Fastest startup time and very fast but it's abandoned, lacks many features others have and most importantly, doesn't have a way to pass a .mid file via the command line
  • Rosegarden - Reasonable startup time, notation editor is very full-featured. The interface is not that MIDI-friendly though, since Rosegarden is also a DAW
From this test, there is IMHO a tie between Canorus and Rosegarden. If some minor modifications to Canorus are made, Canorus is the clear winner for its lightweight design, but Rosegarden on the other hand trades a bit of simplicity with an higher number of functionalities.

These are my tests/opinions and I think there is still some room for improvement. Please note that I am talking about graphic notation software, I can get almost zero load times by using LilyPond or ABC.

Do you have any suggestions or recommendations?
Last edited by Basslint on Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. [Acts 4:32]

Wanna make music on openSUSE? Check out GeekosDAW!

Basslint
Established Member
Posts: 396
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:25 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Lightweight notation editor with a fast startup time

Post by Basslint »

I was able to significantly shorten Rosegarden's startup time by deleting all tracks except for the first MIDI track and by setting that as the default studio (Studio > Save current document as default studio).

In other terms, unused tracks have an impact on startup time. Rosegarden starts with a bunch of MIDI and audio tracks which are obviously not used until needed.

So, despite the fact that it has a lot of DAW-like functionalities, Rosegarden is IMHO the best compromise between speed and feature-completeness, as far as MIDI notation editors go.
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. [Acts 4:32]

Wanna make music on openSUSE? Check out GeekosDAW!

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