Score Tips

Using Logic’s Score Editor

  • To view the full score choose screenset 3. You can view one sequence only in the score window by double clicking on it’s staff. Click on the black square (top left) to view the entire score again. The same process applies to other editors, e.g. in the event list you will either see a list of sequences or the contents of one sequence. Double click on a sequence in the list to display the contents, click on black square to see the list (see: link mode). There are various ways of viewing only one track instead of the whole score: 1) mute all the other tracks (not very efficient as they have to be muted in the arrange window) 2) Double click on the track (see above). 3) create instrument set with just one instrument and choose that set from the flip menu in DPB. This is the best way to print individual parts, you can choose an individual instrument set, then print, choose another set, then print etc. You can leave the printer to print all the parts while you do something else.
  • Pedal on and off signs from the partbox will affect MIDI sustain: if you input a pedal on, no MIDI note off commands will apply on that channel until there is a pedal off sign.
  • When editng sequences that contain MIDI sustain commands, it is often best to convert the sustains to actual note lengths. You can do this by going to Functions menu> Note events> Sustain Pedal to note length.
  • You can set  MIDI meaning, ie staccato dots will actually shorten a MIDI note event, accents can add real velocity. Available in the Layout Menu of the score window.
  • Notes can be positioned and spaced graphically on the staff (i.e. without altering their musical position) by dragging while pressing <ALT> OR with the layout tool. (pointer with white arrow head)
  • Rests are displayed automatically where there are no notes, but rests can also be entered manually from the partbox and freely positioned as with notes, usually only required when placing a fermata over a rest or graphically repositioning rests, or:
  • With compound time signatures, user rests can be placed to change the display of how notes are tied, eg placing a dotted crotchet user rest on top of beats 1, 4, 7, 10 in 12/8 will display dotted crotchets instead of dottted minims or other default displays.
  • In addition to the single grace notes available in Attributes Menu> Independent, you can have double  beamed grace notes by setting up one or all score style(s) as polyphonic, one channel with no rests just for grace notes. You apply small note size and stems upwards by double clicking on the note to get a note attributes box.
  • Always use the appropriate score style to supply the initial clef, clefs from the part box are for when you need a change of clef.
  • A handy tip for jazz scores: A display quantize of 8 & 12 will display  swing quavers as  straight quavers.


Apple Logic Pro is a very powerful mac music recording software application that combines MIDI sequencing, audio recording and music notation (scoring). It is the integration of these three aspects that make Logic an ideal general music application for music students and professional commercial composers. Other more specialised audio software such as Protools do not have the advanced and versatile MIDI and scorewriting capabilities of Logic. Music publishing/engraving software such as Sibelius may have more scorewriting features, but the fact that Logic combines all these functions into one application make it the best choice of software for music students. When working as a consultant for the Music Department at Southampton University I chose Logic as I considered that it has much better score-writing functions than other sequencer applications such as Cubase and Cakewalk, and so is more useful for music students in all areas of the curriculum. In addition it is the sequencer of choice for an increasingly larger proportion of the professional recording industry and also integrates very well with Protools in the professional audio production arena.

Why not Sibelius or Finale?

It is easy to confuse the different types of music software.

Sibelius and Finale are ideal for notation if your music is to be presented to a publishing house. They are  dedicated music engraving publishing programs. Finale is generally considered to be the industry standard, but Sibelius is beginning to take over as it is simpler. Finale is more flexible but considered to be be more difficult to learn. Many composers use traditional paper or sequencers for composing, but if the final product is to be presented for publication, then I would recommend Sibelius as a final stage, although if more specialised notation such as  early music or modernist styles are required then Finale may be much better.  However, for general  all purpose scores, individual parts for musicians, composing and musical examples, Apple Logic Pro is by far the best choice as this one application will do everything you need: MIDI sequencing, audio recording and professional quality notation in one go. I use Logic scores for professional film/TV recording sessions, including scores for the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra.

However, one of the biggest problems for students is working the other way round, iestarting the work in an engraving program such as Sibelius or Finale and then trying to convert into Logic for recording or further development of a composition, which usually causes big problems. As Logic is a  totally integrated application, the learning of the notation features takes a little longer, so for this reason we are in the process of preparing templates so that students can have all the advantage of using a sequencer, without necessarily needing to learn too much technology unless they want to. It is planned to implement a 1st year course that will integrated the teaching of Logic with the teaching of music theory skills.

4 thoughts on “Score Tips

  • March 10, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Hello Pete. I have read your interesting advises on this page, that I found while searching for this problem : “How to see the smallest notes in Logic Pro X Score”. Smallest notes : if you know the music Liszt wrote you will hear many very fast arpeggio-like sequences over one or more bars in many of his works. I’m creating variations on one of his pieces (Hungarian Rhapsody 2) that is almost entirely in a rubato atmosphere. I have a lot or trouble getting a readable score out of my changes on this piece as soon as those very fast notes appear. Score will not show the notes as separate objects. When I hear 4 notes in the piano roll I see 4 notes in a cluster on 1 stem f.i. and the the next etc.. Fast broken chords (not created with an arpeggiator) will cluster as well. I have tried all I could invent, especially by using the tuplet tool, but I only make a bigger mess. I would love some help on this matter…Looking forward to your reaction, best regards, Jelle van Buuren (mr.), Enschede, Netherlands

    • March 10, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      Sounds like yo need to either set your score display quantise to smaller divisions (32 0r 64 or else user tuplets.

      I can answer this more full if you ask on the Logic Forum

  • April 11, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Hello Mr. Thomas.
    I’ve been using Logic for 20+ years now for several different kinds of projects film scoring, tv ads, albums, etc. I’ve always used LPX for instrumental parts for reasons that you’ve mentioned. I have a specific question as to the “hidden” chord symbols. I know that you can type in chord qualities (b5, #5b13, etc.) but, since I’ve been doing some “lead sheets” recently, I’ve noticed that after typing a chord letter if you hold the shift and or option key there are a number of options for chord symbols. These are not only time savers but also more pleasing to the eye. The problem I’m having is that, at the moment, I have to search for them. I can’t find a (computer) keyboard chart anywhere that has a simple list. I suppose, that after a while, they will be memorized but I would greatly appreciate it if you know an existing list. Thank you.

  • November 11, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Hello, Pete.
    Just found your website through “Taming the Saxophone.”
    I recently completed a college semester course devoted to MIDI and Logic Pro X. Although I have a good handle on the basics, resources seem sparse on how to use Score Editor. Even Apple’s Certification books seem to ignor the topic all together. This is unfortunate, as some musicians want to re-arrange and publish a score or even a set of simple lead sheets. This is particularly so, if you play in a brass band or small orchestra.

    Reading through your “Score Tips” (many thanks for posting, by the way) I have no idea to what you are refering to with terms such as “black square” or “screen set.”

    Might I suggest a screanshot or two with arrows or the like to visually clarify the points you are making.
    An embedded video might even be better still.

    Although it might seem very basic to you, there is a lack on information on just how to format notated sheets in order to make everything fit properly. This when adding several lines of lyrics. It becomes even more complicated with SABT arrangements plus piano and chords.

    And I’ve had some real head-scratchers when looking at how score editor interprets what seems very clearly notated in Piano Roll.

    And orchestrating for small orchs has its own set of issues.

    The main issue, I’m guessing, is most users of LPX (Logic Pro X) are only interested in creating electronic music with heavy drum machine beats. And because many don’t read music all that well, they have no interest in printing a score. And Apple seems to be ignoring the need for Score Editor education and certification.

    With Appreciation!

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