Capella (notation program)
|Developer(s)||Capella Software AG|
|Stable release||7.1-20 / November 28, 2013|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Available in||six languages|
|Type||Scorewriter (Music notation)|
capella is a music notation program or scorewriter developed by the German company Capella Software AG (formerly WHC), running on Microsoft Windows or corresponding emulators in other operating systems, like Wine on Linux and others on Apple Macintosh. Capella requires to be activated after a trial period of 30 days. The publisher writes the name in lower case letters only. The program had initially created by Hartmut Ring, and is now maintained and developed by Bernd Jungmann.
Being one of the earliest computer programs for music notation, and having a relatively moderate price compared with Finale or Sibelius, capella could win in market share, despite the drawbacks of running only on Windows, and being available originally only in German. Capella claims to have 300,000 users for the music notation program and 120,000 for the OCR program. Digital sheet music in capella formats is available in various online music libraries, especially in German speaking areas. The Hymnal ("Evangelisches Gesangbuch") of the protestant churches in Germany has been digitized using capella software.
The current version is Capella Professional 7.1, which includes guitar chord notation ability, and guitar tab writing functions, in addition to the standard music notation tools. A capella start is offered with several restrictions for a lower price. A free capella reader can display, print and play a capella score.
Data entry is possible via computer keyboard entirely, via mouse or in a combination with a MIDI keyboard. It is intended for multi staff scores like choir music, or orchestral music. Capella is a practically-oriented application suited for amateur and professional musicians alike. It includes engraving as well as MIDI import and export.
capella can play back the score (the full score or an arbitrary selection of staves) via the computers sound card, to MIDI devices or using VST modules. capella's captune module allows to select the output channels and to fine tune the sounds.
Version 7 brought live voice extraction: one can switch between the view on the full score for the whole orchestra and the view on a selection of the staves of one or a group of instruments. On printing and exporting, only the voices being shown in the current view will be used. Specific instruction of individual voices can be marked as "only visible in extracted voice". Live voice extraction is also available in the free Reader program; in the limited version of the editor Capella start, such live voice extractions are not available for editing.
The file format of capella evolved from a proprietary digital encoding (filename extension *.cap) to an open, XML text based format called CapXML with extension *.capx. There is a CapXML 1.0 and 2.0. Each *.capx file is a ZIP archive containing the actual XML with filename score.xml. CapXML differs from MusicXML in various aspects, one being that in CapXML the basic node is the chord which can have one or more notes, whereas in MusicXML the notes of a chord are single nodes which have to be put into relation with one another. Capella can import and export MusicXML files.
Documentation of CapXML and the binary CAP file format, as well as of the programming interface is available for download at the Capella website.
Capella provides a programming interface for Python scripts with a set of Python-classes providing the capella object hierarchy. Python scripts can be used as a plug-in to the capella program or run stand-alone, i.e. within a Capella editing session or externally, directly on the file or group of files. CapXML scores can, of course, be directly processed by any XML-aware software.
Capella-programmer Bernd Jungmann used the Python scripting to produce a Braille-interface to Capella for blind users with a refreshable Braille display. Braille printing is possible using the MakeBraille service of the German Central Library for the Blind (DZB - Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Blinde) in Leipzig, which accepts CapXML and MusicXML files as input, and offers its service for private, non-commercial uses only.
Companion products to capella provide Music OCR (Capella Scan, which uses the FineReader engine from ABBYY to recognize text, including Gothic letters), music recognition out of audio files (Capella Wave Kit), music teaching and training (rondo, audite!), composition aids (tonica fugata, with automatic composition of polyphonic sets, canons, and fugues), and production of accompaniment music files or CDs for karaoke-like uses for amateurs and professionals (Capella Playalong).
Before capella, there was tonica, a program to analyse musical notation. Since some people used tonica mainly to print musical scores, the idea for a scorewriter was born.
The first version was published in 1992 as a program named "Allegro", running under MS-DOS with its own graphical interface. Since the name was already taken, the name had to be changed - taking the name from the brightest star in the constellation Auriga, Capella. Only the original file name extension ALL was kept for the binary notation file format. The first real capella is version 1.01 dated 15 May 1992. Version 1.5 was the last MS-DOS Version, published in 1993.
Version 2 used Windows 3.1. The file format changed to another proprietary binary format with extension CAP. Many details, including lyrics, were lost in the conversion from ALL to CAP files.
Version 3.0 moved from 16-bit to 32-bit software. The file format changed again, also with some losses in the conversion. This format is internally designated as CAP3. This binary file format was kept, until the XML-based format CapXML 1.0 with extension CAPX was introduced.
In 2004, scripting was introduced.
Capella always used and uses copy protection; initially by requiring the installation CD to be in the CD reader, today by requiring activation (after a trial period of 30 days).
The company was originally called "whc Musiksoftware", then "whc Musiksoftware GmbH". The name was changed to "capella-software GmbH" in the fall of 2002, changing the legal form from GmbH to AG (Aktiengesellschaft) in March 2011.
- capella company homepage (English)
- capella company homepage (German)
- capella site of British distributor (English)
- capella-blind by Bernd Jungmann
- Register of websites offering scores in capella format (German)
- Independent Wiki on capella with scripts to download (German)
- Independent forum on capella (German)
- Variations on the term "a capella"