Here are a few products I use and enjoy:
Finale is one of the most popular programs for notation and scoring. It helps if you can read and write music in standard notation, though it isn’t always necessary. Check out their site and see which of their products best fits your needs.
I mentioned GarageBand in the guitar section as well. It’s my top choice for a quick computer or iOS-based audio recorder, and is great if your want to write music but don’t read or write standard notation. You never know when inspiration may strike, and GarageBand’s easy and intuitive interface let you record your idea before it slips away forever. The program also has many excellent features to help you develop existing ideas into polished, recorded songs.
Myriad Online contains a number of excellent software programs for musicians and songwriters, including their Melody Assistant and Harmony Assistant programs.
- Song Cards — A great, simple list of prompts for songwriting
- LaDiDa — Record yourself or any other sound and this program will create beats, chord progressions, and atmosphere behind it, depending on your settings
- Songify — Similar to LaDiDa
- TonePad — Create melodies by randomly tapping squares on a grid
- Beatwave — Similar to TonePad
- Falling Stars — A melodic and aesthetically pleasing new way of composing
- Soundrop — A more percussive version of Falling Stars
- Easybeats — A simple finger-controlled synth drum pad sampler