March 1, 2013. Practica Musica now includes a new set of activities called Steps To Reading Music™. The 12 activities each come with their own self-contained instructional text with illustrations, and offer a graduated course in the basics of reading standard music notation - starting at the very beginning. No extra equipment is required; the computer's letter keys are used for tapping rhythm and pitches can be read using the mouse on the screen piano or fretboard. Students optionally can connect a MIDI keyboard for input, as with other Practica Musica activities. Some of these activities display new features; the two final exercises for practice in pitch and rhythm reading not only generate interesting random melodies, but provide chord accompaniment as you play them. Students can work with their choice or the treble, bass, or alto clefs.

February 15, 2013. The iBook edition of Exploring Theory with Practica Musica is now available at Apple's iBooks store and at iTunes. The iBook version is extensively revised, with many new music examples in the form of videos, and even includes interactive quizzes at the end of each chapter. Though Exploring Theory is coordinated with Practica Musica it also works as a standalone music fundamentals textbook. You can see Exploring Theory and download a sample by clicking here.

July 30, 2012. All Ars Nova programs now include a custom sound driver that will allow faster keyboard response on computers running Windows. This is particularly helpful for Practica Musica, as it allows students to do real-time tapping exercises without extra equipment. As a side benefit, the new driver makes use of a "sound font" as a source for synthesized sounds. One is supplied with the program, but anyone who likes to experiment can download different sound fonts online and try them out. Macintosh computers don't need the special driver and are unaffected by this change.

June 1, 2012. Practica Musica 6 now uses secure http to communicate with the WebStudents system for online storage of progress reports. This improvement means that WebStudents is now able to work with most campus firewalls. Previously there had been a number of schools whose security systems were blocking the connection.

October 21, 2011. Practica Musica 6 has finally been released. In the works for several years, version 6 presents a new interface, reorganized activities, and compatibility with the latest computer systems. Version 6 is a free upgrade for anyone who purchased Practica Musica during 2011. Check the Upgrade Eligibility link on the information page for Practica Musica to see if you qualify - qualification will be automatic if you purchased online; it might take an email to us if you purchased at a dealer.
Version 6 includes a new digital 3rd edition of Exploring Theory With Practica Musica that is really worth seeing, with lots of new audio-visual music examples.

March 31, 2011. The latest free update for Songworks 3, version 3.036, offers a new feature that both enhances ease of use and adds further capability. Lyric text assigned to a staff formerly followed only the notes of the primary voice, but now by default will follow any notes in the staff, regardless of their voice or track number. This is very handy if you have accidentally entered melody notes in a voice other than the primary one (you wouldn't notice this in playback, just in lyric handling). But you can also set a lyric text block to follow the notes of a specific voice in the staff, which allows you to add lyrics that apply only to a second voice but not to the first one - permitting independent lyrics in the same staff. That new option is found in the information window for any selected text block. The update is available to all Songworks 3 owners via the "Check for Updates" command in the Songworks file menu.

December 16, 2010. A free maintenance update for Songworks 3, version 3.002, is now available using the "Check for Updates" feature in the Songworks file menu. The update process is automatic if you choose the "download now" option when asked. We don't announce all maintenance updates, but are doing so now for the benefit of those who may not know yet about the update feature. This update makes significant improvements to Active Listening, improves interpretation of older Songworks files, and also includes a few more obscure but useful fixes.

December 8, 2010. Songworks 3! The first major upgrade for Songworks in several years offers many new features, including running 'native' on current Mac computers (either PPC or Intel, minimum 10.4). Your purchase of Songworks 3 lets you change at will between Mac OS and Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 - if you change platforms you don't need to repurchase the software; just re-download at our Installers page. See all the details and demonstration video at The Songworks Page.

June 6, 2010. Ars Nova now has a video page at You Tube, with instructional and demo videos. Just click this link to visit: Ars Nova Videos.

November 13, 2008. Songworks 2.764 is a free update that improves handling of imported MIDI files, particularly with regard to rests. The update can be obtained using the "Check for Updates" command in your Songworks file menu.

October 31, 2008. Regarding the story below from April 1st, Ars Nova wants the world to know that in response to overwhelming popular demand we've decided against following those U.N. recommendations to move middle C. So middle C is safe, and we thank our many readers for their feedback on this important issue.

April 1, 2008. Ars Nova spokesman Jeff Evans announced that Ars Nova will be moving quickly to implement the recommendations of the U.N. Commission On Notation, whose report was released today amid applause from the more sensible elements of the industry. The primary recommendation involves the position of middle C, which is slated to be moved by this date next year. "Everyone knows the problem - you always have to put that little line through the note, and that means more ink, more time, more energy. Some adjustments will be necessary but I see this as a small price to pay for progress," said Evans. The commission has decided that middle C will be moved up to the space formerly used by "D." Other notes will of course have to be moved around and possibly reordered to accommodate the new position of C. Final details of the arrangment will not be announced immediately. "Ars Nova will continue to sell our products in the traditional format for the next few months or until the final word is in from the U.N." said Evans, "but then you can count on us to do the right thing. We don't forsee any problems with adjustment - by this time next year no one will even remember where middle C used to be."

November 5, 2007. Practica Musica, Counterpointer, and Songworks have all been updated to make the music font work with Apple's new OS 10.5 "Leopard." Songworks needed some additional changes as well, which are now completed. All three updates are free to owners of current versions and can be obtained with the "Check for Updates" command in each program's file menu. Practica Musica 5.133 also includes a new feature: activities that have been completely "passed" are now marked by a checkmark in the activity menu.

October 19, 2007. Practica Musica 5.132 gives you the ability to directly run any activity stored in the Ars Nova online activity library. Of course, this requires that your computer have an internet connection, but you don't have to download anything or unstuff anything - you just choose the activity you want from the list (organized by topic) and the program will read the activity stored at the site and run it directly. This is similar to the command that lets students run activities posted by their instructors at WebStudents, but it doesn't require a WebStudents account. The complete list of Practica Musica activities continues to be included with your program whenever you install it, but since we often add new activities that might not be part of your collection this is an easy way to run the new ones. This is a free update for owners of Practica Musica 5 or later (use the Check for Updates command in the Practica Musica file menu to obtain it).

October 19, 2007. Songworks 2.740 adds a safeguard: if you've made a rhythmic error that would throw everything just a little off when using the automatic barline feature, the program will highlight the vicinity of the apparent error and ask you if you'd like to fix that before using Autobar. Of course, there's always Undo for the Autobar command, but this will save you trouble if you didn't think to Undo in time. This update is free to owners of Songworks 2.6 and later (use the Check for Updates command in your Songworks file menu).

October 9, 2007. An important free Counterpointer update! Counterpointer 1.040 is now available to any Counterpointer owner using the "Check for Updates" command in the Counterpointer file menu. Version 1.040 offers a valuable new feature: fixed measures. In any exercise involving a cantus firmus, Roman numerals, or figured bass Counterpointer can now fill in all the measures with blank space, allowing you to enter the last measures before you do the first one. Often it is very helpful to first figure out how the piece will end, then work up to that. The new fixed-measures feature can be turned off in the Score Menu if desired, but we think most people will want to use it. Another feature is a "Set Staff Volume" command in the Score menu that lets you set the volume of all or selected notes in a staff, or even to change the default volume for all staves.

July 31, 2007. More Songworks Updates (free to owners of Songworks 2.6 or later: use the Check for Updates command in your Songworks file menu) Songworks 2.732 gives you direct access to our online music library, and 2.733 adds a very useful keyboard shortcut for handling accidentals (sharps, flats, etc.) when entering music. First the library access: a new command in the file menu lets you open any music file in the Ars Nova online music library. You open the file directly - you don't need to first download it, then unstuff it, etc. - just open it much as you would a file on your own computer. After opening the file you can save it to your own disk if desired. The library has also been reorganized into what we think are more useful categories: music is now filed according to what it's for: solos accompanied or not, duets, trios, vocal ensemble, etc.

The new feature for accidentals uses the "-" and "+" keys on your computer to change the accidental either on the current note tool or on a selected note or notes in the music. '+" moves in the sharp direction: bb, b, natural, #, x - and the minus key works the other way. This allows you to quickly alter accidentals without have to reach for the accidentals tool on the tools palette. When combined with the other keyboard shortcuts for changing note or rest value you'll be able to go a long way without taking the mouse out of the staff area.

July 25, 2007. Songworks 2.731 Songworks now imports ABC Notation! This text-based notation system is widely used on the internet, particularly for traditional music. Songworks can convert a typical ABC text file into standard notation. If the notation includes chord names Songworks will even fill them in with appropriate notes so you can hear the chords play with the melody. For more information on this new feature see the Songworks user manual. Version 2.731 is a free update to owners of Songworks 2.6 or later.

June 8, 2007. Songworks 2.729 offers a new and unusual feature: automatic conversion of chord symbols to written-out accompaniment for piano. This works whether you have Songworks suggest chords for your music or whether you enter chord symbols of your own: just use the new Score Menu command "Convert Chord Symbols to Piano Accompaniment" and the accompaniment will appear. Accompaniment is based on the chord "playpatterns" that you're using - either the default pattern that each gets automatically, or patterns you've chosen from the "playpatterns" popup box. You can mix patterns, too - select a chord symbol or group of chord symbols, choose the desired playpattern, and you can make a more complex and interesting accompaniment without being able to play a note on the piano. Songworks 2.729 is a free update to all owners of Songworks 2.6 or later: just use the "Check for Updates" command in your Songworks file menu.

April 2, 2007. Songworks has added support for Shape Notes in version 2.725. Shape notes are a traditional aid to pitch reading in which note head shapes change to tell whether a note corresponds to Do, Re, Mi, etc. in a major or natural minor scale. Songworks supports both the 4-shape system used in the "Sacred Heart" (fasola) tradition and the 7-shape system. You don't have to figure out which shapes to use, either - Songworks will automatically choose the correct shape for each note head, depending on the key and whether you want the 4-shape or 7-shape system. Change key or move a note and the shape automatically changes. Turn off the shape notes feature and the notes revert to "normal" notation. You can take an existing piece of music and print it in shape note form without any editing at all. We think this will be useful to the many singing groups that make use of this system, especially combined with the easy lyric entry in Songworks. Version 2.725 is a free update for any owner of Songworks 2.6 or later, and can be obtained with the "Check for Updates" command in your Songworks file menu.

January 12, 2007. Ars Nova's AP* Music Theory Prep Course is a large collection of new activities that provide practice in answering the sort of questions found in the AP Music Theory Exam. Ars Nova's AP Prep is based on the questions found in the 2003 Released Exam, and follows the numbering of that exam. The questions naturally are not identical to those of the actual test, but are designed to resemble them and to train the student who is preparing for the exam. The AP Course requires version 5.1 of Practica Musica (see below). If you have updated to version 5.1 and would like to try out the new course, we've created some downloadable installers that will automatically add AP Prep to your activities folder. You can use the one for Macintosh, or for Windows. The Mac version of the installer is "stuffed" - if your computer doesn't automatically unstuff it at download just click the icon to unstuff it, and then run the installer. In both cases you need to run (double-click) the installer after downloading it - you'll see a window that tells you it's installing the AP Prep Course.

[*Legal notice: "AP" is a trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the creation of, and does not endorse, this product.]

January 12, 2007. Practica Musica 5.1 is a free update for all owners of Practica Musica 5. You can obtain it with the "Check for Updates" command in your Practica Musica File Menu. Version 5.1 has added capabilities that allow it to run new types of activities, and also allows students with WebStudents™ access to save music files to a WebStudent account for viewing by an instructor. If you don't already own version 5 you can upgrade online.

September 22, 2006. Here's another nice new activity: Correcting Rhythms. As an error correction activity this is similar to the Pitch Errors activity, except for rhythm. You'll hear a melody play and you'll see its notation - but there is at least one rhythmic error in the notation that you must correct using the supplied notation tools. Correcting Rhythms is now available for download in the Rhythm Ear Training area of the Activity library, and requires Practica Musica 5.017 or later.

September 17, 2006. We have released several interesting new activities dealing with scale degrees. These all require Practica Musica 5.017 or later, which owners of version 5 can obtain now by using the "Check for Updates" command in Practica Musica's File Menu. The activities themselves are available for download in the Activity library, under the topic "Pitch Alone: Scales and Key Signatures." Solfege presents a random melody and asks you to label each note with the appropriate solfege syllable in the moveable-do system: Do, Re, Mi, etc. by choosing labels from multiple-choice boxes. This covers both major and minor scales. Melodic Scale Degrees takes a different approach, asking you to identify each pitch by its degree number 1, 2, 3, etc. The main difference between degree numbers and solfege is that the tonic is always 1 with numbers, but in solfege the tonic is Do if the scale is major and is La if the scale is minor. In solfege the half steps are always between Mi-Fa and Ti-Do, but with numbers the half steps are between different numbers depending on whether the scale is major or minor. Scale Degrees in Context adds another twist: you hear a brief harmonic cadence in a random key, followed by a single pitch taken from that key. You are to click on the box that tells the degree number of that pitch. Solfege and Degrees in Context are both user requests; we're always happy to get requests.

March 20, 2006. Practica Musica 5 is now available. This major upgrade of Practica Musica features a big notes option, an onscreen digital version of the Exploring Theory textbook, and numerous new capabilities. One of these is especially handy for schools using WebStudents[tm] - instructors can post chosen activities to the school WebStudent account and students can run that activity directly from the activity menu in Practica Musica. Complete details are here.

February 17, 2006. Songworks 2.712 is a free update for any owner of Songworks 2.6 or later; use the Check for Updates command in the file menu of recent versions, or else visit our updates page to download an installer. Version 2.712 has several ease-of-use enhancements: command-B now either Beams or Unbeams selected notes (formerly it just beamed them) and command-Y can now be used to Tie or Untie selected notes. The Spreader and Shrinker tools now produce only one pixel of movement for each click, even if you hold down the mouse - but if you hold the Shift key while clicking then the Spreader and Shrinker work as before, repeatedly adding or subtracting pixels while the mouse is down.

January 20, 2006. Practica Musica has now been tested on an Intel-based Macintosh running the newest OSX, and we find that it runs nicely - so far we can't notice any difference between it running on a "normal" Mac and on the new one. We haven't yet tested Songworks and Counterpointer on Intel, but they are built the same way as Practica Musica and can be expected to also be compatible. Thanks go to Apple for for making such a smooth transition.

September 26, 2005. We've reorganized the Activities folder in Practica Musica. The textbook activities are easier to locate, and you'll find a new menu item that lists all activities by topic. A separate menu item lists the 17 activities that formerly were the first items on the list. The writing tools are easier to see, too.

If you have the latest Practica Musica, v. 4.573 (free update), you'll find that the "applause" feature is now by default turned "off" in all the revised activities, though anyone with access to the instructor options can turn it back on again in specific activities, if desired (see the Scoring window in the activity editor). Version 4.573 will instead make use of a new option, which is to simply play a congratulatory "ding" when the score reaches the passing point.

If you'd like to use this new activity menu, delete your old activities folder and use the "activities only" option in your installer to download the new folder. Or you can download a stuffed image of the folder at our Activity Library.

Version 4.573 also makes it easier to use Student Editions in conjunction with a Site License. The new Site version now allows any student with a Student Edition serial number to create a personal file on the site-licensed computer instead of first having to do that at home. If your school is using WebStudents (as it should be with Student Editions!) the student will be able to access that same student file from any computer that has an internet connection.

August 15, 2005. Practica Musica 4.568 (free update) will now "document launch" music files by automatically opening a default composition tools activity to handle editing of the music. The music file can be any .sw2 file created by Songworks, Practica Musica, or Counterpointer. It will also document-launch if you click on an activity file (starting up that activity) or a student file (choosing that student file).

August 9, 2005. Songworks 2.704 (free update) fixes the "document launch" feature on all platforms (Windows, Mac 9 and Mac OSX). That is, if you click on a music file created by Songworks it will launch the program and open the file - you no longer have to use the "open" command. On the Windows platform you will need to launch the new program once and quit it; after that it will automatically open clicked files.

August 8, 2005. Practica Musica 4.567 is a free update that includes a new command in the file menu - "Check for updates via the internet." This provides a more convenient way to check on available updates; the command will also download the appropriate update installer if requested. Practica Musica also now has an online registration feature: instead of sending in a registration card you can just type your name and/or email when you first sign in the program. That makes it easier for us to find your serial number if you should lose it some day. If you enter your name we'll keep it and your email private - we don't give out this information.

July 19, 2005. Counterpointer 1.011 is a free update that offers the same zoom-in feature as Songworks (described below). In Counterpointer the new option is in the Display Options menu.

July 19, 2005. Songworks 2.7 is a free update that offers a valuable new feature: a "big notes" display mode. The new command is in the Options menu: "Display music in double size." This is like "zooming in" on the music; it can be edited as before and printout is not affected (if you want to print in larger or smaller note sizes, use the print scaling command).

June 2, 2005. Counterpointer 1.006 is a free update containing several improvements. Most important is a new rule for "remaining within the mode," which is now enforced in the species exercises. Counterpointer understands a number of conventional uses of altered modal tones, such as the raised leading tone in a minor mode, but flags any arbitrary use of pitches that depart from the mode of the cantus firmus. The new rule is explained in the online manual and of course in the update to the manual that will appear when you run the update option in your installer. There are also improvements to the scorekeeping system and a tightening of a few other style rules.

May 16, 2005. Today's free updates for Songworks (2.63) and Counterpointer (1.004) include a new feature: a way to select staff items without using the mouse. The left and right arrow keys have always been used to move the blinking insertion point left or right without picking up the mouse; now if you also hold down Option (on Macintosh) or CapsLock (on Windows) any symbols passed over by the moving insertion point will also become selected. This feature is very handy when you combine it with the up or down arrow keys used to move selected notes up or down by step (you can also drag notes up or down with the arrow tool, but the arrow key is more precise). The left or right arrows used alone will unselect any selected items.

Another new key equivalent in these updates is the "/" key, which will now change the cursor to the arrow tool.

The Counterpointer update also includes a change to note entry that will help to eliminate user error when doing exercises: when in an exercise the program will automatically disable the feature that allows you to build up chords by clicking notes on top of existing ones. Counterpoint exercises always allow a separate staff for each voice, so the chord feature is not needed. When using Counterpointer's notation tools in free practice mode, however, you can continue to build chords or multitrack music in one staff if desired. Installers for both updates are available at our updates page if you can't find your installer.

April 11, 2005. Ars Nova has released Counterpointer[tm], which we believe is the first software product ever to offer full evaluation of both species and free counterpoint. Counterpointer includes notation tools much like those in Songworks and Practica Musica, and more than 150 user-controllable style rules that can be used to test whether your polyphonic writing follows a given style. Counterpointer includes an onscreen manual that contains a basic introduction to the principles of counterpoint and explanations of each style rule.

In addition to being able to evaluate "free" counterpoint the program includes numerous exercises that you can perform as part of class study or on your own. These include:

- Species exercises based either on generated melodies or on the cantus firmi of Johann Fux's famous 18th-century treatise. Species Counterpoint is a pedagogical method that breaks the task down into progressive focused steps: in First Species you write simple note-against note counterpoint, in Second and Third Species you write several notes of accompaniment to each note of the given melody. In Fourth Species the accompaniment is syncopated with ties, and Fifth Species combines the first four. Fux's species counterpoint rules are loosely based on the style of Palestrina.

- Writing four part vocal harmony that realizes the chords specified by Roman numerals. These exercises follow the style of Bach chorale harmonizations and are based on harmony excerpted from Bach.

- Writing four part vocal harmony that realizes harmony implied by a figured bass. These are also based on excerpts from Bach chorale harmonizations, and each provides a bass line and figures that must be realized in four parts. Both figures and Roman numerals are explained in the onscreen manual.

Counterpointer uses the same type of student file as Practica Musica: if you already have a Practica Musica student file for use in a class you can use it with Counterpointer and your counterpoint progress will be added to your Practica Musica score record.

Counterpointer is available now in downloadable form; a CD will be offered later in the summer though there will be no difference between the CD version and the downloadable one. Downloadable updates for at least the first year of release will be free of charge.

4/1/2005 Practica Musica 4.56 includes an onscreen manual accessible through a new menu titled "Instructions." The manual covers everything from setting up MIDI, to use of the Activities menu, to explanations of the notation tools - including instructor information regarding editing activities, organizing student files, and making class reports. We've also made it easier to find an appropriate update installer that you can use to take advantage of the new feature - just click to our updates page where you can download an appropriate update installer for any Ars Nova product. The same place can be reached by clicking on a link in the new instructions (look in the index for "updates"). Once you've downloaded the installer make sure you've quit Practica Musica and then just launch the installer like any other program and choose "Update Existing Practica Musica" as your install option. The new installer will update both the program and the manual at the same time.

3/18/2005 Practica Musica 4.552 makes valuable improvements that affect the Chord and Interval Ear Training activities (and any similar activities made by instructors). By request we've brought back a feature of Practica Musica 3, enhanced for the current program: when doing one of these multiple choice ear training activities you can now listen to the sound of a wrong answer in order to compare it with the correct answer. If you make a mistake the program waits instead of moving on, so that you have a chance to do the comparison. It will also voice your "wrong" choice as closely as possible to the voicing of the "right" choice, to make a better comparison. This new feature requires that you replace the old activity files for interval ear training and chord ear training - the easiest way to do that is to just update the entire activities folder using the "activities only" option in your installer. Or you can download just the altered activity files at our Activity Library. The activity library also contains a stuffed form of the entire activity folder, if you'd rather do that than run the installer again (stuffed files can be unstuffed with Aladdin's free Stuffit Expander, available through Version 4.552 will also summarize example scores in the "main" activity entry when forming a progress report, and contains various other small improvements. The program update is obtained in the usual way, by running the "Update Existing Practica Musica" option in your installer - if you're missing your installer let us know via Ars Nova's feedback page and we can link you to the appropriate download.

3/11/2005 Songworks 2.627 features a new onscreen manual. You can open the manual at any time while in Songworks, and click on various interlinked topics to learn more about a tool or a menu command or hints for note entry, etc. The new manual will be created with any fresh install of the program using your old installer, but we suggest that you use these new installers that include the manual with the Update Existing Songworks option. Note - these will only work if you already have Songworks 2.6 or later installed: Download update now.

2/18/2005 Songworks 2.624 adds a handy feature: if you are using the short cuts for choosing note or rest values (number keys select whole, half, quarter, etc.) you can press the backslash key to change the cursor to a barline. And regardless of what symbol you've chosen (other than the arrow) pressing a number key will now change the cursor back to a note. This allows you to enter notes, rests, and barlines quickly without having to use the mouse to select a symbol. Maybe this is a good time to remind everyone of another neat shortcut: copy and paste a whole selected passage, then use the up or down arrow keys to move that selected passage up or down on the staff. Often music will repeat patterns at different tonal levels, so this can save quite a bit of time (works in Practica Musica, too). Owners of Songworks 2.6 can get update 2.624 by running the "Update Existing Songworks" install option in your installer.

2/11/2005 Practica Musica 4.550 offers an important new feature: the instructions window accompanying activities can now include text of any length, formatted with html. Instead of the former 3 blocks of 240 characters each you now can include instructions of any length that will appear in a window with a scrollbar. You should create the instruction text as a separate file formatted in html and then import the file into the activity using the Create/Edit Activity command. The instructions become an internal part of the activity file so that the activity remains portable to both Mac and Win computers. An example of this kind of instruction window is found in the new activity "Spelling Secondary Dominants," which is now available in the activities page.

This update also includes minor glitch fixes - for example, the tool tips option is correctly marked in the display options menu if chosen.

1/26/2005 Songworks 2.622 is now available via the "update existing Songworks" option in your Songworks 2.6 installer. The main change is to include instrument choices in exported MIDI files: an exported MIDI file will now sound just like it did in Songworks if you play it with the QuickTime Player or the Windows Media Player (and of course will take advantage of any high-quality device you have for playing MIDI files). This includes the metronome track, in case you're trying to make a practice file of some kind.

1/15/2005 Practica Musica 4.549 is now available via the "update existing Practica Musica" option in your Practica Musica installer. This fixes a problem introduced in one of the recent updates - a situation in which it was possible for some activity messages not to appear when needed. In particular, the Chord Playing activity wasn't showing its instruction message. The fix has an added benefit for activity designers: it is now possible for you to have several messages that share the same conditions for display and differ only in their location on the screen. Version 4.549 also makes a change to the interpretation of inversions in activities such as Chord Playing: formerly it was possible to have the inversion misinterpreted if you doubled one of the chord pitches and entered a lower doubled note after a higher one. Now it doesn't matter what doubling you use and the results are not affected by order of entry.

12/10/2004 Practica Musica 4.548 has several changes:

(1) If there is only one student file in the Practica Musica Students folder, that file will automatically be selected and opened when the program launches, so that you don't need to choose your file. Once in the program you can still sign out, if desired, and use the "sign in" command to locate a different file.
(2) The File Menu now contains a Page Margins command for altering the margins of a printed page of music. On the Macintosh this dialog also contains a print reduction/enlargement box that should be used to tell the program if you are using reduction or enlargement in the Page Setup, so that it can adjust margins accordingly.
(3) The Windows version adds a separate "Set print reduction/enlargement" command in the File Menu, since Windows doesn't include that in Page Setup screens. Print reduction on both platforms allows printing of a large score on a single sheet; the notes become smaller and the music is reformatted to allow more measures on a line. Similarly, print enlargement can be used to print a "big notes" score.
(4) Both the Mac and Windows versions can now set the font and size of the text in an "item label," which lets you use special-symbol fonts to put additional symbols into a score.
(5) This is a fix: Scores are better centered in the print margins. Previously a score with many tracks might end up shifted somewhat to the right on the printed page.

To get version 4.548 just run the "update existing Practica Musica" option in your Practica Musica 4.5 installer. If you're missing your installer, e-mail us with your serial number and ask for a link to a downloadable installer.

12/10/2004 Songworks 2.612 includes the item label and print-centering improvements mentioned above with regard to Practica Musica 4.548. You can get the current Songworks by running the "Update Existing Songworks 2.6" in your Songworks installer.

10/20/2004 Practica Musica 4.546 adds the capability to run a new activity called Custom Visual Intervals, in which you can choose to study intervals that are all located in upper ledger lines, or in lower ledger lines, or within the chosen clef (which can be any clef, of course). You can also choose the intervals to study. In this exercise you both see and hear the interval to be identified. You can download Custom Visual Intervals in the Activity Library. You'll first need to run the "Update Existing Practica Musica" option in your Practica Musica installer to get version 4.546.

If you are in a school using WebStudents, version 4.546 also affects the saving of your student data. Formerly, if you quit the program before quitting an activity-in-progress, your current score in that activity would be saved just to the local copy of your student data and wouldn't be backed up at WebStudents until the next time you opened the program. Now the data will be saved in both locations regardless of whether you quit the activity before leaving the program.

10/12/2004 Practica Musica 4.545 has a new feature that allows it to describe random chords in terms of Roman numerals. We've added a new activity to take advantage of this: Chords In Context. Chords In Context works much like the Chord Playing activity, except that instead of being asked for a chord by its letter name, you're asked for it by the Roman numeral appropriate to the current key. For example, instead of being asked for "F major" you'd be asked for "IV in the key of C." Like the Chord Playing activity, Chords in Context includes seventh chords and inversions in the higher levels of difficulty. You can download Chords in Context in the Activity Library. Be sure to first run the "Update Existing Practica Musica" option in your Practica Musica installer to get version 4.545.

9/03/2004 Practica Musica 4.541* has a fix for WebStudents that ensures your WebStudent file will be saved the first time you use the program. It also adds a feature that displays your serial number in the About Practica Musica Window. For multiple users it clears the remembered WebStudent account whenever a student "signs out," so that the next student won't accidentally use the previous one's account.

* Owners of any version in the 4.5 series can obtain the latest Practica Musica by running the "Update Existing Practica Musica" option in your installer. If you've lost your installer, just e-mail us with your serial number and we'll link you to the appropriate installer. If you have a version earlier than 4.5 you'd need to purchase an upgrade.

8/23/2004 Practica Musica 4.539* adds an alternate offline registration feature for those who have trouble getting the initial internet-based sign-in past a "firewall" or other security. It also can be used if the computer has no internet connection at all. This allows you to complete the signin without having to send for a CD, which can save some time for study. The alternate sign-in window will appear automatically if the first method fails.

2/24/2004 Practica Musica 4.536* contains enhancements to the new WebStudents [tm] system that make it much easier for students to find their personal files when moving to a new computer at home or at school. WebStudents provides online backup for student progress data so that the information will always be in one place for easy access by instructors. WebStudents service is included in the academic Student Editions and is also available for site licences at a small yearly charge.

More information is available at WebStudents.

1/14/2004 The new Building Key Signatures activity can now be downloaded in the Activities Library. This is an activity in which the student builds requested key signatures by clicking sharp or flat symbols directly on the staff. Building Key Signatures requires at least version 4.533 of Practica Musica, so if you have an earlier version of the 4.5 series be sure to use the "Update Existing Practica Musica" option in your installer to get the latest (if you've lost your installer just e-mail us with your serial number and we'll link you to the appropriate installer). If you have any version of Practica Musica earlier than 4.5, though, you'd need to purchase an upgrade.