- I have a fixed work area when writing music. This is not only because I need a large screen, a hardware keyboard, a mouse, a MIDI keyboard and a printer, but also because I need to have my peace at my own desktop. In 99% of the time, I write music on the same computer. Online notation programs allow to write music “everywhere”. I just don’t need that. I find it horrible to write music on a tablet PC or even a smartphone.
- I prefer printed sheet music. Online programs can also print your music, but their focus is much more on screen display and the viewer’s perspective. Maybe the musicians I know (including myself) are old-fashioned, but we like to play music from printed paper. We take notes with a pencil (without limitations which notes are possibe), and we need no internet connection (we have none in our rehearsal room) and no electric power. I like the idea of sharing files with others over the internet, but this is also possible with e-mail, dropbox and other services, and for sure also within desktop notation programs in the future. I need no web browser for that.
- Pay for the time. The price of the programs is currently at about 80$ per year. Suitable desktop notation programs cost about two or three times as much, but only once (bigger updates not included). Since I am happy with my desktop application, the subscription of the online program would be more expensive already in the third year.
- Dependency on the vendor. When the vendor closes its service, I can rescue the files by exporting to MusicXML, but I can not use the same notation program any more. This is different with offline desktop applications: When the vendor stops development, I can still install and use the software on my computer as long as I like it.
- A technical reason: Web technologies are limited. Although new standards like the Web MIDI API will follow, I think the web is not suitable for high-end multimedia applications. When running in the web browser, you always have an additional layer (the browser) between your application and the operating system, which makes everything slower, more limited and reduced to a compromise that works for all kinds of devices. When you want to fully exploit the power of your computer, there is no better option than running as low-level as possible (already choosing Java for Zong! was a hard decision).