The latest music software from Notion Music (formerly VirtuosoWorks) solves the common problem of having lots of music to play but no one to play it with. Protégé (Mac/Win; $99) is an affordable composition program that allows you to write, rehearse, and perform your compositions as if you were working with a full ensemble of musicians. It includes more than 100,000 sounds recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios (home of the Beatles' recording sessions), and offers add-ons that include rock and rhythm section sounds.
According to the manufacturer, Protégé was designed to help you focus on the music, not the technology. Use the program to accompany primary instruments or small ensembles; create playback directly from notation; compose detailed scores; and edit, save, and practice songs based on your own interpretations. Protégé is suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to professional musicians. If you find it too easy or limiting, you may upgrade to more complex programs that match your skill level.
Notion software is currently being used on Meat Loaf's concert tour, allowing the accompanying 16-piece orchestra to sound like a 60-piece orchestra. To learn more, visit www.notionmusic.com.