Product Review – MasterWriter 2.0

MW_2.0Logo

The MasterWriter homepage proudly touts,
“There’s a reason why hit songwriters Gwen Stefani, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Rob Thomas, Kenny Loggins, Jeffrey Steele, Jimmy Webb, Carole Bayer Sager, David Foster and many more, all use MasterWriter, it’s simply the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. “

Powerful statement … powerful songwriter tool.

I’ve been a MasterWriter user since it became available for the PC in 2007 (yes, I’m in therapy for being a PC guy ;)). I hate to admit it but… now, songwriting without MasterWriter is a little like watching TV with the sound off, you just don’t get it all. MasterWriter is a terrific tool.

MasterWriter 2.0 is organized in nine key sections and eight tabs. All eight tabs are available when working in each section. As a rule, the sections and tabs work independently. I’ll start by describing a few of the tabs and finish with the sections.

 

The Song List Tab

Opening MasterWriter for the first time, after the standard copy protect routine, you’ll find your home-base – the Song List tab (see photo one).

Photo One - The Song List Ta

Photo One – The Song List Tab

 

Here all your hit titles (and some of the ‘not-so-hit’ titles) lie in various stages of completion. This view contains your library. Within this section you are able to write a description or attach it to a group of your choosing. Groups are useful for categorizing projects in various stages of completion, as an example. You have available various search criteria to list by title, lyrics, date created, etc. You can also sort by group name.

 

The Lyrics Tab

Once a song in your library is selected, the lyrics section can be your next step (photo two). Here you will craft your song. Dictionary searches (rhymes, rhymed phrases, thesaurus, word families, parts of speech, and pop-culture) are in birds-eye view. (photo two)

 Photo Two - The Lyrics Tab

Photo Two – The Lyrics Tab

On the lower right quadrant of the screen is your ‘collected’ area. Here you will store the rhymes, phrases, and so-on, that you saved for your project.

 

The Sketches Tab

Here you will capture the ideas that are boiling over (photo three). Sketches, notes, potential killer first lines, etc. This section is very helpful, especially while your creation is in its infancy stages. The dictionary and collected windows are displayed on this tab as well.

 Photo Three - The Sketches Tab

Photo Three – The Sketches Tab

The Split Tab

A great way to view or edit the sketches area and the lyrics simultaneously. (photo four)

 Photo Four - the Split Tab

Photo Four – the Split Tab

The Audio Tab

The Audio section is a very useful tool in MasterWriter (photo five). You can easily, and quickly record your work as it progresses or import audio files for your reference later. I’ll import files from my trusty digital voice recorder that remembers melodies when I don’t. Add markers to your recording and play along with one of the many midi drum loops included. Tweak the tempo or run a loop if it suits. The recording quality is good, however dependent on your computer recording gear.

 Photo Five - the Audio Tab

Photo Five – the Audio Tab

The Song Info Tab

This section contains all the ‘meta-data’ for the particular song. Here, you are able to add and edit writers info such as publisher, society, share, etc. Useful info is displayed like creation date, last edit, recordings, key and run-time, among others. (photo six)

 photo six - the Song Info Tab

photo six – the Song Info Tab

The Rhymes Section

This is the rhyming dictionary you always dreamed of. Type in your word of choice, or select it from the lyric page, and viola … every rhyming combination you could dream of. Completely customizable combinations include all rhymes, primary rhymes, secondary rhymes, pop-culture and phrases. Expand your search wider, or extra wide with a single click. I can’t say enough about the usefulness of this section in songwriting. (photo seven)

 photo seven - The Rhyming Tab

photo seven – The Rhyming Tab

The Phrases Section

In this section you are able to manipulate your input and take your creativity on even more of a wild ride. Search on related words or alter the syllable count. Pages and pages of ideas ripe for the picking.

Two unique and revolutionary dictionaries as well as a complex thesaurus is a click away. For those ‘stuck’ periods we all experience, these sections open up a new world of possibilities for descriptive words and ideas. Also at your disposal is a complete searchable version of the Bible, Old and New Testaments.

Also worth mentioning are the ‘word families’, ‘parts of speech’, ‘pop-culture’, and ‘notes’ sections. All useful parts of this extremely useful tool, MasterWriter 2.0.

In Closing

I try very hard to be objective in these reviews. That said, the user interface is perhaps a bit ‘old-school’ and maybe somewhat hard for some users to get the feel of right off the bat. How would I change it? I’m not sure I would. I’m so used to it by now, I would hate to add confusion or distraction to the creative process. All things considered, I can easily and highly recommend MasterWriter 2.0!

At the full version price (at this writing) of $199, MasterWriter 2.0 is well worth it. SongwritersHQ readers can take advantage of a video tour, free trial and a $20 discount off the purchase price by clicking here.

About Jeff Lodge

I have been a songwriter pretty much all my life, since Grandpa Mac gave me his drum set (ya, you try writing a song on an old Slingerland 5 piece). I learned guitar, played around with piano, and fell head first into a fervent passion for creating music. I wrote a ton as a kid, with limited skills and knowledge. When I 'grew up', I studied the craft of songwriting and recording. I crave to learn more. It's my goal with SongWritersHQ to provide valuable content that will educate, entertain, or the songwriter community. I include myself in that community because if I don't learn something about this wonderful craft every day, I'm unfulfilled. I hope SongWritersHQ is as fulfilling for you as it is for me. Jeff

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