Wotsa rumpus?
So,  wotsa rumpus bewteen the two?  Both are easy to use (after a bit of getting used to which is standard
with ANY software program),  both allow you to hear the music, neither cost an arm and a leg, and
therein lies the rub.  They are useful for specific reasons which may or may not apply to you.

ABC is portable across just about any DOS-based operating system and has been ported to LINUX and
MAC systems as well, so it is by far the more universal of the two.   Noteworthy runs on any Windows
Operating System and has NOT been ported to MAC.  (There is a way around that:  
SEE HERE.)  It is
somewhat easier (especially the PLAYER) for the first-time user to operate.

I like Noteworthy because it has a selection of instrument voices in which it can play the music,  it can
both show and play at the same time multiple staves (you can, if you have the time and inclination,
develop The Ninth Symphony!  Steve Allen did!) allowing harmony with different instruments,  it BOTH
(and that's an important point!)  plays the music AND shows the music as it plays.  This is invaluable for
teaching purposes or for de-bugging a piece of self-written music.  It is editible on-the-fly, making
changes much easier to accomplish and you do not need to remember codes to enter the music on the
staff... all you need is a mouse/trackball or a keyboard.  All commands are easily accessed from the main
screen and if you learn the keyboard shortcuts you can easliy enter a standard A-A-B-B tune in about
three minutes.  The sounds vary from an acoustic grand piano through a selection of strings, woodwinds
and brasses and then there are some unusual ones as well  (bagpipes,  for instance).  The success of the
sounds depends entirely on your soundcard and MIDI player.

ABC is more useful for sending music by email or posting music to newsgroups where attachments are
not permitted.  As a good number of the Irish Tradidional community exchange songs in this method,  it
is highly useful to them where Noteworthy requires a file attachment to be sent to exchange music and it
also renders some ornamentation more readily than Noteworthy.   ABC does NOT have the range of
NWC as far as reproducible sound, being limited to a series of varied-tone 'beeps'.  Again, while this is
useful for those who already understand a particular variety of music and can interoplate the noises as
music, it is much less so for the un-initiated:  IT IS CAPABLE OF BEING CONVERTED TO A MIDI
FILE WHICH IS A MUCH MORE EAR-ACCEPTABLE RENDITION!   It is the very devil to edit and has
bugger-all for a watch-and-listen capability like NWC's.  It's entry code is cumbersome at first, although
easily learned but it is ALL key-stoke driven with no GUI as in Noteworthy.

NWC has a readers/users forum (which is available to registered users) where you can ask questions as
to specific facets of the programme and it's operation and the support staff, along with a cadre of talented
volunteer NWC owners provide answers for you.  Similar to a list-serv, but accessible thru the web rather
than email, and with it's own easily-accessed archive of questions and comments which is an invaluable
resource for things like 1st and second ending or D.S. or D.C markings.

Noteworthy also will play as many repeats as are writen to the staff, which ABC cannot do so (at least in
the software I have for it).  Noteworthy even has a "sample" directory showing the basics of repeats,
special endings, Signs, etc, etc.

ABC is capable of showing and playing "rolls" or "trills" which Noteworthy does not do without
specifically notating the ornament in a "Hidden Staff" , so ABC wins this one, especially for Celtic music.
BUT: the "Hidden Staff" is not at all difficult to do and if you need instructions in this,

On the whole,  I think NWC is a  better deal for most of us, which is why I have chosen that format to do
all this work.  I DO own AND USE ABC programs and accessories on a daily basis, and please don't take
any of the above as a down-check on ABC or it's capabilities, but I feel they are specific to musicians,  
where the Noteworthy programme(s) are useful to the casual listener or those who just want to see and
hear the music so they can learn it.  I like it specifically because I DON'T READ MUSIC!  Without
Noteworthy,  you'd not have had this to peruse.  (2/2015: v2.52.1 @

ABC links                                                                Noteworthy Links
THE ABC HOMEPAGE                                          NOTEWORTHY SOFTWARE

NOTE:  I had originally stated that "as far as I knew, ABC did not have a "free" player available.... well,  trust
the Irtrad-L mailing list members to catch me out! is a very nice page and down at the
bottom is the '"free" ABC player in question!   Thanks to
John Mullen for helping me out on this one!

I wish you much enjoyment of the music on my pages and hope that the effort will increase the number
of people who will learn and come to love this most interesting and harmonic form of music.

Thanks for your kind attention!

Vince Brennan.

ONE ADDITIONAL NOTE:  If anyone finds an error on any of the pages, please let me know!