Review: MasterWriter 2.0 for Songwriters and Poets

May 24, 2010 Updated: September 29, 2015

There are few applications like MasterWriter 2.0 on the market. Think of it as an advanced digital word finder, dictionary, and thesaurus—only different. It not only includes highly polished versions of more common tools, but it also features some tools found nowhere else, and the interface allows for a seamless flow between research and writing.

There are two different versions of MasterWriter 2.0—one for creative writers and one for songwriters and poets. This review is of MasterWriter 2.0 for songwriters and poets, which is a version tailored for writing lyrics and poetry.

The application works as a top-to-bottom place for composing songs and poems, finding words, and sketching out ideas. To help in the creative process, it includes a light audio recording tool, complete with drum beats and loop features. It also links up with Songuard, which allows users to register their work prior to getting an official copyright.

Although lesser known in the mainstream market, MasterWriter 2.0 has a strong user-base in the professional sphere. Among its users are Grammy award-winning songwriter Gwen Stefani from No Doubt, 14-time Grammy award-winning songwriter David Foster, and songwriter Graham Nash from Crosby Stills & Nash.

NEW TRENDS: The 'Pop-Culture' tab in MasterWriter 2.0 includes a database of 11,000 icons from American and world culture, and connects directly with wikipedia.org. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)
NEW TRENDS: The 'Pop-Culture' tab in MasterWriter 2.0 includes a database of 11,000 icons from American and world culture, and connects directly with wikipedia.org. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)

The Workspace

Some of the tools in the application may seem a bit foreign at first, but overall it has a very small learning curve. Most users should have no trouble learning the application quickly, and MasterWriter Inc. offers pretty thorough tutorial videos available for free online.

Each time the application starts the user is taken to the Song List page, which keeps track of the different songs the user is working on, or has finished. Different works can also be grouped into projects so that the user can keep track of which ones were published on albums or in book.

There are two main tabs for navigating MasterWriter 2.0. Dictionary and word finder tools are listed along the top, and just under them are tools for writing and sorting projects.

Essentially, the application has a built-in word processor with some basic formatting features. If the user double clicks on a word to highlight it, they can then click on any of the seven different dictionaries and word finders, and the appropriate results will show up for the highlighted word.

For example, a user could highlight a word and then click the “Rhymes” menu bar, and all words that rhyme with the word they selected will be displayed. From the dictionaries, any words the user double clicks will be added to a side bar in the word processor and the “Collected” panel, which will work as a central and searchable place for all the words the user collects.

I found the application gives good control over sorting and finding words. A drop-box lets users filter by syllable count, while another menu allows the user to filter by adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs. Some panels also have selectors for the specific use of the word—such as differentiating whether the use of the word “grasp” is in reference to grabbing something or understanding something.

LYRICS: The 'Rhymes' tab in MasterWriter 2.0 for songwriters and poets, is an extensive rhyming dictionary which allows users to broaden and narrow search results for rhyming words. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)
LYRICS: The 'Rhymes' tab in MasterWriter 2.0 for songwriters and poets, is an extensive rhyming dictionary which allows users to broaden and narrow search results for rhyming words. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)

The Right Word

The real draw of MasterWriter 2.0 isn’t word processing, but rather in helping the user find the perfect word for their project. To help with this, the application includes seven rather advanced word databases.

Aside from its basic dictionary, the application’s most essential feature is its Rhymes tab. It will provide an extensive list of rhyming words for whatever the user types in. What makes it different from most other rhyming dictionaries, however, is its ability to narrow searches to primary rhymes, secondary rhymes, and pop culture rhymes—such as matching the word “beautiful” to “The Bold and The Beautiful.”

The user can also select how distant in sound they would like to go from the original word. There are three options: Close, Wider, and X-Wide, which will expand the rhyme searches to words that share a similar rhyming sound.

The panel I found the most interesting is “Word Families,” which will display different words with similar meanings to the word being searched for.

For example, I typed in “running,” and it displayed “barreling,” “speeding,” “hypersonic,” and more than 50 other results. The user can also extend the word results to more distant meanings, which adds a full new set of words to choose from, including “electrifying,” “storming,” “staggering,” and so on.

Words can also be filtered by endings and the level of intensity in their use. The application also includes a full Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, but the Word Families search gives a much more creative set of results.

The “Parts of Speech” tab—a full dictionary of descriptive words—is another useful tool. Users can sort by positive or negative words, such as “humorously” or “hoggishly;” and by moderate or intense words, such as “good” or “grand.” In the right hands, this feature can help create some wonderfully descriptive writings.

Another word database, the “Phrases” tab, I found moderately useful. It will display one of 33,000 phrases, based on the word the user selects. Word results will include popular phrases and common uses of the words. For example, typing “beautiful” brings up results such as “Things are more beautiful in the moonlight.”

I found the “Pop Culture” tab less useful, but it may come in handy for some users. It is a full database of famous names, brands, city names, landmarks, countries, products, and a long list of other categories with 11,000 icons from American and world culture.

Where the Pop Culture tab does come in handy, however, is in its integration with MasterWriter’s rhyming dictionary, which will match rhyming pop culture words and phrases that rhyme with the word the user is searching for. It also connects directly to Wikipedia.org so users can search for information on any subject they find.

AUDIO NOTES: The 'Audio' page in MasterWriter 2.0 for songwriters and poets, allows users to record and loop audio tracks, add drum beats, and take quick not of any melodies as inspiration comes. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)
AUDIO NOTES: The 'Audio' page in MasterWriter 2.0 for songwriters and poets, allows users to record and loop audio tracks, add drum beats, and take quick not of any melodies as inspiration comes. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)

Writing Music

The song writing and organizing aspects of MasterWriter 2.0 are also main elements of the application.

The most useful tool I found on the composition side is the application’s “Audio” tab, which allows users to make recordings and loop specific parts that need to be worked on. Although it is not meant to be a full-fledged audio studio, it has quite a bit to offer, including 248 adjustable drum beats.

The program has a direct link to Songuard, which I found to be another valuable addition. This application allows users to register lyrics, sketches, and audio tracks before getting an official copyright for their work. Submitting work can be done quickly and without hassle, and Songuard can even beat an official copyright when it comes to proving date of creation.

There is nothing particularly special about MasterWriter’s writing or organizing features. Its main benefit is its ability to integrate with the word databases, so that users can keep track of rhymes, phrases, or any word they would like to include in their writings.

There are two main writing areas, “Lyrics,” and “Sketches,” which are identical in toolsets, and give users a place to compose lyrics and poems. The reason that two tabs are included is so that one can be used for finalized lyrics and the other can work as a place for ideas. A “Split” tab allows users to view both the Lyrics and Sketches tabs simultaneously.

In a Nutshell

When all is said and done, MasterWriter 2.0 is a solid application, and the best I’ve come across in its category. When it comes to finding musical lyrics or a bit of inspiration to break writer’s block, the application does wonders.

If you’re trying to decide between the version for creative writers, or the version for poets and songwriters, it is important to note that there’s not a huge difference between the two, other than a couple of tools for writing and organizing. The different dictionaries seem to be the same, so the choice really comes down to whether the user plans to write novels or songs.

The price is a bit high, which may cause some users to look elsewhere, but the company offers by-the-month plans which would be a welcome option for short-term projects. There are other applications, books, and websites with some of the same tools as MasterWriter, yet this application is the only I’ve found to integrate so many into one place and have them working in sync with one another.

 Price: $199
Website: www.masterwriter.com

Follow Joshua on Twitter: @JoshJPhilipp