The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #53780   Message #829954
Posted By: Mark Clark
19-Nov-02 - 12:22 PM
Thread Name: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
I have originally purchased Finale about eleven years ago and have used it for making choral scores for our church choir. We are an Eastern Orthodox community using a lot of ancient Byzantine music so there isn't a lot of commercial music available. At the time I purchased Finale, there weren't many alternatives available.

My experience with Finale is similar to what others have expressed here. It was very difficult to learn and, although I'm extreemly comfortable and familiar with computers and software, never really developed a "professional" facility with the program. On top of that, they (Coda) keep churning their customer base all the time with frequent upgrades that seem to offer useful enticements but often don't really result in a more useable program. If you keep up with the all the releases, it becomes a pretty expensive program to use.

Not only does Finale churn the customer base but they frequently change their user interface so that all the skills one has painfully acquired are suddenly obsolete and you're back to square one relearning the program. I'm no longer the choir director at our church so I've pretty much stopped using it and probably won't spring for any more upgrades.

For the sorts of music that interests most of us here, all you really need is a lead sheet and lyrics. A lead sheet outlines the melody and chord progression without providing much in the way of accompaniment detail. People who are still learning to play or want to exactly duplicate a particular performance may also want tablature along with a lead sheet.

There are quite a few low cost and free systems available with capabilities ranging from a simple melody line to full symphonic scores with all the special symbols. Some have a learning curve but still aren't as difficult as Finale. Most of what's useful has been discussed here on Mudcat. John in Brisbane is the one who tracks ABC notation software as well as other programs that might interest Mudcatters. Any of us who find new programs generally post or cross reference the information into one of John's threads. If you'd like to try any of these, read what's been written and then don't hesitate to ask questions in a thread.

      - Mark