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Tech: Finale or Sibelius?

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TNDARLN 18 Nov 02 - 08:59 PM
Joe Offer 18 Nov 02 - 09:20 PM
M.Ted 18 Nov 02 - 10:06 PM
BlueSage 18 Nov 02 - 10:23 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Nov 02 - 01:58 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 19 Nov 02 - 04:12 AM
TNDARLN 19 Nov 02 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Ed 19 Nov 02 - 06:53 AM
pavane 19 Nov 02 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Vectis 19 Nov 02 - 09:28 AM
MMario 19 Nov 02 - 09:35 AM
M.Ted 19 Nov 02 - 11:33 AM
Mark Clark 19 Nov 02 - 12:22 PM
Genie 19 Nov 02 - 01:21 PM
Joe Offer 19 Nov 02 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Ed 19 Nov 02 - 04:02 PM
MMario 19 Nov 02 - 04:06 PM
Joe Offer 19 Nov 02 - 05:28 PM
Gloredhel 19 Nov 02 - 06:12 PM
TNDARLN 19 Nov 02 - 08:50 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 19 Nov 02 - 09:15 PM
Genie 19 Nov 02 - 11:56 PM
Mark Clark 20 Nov 02 - 12:00 AM
DADGBE 20 Nov 02 - 12:50 AM
M.Ted 20 Nov 02 - 05:56 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Nov 02 - 04:01 AM
M.Ted 21 Nov 02 - 11:13 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Nov 02 - 06:44 AM
M.Ted 22 Nov 02 - 12:33 PM
dermod in salisbury 22 Nov 02 - 12:44 PM
DADGBE 22 Nov 02 - 01:30 PM
dermod in salisbury 22 Nov 02 - 03:56 PM
JenEllen 14 Apr 03 - 03:56 PM
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Subject: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: TNDARLN
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 08:59 PM

I purchased Finale '98 [in '98], with the goal of doing basic notation/arranging on the computer. I've never been so frustrated with a program- even after an introductory class in music tech this summer, using a later version of Finale- I reinstalled '98 on my machine, thinking I was over the hump. Not so.

So I was ready to purchase Sibelius to go on a new machine in the next few months. S'posed to be much more user-friendly.

Today I got a card from the Finale folks, offering me an upgrade to their 2003 version for 89.95 plus s/h. Sibelius is going to cost nearly $300 even with educator discounts.

I would appreciate any insight y'all can offer. While I don't want to throw more money after bad, that's a pretty significant chunk of change.....thanks a bunch!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 09:20 PM

We have the 2002 version of Finale. I have to admit that I haven't been able to do a whole lot with it - but my 13-yr-old stepson is a master at it. I use Noteworthy Composer, which cost me $40, and it does everything I need. Therefore, I haven't spent the time needed to master Finale, which is a professional program.

But be aware that a 13-year-old can master Finale.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 10:06 PM

Finale is very widely used, and also very widely disliked, for the reasons that you give and some others, as well--I doubt that Sibelius will give you $300 worth of relief, though--I tried it out a couple years back, and found that it had weaknesses of its own--Overture was my favorite, but seems no longer to be available(Opcode being defunct)--

If you work through the initial Hell of Finale, things will go a lot easier, and you will be able to do most everything you need--it does take work though--it helps to remember that you are learning a complex craft that is not easy to master under any circumstances, and that, as difficult as it seems to manage the software, before the software, arrangers usually had to hire copyists to turn their scriblings into something that was readable and playable--


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: BlueSage
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 10:23 PM

I haven't any experience using 'Finale', though I know it's been the notation software of choice for years. Like M. Ted, I've been using the 'Overture' software. At the time I purchased 'Overture', it did tablature much more efficiently than 'Finale' (which is why I went that direction).

I know the rights to the 'Overture' software were purchased by Cakewalk but I believe it's now distributed by yet another party, Geniesoft.

If your interested in trying out 'Overture' try the Geniesoft music notation site at:

www.geniesoft.biz

Good luck... Mike


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 01:58 AM

I got trial versions of both Finale and Sibelius (on CDs) from local music stores a little over a year ago. Neither is what I would call "user friendly" for doing simple and routine things.

Neither of the trial copies is "current version" now, so I can't say what's changed. My choice, when I considered actually buying one, would have been Sibelius - partly because it seemed to be a little easier to "drive," but mainly because it seemed to have a more versatile tab utility. (Given the complexity of these programs, and the limited amount of "study" I did, it's entirely possible that Finale can do the same things with tab - but it just wasn't as obvious that you can do the same stuff.)

Any reasonably large music store that sells to band/orchestra, school, and church musicians should be able to get you a trial CD for either or both programs, so you can look them over before you buy. Guitar shops - and the ones that target the "teen rockers" might not.

I found it incredibly stupid that my demos of both of these programs disabled both printing and the help files. I would have expected that a "real" trial version should give you the help files and disable the program. The workaround - that actually did work in both programs - is to click anything on any toolbar, and hit F1, which is the "standard windows" key for "context sensitive help." This opens help for whatever function you selected, and if you're careful you can move throughout the whole help file once it's open.

I haven't looked recently, but a few months ago you could still download a "trial version" of Sibelius from their website. If you have a high-speed connection or some patience, this might be viable if it's still offered, but the installation from the CD was a little over 5MB, not counting the "promo" stuff that they insist on including.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 04:12 AM

I love Sibelius and don't find it hard to use BUT they're not very good at giving instructions so the user manual & help files can be frustrating after you get past the basics. However, their Help email line has always answered queries within a day or two and IMHO this programme is well worth it, even with the above factor and the price (if you work in education you can get it at a discount though you have to show proof of employment from a recognised institution). Once you get into it, you'll fly.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: TNDARLN
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 06:41 AM

Thanks for sharing your perspectives. What I'm hearing is that Sibelius has its problems too. Maybe I don't need all that stuff after all.

And Finale mastered by a 13-year old, Joe? There goes the Final[e]shreds of my self esteem! ["yeah, but can he clean his room?" she muttered under her breath.]

thanks, y'all! T


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 06:53 AM

If you only want to do basic notation/arranging, I'd suggest following Joe's link and giving Noteworthy a try. It's very easy to use and quite flexible.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: pavane
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 08:02 AM

Or even my own HARMONY program


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: GUEST,Vectis
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 09:28 AM

Noteworthy has my vote every time.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: MMario
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 09:35 AM

I would also cast a vote for Noteworthy or Pavane's HARMONY


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 11:33 AM

Pavane doesn't have a Mac version, otherwise I would have tried it--as I recall, he has some interesting and useful features that other programs don't--

Anyway, I just remembered that Finale has traveling reps who deliver a special presentation at various dealers--there is probably a schedule at their website, but you could probably also let a dealer near you know you'd be interested in attending if they set one up--

Also, it is worth knowing that many working arrangers/composers write in a sequencer program and, after they've got everything as they want it, convert it to notation--then they fine tune the score document--Overture is much better for this than Finale--


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 12:22 PM

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


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Genie
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 01:21 PM

Coda Music codamusic.com has several different music programs, at different prices (from free up to $600) and with different capabilities.

Has anyone tried "Allegro," their $200 ($170 as upgrade from Notepad, $300 for educators) program. It's supposed to have most of the key features of Finale 2003 (and Overture, QuickTime, etc.)-- e.g., playing from MIDIS, entering music note via an instrument, saving scores as MIDIS, flexibility in creating sheet music, etc. -- but isn't designed for composing symphonies or really complex band arrangements, if I understand it.

Coda also has a cheaper program called "Print Music" that would probably be fine if you didn't want to do MIDIs.

You can download trial versions of several of their programs, but I don't think you can save the files or print anything but the first page from the demo.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 02:29 PM

We were lucky enough to end up with the full version of Finale through a deal with my stepson's music teacher, but I've seen kids do wonderful things with the free version of Finale, Finale Notepad.
I've played with Pavane's Harmony program and I was very impressed, but haven't taken the time to master it. MMario keeps bugging me to learn SongWright, the music program the Digital Tradition uses, and John in Brisbane keeps sending me notes to encourage me to learn ABC.

I think I'd like to see ABC become the format for Digital Tradition tunes, but Dick Greenhaus won't accept it yet because it doesn't handly lyrics and some other functions as well as SongWright.

All these formats drive me crazy.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 04:02 PM

Joe,

Dick is talking shit. Take a look at what's being done with ABC at www.folkinfo.org/songs/

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: MMario
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 04:06 PM

only bugging you about songwright because it IS the format for the DT...

ABC would suit me fine - especially since we have that nifty abc2nwc converter...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 05:28 PM

Yeah, Ed, but it's not a universally-accepted standard yet. It'll come - have patience.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Gloredhel
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 06:12 PM

Finale is definitely the professional program: the music department here just upgraded all their computers to Finale 2003 and a disk with Finale Notebook on it came with our theory textbooks. It's great for the complex stuff, but for really basic things I don't think I would bother with Finale, and probably wouldn't use Sibelius either.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: TNDARLN
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 08:50 PM

After reading some more replies [thanks again, all] I realized I might need to give more info as to my needs: I also want to be able to play arrangements on my keyboard/connected to pc and end up with printable notation - and I'll show my ignorance here, but that would require MIDI -not wav. files, wouldn't it? T


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 09:15 PM

In Sibelius, to input music onto the screen (& make printable scores) all you need is an electronic keyboard with Midi In and Midi Out sockets, plus a Midi cable. You play the notes and they appear in the score, sort of like a musical word-processor, and you can then get the programme to play everything back to you. I know there are other ways of doing it but this is the method I use, which works for me.

Bear in mind that you can only do one staff at a time (though you can do chords in each), so if you want both bass and treble clef (as in piano or harp music) you need to input them separately, though both staves will play back simultaneously. Our music school has both Sibelius and Finale, but Sibelius seems to be the favourite among the staff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Genie
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 11:56 PM

Actually Coda's "Print Music" Program ($69, I think) CAN do MIDIs. So can NotePad Plus ($25), which I just bought.

The main shortcomings of NotePad Plue, for most folk music and other fairly simple music, are that you can't enter notes from an instrument or mic, and you can't add multiple lyric lines to the same line of music.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:00 AM

Finale will let you record a two handed performance and display the whole thing as music on a grand staff. You can tell Finale where, on the keyboard, your right and left hand separation will be. You also have the choice of providing the beat by tapping the volume pedal with your foot while playing or just recording the MIDI input and adding the beat afterword. This second technique has the advantage of letting you smooth out the tempo even if the performance was less than perfectly regular. Once the beats have been added to the MIDI input, a single mouse click will start the transcription process.

Without Finale, I think you can still record a MIDI performance using the internal memory of your keyboard (or perhaps a sequencing program) then edit the MIDI file to correct any errors and finally, transfer the MIDI file to your hard drive. Once stored, you can use several different free or sharware programs to convert the MIDI notation into a text-based representation such as ABC and use that to print a score. Keep in mind that I have not done this but I think it would be possible.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: DADGBE
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:50 AM

Here's another country heard from. I use Encore, a big notation program in the $300 range but easy to learn even without the manual and does everything. Lyrics, MIDI, automatic tab in any tuning for different numbers of strings +++. It's available for Mac & PC from GVOX. Check it out.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:56 PM

Genie--

You can only enter music to the any above mentioned notation programs with a MIDI instrument--

Again, the best thing to do is to write your arrangements as MIDI files(in a full fledged sequencing program--I used Opcode EZVision for years) then import the Standard MIDI files into your notation program-

There are many reasons for doing this, not the least of which is that you can write and playback many parts at the same time--

Also, it is important to note that the notation programs will not allow you to edit files in created in any of the other programs so you have to edit and revise a score in the same program you wrote it-- in--This means that you can't ever let go of a program once you
ve started using it, and you are pretty much obliged to pay for their upgrades or do your work on a computer with an old operating system if you don't want to redo your arrangements from scratch when you want new copies down the road(Doing most of your work in MIDI makes it easier to deal with this problem)--

Also, if the company that created your notation program goes under(as Opcode, who created Overture) you are in the woods by yourself--


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 04:01 AM

M Ted - ???

All of the programs that I see permit manual entry of the "dots" from the computer keyboard, and most of them have several other alternatives (picking the notes from an onscreen keyboard, or "mousing" them to the score are the most common). So far as I have seen, none of them require you to have a MIDI instrument.

With the exception of the one "freebie" from Coda, they all allow you to "save as midi" and will all "read" midi files to produce "dots." Even if you "lose the program," if you've saved a .mid, any of the other programs will open the .mid. You may lose some formatting, and you'll lose notations and lyrics, but the route via .mid at least makes the notes reasonably portable.

That's why the absence of .mid in the freebie is unacceptable (for me), and why I'd recommend that people consider it a "tryout" program. Most will want something better eventually, probably soon, unless they decide they just plain don't like messing with programs of this sort.

There is a basic divide between the programs based on producing the .mid, with the score as an "add-on," and programs designed to produce scores, with the .mid as a "fall-out." The distinction is rapidly becoming blurred, as programs from both categories improve their ability to do the other.

If your program is strongly midi-biased, it may be easier to "create" in midi and then take the dots you get, but in most cases a .mid that actually sounds good doesn't make good dots. Conversely, the program that's based on scoring will make it easier to "create" in score, and you take the .mid that plays the "written notes" - which will generally sound like mechanical sh*t, but will allow you to "verify" the score, and pass it on to people who don't read the maggots.

Both Finale and Sibelius are, in my evaluation of them, "score based" programs. The Cakewalk house is the most obvious example of the "midi based" family. You work with what you've got, to do what you want to do (or to give the customer what he/she wants).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 11:13 PM

John, I was responding to this comment that Genie made:

"The main shortcomings of NotePad Plue, for most folk music and
other fairly simple music, are that you can't enter notes from
an instrument or mic,"

The point about MIDI not making good dots, and good dots not making good MIDI is an important one--after a while, you learn to enter MDI MIDI in a way that will make the dots you want--also, Overture allosws you to fix the dots without altering the playback--


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 06:44 AM

M. Ted -

Sorry, I thought I had read everything, but I guess I didn't connect it all. I do see the connection now.

Some previous threads have debated the merits of a few, mostly hardware approaches to A/D (analog to digital) converters that theoretically allow voice/instrument conversion to MIDI; but the concensus has been that - after the intitial enthusiasm - you've got to admit that they don't really work, at least in the forms available to most of us. The repeated "how do you convert MP3 to MIDI" queries get similar discussion - but the only two good answers are "you don't" or "use your cerebral filter."

I personally find it easiest to "write the dots" and for my purposes I'm satisfied with whatever playback (MIDI) is adequate to hear whether I've messed up. (At one point many years ago, I discovered the so-called "calligraphic" pen nibs, and thought that was a great technological advance. I'd previously resorted to chicken feather quills to get the linewidth variations I wanted in hand-write scores.)

I need (and use) a different program than would be best for someone who is more comfortable making the MIDI first. I'm also a little fussy about getting clean note spacings, being able to control things like how many measures go "on a line," and being able to add notations when I want them rather than when the program thinks they're needed.

The free/cheap simple programs are a good place for people to find what works for them - and what doesn't. There isn't a program that's best for everyone, because were all a little different.

The goal is to learn enough to make your own evaluations of what you need - usually by trying some out; AND to have enough $$$ left to move up in a program type that you've learned a little about, if you need to.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 12:33 PM

There used to be a Finale Listmail group--don't know if it still exists, but it was helpful because there were many people there who were at various stages in the learning curve--I think that it expanded to other notation programs, as well--anyway, the best thing is to connect, in some way, with others who are doing what you want to do--

As per the MIDI thing--I go both ways--when I know what I want, it is actually much easier to just type the dots, but when I am writing, especially the other parts, the MIDI lets me hear what I've written immediately--

When I first got Finale, it was simply create lead sheets and piano arrangements for songs that I had written--but within a week or so I was fooling around with multipart stuff, because for the first time, I really could(I have the worst hand in the world, and gave up writing arrangements as soon as I finished school)--


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: dermod in salisbury
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 12:44 PM

I looked at Sibelius and downloaded a demo version. Basically, the cost frightened me away. I also found the demo not easy to get the hang of. So I still use something call Music Time De Luxe which cost me £70 with a midi keyboard thrown in. It is a super little programme on which I have written scores for both choir and string orchestra. I understand it is a cut down version of a bigger programme. But the makers, a company called Passport in San Francisco, either went bust or sold up. So unfortunately, I have not been able to upgrade.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: DADGBE
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 01:30 PM

Hi Dermod,

Music Time is the cut down version of Encore which was purchased by Gvox when Passport went belly up. Gvox still sells and supports their stuff so upgrading is possible if expensive.

Best,
Ray


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Subject: RE: Tech: Finale or Sibelius?
From: dermod in salisbury
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 03:56 PM

DADGBE -Thanks for the information. I saw your earlier post on Encore but didn't make the connection with Music Time. I think I will go for it. $300 is not cheap, but it is still half the price of the high end market, and I know I can work with it.

Best wishes - Dermod


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Subject: TECH: Sibelius 2
From: JenEllen
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 03:56 PM

I see by the Sibelius website that "Part Two" is out. Anyone tried it? Any improvement?
Thanks,
~Jen


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