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Finale Music
Writing Software

Is Finale Your Final Choice?

There are so many different types of music writing software available, both in the form of purchasing software and freeware. Two of the more popular and comprehensive programs are Finale, and Sibelius. Of the two, I have been using Finale for many years.

For those Sibelius fans out there, the reason I chose Finale over Sibelius was simple. I saw it first when I went to the store. It’s that plain and simple. I’m not anti-Sibelius. As a matter of fact, I think the software and the composer are both terrific… so there!

This article is not an endorsement or a “how to” guide with respect to using Finale. It’s merely a brief description of a couple of the features of the typesetting program that I am most familiar with. Before that, however, we should discuss briefly why typesetting software is important to composers in the first place.

Almost all of my compositions have been written by hand. There’s something romantic about writing music in a similar setting of composers of the past. A pencil, manuscript paper and a piano (or other instruments) are indispensable components to me. However, after a composition has been committed to paper and pencil, your main objective as a composer is now a performance and/or publisher.

In this century, much of the burden, with respect to performances and publishing lies with the composer himself. Now, if any composer’s handwriting is as poor as mine, hand written manuscripts are far less likely to be performed and published. I realize that presentation often has very little to do with true quality, but practically speaking, a second party has to be able to easily read the manuscript. If they are unable to do so, then your presentation might not get a second chance.

Finale offers a whole lot of features and tools. Two of the most popular tools are Speedy Entry Tool and Transcription Tool. The Speedy Entry Tool enters music one note or chord at a time, while the Transcription Tool translates what you play on a midi keyboard into music instantly.

Of the two, I have been using the Speedy Entry Tool with great success for many years. Basically, you press a note on a midi keyboard and hold it down while depressing a number on your computer keyboard. The numbers 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2 transforms your depressed midi note onto a whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth and thirty-second note respectively.

These notes that you produce are notated on a default staff that appears when the Finale program is opened. Just remember to select the Speedy Entry Tool icon and default staff by clicking on both. After that, you can proceed with the process of producing notes with the Speedy Entry Tool.

Although I have tried the dozens of features in this program, I have really only used the Speedy Entry Tool consistently. This raises the question: Why purchase such a complex program for only a couple of features? This is a valid question. Here’s my answer. Although I do not need the other features consistently, I do use them. As a publisher of e-books, articles and music compositions, I have used lots of complex features for transferring files and creating special effects in my music scores. I may not use unusual features often, but it is a comfort and a necessity to have them available to me. Here's the product: Finale 2011


 




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Piano Music | Chamber Classical Music | Inspirational Orchestral Music | Classical Composers | Name That Music | Free Composition and Piano Lessons | Piano Music Notes | Learn Music Theory | Finale Music Writing Software | Composing Music to Films | Writing Classical Score | List of Instruments | Music Sound Recording Studios | Multitrack Recording Process | Music Mixing Advice