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ChloroPhil

Music notation software.

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Greetings.

I recently did some browsing online looking for music notation software. I was wondering if anyone around here has any software in particular that they recommend.

Thank you.

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Finale or Sibelius if you have money; if you're eligible for an academic discount, they're substantially cheaper. Finale Notepad or some other stripped-down version of Finale (e.g. PrintMusic) if you don't want to spend a lot. Notepad 2008 has been discontinued, but was and is free if you can find it. Lilypond is free, too, but it's code-based, not graphical interface-based.

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I would definitely go with Sibelius. Love the program and it does so much. I worked with Finale for a year, couldn't stand it.

But everyone has a different opinion. But I highly highly recommend Sibelius with every fiber of my being.

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Yeah, it's been a while since I've used Sibelius, but my recollection is that the interface is much more drag-and-drop feeling than Finale. If you don't like how something looks, you just click on it and move it. Finale uses specific tools to do specific things, and if you don't know how the tool works, it can be hard to figure out how to accomplish things.

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Yeah, for the most part it is drag-and-drop. That aspect is a very lame one; however, the actual ease of inputting notes and making channels is ridiculously easier and user-friendly. My old music teacher (who LOVED Finale) would always ride on me about how Drag-and-Drop Sibelius is.

My conclusion: If you're really looking for a good looking score, you might want to go Finale. If you want something that's very easy to use, I would recommend Sibelius. (I would recommend it over all... But Pros and Cons...)

What it comes down to is that once you use one, it's a hard switch to the other. Choose wisely.

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One other thing that might influence choice: Finale is on a yearly release schedule; Sibelius releases every two or three years. I'm not sure about Sibelius, but Finale files aren't backwards-compatible with older versions of the program, so you'll run into compatibility issues if you intend to share files with people who have different versions of the program. And because of the yearly release cycle, there are a lot of people with older Finale versions.

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Finale now puts out a free program called Finale Reader, which works roughly the same way Adobe Reader works, except for with Finale files. You won't be able to edit them, but at least they can be opened up and printed. Although, having Finale NotePad was slightly better, but that's no longer free, apparently.

The simple way to think about the two programs is this:

Finale (intermediate to advanced): Finale is geared toward professional musicians and composers. It is built with publication in mind. It is very powerful in that regard. As of late, its begun to shift a lot more toward production, particularly with the availability of sample libraries. Unfortunately, it sacrifices some intuitiveness and requires a little more training or experience to really get the most out of it.

Sibelius (beginner to intermediate): Sibleius is user-friendly and makes a lot of the notion process simple and easy to use. However, it lacks many of the publication strengths that Finale is loaded with.

It's a lot like thinking of the differences between comparable Apple and PC computers. Sibelius is Apple. Finale is PC.

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It's a lot like thinking of the differences between comparable Apple and PC computers. Sibelius is Apple. Finale is PC.

Heheh, now that's arguable, but I won't get into that... whoops, I guess I did.

I know many people who stand by macs as their professional workstations for many things.

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finale is uber-powerful and can be incredibly powerful when you've learned your shortcuts and where everything is. i did some copyist writing when i was younger and made a lot of money translating some crazy composer's ideas into a useable page of music. sibelius is more difficult when it comes to this kind of stuff.

also, in 'the real world', everyone uses finale. you're expected to be able to use it if you want to get out there and do notation work or something.

something that hasn't been mentioned is Notion. it's supposed to be a crossover between a daw and notation software. in particular, it sounds excellent and is easy to use, particularly in performance, from the 'tap' function that finale recently (poorly) implemented. the brass don't sound that good, but the strings are luscious.

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