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Topic: Sibelius vs. Finale

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  1. #1

    Sibelius vs. Finale

    Which notation software do you prefer and why? How do these two packages compare? Just wondering. It would be cool if one of them was really \"skilled\" at importing .MID files (saved from Logic, Sonar, etc) and tidying things up.

  2. #2

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    Hey there. I used to use Finale, but once I started using Sibelius I couldn\'t go back. It seems much more intuned to how a composer would think. The thing that annoyed me with Finale was that you had to go into a different \"mode\" just to edit something. It was a pain and extremely exhausint to go to a separate mode just to move a note. What\'s nice about Sibelius is that you can click and drag ANYTHING and move it anywhere you want. It\'s much more like using pen and paper. The keyboard shortcuts are also extremely intuitive.

    As for importing midi files they all have their problems. Sibelius does a pretty good job once you master how to prepare the file. Quantizing goes without saying, but also assigning the correct general midi patch to the track (instrument) tells sibelius exactly what it is supposed to be and sets ranges and correctly transposes everything for the parts. If you go beyond the range of the instrument, the notes will highlight red. It\'s very handy for catching mistakes. You\'ll have to play with the import options and see what gets you the best result. I\'m sure you can download the demo and play with it to see how you like it.

  3. #3

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    I have the opposite experience. I used Finale, then had Sibelius, but stuck with Finale.

    Reason: Finale gave me much more control over the formatting; had richer composition plugin\'s; and no copy protection (Sibelius was a PITA to install). I also had more control of editing contigious controller data in Finale for mocking up a performance before eporting to a sequencer.

    Finale has a tool for catching out of range notes in a score. However, its no replacement for knowing your orchestration, and the registral capabilities of each instrument.

  4. #4

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    Does Sibelius allow you to do Inversions and Retrogrades easily?

    What composer plugin\'s are available?

  5. #5

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    Yes, there are retrograde and inversion plugins included with Sibelius. It also has some extensive automated orchestration capabilities for a multitude of styles. It can also create autionary accidentals and highlight parallel fifths and octaves. I\'ve used only a small sampling of these. They\'re fast, but the plugins often do not support \"undo\". so make backup copies.

    There is one notation feature that isn\'t supported in 2.1 that I feel is a great oversight, and that\'s multiple concurrent time signatures. Sure, you can go from 5/4 to 4/4, but you can\'t go from 4/4 to 5/4 on the staff directly below.

    I hate to say it, but I wonder when will 3.0 be released and what features will it support? Ack!

    Anyway, there\'s a pretty decent brochure on the Sibelius site, and the forum is quite active. In many cases a searh of their \"chat\" pages will quickly let you know what is and isn\'t supported. Just make sure to check the dates, so you don\'t read some ancient version 1.4 post and assume that the limitation still stands. Version 2.0 came out roughly a year and a half ago.

  6. #6

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by JonFairhurst:
    [QB] Yes, there are retrograde and inversion plugins included with Sibelius. It also has some extensive automated orchestration capabilities for a multitude of styles. It can also create autionary accidentals and highlight parallel fifths and octaves....

    GEEZ THESE ARE TWO PROGRAMS I OVERLOOKED COMPLETLY. IN MY POST \" COMPOSITIONAL FEATURES OF POPULAR APPS\" IN THE SAMPLE FORUM- I WAS RAISING THE QUESTION OF THE SEEMING LACK OF SUCH FEATURES IN MANY OF THE BIG SEQUENCERS. I JUST LOOKED AT THE SIBELIUS : CAN YOU PERFORM MODAL TRANPOSITIONS? I LIKE THAT TIMECODE DISPLAY CAN YOU SCRUB THAT??

  7. #7

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    Mike,

    I had considered mentioning the notation programs in your thread, but you were so specific about the sequencers that you were considering. I figured that you weren\'t looking for a notation program.

    I find that I prefer to compose traditional music in Sibelius, and techno/percussion music in a sequencer. And with the traditional music focus of the notation programs, they seem to have better support for traditional composition macros and plugins. I gotta admit, I don\'t feel much connection with Mozart when mousing into a piano roll.

    I find that I can stick with Sibelius for the notes, articulations, tempo and rough dynamics. But I have to move to the sequencer for expression control, and to hand tweak the occasional out of place velocity. (Sibelius can do automatic velocity variations, but it doesn\'t always emphasize the notes as I would.)

    Also Sibelius offers automatic Rubato (and swing) but it doesn\'t de-quantize things the way that real players play. Here the choices are to live with it, hand tweak, or punch in some live playing.

    Oh, another unfortunate limitation: Sibelius lets you swing or rubato the whole score, or none at all. You can\'t, say, swing a few bars and go back to straight time. (Of course you can do triplets by hand, or save two versions of the midi file and merge them in the sequencer.)

    Alas, there\'s no perfect integrated product. But, given what\'s available, I\'ve never regretted buying Sibelius. I just hope that it adds some stronger sequencing power in v3.0.

  8. #8

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    Originally posted by JonFairhurst:
    Oh, another unfortunate limitation: Sibelius lets you swing or rubato the whole score, or none at all. You can\'t, say, swing a few bars and go back to straight time.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Yes you can actually. All you have to do is insert \"TEMPO\" and type \"swing\" and then the subsequent bars are swung. Then you insert TEMPO again and type \"straight\" and it goes back to straight 8ths. Pretty cool huh?!

    I don\'t know if finale has these, but I love the plugins. I\'ve assigned \"change sharps to flats\" and vice versa to two function keys. I hightlight a passage and presto, it changes stuff for me. I also love the \"delete notes from chord\" plugin. Sometimes I want to split up a staff that has multiple lines (or octaves etc.) and I paste it onto a new staff then delete the \"bottom\" note, and delete the \"top\" note with the other one and I\'m done. Plugins rule, and there are user created ones that come out too.

  9. #9

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    I only have Sibelius. It does okay when inporting MIDI files, but it\'s far from perfect. It has some options for quantizing and such, but I haven\'t really played with them.

    I assume that your intent is to work on a performance, then import it into a notation file, clean it up, and publish it to live musicians to play your work.

    I generally do it the other way around: I start in Sibelius, do as much work as I can without screwing up the notation too badly, export to midi, and tweak the performance in the sequencer. Once your work is split, you have to manually maintain two documents, or you have to do another export and \"do over\" some of your work. It\'s not ideal, but we have no ideal options.

    I feel that Sibelius\' main advantage is note entry and manipulation. The shortcuts make all the difference. Given that no notator will perfectly import a midi performance, the advantage is that you can quickly fix the blunders.

    From what I\'ve read, Finale is stronger at making \"perfect\" notation. In other words, if there\'s some obscure or specific way of engraving music, Finale probably supports it. Sibelius covers 98% of notation, but there are some quirky things it doesn\'t support.

    Sibelius was the right choice for me. I love programs with efficient user interfaces, and appall those that don\'t. And I\'m lucky if I use 33% of the features that Sibelius offers. I\'ve always found the program to be able to do way more than I can when it comes to notation.

    The imperfections that I\'ve run into are 1) that it\'s resource hungry (I no longer run it on my Giga machine), it doesn\'t put out Start and Stop messages to trigger Capture to Wave (I export to the sequencer for that), and it doesn\'t let me draw continuous waveforms for cc11 and such (again, export to the sequencer).

    But these limitations are all on the sequencer-side, not the notation-side.

    All in all, I really enjoy the user interface, find it does way more than I need for notation, and wish it integrated more sequencer features.

  10. #10

    Re: Sibelius vs. Finale

    Originally posted by vaultcomplex:
    Yes you can actually. All you have to do is insert \"TEMPO\" and type \"swing\" and then the subsequent bars are swung. Then you insert TEMPO again and type \"straight\" and it goes back to straight 8ths. Pretty cool huh?!
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">As Johnny Carson used to say \"I did not know that\".

    Very cool. I had read a thread on their site that stated that this feature wasn\'t available in 2.1. Glad to hear that it\'s not true.

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