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Topic: Which Scoring Software?

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  1. #1

    Which Scoring Software?

    In the past, my music was made with playing keyboards and recording and editing into my 16 Track studio. I hate sequencer, especially Logic and all MIDI control was programmed by myself with MAX/MSP.

    Now, with GPO, I need to score first, than play and record. My setup is a MAC G4/Dual 450 for Scoring, MIDI and Programming, a new PC only for GPO and the Gigastudio/GigaPiano and a Roland VS1640 Recorder.

    After big struggle, I am getting used to Overture 3.6 SE and start loving it. I have the feeling, that I have enough granular control about playback so far.
    Overture 4: Need it on the MAC, I tried the PC-Demo, but I haven't yet a feeling for the kind of extra control that it is supposed to be there.

    But, I tried the Sibelius Demo and was blown away by the ease of use and especially the graphical layout. I am doing "serial" music, my role models being Ligeti, Boulez, Nono, so every now and then, strange graphics will be inserted (or drawn into the printed sheets) . A lot of remarks in forums where about significant lack of MIDI control in Sibelius.

    I have no experience with Finale, an earlier demo didn't made me comfortable with it. But I heard a lot of the new Finale 2006.

    What to do, given classical and New Music, one GPO-PC and three different synth to control for recording into an external studio:

    Stay with Overture (upgrade to 4.0), take the big plunge into Sibelius but loosing MIDI-Control or trying Finale?

    What is the experience?

  2. #2

    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    It depends what you are trying to achieve.

    If you want to produce professional scores and parts for publication then Finale or Sibelius are the immediate choices, with Sonar (for example) to create professional playback with complete midi/audio control.

    If you are looking more for playback control, preferring a notation interface then Overture is a great choice. You can produce great demos with Overture - but IMHO you would still need to use somethign like Sonar to master a final mix.
    Richard N.

    Finale 2003 to 2007 ~ Garritan GPO, JABB & Strad ~ Sonar 6PE ~ Kontakt 2 ~ WinXP Home SP2

    Athlon XP 2200 ~ 1.5 Gb RAM ~ M-Audio Sound Card ~ M-Audio 88ES MIDI keyboard ~ Evolution MK-461C

    Bach Strad LT16MG, LT36G, 42B + B&H Sovereign Studio Tenor Trombones ~ Holton 181 Bass Trombone ~ Getzen Bass Trumpet ~ Yamaha TR4335G Trumpet ~ B&H Euphonium

  3. #3
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard N.
    It depends what you are trying to achieve.

    If you want to produce professional scores and parts for publication then Finale or Sibelius are the immediate choices, with Sonar (for example) to create professional playback with complete midi/audio control.

    If you are looking more for playback control, preferring a notation interface then Overture is a great choice. You can produce great demos with Overture - but IMHO you would still need to use somethign like Sonar to master a final mix.
    This topic has come up several times, and if you do a search through the archives you will find a lot of opinions. The problem is the playing field keeps changing. Sibelius has announced an integration with GPO, so if you look at past threads, you won't find it mentioned.

    I use Sibelius. Many here use it, many use Finale, many use Overture. As Richard said, it depends on what you want to do. The consensus seems to be that Sibelius and Finale are the choices for scores and publishable files - I say seems, because I haven't seen scores produced in Overture 4, and I don't want to dismiss them on the basis of lack of information.

    My vote is with Sibelius. I am sure the Finale side will chime in - as well they should. Really, if you go with one of these, you will be able to achieve great results.

    R. Pearl

  4. #4

    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpearl
    This topic has come up several times, <snip>
    Finale side chiming in<G>!

    I think this topic will continue to come up, maybe even more frequently, as we get closer to tools that let us do everything. The range of tools available now is significantly different than this time last year. And I think (hope) the change will continue to accelerate.

    As it stands, I think there are two distinct activities that have yet to be merged, production of the audio recording, and production of the score. Like many here, I use two tools, Finale to create the score and Sonar to create the recording. I can use either as my composition tool, and I can even use both, but that is clumsy. My usual workflow is to start with one or the other, depending on whether I am writing with a pencil or a keyboard/guitar, and when I've finished one task I then tackle the other task with the other tool.

    Overture4 makes tremendous strides towards unifying these activities. I'll be watching future developments closely. The only reason I have not yet made the switch myself is that I really don't want to climb another learning curve just yet. The old risk/rewards analysis suggests that I can still work more efficiently using the tools I know.

    Max/MSP would be a VERY difficult MIDI environment to duplicate on any platform, but I don't see a reason why you need to. I do think you might find that some of the MIDI data tweaking that goes on behind the scenes in Finale, Sibelius, and Overture may reduce the amount of tweaking you need to do, although I wouldn't want to lose that capability (I use Keykit and Infinity, which are windows toolkits that are very similar to Max. One of these days I'll probably break down and get the windoze version of Max as well, but it is not a high priority for me right now)

    As far as Finale vs Sibelius goes, I don't think you can make a wrong choice. They are both amazingly powerful tools developed by brilliant and dedicated teams, both of whom are doing a lot of R&D into realistic score playback techniques.

    I tried both company's demos over and over again for several years. As each new version was announced I'd download the demos and give them a spin. In the end all I really did was spin my wheels. I selected Finale because I got a sweetheart deal. I neved did come to a conclusion that one was better than the other.

    They are, however, quite different in terms of workflow, so if you decide to choose one of these, do download and use the demos. One may jump out at you. After using Finale for almost five years now, I'm pretty set in my ways, and find somethings in Sibelius to be awkward. I'll bet Sibelius users would say the same about Finale. (Come to think of it, as a Sonar user I find Cubase downright frustrating, but I work with friends who use Cubase, and Sonar makes them run screaming from the room. Go figure!)

    I have no experience with Finale, an earlier demo didn't made me comfortable with it. But I heard a lot of the new Finale 2006.
    I don't think anyone is comfortable with either Sibelius or Finale the first pass! These tools are difficult to use because they are trying to automate something that is very personal. The thing that finally got me over the fence with scoring software in general was Finale Notepad, a very stripped down, free scoring tool. Using that for a bit made the whole thing more understandable.

    What to do, given classical and New Music, one GPO-PC and three different synth to control for recording into an external studio:

    Stay with Overture (upgrade to 4.0), take the big plunge into Sibelius but loosing MIDI-Control or trying Finale?
    I don't believe that you have to give up MIDI control using either Finale or Sibelius. Since you already use an external toolset, I think your experience will actually be much closer to seamless than those of us who use sequencers!

    As far as the big three scoring tools, download the demos from Finale, Sibelius, and Overture and spend some time with them. If I had to guess (and obviously I do) I'd guess that one of them may stand out because of your modern composition requirements. I don't have a guess as to which, as I've not spent a lot of time in that world.

    One of them may grab you by the ears, but it is also possible that you'll like all three, but none will stand out. IF that happens, take the path of least resistance<G>!

    Sorry that it isn't more clear cut, believe me<G>!

    Good luck in your hunt, and please keep us informed on your progress, and your final choice!

    Bill

  5. #5

    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by GlassPearlPlayer
    A lot of remarks in forums where about significant lack of MIDI control in Sibelius.
    Sibelius can handle midi, it's just criptic for things they don't support directly in the notaion. See my plugin (click the link in my sig.) for exapmples of how to work around this.

  6. #6

    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    Having tried both Finale and sibelius a few years ago I went with Finale. Having tried the Sibelius demos periodically and before each upgrade to Finale I'm glad I did .. just a personal preference.

    By the way, when I first tried Sibelius some years ago it was copy protected with a dongle. I hate those things and so that was partly instrumental in me going to Finale. I don't know if Sibelius still uses dongles to copy protect. Just an observation!

    I really like Finale and use this exclusively with GPO. The latest update (2006a) now has the direct to audio file facility .. superb.

    Just my opinion
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  7. #7

    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    Sibelius does not use a dongle. It has a registration process that allows you to use it on up to two machines. It is a simple process to deregister and reregister.

  8. #8

    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by GlassPearlPlayer
    Stay with Overture (upgrade to 4.0), take the big plunge into Sibelius but loosing MIDI-Control or trying Finale?

    What is the experience?
    Very simply, I'd go with Overture 4...for a very simple reason: Don, the owner and software writer.

    The man is a monster...he follows customer demand like a religion. (And as his passion, in many ways it may be.) His willingness and eagerness to track down bugs is amazing.

    But it's his vision that's leading the notational 'pack'...and it's this vision that will simply keep him constantly one step ahead.

    In my (humble, evidence based) opionion.

  9. #9

    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by imagegod
    Very simply, I'd go with Overture 4...for a very simple reason: Don, the owner and software writer.

    The man is a monster...he follows customer demand like a religion. (And as his passion, in many ways it may be.) His willingness and eagerness to track down bugs is amazing.

    But it's his vision that's leading the notational 'pack'...and it's this vision that will simply keep him constantly one step ahead.

    In my (humble, evidence based) opionion.
    Not to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but...

    1. What happens to Overture if Don gets run over by a truck? It's a one man show and that doesn't bode well for its future for a lot of potential reasons.

    2. Where is the Mac version? They won't even answer questions about this anymore. I think it has been abandoned.

    3. Overture is hardly ahead of the pack by any stretch of the immagination.

  10. #10

    Re: Which Scoring Software?

    "1. What happens to Overture if Don gets run over by a truck? It's a one man show and that doesn't bode well for its future for a lot of potential reasons."

    I agree...which is why I won't buy a Mac. It's also the reason many people BUY Macs. There are costs and benefits to a one man show...I believe the costs outweigh the benefits in a Mac (for a lot of reasons) and the benefits outweight the costs in Overture (again, for a lot of reasons). It depends on your needs and desires...

    "3. Overture is hardly ahead of the pack by any stretch of the immagination."
    It depends how you define ahead or behind...clearly our definitions are at odds. But if you want easy, effective playback of nearly ANY Vsti...at this point there's only one choice...ove4.

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