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Topic: Which notation program to choose....

  1. #1

    Which notation program to choose....


    I was a fan of Overture, but now after 1 year of waiting a mac version (or even if it's just around the corner), I'm starting to look for an alternative, because it takes ages for such a small company to develop any big changes and fix all the bugs.

    So. What is THE notation program, that I can use with my GPO and other NI powered libraries that I might buy? I read, that Finale 2007 will work with any NI powered sample library. Are there other programs like this? I understood, that Sibelius only has a Sibelius-labeled GPO extension and won't work with the normal GPO libraries just like that?

    Mr G. also mentioned in another thread, that GPO will be bundled with some other player in the near future. What might it be? I want a notation program, where I can compose to video and properly edit modulation data for a good expression (as necessary with GPO instruments).

    Can you recommend me some other program than Overture? I know it has very good tools for manipulating midi data, but does some other program come even close?

    I'm sorry if this discussion has been made several times before.. but no need for big comparisions, just some main points to help my decision. I haven't shut Overture out completely, but it's very close now.

    Thank you already for your answers!

  2. #2

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    I don't even think there is a debate on this..."The" notation program is certainly Finale just like ProTools is "The" recording program.

    BUT....that doesn't mean there aren't alternatives.

    I Record and Notate in Nuendo (very similar to Cubase SX). The notation functions aren't nearly as good as Finale but programming/editing MIDI, composing to Picture and Mixing are far superior.

    The Notation is good enough for my recording work and fast enough unless I need lots of separated parts.

    When I need 'pretty' charts for an Orchestra, I just give MIDI tracks and a reference demo to a Finale copyist and for $200-$500 I get printed parts back.

    It just depends upon your needs.


  3. #3

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    One more reason I quit using Finale (after buying three upgrades) is that most of my arranging work is adding Orchestration to existing rhythm tracks.

    I often get an MP3 reference via email. I import that into Nuendo, create a Tempo map and then sequence my arrangement to the Ref.

    The only problem with that is that it doesn't really provide for Repeats, 1st and 2nd endings, Coda etc... You CAN edit the Ref audio to allow for that if needed but that could get confusing. I don't ususally write repeated material in my line of work so it isn't a problem for me.


  4. #4

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    Quote Originally Posted by johnmarkpainter
    I don't even think there is a debate on this..."The" notation program is certainly Finale just like ProTools is "The" recording program.
    Certainly there is debate. Sibelius gets my vote.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  5. #5

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    Skysaw, is it possible to use GPO and JABB with Sibelius without buying some extra packs?

  6. #6

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    You can use GPO with Sibelius if you want. I don't have the sibelius with the Kontakt player (forget the version). There's a little application that comes with GPO called GPO studio. It basically functions to allow you to use GPO with a program that doesn't support Kontakt. So you shouldn't have a problem there. I've done it, although I don't do it often.

    As for the programs. As far as I'm concerned Finale and Sibelius are the only real competitors. Learning curve is WAY easier on Sibelius. Ultimate flexiblity is greater on Finale. I've used Finale since version 2.1, back before they gave Finale '9x names to it. That was on Mac OS 7! We grew together for many many years. But there's certain strange things Finale has always done. You learn to accept them and then they become habits, but they never make sense. I did a lot of copy work with Finale and I set up huge orchestral scores. Finale never let me down as far as flexibility. But formatting was always really strange.

    I upgraded with Finale until 2002. They were very slow to port their software to Mac OSX and I HAD to get a new computer. The new computers at the time wouldn't boot in OS9 anymore, so I changed to sibelius. They gave me a cheap cross grade - I think $149. I wasn't doing full orch stuff anymore so it didn't bother me that much. Formatting was a no-brainer. And the learning curve was a piece of cake. But Data Entry was always strange because I'd end up with notes everywhere from just playing around on the keyboard. But I've done hundred's of Rhythm charts, vocal charts, and small orchestra scores on Sibelius and I do think it's got some great features. But there are a few limitations, and there's some stuff I just never have figured out with large scores. So.....

    Last week I switched back to Finale. (after 5 years) I upgraded to 2007 and in a strange way it felt really good to be back home. I'm not really even sure I know why I switched back, I just did. The formatting is much better, though still slightly strange. The rest of the oddness - I just remember it and even though it doesn't make sense, I know what to do so I don't ask questions - and I can do the complicated stuff I want - so I'm happy

    That's my 2 ¢ - not worth much


  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    I'm not surprised you're getting fed up waiting for a Mac version of Overture having seen your pleas for info on the Ov. forum. It's about a year late already and i'm not convinced it will ever see the light of day. It's a shame that such a potentially great product doesn't look like seeing its full potential.

    Based only on the demos, I would have to say Sibelius is far better for ease of use, despite a few quirks. Although Finale may ultimately have more control, most of us just want to get ideas onto "paper" as quickly as possible. The big drawback with Sib. is lack of proper VST support. However if you only want to use GPO then it's not such as issue. If you already have Cubase then it may be worth looking at the improved scoring in v.4 (including in the Studio version). There are quite a lot of features there but aesthetics, decent integration into the main project and user friendliness still leave rather a lot to be desired.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    Well, Sibelius gets my vote. But if you choose Finale, you will still get a great program. Both of them can do anything you want notationally. They both seem to watch what the other is doing, so their upgrades keep pace. If you wait a little longer, Sibelius 5 will be out (no release date - they never announce when it wil happen), and no doubt will be very competive to Finale.

    R. Pearl

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Salisbury, UK

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    I have looked into my crystal ball and seen the greeness of the far off fields. My prediction is that you switch to Finale or Sibelius and return to Ov4, perhaps cursing a bit, but a wiser, and certainly a poorer man.

  10. #10

    Re: Which notation program to choose....

    I used Finale for about ten years and was a "die hard" user. A while back I decided to notate a new choral work in Sibelius to see what all of the fuss was about. I was instantly hooked. I have been using Sibelius now (with GPO and Sibelius Edition plug-in) for two years and haven't looked back. I did upgrade to Finale 2007 for it's Sibelius-like linked parts to make it easier when I work with older works that were created in Finale. They're both great programs and to its credit, Finale is more "tweakable". However, Sibelius gets my vote for ease of use and faster entry.

    James G. Eakin III
    Turtle Creek Chorale
    Assistant Director-Film Scoring program,
    Aspen Music Festival & School

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