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Topic: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

  1. #1

    Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    Hi Guys.

    Its ironic that I should pose this question since I just recently commented on how much I appreciated Sibelius's intuitiveness....

    BUT...After another round of beating my head against the wall to get Sib 5's most recent update to do the SIMPLEST tasks (changing to pizz/arco on the right note this time) I find myself brousing the Finale website and downloading a demo. And this is after ten years not only as a user, but as a passionate advocate of Sibelius!

    Well, anyway my question is: does anyone have any experience in learning Finale after multiple years using Sib (or vice versa)? What kind of advantages and disadvantages could I expect from Finale should I switch. How is the interface on Finale? I know I will have to get used to it, but once I do, is it intuitive?

    And most importantly (at least from the perspective of a veteran of the Sib playback issues) how well does it integrate GPO and (possibly) other sound libraries? Are they easy to use? Are legatos, keyswitches and such easy to pull off?

    I think my biggest complaint with Sibelius at the moment is it just doesn't let me do what I want; which is to compose music and not worry about why the wrong patch is loading, why "con sord" doesn't play back, why tremelos don't respond to dynamics on the first note, why my playback keeps stalling, why everything is happening a note too late, why staccatto notes in strings are too loud, why why....... (breathe....)

    Any thoughts on the subject would be helpful and appreciated.


    P.S. I doubt I even have to mention this here, but (however frustrated I sound) I really don't want a platform war so...civil please

  2. #2

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    I can only tell you of my experience as a long-time user of Finale but a relatively recent inductee into the school of sample libraries.

    Finale 2008a integrates rather seemlessly with GPO (and the other Garritan libraries which I have... which is almost all of them right now).

    If your score contains tempi, dynamics, slurs, and articulations, HumanPlayback (the playback plug-in that allows Finale to playback in a considerably less robotic fashion) then it WILL recognize all of those indications.

    Every once in a while, I will include an invisible articulation or expression to augment a particular moment (sometimes I want an accent on a staccato, for example, or a "pianissimo" that's actually closer to a mezzo piano). Finale is VERY easy to use in this sense.

    A simple text expression with no playback definition is all that is needed for HumanPlayback to recognize keyswitches with Garritan libraries. So just writing the word "pizz" or "arco" will make Finale automatically switch to the appropriate KS.

    A quick note: to use this playback feature, you MUST use instruments from the "9. Notation" folder when selecting instruments. The set-up wizard automatically uses instruments from this folder, so it's only an issue when manually adding instruments.

    If you would like me to send you a Finale file of a piece loaded with expressions, both visible and invisible, I'd be happy to. Just let me know.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    NW Illinois

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    I agree with all of Michel's comments about Finale's Human Playback. And the more markings you put in a score, the better it will play back.

    Regarding learning Finale, there's a saying that "the first 10 years are the hardest".

    While that's a exaggeration, it is very different from Sibelius. I learned Finale first, then I bought Sibelius to be able to work on both platforms. But I approached learning Sib. without disregarding my Finale teachings. I became very frustrated. I wanted it to be similiar, and it's not.

    There are many users who are expert at both programs, but you really need to start from scratch.

    The biggest difference is Finale's modality. You choose a different tool to perform a different task. Although with the most recent version of Finale, they've made changes to combine some tools.

    When both programs were introduced, Finale was time consuming to learn, Sibelius was learned quicker. But as both programs have matured, and take features from each other, they have moved closer together in the learning curve.

    Good luck,

  4. #4

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    I for one am hoping that Sibelius will actually man up and admit how screwed up their audio system is and start over from scratch. They were doing so well until Ver.5 came out and they started focusing on (pandering to?) the hobbyists instead of the pros. They've also broken parts of the printer driver and actually ran a survey to see if it was worth fixing! For now, I have to print to pdf first and then print to paper in some cases. I can't wait until this summer's trade show when I can vent to their people face to face. Right now, I'm a very disappointed customer, and I've been with them since Ver.1.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA

  5. #5

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    Hello Matthew,

    I too am a long term Finale user. Over the years I have tried the demos of both Finale and Sibelius and, for me, Finale is unbeatable.

    I cannot agree more concerning the Finale Human Playback feature which is just totally superb. Finale integrates seamlessly with all of Gary's libraries I have; GPO, JaBB and COMB.

    I would add that moving from Sib to Finale will involve a learning curve and this is only natural. If you do decide to make the move there are Finale users here more than willing to try to ease the transition and to help where we can.

    This is not to pretend that you may find some irritating issues with Finale; again this is only natural with the majority of software. However, I am one very happy Finale 2008 user.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  6. #6

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    I too switched from Sibelius3 years ago, first to Overture and then to Finale2008, and despite the learning curve, I have NEVER looked back. The playback from the score with GPO (and all other Garritan libraries) is quite amazing. Sibelius' playback simply can't match HumanPlayback.... One thing, that has been mentioned, is forces one to be quite meticulous about performance indications on the score. The more specific you are, the better the playback.

    One word of advice, while researching Finale, I would advise you not to look at the Finale forum first, there is a small number of very unhappy users that seem to bash Finale at every opportunity. If I had read that forum, I would never have bought Finale. They seem to exaggerate obscure bugs all the time. Finale is a solid program with some problems here and there just like ANY other software.
    Kind Regards

    Louis Dekker
    My Music Site

    Pour être grand, il faut avoir été petit.

  7. #7

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    I have only been using sib for 2 years but I know where you are coming from.

    I think your smartest move is to go with a sequencer/DAW. Take your midi from sib and do all of the final work in it. I use Sonar 7 Studio and have found it to be a lot easier to do the fine work there then in Sib. You draw in CC data instead of typing in all of the stuff. There is a lot more control there than Sib could ever do.

    Just my 2 cents worth.


  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Perth, Western Australia

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...


    I've been using Finale for a few years now, and love it.
    The interface is a lot different to Sibelius.

    It did take quite a while to get to grips with the Finale way of doing things. It is quite a lot different in approach than both Sibelius and Rosegarden (a linux based scoring app - free and very nice). The learning Curve is quite steep and you *need* to have the manual handy at all times (you can download printable versions of the manuals, or buy them directly from MM).

    Quote Originally Posted by LouisD
    One word of advice, while researching Finale, I would advise you not to look at the Finale forum first, there is a small number of very unhappy users that seem to bash Finale at every opportunity. If I had read that forum, I would never have bought Finale. They seem to exaggerate obscure bugs all the time. Finale is a solid program with some problems here and there just like ANY other software.
    While this may have been true in the recent past, it no longer appears to be the case. There still are people who will be quite happy to point out the shortcomings of Finale but they are, in the main, positive about the product. I find that the Finale Forum is possibly the best place to go for help with problems using the app.

    As others have pointed out, HP is quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread, as far as playback is concerned. Garritan libraries are specifically catered for, and HP has the flexibility to allow for customisation so that it can use other libraries. There are only two caveats:

    1) Library use is limited to those which use NI instruments for playback (kontakt, kompakt etc)
    2) When using the internal VST system, output to midi is not possible. So it is not possible to use a mixture of Garritan and physical devices (such as a keyboard/sound module) without going down the route of using a software midi yoke.

    As with all software, Finale has its strengths and its weaknesses. On the whole, I have found that its strengths by far outweigh its weaknesses.


    Daz :0)

  9. #9

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    I'm actually one of the few that knows how to use both pretty well. I learned both so that I can do cross-platform stuff. The playback system of Sibelius doesn't even come close to Sibelius', but I still end up going back to Sibelius for writing. Unlike Sibelius were you can just click a note and type something in, in Finale you have to make the expression first than attach it to the note. A lot of the things you know from Sibelius you Will have to forget in Finale. But once you get used to the work flow, it's not that bad.

    For playback traight from score, I would have to go with Finale, the integration of Garritan and other Kontakt based libraries is very good, i don't think it's as friendly as Sibelius is with other kinds of libraries though, I'm not sure on that though.
    Anthony Abruscato

    "There are only two types of music: Love Songs and Pirate Music"

    HP Pavillion dv6171cl w/ Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit, 2 GB Ram, 250 GB 5200 RPM HD + an external 300 GB HD. GPO, JABB, CAMB, Sibelius 5.1, Finale 2008a, and a demo copy of FL studio.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    California Redwoods

    Re: Moving from Sibelius to Finale...

    Well, Matt, I am surprised!

    It seems to me that most of the complaints about Sibelius are concerning playback issues. So, since I seldom use Sibelius for playback, I can not comment much on that. Since most of my compositions are for piano or organ, that also limits my playback experience.

    My biggest problem with Sibelius is positioning of slurs. It is frequently impossible to end them where I want them. I know the reason is the matter of voices, but that does not help solve the problem. I am also less that satisfied with the handling of the usual contrapuntal devices. However, I do all work first with Sonar, then open in Sibelius when ready to create to final printable score. The problem this generates is the adding of expression marks. I have spent hours adding slurs to my latest piece, and have plenty more to add. This phase takes me nearly as long as the composing.

    The best notation program I have used is SCORE, but I can't get it to run on my present system. It had a lousey user interface, and essentially no playback, but I could put anything anyplace.

    Now and then, I consider Finale, but I will probably stay with Sibelius, but am unlikely to go to the current version.


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