Finale, Finally…

8/16/16 • The latest version of Finale was announced today by MakeMusic, and it’s evident that MakeMusic has put a good deal of thought and effort into this release.

Finale is finally a true 64-bit application. On my venerable 2009 MacPro running OS X 10.11.6, after installation, I opened a few scores to poke around in. The first thing I noticed was a substantial speed increase with certain operations. For instance, on a large score, Human Playback, which was glacial in 2014.5, loads almost instantaneously. Editing within a larger file seems much more responsive.

On Mac, the system requirements are OS X 10.10 or later (Yosemite, El Capitan…). Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better. You’ll need 700MB of free hard drive space to install the software, and at least 2 gig of RAM.

Graphics on both Mac and PC are now rendered using CoreGraphics. Color and image handling is crisp and clean on my setup, even using a standard monitor.

Finale on Mac no longer requires Apple Java 6, although you will still need an earlier version of Java installed if you plan to run older versions of the Finale software concurrently.

On the PC, the system requirements are Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit compatible). You’ll need 600MB of free hard drive space to install the software, and at least 2 gig of RAM.

Signs Point to Yes: Shipping plugins are now all 64 bit as well, and word on the street is that Robert Patterson (Patterson Plugin Collection), Tobias Giesen (TGTools) and Jari Williamsson (JW Plugins) are all working on updating their plugins to 64 bit. Robert Patterson’s website states that the Patterson plugin “Codebase is updated and positioned for the future.” More information about this will be forthcoming.

Classic Eighth Beams, Count Items, and  the Band-in-a-Box plugins have been removed in this version.

It’s worth noting that many of the shipping plugins are still not accessible in Finale 25 when working in Parts, forcing round-trip to the score for many types of edits.

Sound Sets: Finale 25 comes with an updated Garritan Sound Set, which includes the Concert D Grand Piano from Garritan Personal Orchestra 5, full choir, esoteric additions such as recorders, dulcimer and didgeridoo, as well as a number of other useful samples from the Garritan World Instruments and Instant Orchestra libraries. The Aria Player has also been updated.

At least 4GB of available RAM is recommended for use of any additional Garritan and Tapspace (AU) sounds: the more RAM you have installed, the more sounds can be loaded and available.

MakeMusic has stopped version dating the application by year;  moving forward it will be simply called “Finale”. If you look in the “About Finale” dialog it says version 25. Also, the retail box identifies it as version 25. Version 25 is appropriate, since this is the 25th major release of Finale since 1.0 was introduced.

This naming change is also reflected in the application menu. For someone like me, who relies heavily on Macros for automation, this small touch is a welcome addition, since it means that next year, I won’t have to reprogram my Keyboard Maestro shortcuts yet again to access items in the Finale menu:

f-25-app-menu

Dashed Curves and Dashed Slurs are a feature I have wanted to see for some time in Finale, and these have been added to the Smart Shapes palette in Finale 25. Dashed Slurs follow the symmetry, thickness and slur tip settings of regular slurs, while Dashed Curves are curved lines sharing the same thickness as the default straight line Smart Shapes.

Bach-Invention-81

However, it’s puzzling to me that separate controls for Dash Length and Dash Space of these new curved shapes were not provided for this new Smart Shapes offering. Currently, all lines in the Smart Shape palette, whether straight or curved, must share the same Dash Length and Dash Space characteristics.

However, while it isn’t yet possible to have both a Dotted Curve and a Dashed Slur Smart Shape in the same score, it *is* possible to create Custom dashed straight lines (e.g. brackets) with different Dash Lengths than the curved Smart Shapes if you need to conform to a particular House Style.

“Save Preferences When Quitting Finale”, which has been automatically handled on Windows for some time, is now done in the background on both platforms.

The checkbox for “Use Finale’s Page Orientation Instead of the Printer’s Page Orientation” has also been removed, as this is now handled in the OS Print Dialog.

The “Save and Print” Preference Pane has been renamed “Save”:

f-25-prefs-save-not-print

Reset All Preferences is a new addition to the Preferences dialog. This button allows you to restore all of Finale’s Default Preferences without having to “trash your preferences” in the event something goes wrong. On the Mac OS X, at least, Application Preferences files are not visible by default or easily accessible, so this feature makes sense.

However, as this obviously has the potential to blow away quite a number of custom settings, a warning dialog gives you the option to reconsider:

f-25-reset-all-prefs-new

It’s worth noting that if you forget to save your currently open score, you won’t lose any work as a result of invoking a reset; Finale will prompt you to save any work before shutting down.

Because I have so many settings different than the defaults, I still plan to make an archival copy of my Finale preferences file as soon as I have everything set the way I like, just as I have always done, but this feature could be a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for less experienced users to quickly get back up and running again.

Print Parity: Another interface change I really like on the Mac side is the removal of the intermediary dialog when printing parts. All of this functionality has all been moved to the Print dialog in FInale 25:

f-25-print-dialog

Print Parts has been part of the Windows print dialog for some time; there were no changes to the print dialog on the Windows side.

On Mac, I note a couple of minor issues related to printing. If your score is in concert pitch, or is a different size than the parts, the “Display in Concert Pitch” and “Page Size” warnings are always displayed. For both, you can check “Don’t show this message again”. Secondly, when saving to PDF from the Mac print dialog, Finale 25 doesn’t currently retain the score file name – you have to manually name your PDF files for now. Hopefully these minor issues will be addressed quickly in a point release.

It’s About Time: Previous versions of Finale didn’t make it very easy to show large Time Signatures in the score, while showing small Time Signatures in the parts. The reason was that Large Time Signatures should only show on a few of the staves of a score, while they need to be shown on every part staff.

However, previous versions of Finale only had one “Time Signature” visibility checkbox item in Staff Attributes which applied to both Score and Parts. In Finale 25, there are separate Time Signature visibility checkboxes for Score and Parts:

F-25-Time-Signatures

This same control is also available in the Global Staff Attributes, and Staff Styles dialog boxes to help you to set up your scores quickly with Large Time Signatures. A simple and elegant solution.

I Hear That! I previous versions of Finale, transposing instruments like Clarinet or French Horn sounded correctly at concert pitch on playback of the score, but would sound at their transposed written pitches during entry.

As someone who has engraved quite a number of scores from existing transposed parts, I personally find auditory proofreading more cohesive if the auditory feedback during entry is in the same tonality as the rest of the piece.

So I was very glad to hear that Finale now correctly plays back sounding pitch on input by default. However, if you are one of the handful of Finale users who finds this new lack of bitonality upsetting, you can turn the old behavior back on from the Device Setup menu:

f-25-midi-concert-pitch-on-input

Rewire sync support has been added to Finale 25. I was up and running with Finale slaved to Digital Performer 9 in just a couple of minutes. MakeMusic did a nice job with this; you don’t need to install any additional software (at least on the Mac) and the whole process was just a couple of steps:

First, you open your DAW (in my case, DP) and create a new stereo audio track with its inputs assigned from Finale:

f-dp-input-new-stereo-bundle

(Make sure you are monitoring the audio output on that stereo track):

f-dp-stereo-track-setup

Next, open your Finale score. On my setup, the score doesn’t initially draw until you start the transport in the DAW. Open the playback controls in Finale to confirm that the score is slaved via ReWire:

f-resync-score-data

That’s all there is to it. MakeMusic has removed the movie window in FInale 25, since sync to picture is obviously now going to be handled elegantly in Cubase, Logic, DP etc.

Good Housekeeping:  Do you ever use this dialog in Finale 2014.5 or earlier?

f-2014-tempo-adj-dialogNeither do I. And if you do, you shouldn’t. I’m happy to report that as of Finale 25, you can’t. Formerly known as the Time Dilation Tool, the Tempo Tool would create tempo changes in your score without leaving any visible mark in the score at all, and was frequently at odds with the Playback assignments of visible Tempo Expressions in the score. The Tempo tool had become, in a word, insidious.

So, I was very glad to see that the Tempo Tool, along with the Mirror Tool (you old timers originally called it the Hocketing Tool) went Bye, Bye… (You’ll be ask to convert Mirrored notes to regular notation).

Frankly, I applaud the strategy of removing chaff features for which there is a better, more modern equivalent in Finale.

f-25-chess-tempo-mirror-tools

If you are still hell-bent on inserting mysterious and invisible Tempo instructions into Finale, you can still get to the arcane “Fit to Time” tempo control from the MIDI menu. MakeMusic really needs come up with a way to expose hidden MIDI data like this to the user; MIDI Tempo data in particular is potentially still in conflict with visible Text Expression data in the score.

As a side note, it would be nice to see “Fit to Time” updated to create visible Tempo Marks rather than inserting arbitrary hidden tempo changes into the score that conflict with existing Tempo Text.

A healthy number of fixes have been incorporated into both the Mac and PC versions of Finale 25. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say, more stuff works in this version. For instance,  I love the fact that I can append multiple movements of a long score now without having to manually assign bar numbers for the later movements.

There is a long list of improvements to MusicXML.  A MusicXML Preferences dialog has been added to the File>Export menu. This allows you to set defaults for MusicXML export version for backwards compatibility, whether to export compressed or uncompressed file format, and to silence error messages (they can be written to a log file instead).

Among other improvements are support for the default Percussion Noteheads font, and extended characters in the Jazz font which weren’t previously recognized. Exact duplicates of  articulations and slurs are now filtered. More chord suffixes can now be exported. MusicXML exports laissez-vibrer tie shape expressions and tied notes followed by rests correctly. You get the idea.

MakeMusic decided to remove PDF import functionality from Finale 25 to protect the rights of composers and copyright holders, and focus on internal improvements to the program.

As a long-time Finale user, Finale 25 reminds me of a Sleeper (Q-car) drag racer; it’s got the same unassuming exterior, but make no mistake, under the hood, true 64-bit architecture makes this a high performance upgrade. New features like Transpose on Input, Dashed Slurs and ReWire support are welcome additions. It’s also great to see improved UI parity between the Mac and PC versions.

That said, with significant competition in the notation space just over the horizon, MakeMusic needs to continue to raise the bar: For instance, from a UI standpoint, The Note Mover, MIDI Tools and Shape Designer are really showing their age.

And a few long-standing functional deficiencies remain as well: Octave transposing instruments still play back incorrectly in concert pitch scores. Object visibility still can’t easily be controlled separately between score and parts (show/hide in score/part for cue notes, text etc.) Useful plugins are still not available from within Parts, requiring the extra labor of repeated round trips to the score. I’m hopeful that we’ll see a number of fixes and UI improvements in upcoming point releases moving forward.

The retail price for Finale 25 is $600, with the academic price discounted to $350. If you own any previous version of Finale, or would like to take advantage of MakeMusic’s competitive upgrade, the price remains at $149; very reasonable. It’s worth noting that MakeMusic did not move to a subscription model with Finale 25, which many users will appreciate. If you don’t use any notation program, or are currently working in a competing notation program, and would like to try out Finale 25, you can download a free demo. You have 30 days to review all of the features of Finale once you install it.

~robert

see also:

Sibelius Blog review with benchmark tests
FinaleMusic.com “what’s new

45 Replies to “Finale, Finally…”

  1. What about SMuFL? And the delete problem (measure vs measure stack, no warning dialog box…)? Better keyboard shot cuts for menues?

    Thanks!

    1. I didn’t read anything about SMuFL support for v.25, but that is an excellent question. If you find anything out about this, please share here! As I understand it, the primary focus for this version was getting the codebase updated to be current and competitive 64-bit, with some other nice new features thrown in.

      As far as remaining bugs and feature requests, Mark Adler at MakeMusic has stated that the company is planning to do more frequent maintenance upgrades moving forward. In the meantime, you can make requests for features and fixes through the support page on the MakeMusic website: http://makemusic.custhelp.com

      ~robert

  2. While you can use SMuFL fonts in Finale now, full SMuFL support is still in the future. The SMuFL version of Maestro is actively being developed.

    1. Thanks for the clarification on SMuFL, Mark, and thanks, Robert for an excellent question!

      ~robert

  3. Hi Robert, thanks for your review. Can I translate it in italian and publish on my Facebook group “Movimento Finale” (over a thousand subscribers).
    Of course I will say that you are the author of the original text!
    All the best. Giorgio Bussolin

    1. Hi Giorgio,

      Yes, absolutely! You would be welcome to repost this article on your Facebook group. I appreciate you pointing back to the original article here. Sending positive wishes to you, your family, friends, and country following the earthquake on 24 Aug 2016 in central Italy.

      ~robert

  4. Since Finale is 64 bit now, how well is it handling 3rd party plugins? Like Komplete/Kontakt with Broadway Big Band? on 2014.5 I’m still getting some sluggishness on playback (glitches/stops/dropouts/etc…)


    1. Hi Greig – internally within Finale, third party plugins must be upgraded to 64 bit to work within Finale 25. Aria is already compatible and up to date.

      Kontakt has offered a 64-bit version of their host for some time, although I know some developers have been slow to adopt. Regardless of whether working in 32 or 64 bit, if you run your VST / AU host as a stand-alone you should have no issues. (e.g. it won’t be any different than doing this in Finale 2014, but the whole experience will be faster and more stable).

      I believe both Kontakt and Vienna Ensemble Pro stand alone both allow you to run both a 32-bit instance and and 64-bit instance running concurrently if you have some sample playback related plugins that are still 32-bit.

      As far as internal plugins, there has been no official release dates made public by the various third party software, but it looks like we are getting close:

      http://www.finalemusic.com/blog/third-party-finale-plug-in-developers/

      ~robert


    1. Hi Sarah,

      AFAIK, There were no changes made to Chord input / editing in Finale 25. I would agree that it would be nice to see improvements to suffix font handling, chord recognition etc. Hopefully, with the new 64-bit architecture in place, MakeMusic can now focus on bringing individual tools like Chord Tool up to date.

  5. When I upgraded to Finale 2014.5 I lost the ability on my Mac to use ARIA. Has anyone else had any problems with this? Will this ARIAS functionality be restored if I upgrade to Finale 25?


    1. Hi Gary,

      I’ve experienced the loss of sound output from Aria a couple of different times during upgrades, because Finale hasn’t automatically chosen my current / standard output on installation..

      I’m on Mac, and going into MIDI/Audio > Device Setup > Audio Setup… > Output has sorted it for me. It may be similar on PC, not sure.

      ~robert

  6. What’s the current state of backward compatibility? I know I have a lot of clients who use older versions of Finale which prevent me from updating since they won’t be able to read the files I prepare for them. I know improvements were made in the past regarding this. I sort of lost track where we are now with this and what version can open what other version.

    1. Hi Keith,

      Finale 25 actually uses the same file format as Finale 2014 and 2014.5, which is great. You don’t need to export to open and round-trip between 2014 and 25 – the files open as is in both programs. The process to back save to Finale 2012 is as it was in Finale 2014, you export as a 2012 format file; one more step, but it generally works well, in my experience. To back save to earlier versions than Finale 2012, export as MusicXML.

      Within Finale 25, of course, you can open any earlier Finale file.

      ~robert

  7. Hi Gary,

    Generally no, there have not been problems with the Aria player when updating to Finale 2014.5. Following Robert’s suggestion is a great place to start. If that doesn’t help, could you be a little more descriptive about how the Aria player is behaving? When you play a file back, does the cursor move through the score with no sound, or does the cursor get stuck? It would also be very helpful to know what type of Mac you use and what OS you are running.

  8. I just purchased the upgrade and so far so good. I LOVE that my program doesn’t crash now when using the playback cursor. I can’t wait to see all the other new upgrades in action. One thing I’ve noticed right away, which concerns me, the margins seem to be different and somewhat off, when printing. I troubleshooted a bit, and printed the same score page from the exact same file, both in 2014.5 and then the new version 25. The printed copy from the new version had the title and other text “cut off” or omitted completely. The page actually was shifted slightly upward, causing some of that text to be “above” the page. The only setting that is different in the preferences, that I could see, is the Save and Print, which is now only Save. I used to have the “Use Finale’s Page Orientation Instead of the Printer’s Page Orientation” unchecked, however checking or unchecking this in Finale 2014.5 does make any difference to how the page is printed.

    Jeff


    1. Hi Jeff,

      I’ve not had any printing centering issues on Mac OSX, either to PDF or printing to my HP printers. If you are printing n-up pages, you may need to have “Ignore Printer Margins for n-up printing” checked.

      The issue you describe – If you are printing 11×17, I wonder if it has to do with the Page Setup page size descriptions which changed in Finale 25. in Page Setup, there is now a ambiguously named “11×17 (Oversize)” – this page size is actually 12″x18.5″ – I see this size in other Applications on Mac OS X, and I would imagine Finale is pulling from the same info that other applications are pulling from. The true 11×17 page size is still called “Tabloid”.

      FWIW, the page size called “Tabloid Oversize” (12″x18″) is gone from the menus (in Finale and other applications on Mac OS X); it has been replaced with this new “11×17 (Oversize)” page size. This is unfortunate, because it is no longer possible to print 9×12 2-up to this standard 12×18 page size. But I believe this is an OS issue, not a Finale issue. As long as the Finale supports Custom Page Sizes, you can still print 12″x18″ n-ups.

      All that to say, if you were printing an 11×17 page to the “11×17 (oversize) page size, or a 12″x18” score page to “11×17(oversize) the document would not print centered and some of it would be cut off…

      Hope that helps.

      ~robert

    1. Hi David,

      Yes, AFAIK Finale 25 supports Retina display resolution. Actually, Finale 2014 was the first version to support Retina displays, so if you were on the fence about 2014, you’d get both the Retina display resolution and 64-bit with Finale 25…

      ~robert

  9. Thanks for the reply Robert, I’ll keep trouble shooting. Meanwhile, I did try checking and unchecking the “Ignore Printer Margins . . .” plus I tried checking and unchecking “Fit to page”, which did not help. My initial attempts at 11×17 parts were fine. It’s only when I print my scores. My scores are either 9×12 or 10.5×14. In both cases, whenever there was text above the top margin line, this would not show up on the printed copy or PDF copy. It was either cut in half, or gone completely.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  10. Hi Robert, I’m running OS 10.11.6.

    Older versions of Finale, including the most recent 2014.5 seem to recognize the custom page sizes without any problem. I’ve troubleshooted all of this with 3 different printers, and printing directly to PDF but haven’t had any luck finding the issue. Again, my best guess is that when the print dialogue was changed in the newer version it’s somehow changed it so my files that were previously setup with a specific layout aren’t compatible anymore. I messed around with a file from one of Finale’s band templates and these printed fine, 9×12. So I think I’m getting closer to the answer.
    Jeff

  11. How about compatibility with Windows 10? I’ve been working on Finale 2011 for years. It’s been a great reliable workhorse for me. But I heard so many comments about F11 crashing W10, or W10 crashing F11. So I’m still on W7, waiting to hear a happy ending about compatibility before I upgrade either. What can you tell me? Thanks! Catherine, a Finale user for 25 years.

    1. Hi Catherine – I’m on the most recent version of the Mac OS, so I can’t answer your question directly, but I will say that Finale 25 is rock solid on the Mac. Also, I’ve browsed the Finale Forum for Windows a few times since the release, and there don’t seem to be any negative comments about stability on either the Mac or Windows side. Hope that helps!

  12. I play the French horn and I use Finale to import parts that need transposition to horn in F. I’m very unhappy that scanning and import PDF files is gone instead of updated as they originally promoted early on for this release. In Finale 14.5 I first scan the part using an iPad app and then import it into Finale. How much import capability has been removed? How do I do this in Finale 25?


    1. Hi Tina

      You can, of course still make use of excellent stand alone programs such as Smart Score and PhotoScore. If you already have a bundled lite version of one of these applications on your drive, these will still work and you can export to MusicXML etc via the standalone and then open the file in Finale; essentially what you have alway been able to do.

      If you never installed one of the bundled versions of the scanning software programs, you can buy them as a stand alone. The full versions of both Smart Score and PhotoScore have more options for what can be translated as well.

      ~robert

  13. hi Robert
    i have been using Finale scores to fire VST sound libraries but you say they have removed the movie window… so does that mean i have to buy and learn one of these other applications (Cubase, Logic, DP etc) to sync to picture now because i would no longer have this option?

  14. What plug-in or program do you recommend for getting the most realistic playback sounds? I compose on my keyboard and input the notation note by note using Finali. I would like the playback from my notation to be as accurate sounding as possible. What should I add besides this new version of Finali? thanks

    1. Hi John,

      I think for now, your best bet for tight integration are MakeMusic’s own Garritan libraries.

      Moving forward, because of recent availability to the Lua programming language from within Finale, we will now begin to see some development in the area of third party sample library support which was previously not possible.

  15. To NJ: I hoped to recommend GarageBand as a free/simple Rewire host for movie playback, but it appears that Rewire functionality has been removed in recent versions of GarageBand. I would suggest Cubase Elements as the simplest, most affordable DAW that supports Rewire with Finale and video playback ($99, 30-day free trial). These features are crippled on the “Lite” versions other other DAWs like Ableton Live and Presonus Studio One. Reaper would be another affordable option.

    I just downloaded the Cubase Elements 30-day trial and found it pretty easy to get Finale synced up and import a movie for playback. Because Finale functions only as a Rewire slave, the workflow may be convoluted – you’ll have to program or import any tempo and meter changes into your DAW for it to match Finale.

  16. Makemusic’s newest upgrade of Finale is just an other huge disappointment. Going 64 bit is something other companies have done 5 years ago. They promoting it as if it were a big deal. How about making dialog boxes sizable, a preference for customizing key commands for all menu entries and plugins, and tool pallets with much bigger icons, just to name a few things that every modern pro application nowadays offers, without even mentioning it as a special feature.

    Finale looks old, feels old, and is still one of the buggiest programs I have ever used.

    I so hope that the competition is kicking It hard in the next few months, so they have to become more innovative again.

    This upgrade is not worth it to me, especially not until all the third party plugins work with it.

    An other disappointing release!

  17. Do you think Finale will ever produce a ‘large’ cut common time signature symbol?? I’ve been asking for a few years now. Am I the only one who uses elongated time signatures for scores with the cut common symbol in parts that has to be changed to 2/2 in the score, or vice versa? Constantly having to use 2/2 when the cut common symbol is so well known/used seems unnecessarily confusing…unless someone can tell me how to import an enlarged cut common symbol via some other method.


    1. Hi Graham,

      I know for sure that the large Cut Time symbol currently exists in the Reprise Big Time Std font that ships with Finale.

      FWIW I did a blog article on this topic back in 2013:

      http://www.rpmseattle.com/of_note/creating-big-time-signatures-in-finale-which-include-the-cut-time-symbol/

      I remember hearing that this was in the works awhile ago, but the Cut Time symbol is still not included in the Engraver Time font that ships, and I don’t see a new “Finale Big Time” or “Maestro Big Time” font in the list of installed fonts on my system.

      You might be able to get away with using the Reprise Big Time font in a pinch, but I would follow up with MakeMusic and request it again, There is certainly a precedent – as they have the Cut Time symbol for their handwritten large time signature font.

      Please share if you learn something on this topic, Graham. Thanks again.

      Robert

  18. You glossed over the loss of the Mirror Tool, but I’m flabbergasted that the tool disappeared. Before Finale 25 I was never part of the Finale online-discussion world, and now I feel like I’m the guy who has to defend his belief that the world is flat, because when I ask why Mirroring disappeared, all of the feedback I get are caustic comments like “Oh, you’re the one guy who used Mirrors?” or “I never touched it and I’m surprised you did.” I never had an issue with it and didn’t even know it was Finale’s most toxic asset until it disappeared, apparently by popular demand. Was Mirroring that awful for people? The loss of Mirroring (or any sort of dynamic copying apparently) is going to double the time it takes for me to create (and edit) a lot of my scores. My main questions are really:

    a) Why was it necessary for the Mirror tool disappear (and humor me because I honesty have no idea),

    b) How does one create dynamic measures now, and

    c) If the answer to b is “no,” why is that feature considered undesirable?

    (I know I might be asking to “prove a negative” on c, but I’m really turned upside-down by this.)

    1. Even the Finale Blog announcing the arrival of v. 25 (http://www.finalemusic.com/blog/streamlining-the-next-version-of-finale/) is taunting me with its dismissiveness:

      “Mirror Tool and Tempo Tool – Please note that Finale continues to offer multiple ways to control tempo, and that older files with mirrored measures can easily be converted to regular notes and rests.”

      But I DON’T WANT THEM TO BE CONVERTED TO REGULAR NOTES AND RESTS, I WANT THEM TO STILL BE DYNAMIC, AND I WANT TO KNOW WHY I YOU’RE NOT LETTING ME DO THAT ANYMORE. Arghhhhhhh.

    2. Hi Warren,

      Thank you for your well thought out comments. In order to address your comments appropriately, I think the best place to start is with the codebase. And, my apologies for the length of this comment.

      Until the 64 bit version of Finale required a rewrite of much of the code, many tools and features were “patched” to create updates rather than being rewritten. Finale has a lot of features where updates were cobbled together using the same codebase that was written over 20 years ago.

      Much of this patchwork of code being appended to existing code was, by definition, rewritten and streamlined for the 64 bit version. This is a good thing, but of course, decisions about what tools were going to be kept needed to be made.

      In the beginning, because Finale was so flexible and powerful, people found ways to create requirements using tools that were not designed for that purpose. For example, a lot of people used the Articulation Tool to enter dynamics because it allowed so much more flexibility with placement relative to the Note rather than the staff. Advanced Finale users found tools like Lyric Tool or Chord Tool allowed them to enter text that was to appear along a common baseline. These common placement options were not available in the original Expression Tool.

      It wouldn’t make sense to not use the Expression Tool for expressions once the placement deficiencies were addressed, but a lot of Finale users didn’t embrace the new functionality right away.

      MakeMusic has a long history of leaving legacy code and functionality in newer versions. They also have a history of *not* moving forward because of outcry from some segment of their user base.

      For instance, when MakeMusic *finally* reorganized the menus and dialogs to be more up to date (around Finale 2012, I think), I thought they did a really superb job with this. But many old-timer Finale users missed the point. There was all of this backlash about “why did you move all the menu items? I can’t find anything!!!” But MakeMusic made the right decision here – the new interface was more logical and more like other software programs everyone uses; ultimately, more efficient. My take was: “take the time to get familiar with this reorganization – you’ll end up being more productive in Finale”.

      In theory, the idea of the Hocketing tool (*later called the Mirror Tool) was great, but it was confusing to many users. A core issue is that there was no visual feedback about what was dynamic data and what is static data. Maybe you can remember every edit you did in a large score, but most users can’t. This is the same issue with the legacy MIDI tool – There is no visual feedback for where Tempo Changes created with this tool occur, for instance. Some sort of lightly colored highlight on Mirrored passages would have made this feature not *only* very powerful, but much more user friendly.

      Of course, there is an argument to be made that if a more up to date design would make it viable, why not update it? Totally valid, but then you have to look at every OTHER obsolete tool in Finale (of which there are many) and a decision has to be made as to whether to cut losses for each of these or revamp. With limited time and resources, what would you pick?

      The Shape Designer needs a major overhaul. What about a Chord Editor where chords are always appropriately placed and sized?

      And there are far less obvious examples. Do you use Finale CLIP FILES? This is an amazing, powerful concept, but like the Mirror Tool, so poorly implemented that people less familiar with Finale than yourself have no idea what to do with it.

      MakeMusic’s competitor Sibelius knew what to do with it, though. Their implementation of essentially *exactly* the same feature*, which they call “Ideas” displays all of the “Clip Files” in a nice list, accessible directly within the program, which even included TAGS to locate similar Ideas quickly. No Alt Click and searching around on your hard drive for some obscure file. But make no mistake, Finale had this feature first; they just didn’t implement or capitalize on it appropriately.

      Even in more modern versions of Finale, MakeMusic has much ground to make up in the area of good visual feedback and clarity. For instance, when the ability to change transpositions with a Staff Style for parts which doubled was replaced with “Instrument Changes”, we lost the ability to see *where* the instrument change actually took place in a concert score. The old Staff Style method clearly showed the area where the second instrument took over. So, agreeing with your point that not *all* changes are for the better. But, what we *did* gain with the Instrument Change was a more integrated playback which IMO outweighs the negative here of the loss of visual feedback (but boy, do I miss that!)

      I know this doesn’t totally address your concern about dynamic data, but as a final point. I want to touch on it since part of your reason to want to keep dynamic notation is productivity. One of the things that has evolved significantly within Finale is copy and paste. It is now possible with a single Opt / Alt click to copy and paste all the music, or just articulations or just expressions or anything else, and this can be very expediently done down the score.

      We may not totally agree about the usefulness of the Mirror Tool in the present UI, but hopefully my perspective is helpful.

      Robert

      1. Thank you SO MUCH for the detailed response.

        I totally understand where some of the initial backlash regarding Finale 2012 came from. I took me a week of hunting for the score text inserts until I randomly clicked on ScoreManager and found everything that universally affected the score in one place, effectively replacing several disparate (but related) menu options with one. (I think that was 2012.)

        The irony of losing the Mirror Tool, in light of what you’ve written, is that I was using the tool for EXACTLY was it was intended for. I admit I’m a little confused by your comment…

        “In theory, the idea of the Hocketing tool (*later called the Mirror Tool) was great, but it was confusing to many users. A core issue is that there was no visual feedback about what was dynamic data and what is static data.”

        …because I recall there being a Mirror icon on every measure that was mirrored (at least when the Mirror tool was active).

        I totally understand overhauling the code and therefore overhauling functionality, which is why it’s still mysterious to me that while they, for example, consolidated all of those related functions into the ScoreManager, they couldn’t find a way to preserve dynamic measures, even as a Staff Style or something along those lines. I hope you’d agree that copying-and-pasting and then mentally tracking where one pasted in multiple locations across potentially dozens of pages is a poor substitute for dynamic measures. It seems such a unlikely baby to throw out with the 64-bit bathwater.

  19. Hi Robert,

    Is there any function with which I am able to show the notes names in Finale like c, e#, or bb down at tge bottom of the screen? Like in Sibelius?


    1. Not directly, unfortunately. Part of the reason is that the selection mechanism in Finale is much different than in Sibelius. I would agree that this note-name overview feedback is very helpful in Sibelius.

      About as close as you can get in Finale is to use the AlphaNotes plugin in the Note, Beam and Rest Editing section of plugins. Note that this is a “destructive edit” of the the noteheads, so to change them back, choose UNDO, or use Edit > Clear Selected Items > Special Alterations > Noteheads.

      But actually, selecting one note or a chord stack or several notes in succession, running the AlphaNotes plugin and then UNDO as soon as you get the note name feedback could be incorporated into workflow, especially…

      If you are using a Macro program like Keyboard Maestro, you could assign a keyboard shortcut to invoke the AlphaNotes plugin very quickly, and you could then undo as soon as you get the note name feedback.

      As in Sibelius, the note names produced are those in Concert Pitch, even when viewing a transposing part.

      Hope that is at least of some help!

      Robert

  20. Dear Robert,
    I’ve seen there is no longer the “Mirror Tool”. Well, but since I think this option very useful, where is now? How can I get it?
    Best regards…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *