Finale 2004 or Sibelius or other?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Dawnys_flug, Apr 6, 2004.


Which is the best notation software?

  1. Sibelius 2

  2. Finale 2004

    0 vote(s)
  3. Other (please state below!)

  1. Dawnys_flug

    Dawnys_flug Member

    I am in year 12 doing Alevel Music and as you may know composing is quite a large part of the sylabus. Our school bought Sibelius 2 notation software a couple of years ago for all A level and GCSE students to use.
    I find it quite difficult to use but because of this i have tried to stay clear of it as much as possible (not such a good idea when you have to do 2 compositions!!). So my first question is does it get any easier over time??

    The second thing is with me going on to do A2 next year, i would like to have a good notation software at home to use and so i'm looking around. Of course there is Sibelius 2 and the new 3 (no way i can afford that though!!) which from what i can see is around the £300 with the education discount thingy. My composition teacher uses finale 2004 and he says it is great and just as good as sibelius but it's a bout £200 with education discount.
    Does anyone know how finale 2004 compares to sibelius? Would i be worse off for choosing finale over sibelius just because it's cheaper? Are there any major differences between them?

    Also if anyone else uses any other notation software please could you give your input on that! I'm not limited to just finale or sibelius and i know there are other very good packages out there- i just haven't really come across them!!

    Thanks all!!

    Dawn x x
  2. Curiosity_Kills

    Curiosity_Kills Member

    Never used Finale, so i'm a little bias

    Sibelius is a really good program, there are some annoying little problems with it (playback being one of them, if your soundcard is rubbish, sibelius makes anything sound awful!)
  3. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    Sibelius is by far the best notation program i've used, although it is a bit annoying that the interfaces are quite different on each of the sibelius software
  4. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Isle of Arran and lovin' it!
    Good old hand written manuscript!!! ;-)

    Don't know what it is but since the general acceptance of using notational software for publications (and this isn't just aimed at brass band music) the standard of proof reading seems to be dropping. Maybe it's because (I'm a Londoner... sorry! Got carried away there!) the midi playbacks don't always reveal 'wrong-uns', I don't know.

    I should add (and this isn't a deliberate plug, just to exclude certain publishers from the 'generalisation' I made) that both Thornes Music and Dragon Music Publishing are definite exceptions to the 'standard dropping'!

    I think perhaps that if you hand write it, the only real method of proof reading is to get it played rather than have it go through a Midi file, so maybe greater care is taken because you don't want to hand write a set of parts full of mistakes and have to bow and scrape to your band (or ensemble or whatever) apologising for producing a duff set of parts.

    Having said that, I'll be using one of the aforementioned notational packages for most (not all) of my stuff for when I start my Internet brass publishing business, but maybe I have a certain nostalgia for hand written manuscripts with crossings out and blobs of Tipp-Ex everywhere! ;-)
  5. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    Firstly yes it does get easier with time, its just a matter of getting used to it.

    Secondly for the cost I don't know if it would be possible for you to get a grant to at contribute to the cost... might be worth checking out.

    P.S. Good luck getting everything in on time :)
  6. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    North Lancing
    Sibelius doesn't make it sound awful - your rubbish soundcard does :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Anyway, again a little biased because I, too, have not used Finale. But I have seen the resultant scores and parts from both programmes and Sibelius (IMHO) is far far superior. I have Sibelius 3 and it is a big improvement on Sibelius 2. I know people that have used Finale and changed to Sibelius because (they say) the learning curve on Finale is so steep.

    From a personal point of view I think Sibelius is very very simple to use and I would suggest getting that above anything else if you can possibly afford it. Can you not apply for a grant or something like that through the education authority???
  7. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    I bought Finale 3.0 years ago, and never felt the need to upgrade, it did what I needed it to.

    I'm currently using lilypond ( to write a drum book (text + music). It's text based, you write down what you want and the program changes it into music. It's not WYSIWYG but I think there are some GUIs available. Best of all, it's free. I like it, but then I'm a programmer so the text stuff comes easy...

    Check out for the reasons why they think it is better than Finale. I personally think the output is much better than Finale 3.0 was.

  8. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Between the Moon and Mexico
    Well my experience (with Sibelius) is different. Being able to hear a score played by computer eliminates wrong notes (almost) completely in my case. Of course you've got to listen to it in sections (5 or 6 staves at a time) and know what you're listening to, but I'm as confident as I can be that Anglo pieces don't have wrong notes in them. (There may be other errors, of course!!!) Much easier than it used to be to catch them.

    The problem may be that publishers accept files from composers, assuming them to be Ok and don't proof them further. Now that IS a recipe for disaster!!

    Returning to the thread, I can recommend Sibelius without reservation. Can't speak for Finale as I've never used it, but I know several users who've converted to Sib and find it easier to use. It's also well worth upgrading to version 3+
  9. Nigel Hall

    Nigel Hall Supporting Member

    Brackley, Northants
    I tried Finale but just couldn't get to grips with it so I bought Sibelius and right from the word go it was so easy to use and I so have to say it may not be the cheapest but you only get what you pay for, and this is what we produce our score and parts with and anyone who has bought or reviewed our music )several reviews in the British Bandsman and also by Alan Morrison) has commented on how clear and well produced the score and parts are.

    Hope this helps.
  10. JamesResurgam

    JamesResurgam Member

    Stonehaven AB39 2TN
    I have to totally agree with Philip; Sibelius 3+ is excellent and thoroughly recommend it, and is relatively easy to use.

  11. louise0502

    louise0502 Member

    our school has cubasis, which is quite good, but if you can't play the notes in on the keyboard, it takes a very long time (i usually get my music teacher to do that part!)

    At home, i have cakewalk, but it's an old version, so i'm not that impressed by it.
  12. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    New York City
    I've said before (Straightmute'll remember, as he thought it was ludicrous!) that I hated Sibelius, and that it was really hard to use.

    I totally retract this statement. it is so much better than finale, and is a lot easier to use.

    I'd vote Sibelius 99/100! It's great! :D
  13. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    I knew you'd come round to my way of thinking in the end! :wink:

    My students use all manner of notation programmes and I have to assess the outcomes. They can get in a much bigger mess with Finale than Sibelius and other programmes (Noteworthy, Capella etc.) just don't make the grade.

    Go for Sib 3 if you can afford it. V1.4 was very good but V2 went in the wrong direction for me in some respects. IMHO V3 has the best bits of V2 with the intuitive simplicity of V1.4 !!!

  14. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    I use Sibelius 2, but i've used Finale also. What I would say is that certainly with Sib2 against Finale, Finale does modern notation slightly better. Having said that, Sibelius I find is a lot easier (and subsequently quicker) to get to grips with. I'd personally go with Sibelius, though it is more expensive.
  15. tim

    tim Member

    North East
    gottas be good old sibelius 1.4!!!

    I absolutely h8 the interface of sib 2 but havne't tried 3. Anyway my school runs 1.4 so its sensible for me to have the same so i can work at home as well as at school!
  16. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Sibelius every time :)
    Love it!

  17. stephen_clapton

    stephen_clapton New Member

    Sibelius is by far the best. The upgrade to Sibelius 3 that is 'floating' on the net is really handy as well :wink: good luck with the compositions!
  18. Tpascoe

    Tpascoe New Member

    Grand Rapids, MI
    I tried Finale for a while on the recommendation of a friend, but once I tried Sibelius I never went back to Finale. I just think it is easier and does an excellent job. I'm still usign Sibelius 2 but hope to upgrade to Sibelius 3, I understand it is well worth it. :D
  19. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    I've been using Sibelius (1 and 2) for a few years now, and although I've never used Finale, I find tremendously useful.

    The obvious hurdles are getting used to the software ... something which can take a while, and also the playback. Playback on Sibelius is far inferior than a professional sound-editing package (Cubase and Cakewalk being good examples) and although a decent soundcard can help, it'll still fall short.

    I the long run, Sibelius will always produce excellent print quality, which is the main attraction to me, and why I think you should consider it. But as I said, I haven't used Finale ...
  20. Bob Thompson

    Bob Thompson Member

    North Pennines. Weardale
    A definite thumbs for Sibelius.
    Our band took delivery of the latest version yesterday. However it isn’t cheap! I think the basic package comes in around £500, however with all of the add on software, teaching material etc and 5 licences the total cost was approx £1400. This was inclusive of an educational discount.
    It may be worth having a word with your band, and see if you can purchase it through them, you will save money that way.
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