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Finale 2004 Available for Mac OS X

pudge posted about 11 years ago | from the but-garageband-looks-so-cool dept.

Music 39

sunrein writes "After years of Mac OS X being available, MakeMusic has finally announced production and a Jan. 16 ship date of Finale 2004 for Mac OS X. This announcement comes after a public relations fiasco earlier this fall when the release date was pushed back just days before it was due to ship in late October."

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Finale... finally! (5, Interesting)

scottblascocomposer (697248) | about 11 years ago | (#7984569)

It's about time, really. I've been using Sibelius [sibelius.com] for two years now, and mainly because it was the best notation software available for OS X. I've been watching this thing with Finale, and occasionally sending them emails asking about it, and now I'm pretty psyched to try the demo.

What I'm really waiting for, though, is an option in both (or all) programs to save in some open file format. That would mean true victory for us music tech dorks, and longevity for our files.

Open File Format = MusicXML (2, Informative)

sjdownes (656840) | about 11 years ago | (#7998937)

I have some good news for you then. Finale and Sibelius both support MusicXML. There's more info here [recordare.com] .

No big loss... (3, Interesting)

whiteSanjuro (693864) | about 11 years ago | (#7984598)

Having used Finale in my high school, I can safely say that it is the worst software I have ever used to write music. That is to say, it has the worst interface and least functionality I have yet to encounter outside of silly Geocities-style shareware. Cubase/Logic seem much more practical and offer many more options at the same price point.

Re:No big loss... (4, Informative)

sirfunk (667309) | about 11 years ago | (#7984722)

You seem to miss the point... Finale is music composition and notation. Logic and Cubase are terrible for that. Logic and Cubase are intended mostly for recording and midi syle "composition"... i guess the main difference is finale is used more to write scores, Cubase and Logic are used to actually produce the sounds.. it's hard to explain, use them more and you'll realize what they are for... or just read teh websites.

Re:No big loss... (4, Interesting)

whiteSanjuro (693864) | about 11 years ago | (#7985442)

Have you used Cubase's score editor? Because it seems Hans Zimmer [steinberg.net] has...if it's good enough for him, it should be good enough for most of the rest of the world. And yes, I know the difference because I tried to score music with Finale, and I have written songs with Cubase. Just because the sequencer is the default interface doesn't mean there isn't more under the hood.

Re:No big loss... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7996414)

You have no idea what you're talking about. It's time to understand that "scoring" doesn't necessarily mean "notating." Working as a professional composer for over ten years, I know what I'm talking about.

I am acquainted with Hans Zimmer and I can tell you that he "scores" his music by using the sequencing functions of Cubase to create MIDI realizations of the music. He then has an army of orchestrators and engravers that "notate" these MIDI realizations using Finale to create the sheet music that the musicians use. He never comes close to dealing with any aspect of notating his music. The timetables of the film industry don't allow enough time for one man to compose, orchestrate and notate the music. Even if he did it all himself, he certainly wouldn't use Cubase for the notation.

Finale and Sibelius are the only notation programs used in professional work aside from the increasingly rare proprietary engraving programs. Most publishers use Finale and Sibelius files for the music that they print and sell. Personally I can vouch for 50+ professional engravers and the vast majority use Finale for their work. It's perfectly fine if you don't like the software, but Finale and Sibelius are the only software capable of producing professional sheet music. No professional would ever use Cubase for notation, "scoring" possibly, notation no. Pull your head out.

Re:No big loss... (1)

divbyzero (23176) | about 11 years ago | (#7988792)

While it's pretty unambiguous that a sequencer will usually do a better job of sequencing than will a notation program, and vice versa, it's wrong to say that the task of "composition" is more suited to one or the other. Different people compose in different ways. Some record their live improvisations and edit from there, so a sequencer may be a more appropriate interface for them. Some people construct a composition in a mathematical heirarchy, so a music programming language may be their interface of choice. Others create music by turning knobs on an algorithmic composition system; even there, their editorial input amounts to the act of composing. Notation programs certainly do not have a monopoly on interfaces for composing.

Re:No big loss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7984917)

I don't mean to be cruel, but if you value your dignity, don't repeat those words to anyone involved in any musical academics.

Good Timing-NOT. (3, Insightful)

Spencerian (465343) | about 11 years ago | (#7984635)

Finale is a music composition application, and, based on the article header and apologetic text throughout the vendor's page, it is an application late in coming.

That lateness won't make it easy to compete with any market or mind-share taken by the availability of products such as Symbolic Composer 5 [mracpublishing.com] (which appears to be shareware), and Apple's SoundTrack. [apple.com] The introduction of the new iLife application GarageBand [apple.com] , while not a full-featured composition tool, certainly can't help Finale in competition.

(Disclaimer: IANAMusician)

Re:Good Timing-NOT. (2, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 11 years ago | (#7984710)

Disclaimer: IANAMusician (yet) and more to the point I've never seen Finale and only (an hour ago) got notification that GarageBand is shipping (so it will not be on my Mac until next week)

Much of this depends on GarageBand's capabilities and whether it promotes an interest in music composition. It could act as a catalyst for sales of high end music software if enough people use it, get creative, see limitations, and want to upgrade to something more substantial.

One thing I haven't seen in any of the screenshots of GarageBand is the ability to deal with music scores for instance, which I'd have thought it pretty fundamental. Even SuperJam! used to support this and, as I understand it, GarageBand is a little like a 2004 version of SuperJam.

Re:Good Timing-NOT. (4, Informative)

scottblascocomposer (697248) | about 11 years ago | (#7984755)

Problem with the programs you named is that they are not designed for notation, but rather just sequencing (valuable, to be sure, but if you need notation features, you won't get good ones uf there are any at all). A lot of people will say Cubase, Performer, ProTools, etc., etc., but those programs are also all geared toward Sequencing and not notation. There are comparatively few true notation programs for OS X (or at all, really), and by far the two biggest are Finale [finalemusic.com] and Sibelius [sipelius.com] .

There are others, but at this point they really play no true part in the competition game. Now, when one of them is capable of creating scores as attractive, flexible, and (most important for 99% of users) easily (which means not CLI-based, sorry), the big guys will start paying attention. Combine that with a simlar or lower price-point, and you have recipe for success, because I have yet to meet a user of any notation program who didn't have some gripes about it, or who would be unwilling to look to other programs.

Re:Good Timing-NOT. (4, Insightful)

divbyzero (23176) | about 11 years ago | (#7989430)

Err, music notation programs are pretty much the textbook example of why the presence of a GUI does not automatically make a tool user friendly. Designing an interface for music notation is an extremely difficult task, and there are both good and bad GUIs, good and bad CLIs. Finale's unintuitive, overly modal GUI is one of the main reasons why they've lost so much market share to the newer competitor Sibelius.

Re:Good Timing-NOT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8009093)

Finale description - first sentence - Finale 2004 for Mac OS X is the premeir music notation software. This program was the final piece in my clients puzzle to upgrading fully to OSX.

Re:Good Timing-NOT. (4, Informative)

lindsayt (210755) | about 11 years ago | (#7985408)

I speculate that you're not familiar with the classical composition community. I have probably a half dozen sequencing and recording programs, similar to the ones you mention, but as they are primarily *sequencing* and not notation programs, none of them allow the depth, quantity of options, ease, and beauty of notation that Finale provides. There are other notation programs aimed at very large, complex compositions, but none is even remotely as popular as Finale: Sibelius and Prelude come to mind, though I'm not sure Prelude is still being sold (I used it in the early 90s before getting finale).

Most classical music composers started using finale in the early-to-mid 90s on their Macs because at the time that was really the only combination that gave a composer the ability easily to input notations from a (musical) keyboard and keep track of the up to forty separate parts that may appear in a complex symphony.

Of course now there are other programs and other platforms that can handle this task (I actually have most recently used finale on windoze with my Clavinova for my notation, I hate to admit) but the classic Clavinova->Finale->MacOS combination is still the most popular and the most supported, both by the industry and by the user base.

The user base was angry about the October debacle precisely because for many of them there is no other alternative, as most of them don't have or want a windoze machine and don't want to learn sibelius.

I hope to buy an iMac and Finale 2004 some time soon for this very purpose.

Re:Good Timing-NOT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7987270)

Harmony Assistant


MUCH improved interface in the latest version.
$65.00 (incl. free upgrades for life)
Has been OS X native for years

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7984775)

Notation vs. Sequencing (5, Informative)

transient (232842) | about 11 years ago | (#7985008)

It seems that a fair number of people aren't aware of the difference between music notation programs and sequencing software. Finale is for music notation, programs like Cubase and GarageBand are for sequencing. Think of music notation as word processing for sheet music. It's not for putting together tracks on your computer, it's for people like my dad (professor of film music and music theory) who want to compose, say, a four-part bassoon piece.

Re:Notation vs. Sequencing (3, Informative)

divbyzero (23176) | about 11 years ago | (#7989713)

The reason why so many people get confused by this is that the vendors are constantly trying to blur the line between different classes of software. Try to name a current product in each of the following distinct categories that doesn't cross the line into at least one of the others:

  • music typesetter
  • linear MIDI sequencer
  • pattern-based MIDI sequencer
  • tracker
  • stereo sample recorder / editor
  • non-realtime multitrack sample compositor
  • realtime audio sequencer or DAW
  • sample loop sequencer
  • software synthesizer

Convergence in not inherently good nor bad, but it helps to know what are the core strengths of any given program and what has been bolted on to the side.

What's good (and cheap)? (1)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | about 11 years ago | (#7985325)

Slightly OT, but this brings up some related questions. I finally bought a MacOSX machine (iMac G4). I have a lot of music files in ConcertWare format. First question, is there anything on MacOSX that will import and use these files? Second, is there anything with similar capabilities - ability to use standard musical notation, MIDI in/out - but that won't cost me an arm and a leg? Finale is far too rich for my amateur musician blood.

Re:What's good (and cheap)? (2, Interesting)

Analog Penguin (550933) | about 11 years ago | (#7987155)

Dunno about ConcertWare importing, but Melody Assistant [myriad-online.com] has to be the best cheap notation program I've ever used. It has all the other features you mention, and costs $15 (!) with indefinite free updates (which happen at regular intervals, with many new features). It's definitely worth a look.

Bloatware? (5, Interesting)

am46n (615794) | about 11 years ago | (#7985329)

There is no escaping the fact that Finale, though rock solid, has always been, and will continue to be, bloatware and a lesson in bad interface design. Anybody serious about using notation software has switched, or should switch, to Sibelius.

Finale suffered from:
-slow redraws (Sibelius was originally lightning fast on the Acorn)
-crap redraws (display artifacts left behind when dragging. None of this in Sibelius)
-legacy nested dialogs that had to fit on the screen of an SE
-crap auto-layout and spacing (Sibelius does this seamlessly in the background without having to be told to do it)
-music takes ages to notate
-no FlexiTime
-no automatic placing of dynamics etc (hard to get continuity of spacing)
-generally frustrating and confusing to use

That's why I stopped buying the updates with Finale 2002. However, if they have seriously addressed these issues and offered a complete rewrite, rather than just a further-bloating of the legacy codebase, I might reconsider my judgement. Past experience says not to hold your breath though.

Re:Bloatware? (1)

kb0pin (599482) | about 11 years ago | (#7990650)

Of course, as a PC user, I'm used to everything you mentioned in your post. I have been using Finale for quite a while and haven't had too much trouble with it. In trying out Sibelus (and you can scrape me for only checking on the PC), I never got a good feel for the program. I just thought Finale did a better job. Plus, I like the complex dialogs. It makes me feel like I have more options.

Re:Bloatware? (1)

radicalskeptic (644346) | about 11 years ago | (#7996441)

I cannot agree more. I go to a school that has Finale on all the computers for us to use, and the UI is a constant headache. I'm not stupid. I can figure out most things. But when it takes me a half hour to figure out how to copy and paste one bar of a drum grove, or I have to ask the guy at the lab's front desk how to add a legato mark to a passage, there is DEFINITELY something wrong. Many people I've talked to agree with me.

Post-Macworld? (4, Insightful)

koehn (575405) | about 11 years ago | (#7985777)

Why, oh why, would you wait until the week AFTER MWSF to announce this? Hopefully somebody got shot for getting the CD masters out two weeks too late.

Was anybody at MWSF who got to see these guys? What were they saying?

Re: NAMM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7986318)

Most music related software annoucements are made at NAMM.

Re:Post-Macworld? (1)

minikun (673483) | about 11 years ago | (#7987269)

Why, oh why, would you wait until the week AFTER MWSF to announce this?
They couldn't announce their app until IBM announced their compilers, because they need one copy to double the speed of their app. This is the plan : on 16 in the morning, they get the compiler, compile the stuff at Virginia Tech, hope it runs actually faster so it becomes usable and then put it stores in the afternoon.

Re:Post-Macworld? (1)

nocutename (576496) | about 11 years ago | (#7995947)

Because the NAMM (international music products association) show is *this* week. They probably decided that a show dedicated to hard-core musicians was a better venue than MWSF which tries to be all things to all people (photo / print / music / consumer / etc). Apple saved all of their "Pro" audio product announcments (upgrades to Soundtrack, new packaging for Logic Platinum, new "Logic Express" app) for NAMM this week also.

In other news... (-1, Flamebait)

BigBadDude (683684) | about 11 years ago | (#7986328)

Microsoft announced today that the popular text editor notepad.exe will be ported to OS X.

This means that there are soon as many as four user applications available for OS X.

(flamebait -1)

How does it compare? (2, Interesting)

gidds (56397) | about 11 years ago | (#7992212)

I do all my sequencing and notation work in Cubase, because that's what I've always used, and I have an investment in it. I did look at the demo of Finale for a short while, but my impression was that although it made simple things easier, I had real trouble doing anything more complex (e.g. cross-rhythms on the same stave). So although Cubase's score module is a pain to use and needs a lot of tweaking, I've stuck with it. Has anyone else used both - is my impression fair?

Also, has anyone got LilyPond [lilypond.org] working on OS X 10.2(.8)? It looks like an interesting idea -- completely automated notation, done right so that it doesn't need any tweaking, with no GUI and input from a text file (with optional translation from MIDI files &c) -- but installation was a pig. It needs fink [sourceforge.net] , so after spending 800MB of my HD and many hours downloading and compiling that, I try LilyPond and get a compiler error! I don't have time right now to try to find out why...

Re:How does it compare? (1)

damiam (409504) | about 11 years ago | (#7993792)

Why are you compiling fink? Doesn't the binary installer work?

Success! (1)

gidds (56397) | about 11 years ago | (#7995062)

What I probably meant (and this was a few weeks ago, so blame my memory) was that fink itself installed directly, but then it spent ages finding, downloading, and compiling all the packages lilypond needs: 90 in all, as it turns out -- some for fink itself, some virtual ones representing bits of Darwin, stuff for compression and text manipulation and other misc utils, the 'guile' Scheme interpreter, Python, TeX, teTeX, and lots of XFree86 stuff as well!

Anyway, writing that message prompted me to have another bash at it, and I've just got it working. (I think the problem was that although I wanted to try the latest stable version of LilyPond, I had to persuade fink to look at unstable packages - once I'd done that it found a more recent version of LilyPond which compiled okay. Eventually.)

Having to install 1.1GB of stuff to run one simple application -- and a text-only one at that! -- does seem a little excessive... But I guess that's the price we pay for running something far better than X Windows...

Anyway, it's running fine, producing some rather nice-looking PDF files from my first attempts, as expected -- more natural, more musical than Cubase did without lots of tweaking -- so I guess I'll be spending some time learning it. Its input format might be a bit much for non-techies, but it's not essential as there are converters from MIDI, Finale, ABC, and other formats. (OTOH, I'm a techie, and I've already used a music language before -- AMPLE on the good old BBC Micro -- so I think I'll cope.)

Wonder if they'll have notepad that soon too... (2, Interesting)

haut (678547) | about 11 years ago | (#7993339)

I had a music class (gened) and used Finale Notepad in classic mode for notation. To say the least, it sucked. While the timing was OK, when playing a song the sound was behind the cursor (on my PC it was perfect). Also, when I booted into OS9, the timing of the song would be terrible and fluctuating. I didn't understand why it would do that on my ibook, but I grew to dislike all but the PC version of Finale Notepad. I really hope the OSX version doesn't have any playback problems because that made it really frustrating.

Re:Wonder if they'll have notepad that soon too... (1)

authoritay (742335) | about 11 years ago | (#8003193)

I use Finale Printmusic, and it has the same flaws. Personally, I think it's never going to make OS X, and in it's present incarnation, should just be put down.

NoteAbility? (1)

vonFinkelstien (687265) | about 11 years ago | (#7996651)

Has anyone tried NoteAbility?

It was created by a music professor in Canada. And is a little cheaper than the big 2 ($195 USD).

Wow! Great news! (1)

csoto (220540) | about 11 years ago | (#7997376)

I haven't used Finale since my old Mac IIci days (hey, I had like this "college" thing to deal with). Maybe it's time to try this again!

Sibelius spanks Finale (1)

dnet (742230) | about 11 years ago | (#7998687)

I just got back from the Midwest Music Educators Connvetion. Finale and Sibelius had booths set up and I have to tell you Finale looks like crap compared to the new Sibelius 3. I use Sibelius to arrange music for High Schools. I had used to Finale previously but when I got my powerbook with osX there was no version of Finale available. My entire University uses Sibelius and will probably not even purchase a copy of finale.

Melody Assistant (1)

Aram Fingal (576822) | about 11 years ago | (#8002484)

I have seen Finale and it is a good product but has always been expensive compared to the alternatives. I used to use Professional Composer and now use Melody Assistant ($15 shareware. see Versiontracker.) Melody Assistant is being regularly updated and improving all the time. It does an exeellent job at handling a wide variety of different musical styles. It's approach to bagpipe music (that's what I play) is the best I have seen. In other words, It's better than Finale for my purposes.

Great! (1)

macdaddy (38372) | about 11 years ago | (#8014079)

I've used Finale for years on my Classic MacOS boxes and am very happy to see a new release. It really is a great tool once you learn how to use it (like any tool).

Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#8107395)

Fuck all mac users and their gay lives! They are so dumb that I hate them all!
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