Author Topic: Software Survey  (Read 51 times)

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Software Survey
« on: May 22, 2020, 07:28:14 AM »
Let us know which software program you use to compose.

If you like, please share the reasons for the selection.


Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Software Survey
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 07:43:41 AM »
I only use it because it was the first sophisticated music software on the market, and I've used it since the first version in the late 1980s.
I think it's possible that had I not become so used to Finale I might have switched to Sibelius, although I don't like their pricing structure.
Finale has a clunky, inconsistent user interface that makes many operations difficult. But the biggest problem at the moment is that in playback using NP3 there is a one-second lag, which makes it impossible to overdub with Hyperscribe in real time.
Finale 26
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Re: Software Survey
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 12:17:47 PM »
Right now I'm on Finale 26.2.

I started out on a program called Score (if I remember right) which was ported to PC from a mainframe. It was clunky and, incredibly, required you to type in all of the info in a text based script. Then PC based GUI program started becoming available and I started using something called Personal Composer which was pretty good for the time. But, the main programmer died and the company went moribund.

That's when I started using Finale some 20 or more years ago.

Even though there are a number of things I don't like about Finale, some of which I've ranted about here, every other product I've tried was worse; for example, I didn't like Sibelius at all.

I don't use any sound processing software and I don't use external sound libraries just the sounds that come with Finale. As I've said elsewhere I don't have the time or money to explore those options.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.
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Re: Software Survey
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2020, 01:36:50 PM »
My daughter began college as music major; so when she began her music studies I bought her Finale.  I believe it was Finale 97 (about 22 years ago). 

Eventually I took over the license.  I can't compare it to another programs since I have not used anything else but Finale.

For my skill set it work well.  I have no complaints; although, I would like the audio export to give me the option to create a mp3 - so I would not have to use third party software.



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Re: Software Survey
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2020, 01:55:26 PM »
a LONG time ago I used something called Personal Composer (my computer a the time was an AT or XT, I forget... we're talking about the dawn of humanity here).
Then I switched to a program that had great playback (but the scores were... meh) called Musicator.

I started using Finale with version 3.1 and haven't looked back.
I've tried some other software, but they always have limitations which Finale lets me bypass.

Right now I'm LOOKING at Dorico, but it's stupid expensive, and to really use it efficiently you have to buy a 3rd party external device that makes note entry easier (instead of having to memorize hundreds of keyboard shortcuts) as well as purchase a set of programmed macros for that device.

So I'm using Finale 26.2 for most of my work, Finale 2012 for SOME of my work (because some older sample libraries are not supported in the more recent version of Finale).
I export a WAV file when I need audio, then boost the volume in GoldWave, and turn it into an MP3 if I need from GW as well.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Musicís main function is not revolution. Ė Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. Ė Jamie Kowalski"


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Re: Software Survey
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 04:24:30 PM »
I started with early Musescore and other freeware. Then, under Michel's watching eye I switched to Finale.

I currently use Finale 2014 to produce scores. To obtain audio recordings I use Finale and Notion 5. As a notation program, Notion is not as developed as Finale but it happens to have Presets for my Miroslav 1, GPO4 and VSL SE1 (entry level) sound libraries.

VSL SE is promoted to have Presets to work with Finale. However, my personal experience with working in Finale with the so-called "Human Playback Preferences for the VSL SE" was that it was erratic, unpredictable, full of surprises, HP (which I think is a wonder tool when in the service of "good") apparently behaving in every fickle way. Maybe ways could be found to overcome -some- difficulties but I stopped there. There was another secondary method to make VSL work with Finale but I didn't bother to try it, either.

Notion's presets for VSL (and Miroslav and GPO), on the other hand, do work. While using them I came to the understanding that these presets do not make totally problem-free, totally correct use of these libraries or make use of anything close to the full capacities of them but they do work reasonably reliably. Then, one has the possibility to tinker with them for case-specific improvement.

In any case, what I understand is that all these libraries are primarily geared for use with DAWs and midi controllers. Any integration with a notation program be it Presets, Custom Rules, (default) direct integration as in Finale-GPO etc is at best a dumbed down way of using these libraries, I believe. Nonetheless, with some extra tweaking they have been fairly satisfying for my use so far. (As a side note, actually, I believe Finale does offer the means to substantially reshape/streamline the GPO integration and behavior through editing the HP preferences and making effective use of the MIDI tool).

I try to make use of ARIA and other player controls as needed and use some mostly free plugins like Reaper EQ, Convology Reverb, Sample Tank etc within Finale and Notion and do the Normalizing, mp3 conversion etc in Audacity.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 04:37:03 PM by sandalwood »


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Re: Software Survey
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2020, 05:45:00 AM »
Finale 26.2 with NotePerformer.

I've only recently moved from Garritan COMB2 and GPO5 to NotePerformer. NotePerformer is so much easier, and it sounds better for my purposes.

I am seriously eyeing Dorico, and eventually I will likely move from Finale to Dorico.



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Re: Software Survey
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2020, 06:50:08 AM »

I started with Musicator. That program had some nice features which I liked at the time, but the software had some noticeable limitations which became clear when I got my music published. So, I switched to Encore.

Then I discovered Finale and I have used it ever since. There may be better programs out there, but Iím so used to Finale that I probably will continue to use it.

To somewhat overcome the awful playback from Finale/ Garritan I bought Cubase, kontakt 5 and some sound libraries to get better sound. East West Hollywood Orchestral Woodwinds and Brass. Then I expanded with The Orchestra from Sonuscore, Amadeus Symphonic Orchestra from Sonicscores and some selected instruments from VSL. Such as Saxophones, Euphonium, Clarinet Ensemble, Cornet, Piccolo Trumpet etc.

Some of these libraries have ensembles which I use in my Win Band compositions. And, since I write music for Brass Band as well, I needed Tenorhorns and Baritone. The only thing I could find was Blue Street Brass from Indiginus.

Iím using these libraries in Finale when I write my music. Even thou there are limitations. And I export to Cubase to get even better sound.
Lately I have just used Finale with libraries. Cubase is fun, but it takes time. Time, I want to spend composing new music. I finish more music working this way.

Compositions: Wind band, Brass band and Fanfare
Platform: Windows 10
Notation: Finale 25
DAW: Cubase 8
Instrument: Bassoon, Euphonium
Day Job: TEGG Technician