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Sibelius is much, much, much better than Finale

Discussion in 'NOTATION Speak: Sibelius & Finale' started by NoamL, Oct 12, 2017 at 12:47 AM.

  1. NoamL

    NoamL Senior Member

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    I've been using Finale for a decade. Paid customer of Finale 2005 (and 2007.. 2010... 2012... 2014b). Until last week, I had never touched Sibelius.

    I always figured that Sibelius vs Finale was like DAW arguments. You know, they're all more or less the same and you might as well use the one you're most comfortable with. Well, that's not true. Sibelius is better. And I'm never going back. Here is a short catalog of reasons.

    1. Everything just snaps into place. Never move or stretch a hairpin. Never un-collide a dynamic. Everything is right the first time.

    2. NotePerformer2 for Sibelius gives you decent playback capabilities, at least comparable to the built in Human Playback in Finale. You still have to use your orchestral imagination but hey... at this point in the industry if you're working with sheet music you're probably an orchestrator or copyist anyway.

    3. Blazing fast keyboard shortcuts. Never open a menu to select a slur or dynamic. Just type it in. Adding mf to a note is as fast as Cmd+E+M+F done. Slurs and hairpins are lightning fast and accurately shaped.

    4. Musician instructions... super, super fast. On Finale I have to set up custom expressions bound to the keys (1. 2. a2 3. 4. are bound to Q W E R T respectively) and these have to be recreated or imported in every piece of music. In Sibelius a2 is just Cmd+T+a2 done. Automatically in the right place, right font.

    5. Instant playback from anywhere you like in the score. Just select a note and press P. No more entering the right bar number into Finale's transport bar ever again or using the casette forward/rewind buttons.

    6. Selective playback! Select any combination of staves, press P and Sibelius plays back JUST those instruments.

    7. Free scrolling around your score during playback.

    8. Change an instrument in the middle of a movement? Just select the measure where the switch happens, answer a really quick dialog box to change the instrument and Sibelius does EVERYTHING for you. It creates the switch-instrument reminder text; changes the transposition; changes the instrument playback sound; even switches from one kind of percussion staff to another. Something that would take several minutes and multiple steps in Finale.

    9. Cautionary accidentals automatically added as you write.

    10. Paste as cue. No, seriously: cue notes are as simple as copying from one stave to another. Again Sibelius intelligently does everything right the first time and for you - resize notes, label the source instrument.

    11. Paste as voice. This one is sexy! No more playing Nine Men's Morris with Finale's Move Layers "feature."

    There's lots more. Of course adopting any new software has hurdles (for example, I went hunting in the manual for 20 minutes yesterday trying to figure out how to hide and show multirests in parts and how to move measures between systems and pages, which is very fast in Finale).

    But overall, I just can't see going back to Finale. I'm sure the folks at Joann Kane and so on have their own souped up super-custom version of Finale with house rules and incredible macros and everything. But as a ten year customer of Finale, I feel I know the program about as well as any independent composer/orchestrator/copyist not working with a music publishing house can expect to. And every time I learn a new Sibelius feature it's like shaving off a desert island beard's worth of lost productivity time in Finale.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 1:01 AM
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  2. d.healey

    d.healey Kontakt Monkey

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    It's a shame avid have abandoned it but at least it hasn't disappeared... Yet
     
  3. ctsai89

    ctsai89 Poem of Ecstasy

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    Glad that I never started with finale first.

    Now... only if I used Cubase instead of Logic Pro since the beginning.... #regrets
     
  4. Prockamanisc

    Prockamanisc Senior Member

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    Finale beats Sibelius if you're trying to make the most professional looking score. No matter how hard you try, Sibelius will never reach that level of professionalism. Sibelius is a great tool for composing, I feel, although people who grew up with Finale say that they compose just as effortlessly within Finale. I'm a Sibelius guy, though, through and through.
     
    Gerhard Westphalen likes this.
  5. Luke W

    Luke W Senior Member

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    NoamL, it sounds like Sibelius is a better fit for you and may have some playback advantages that make a difference if playback is crucial for your workflow. But as an arranger and engraver who's used Finale since 1992, I noticed many of your points simply demonstrated you hadn't found the shortcuts in Finale. Holding Cmd+E+M+F to add an mezzo forte in Sibelius is not faster than pressing 5 in Finale. Now having articulations snap into place without collisions would be nice (one reason I'm hopeful about Dorico). But pasting individual voices in Finale is simple, as is pasting cued notes. Scrolling around during playback would be interesting, but not valuable for the work I do. Again, sounds like Sibelius fits your workflow better - but engravers here in Nashville that use both programs would never say Sibelius is "much, much, much better." I would say "simpler to learn" if you're just starting with notation software. But Prockamanisc is right: Finale delivers the best looking scores, no contest.

    On a different note, I think both Sibelius and Finale have become complacent. Sibelius because of new owners firing their developers, Finale because of lack of focus on significant improvement. I'm hopeful that Dorico's entrance into the field will spur both companies to innovate and, you know, fix bugs we've been griping about for years. Here's to healthy competition!
     
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  6. Rodney Money

    Rodney Money Yes, that's my real name.

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    Maybe it's destination (Finale) vs. the journey (Sibelius)?
     
  7. Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

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    Avid has not abandoned Sibelius they just switched programming teams.

    There are a steady stream of small improvements being made. There really is no need for any big improvements, as the program includes every feature and ability most users could ever dream of having. And I haven't discovered any sort of bug in years. I bought the annual subscription last year and this year, and a new version comes out about every 60 days with little improvements.

    No, Avid did not abandon Sibelius, and they probably never will in my lifetime. And based on what has happened with that "other" team of programmers, perhaps the Avid folks made the decision to change teams for some very good reasons that were just never made public. Who knows? But I love Sibelius, and with NotePerformer I can not imagine using anything else.

    (Also, I bought Finale just a few months ago to compare. Paid the cross-grade price and still have it. It has more options for engravers, true, but for composers, orchestrators and arrangers I can't figure out why anyone would stay with Finale.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 8:11 AM
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  8. Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Senior Member

    I find that Sibelius rarely looks as good as Finale. It's also much more difficult to do complicated notation things in Sibelius. This is coming from a classically trained engraver. It can be slow, though. Check out Tim Davies's videos on orchestrating in Finale. Those tricks helped get through tight deadlines.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    NoamL

    NoamL Senior Member

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    Luke I'm aware of all the Command-driven shortcuts in Finale (as I mentioned, I've augmented them with my own set of shortcuts for adding things like 1., a2, senza sord. etc).

    The problem with these shortcuts is that they are context dependent on the tool menu. To switch from note entry to adding an "expression" (dynamic or written technique), you have to click a tool... then again to add an articulation... then again to add a slur or hairpin. I wish it were as simple as pressing 5 but if you have the wrong tool selected or no tool at all, it's not...

    With Sibelius it's all driven directly from the keyboard. You can enter a note, make it sharp, make it staccato, add mp, and add 1. all in one flow of typing.

    The only thing I find lacking professionalism in S is that there's a lot of white space on the page and I prefer the tighter measure arrangement of F. But considering that literally every orchestral score I've ever prepared in Finale has required a last step, often taking an hour or more, of budging stave distances, articulations, hairpins and slurs to decollide everything (and collisions aren't even highlighted, like they are in Sibelius!) and then often doing the same thing again on several if not all of the parts, it's kind of strange to say it's more professional.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 9:47 AM
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  10. gjelul

    gjelul Senior Member

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    Sibelius is faster - however, it is no match to Finale when ot comes to what it can do.
    And this is coming from a Sibelius user btw.
     
  11. Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

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    You are referring to publisher level engraving, right? Other than high-level engraving, what does Sibelius lack?
     
  12. gjelul

    gjelul Senior Member

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    That too.

    What I find Sibelius lacks in comparison to Finale is new techniques, or other new music gestures, are way easier to create in Finale. As a composer in Finale I feel that I can create anything that I can imagine in music terms. With Sibelius no.

    However, when I was choosing which software to keep using for my notation needs, I used both for 2 hours each. Did get way ahead with Sibelius and I it for my everyday needs. Finale is a deeper notation program though.
     
  13. Luke W

    Luke W Senior Member

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    I have all the tools assigned to the function keys. So to be more accurate: I have to press F2 then 5 to assign mezzo forte. So two keys. ;)

     
  14. Luke W

    Luke W Senior Member

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    The final engraved product is visually superior. Whether you have to manually deal with collisions is irrelevant. Finale creates a better looking finished score. So far those chiming in on the thread seem to agree on this point. I have yet to have a client ask me to create publisher-ready scores in Sibelius.

    But if engraving for publication isn't your main focus, then Sibelius offers other advantages over Finale. I believe it's more friendly to the composition process, especially in terms of learning curve from ground zero. So if ease of use and better playback are of utmost importance, then Sibelius is the better option.
     
  15. Vik

    Vik Senior Member

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    Nice, I wasn't aware of that one. And - sorry for the whataboutism/offtopic question, but if you're going to learn a new score program anyway - why not consider Dorico, made by the original Sibelius team, but from scratch? Too much missing functionality, maybe?
     
  16. resound

    resound Senior Member

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  17. douggibson

    douggibson Senior Member

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    What !!?? No .... this is not true. Look, I can see a person having a subjective preference.
    However to suggest that publishers don't want scores produced in Sibelius is just not true.

    For a while they used to want ......what was the name of it..... SCORE (??) to produce the scores.

    Hal Leonard currently use Sibelius for their piano/scores.I personally have engraved music for G. Schirmer
    and Theodore Presser using Sibelius.

    I have seen great scores produced from both programs, and terrible looking scores from both.

    If you know the program well, there is nothing that would have any effect on the performance. It is simply
    a master a personal preference.

    My good friend, Philip Rothman, recently typeset Appalachian Spring for Boosey and Hawks using Sibelius.
    You can see the work here. https://www.nycmusicservices.com/engraving-a-new-edition-of-coplands-appalachian-spring/

    Maybe a person prefers one font over another. People only care about the end result.

    I use Sibelius, and never had anyone ask me to publish using Finale. The client does not really care. Only
    wether it is up to standard.
     
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  18. douggibson

    douggibson Senior Member

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    I am curious to know what techniques can't be done in Sibelius. I have yet to find anything. Now, it may be EASIER in Finale for XYZ, but I have yet to find anything that can't be done in a very close way between the two.

    For one example: Sibelius let me typeset a score which had three different time signatures, and three tempos at the same time. The barlines needed to be moved so they did not line up. It's certainly possible. I don't use Finale so I have no idea hard hard that would be.
     
  19. ctsai89

    ctsai89 Poem of Ecstasy

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    ugh Im honestly done with scores though. DAW only now :)
     
  20. leon chevalier

    leon chevalier Half a composer

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    So ?
    Finally use Sibelius,
    or sibeliusly use Final ?

    (ok I leave...)
     
    Saxer likes this.

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