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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000195.txt from 2005/04

From: (Ormondtoby Montoya)
Subj: Re: [kl] Music notation software
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 17:23:51 -0400

Erik, I ended up with Sibelius, and also with 'junior versions" of both
Sibelius and Finale (each upwards compatible to its respective parent).
Several years ago, I spent about 30 minutes with the Coda (Finale)
salesman at ClarinetFest.

Within the limits of these comparisons, I feel fairly confident in

You truly need to pay attention to minimum requirements. Sibelius
wants 2 GB of processor speed and 2 MB of memory, and you *will* suffer
from poor performance (or no performance) if your computer doesn't have
both. I know this from my own experience.

Sibelius's menus and commands are significantly more 'intuitive' and
'user friendly'. Their manual is certainly more readable. However
this 'friendliness' comes at the expense of shortcuts that neither
Sibelius's manual nor Sibelius's help files explain or discuss openly or

Since I don't have the full version of Finale in front of me, I don't
know how Finale and Sibelius would treat parallel situations, but I'll
give you two examples of "shortcuts" from my own experience in a moment.

My general impression is that Finale can do more (at the expense of
intuition and user-friendliness) if you want to push the envelope,
including if fully-controllable typesetting in difficult situations is
important to you.

However the various items that you and other people have mentioned ---
such as pick-up bars, markings that 'stick' with their notes or staffs
on extracted parts, tuplets within tuplets, cross-stave beaming, control
of playback of tremolos & trills & accelerandos & crescendos & their
opposites --- all these features work in both programs. There are some
ornaments that you must 'fake' in Sibelius (by combining trills and
other gimmicks). But this may be true in Finale also.

One difference, however, is that Sibelius can open Finale-format files
(but not save them, so this is a one-way street!) directly without
noticeable (to my ear and eye) losses. However, unless something has
changed recently, Finale requires a plug-in (a 3rd party program) to
open Sibelius files, and there were some minor but observable losses
when I messed with Finale and its plug-in at ClarinetFest.

Here is an example of what I call a "shortcut". As I said above, I
have not had an opportunity to see how Finale handles this same
situation. Perhaps someone else here has?

Sibelius claims to have a basset horn voice. But after considerable
experimentation --- because Sibelius offers different 'devices' for
playing different instrument sets --- I have decided that basset horn is
merely "clarinet re-labelled". That is, clarinet in C, Eb, Bb, A, and
basset are all the same voice. In real life, I hear a certain pitch on
a clarinet in C as being noticeably different from the same pitch on an
A, but they're all the same in Sibelius. It's true that Sibelius
understands that each instrument has a different range, and therefore
Sibelius will flag basset notes as being unplayable on Bb, etc; but the
sound of all clarinets and basset horns on Sibelius are identical when
they play the same pitch with the same 'device'. That is, Sibelius
appears not to use different sound samples for each of them.

Another example: I have one situation where a hairpin (from mf to ppp)
is ignored during playback, even when I go into the "Properties" window
and adjust the properties of this individual hairpin. In most cases, I
can use the Properties window to control two different aspects of a
hairpin's rate of decrease or increase. Hairpins work properly
elsewhere in the same file, but nothing (that I have found) causes
Sibelius to respond to this particular hairpin. There appears to be
some unspoken assumption in the program that causes this particular
hairpin to be ignored. That is, loudness remains constant along the
hairpin's entire length (I've experimented by drawing it out across
several bars), and then the loudness drops suddenly at the hairpin's end
when Sibelius finally sees the 'ppp' at the hairpin's end.

My personal feeling is that, if I had it to do all over again, I
would've gone with Finale. But that's purely a personal choice. I
don't mind reading dense manuals so long as I can find the answer
eventually. Not having diminuendo in this one particular case (and not
being able to hear a clarinet in C, but perhaps my speakers couldn't
reproduce the difference anyway) frustrates me.

....FWIW, Erik....

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