Sibelius or Finale?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Joe Taylor, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    I'm going to up grade my sheet musin program and have been looking at Sibelius and Finale. Right now I leaning to Finale but am still open to change.

    Q1 what to you all use?
    Q2 is there any other sheet music program to look at.

  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I use Finale, mostly because I've been using it since '89. I've heard good things about Sibelius as well, though.
  3. SleeperMan2000


    Jul 31, 2002
    Cary NC
    I tried them both casually, and bought Sibelius. Sibelius is a bit more comprehensive. And I loved the keyboard entry vs mouse entry. Maybe Finale had that, I don't remember, but once I saw that in sibelius I bought it.

    I think Sibelius is more expensive. There are always copies on Ebay cheaper.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've been using keyboard entry in Finale since '89.

    FWIW, I know two people who use both, and they both say it all comes down to preference.
  5. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I've used Finale since grad school in '89.

    I loved it once I figured it out. I score a lot of things without barlines or meters and AFAIK Finale is the only package that will handle that.

    I have however heard good things about Sibeius mostly from Jazz guys.

    It was expensive tho - i paid $399 for it and that was with the educators discount !
  6. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I use Finale, I have 2002. I like it a lot. I just need to figure out how to be really good at the speedy entry tool.
  7. olps


    Nov 12, 2001
    I use finale as well; no complaints. You can download a demo/free program of Finale Notepad from their site. You could probobly download the whole program off of Kazaa or some sort of program like that.
  8. Gabe


    Jan 21, 2003
    I use Sibelius and love it. I think it's one of those things where it's just what you started out with. I found sibelius very user friendly and it didn't take me very long to figure out the basics, although as you may have realized from another of my posts, I'm still ironing out some of its features.

    Without an ed. discount the thing is brutally pricey.
  9. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Yeah, there is a steep learning curve with Finale - at least there was 14 years ago !;) I think when i got mine the going price was $600 but with the ed. discount i got it for like $200.
  10. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Thanks for the input.

    I have tested both demo versions I found Sibelius not as quick to learn as Finale but I figure once I learn the software either would be fine.

    My wife is a teacher so I would get the educators discount for either one. Both are $300 with the discount.

    I do some arranging for strings and would use it mostly for that.

    I use Noteworthy now but it is not a pro level program but what would one expect for $60.00.

    It looks like the majorty use Finale but theose of you who use Sibelius seem happy with it also.


    Thanks Joe
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    After 15 years of using Finale for music notation, I finally switched to Sibelius in the past few weeks because I bought a beautiful new iMac and Finale is still not OSX compatible (after nearly 4 years!!! What is wrong with those people?).

    I have to say, their loss is my gain - I find Sibelius to be a much more intuitive and productive application. After only a few weeks, I feel more fluent at notation with Sibelius than I did after 15 years with Finale. A hearty thumbs-up to the creators of this fantastic software.
  12. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Welcome to the club. Let me say that the only major music program I know that is more "user unfriendly" than Finale is Band-In-A-Box. Both of these programs are only popular simply because of market momentum. I know lots of people who use Finale only because other people use Finale but they hate using it.

    Sibelius is an enjoyable program to use and the output it produces is far nicer. I've used it since the first version and I've seen it get better and better. I think that if Coda doesn't do a complete overhaul of Finale at some stage that they will be in trouble. They'll be like WordPerfect (what's that? <G>).

    Congratulations on making the move. And by the way, the company is also great. Good technical support and good timing with updates and new releases.
  13. shoreu


    Oct 30, 2008
    I use Lilypond. I recommend using it, too.

    You should know, though, that it is for making sheet music only, but if that's all you're after, it's the best program I know of for it, if you're interested in score quality (provided you're willing to learn how to use it). Best of all, it's free, cross-platform (Linux, Windows, Mactinosh&#8212;and other platforms), GNU software. Hence it is also free to use for commercial purposes (a lot better than the $500&#8211;700 you pay for the non-free programs).

    You can get MIDI output in Lilypond, and with some tweaking it can work out well, but if that's mostly what you're after it might be better to try other software, as MIDI isn't something the developers of Lilypond are too concerned about.

    Creating music with Lilypond is fundamentally different than making it with other programs. You use something like a markup language to notate your music, rather than using a point and click interface. This is nice in that it's faster if you can type reasonably well. I suppose if you have supernatural skills with a mouse you could do things fairly quickly the other way (but still probably not as quickly).

    A lot of people find the non-visual interface daunting, at first glance, but I recommend just ignoring that reflex and trying out the tutorials.

    Another nice thing about Lilypond is that you can get support online, for free. Just go to the forums or mailing lists&#8212;or search the documentation on the website. Also, it's nice that the software is updated much more frequently than such as Finale and Sibelius (and you can use the development versions, if you like).

    &#8226; (Official Lilypond website)
    &#8226; (place to subscribe to the emailing list)
    &#8226; (Lilypond user list archived on Nabble)
  14. uh,
    are you using mac or windows? I've found finale works much better on windows and sibelius much better on mac. man. hey wait, charlie parker genius no?
  15. froedrick


    Apr 7, 2008
    Support for Finale and Sibelius can be found online for free as well... and there are a *lot* more Finale/Sibelius users to ask questions to. As far as updates... there's a new Finale version every year and usually 1-3 maintenance updates. I believe Sibelius updates at least once every year or two as well.

    Sorry to disagree, but I'll take expensive, comprehensive, off-the-shelf software over freeware with a learning curve and no playback any day. And really... if it's that you're cheap and have a lot of time to waste learning a non-standard program with a non-standard user interface - why not just write your music on paper instead?
  16. shoreu


    Oct 30, 2008
    Updates yearly versus several times a year, or sometimes several times a month &#8230; hmm I wonder why you'd even bring this one back up in my face. Granted, they have been on the current version for a while (when you compare it with previous releases), except for the development one, which has been updated frequently.

    Freeware is a misnomer when referring to GNU software, in my opinion, as freeware does not necessarily mean it's 'free' in the senses one might think (and much freeware is full of nasty things like spyware, adware, solicitations, and so forth&#8212;although I admit commercial software often has many of the same things&#8212;not meaning to imply as to whether Finale does&#8212;and once in a while you might see something like that in the open source realm, but ne'er so often).

    I'm not sure what you mean by comprehensive, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with what can and cannot be engraved onto the sheet music. I'm guessing you're referring to the no midi keyboard entry thing I mentioned. Actually, you can set Lilypond up for keyboard entry&#8212;I didn't know that before, though. However, I assume there is a learning curve, as it does involve third-party software (and is not built into Lilypond), but I don't know&#8212;I don't have a keyboard for the purpose, anyway. But that does go to show that Lilypond is popular enough to have people writing third party software for it (there is quite a bit, actually; you can actually get point and click interfaces for Lilypond&#8212;although they may or may not be difficult to set up initially; I imagine that has improved since I last tried, and will continue to improve).

    As far as the learning curve of Lilypond itself goes, if you've already learned one thing, kudos to you if you don't want to learn another. However, I don't believe for a second that learning Finale in the beginning is any easier than learning Lilypond in the beginning (except for psychologically), even if Finale is point and click. I'd more likely believe it of Sibelius, from things I've heard (but even there, I have doubts). I'd take typing in a text file over tons of forms and wizards any day&#8212;those I think are harder to remember than the commands to type (but to each his own&#8212;you may prefer the forms and wizards).

    As far as the non-standard take on things goes, you should understand that open source software is here to stay. It won't disappear unless the Internet does. If a company goes bankrupt, its software normally disappears&#8212;for the rest of your life, and copyright, as well as stubborn companies, tend to reinforce that. Which one has a better chance of being standard in the long run, in such a case? Granted, I doubt Finale and Sibelius are about to go under any time soon, although I wouldn't count out the possibility&#8212;some financial thing could strike out of the blue as they do with companies.

    I hope you know by now that I'm not just using Lilypond because I don't want to spend money. The only reason (I might have a few other similar reasons, actually) I would ever buy Finale (even if I had an unlimited supply of money) would be to learn more about how 'other' people do it (since it is popular and all, and it's good to relate to their methods, for conversational sake).

    I've already learned pretty much everything I need to know in Lilypond, and it's not hard to learn whatever else I need to know (although it was pretty hard at first, for some things, seeing as I'm very particular in how I want things to show up). Writing in pencil? You must think this really is some cheapo program (and believe me, I have tried the sort you're thinking of). Lilypond is quite fit for professional use, mind you.

    I'm not meaning to say that Lilypond is definitely the best choice for everyone, but it is certainly something to consider, as $500&#8211;700 is a lot of money for some people (especially when learning Lilypond would take less time, and be more fun, than earning the money). I know Finale and Sibelius aren't always that expensive, but keep in mind I am talking about the editions legal to use for commercial purposes. I would feel too constrained if I couldn't use it commercially, whether or not I actually used it that way&#8212;and no, I'm not about the break the agreement on that one.

    Now, I hope you don't discount the other emerging music engraving software out there. There is some software that looks like it has a lot of potential (and that to which I refer is also free, and open source), but I'm currently satisfied with Lilypond enough that I haven't bothered to look into them more, yet&#8212;and, I can respect it if you feel the same about your software and Lilypond, which it seems you do.
  17. shoreu


    Oct 30, 2008
    Anyway, I guess the original question was just about Finale and Sibelius&#8212;sorry, I thought it was for all engraving software.

    I would put my vote in for Sibelius, from what I've heard, but then I haven't used either much (if at all)&#8212;but I've heard much better things about Sibelius.
  18. +1 for Sibelius. I received Finale 2009 for X-mas and was very unhappy with it, the program would crash the play back was intermittent and there were too many "bugs". Not what you would expect from such expensive software.
  19. Finale is compatible with Leopard :confused:

    That being said, having used Sibelius, I don't think I could ever go back to Finale.
  20. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    You are replying to a post from more than five years ago.