Review of Finale v2.0

Recommendations concerning notation and publishing software in a non-partisan environment.
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benwiggy
Posts: 417
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Review of Finale v2.0

Post by benwiggy »

I'm currently trawling through 1980s back-issues of Computer Music Journal, and came across this review of Finale 2.0: its first release on "The IBM-PC". I've condensed some of the salient pronouncements.

My thoughts are: how $749 was considerably more then than it is now.

Also: Plus ça change...

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Review by Joseph Rothstein: Computer Music Journal, Winter, 1991, Vol. 15, No. 4

After working with Finale for three months, I believe it is perhaps the most comprehensive music notation program available. It incorporates virtually all standard notation symbols, and I have yet to concieve of any notation need that Finale has been unable to meet.

The bad news is that I found Finale extremely difficult to learn and use. Throughout Finale, a wide variety of command entry modes is required. Some operations require using iconic tools, other involve menus (with associated buttons, dialog boxes and submenus), while still others the PC’s key, alone or in combination. Learning to perform simple operations is often easy, but requires a series of slow cumbersome steps. Performing the same operation quickly often requires learning arcane commands or keystrokes that bear little intuitive relationship to the operation performance.

Throughout Finale, the program’s authors seemed to attach considerable importance to providing shortcuts for experienced users. Once understood and committed to memory, they speed up almost all aspects of using the program, but there are so many commands, and so many shortcuts to learn, and the relationship between musical operation, command, and shortcut is so abstract that learning the basic operations and shortcuts involves a tremendous amount of rote memorizing.

The only problem with the documentation is that every word is necessary.

In fact, Finale is among the least intuitively evident programs I have seen. Even after months of using Finale, I still don’t feel as if I know the program thoroughly, and I often reach an impasse when I use a new feature or one I haven’t worked with in a while.
Perhaps there is a way to provide the depth, flexibility and power of a notation program like Finale, without the incredible learning curve that Finale requires. I’m not a skilled enough software designer to answer; just a frustrated enough user to ask the question.

Meanwhile, Finale is clearly a monumental achievement of programming, and it appear to be the obvious choice for IBM-PC users seeking the most powerful notation tool available and prepared to make the investment required to learn to use it effectively.

Finale 2.0 for IBM-PC by Coda Music Software. $749.

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tisimst
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Re: Review of Finale v2.0

Post by tisimst »

That’s approximately $1500 in today’s money (2020). What a price tag.
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OCTO
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Re: Review of Finale v2.0

Post by OCTO »

benwiggy wrote:
11 Aug 2020, 17:35
In fact, Finale is among the least intuitively evident programs I have seen. Even after months of using Finale, I still don’t feel as if I know the program thoroughly, and I often reach an impasse when I use a new feature or one I haven’t worked with in a while.
Open document -> Close document -> "Shave changes?" (What changes, I have just opened the document)-bug.
My intuition tells me I have done nothing.
:!: ;) :!:
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25.5 • Sibelius 2020 • MuseScore 2+3 • Logic Pro X+ • Ableton Live 10+ • Digital Performer 9+ /// MacOS Mojave, (side systems: Fedora 32, Windows 10)

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