Update — November 4, 2013: MakeMusic has released Finale 2014.
The Cologne, Germany-based music retailer Music Store Professional recently published a catalog of products for sale. Buried on page 420 of the catalog were some details about the upcoming version of Finale 2014, which has not yet been released nor officially announced by MakeMusic.
As this post was being prepared, we learned from the MakeMusic Forum that MakeMusic contacted Music Store and requested that the brochure be updated to remove the information, which it was. The catalog having been already made available in print form, however, the chances are remote that those copies will be recalled, and in any event, we obtained a screenshot of the online version before it was modified:
The features listed in the Music Store catalog include:
- Newly designed tool palette
- Re-write of the Mac version in Cocoa
- True support for open key/atonal key signatures
- Automatically combined rests in multiple layers
- Improved handling of accidentals between layers
- Automatic horizontal alignment of objects
- Extended settings for percussion notation
- Ability to use Special Tools in linked parts
- More Garritan sounds
- New file format
MakeMusic has already hinted at some of the above items publicly. Product manager Justin Phillips has said that the next version of Finale will not be supported on Mac OS X 10.6.8 or earlier, and the company announced over a year ago a break from their yearly release cycle to concentrate on a more thorough overhaul of the software code.
Until Finale 2014 is actually released, we won’t know for certain if these features will be included in the shipping version of the product, but the list includes features that many users have requested, and it seems plausible that these items can be expected in an upgrade.
Users of Finale and Sibelius have been in an unprecedented quiet period with regard to product updates and upgrades — it has been more than a year since either program has seen so much as a “point release” update — which is not necessarily a bad thing, since upgrades can often be disruptive. Sibelius 7 was released in July 2011, and the last update, to version 7.1.3, was made on September 26, 2012. Finale 2012 was released on October 7, 2011, and its most recent update, to 2012c, was made at almost the same time as the last Sibelius update: September 19, 2012. Both MakeMusic and Avid have undergone major corporate changes during this time, which have been well-chronicled.
One can hope that the release of a new Finale version will prod competitive development of Sibelius and the much-anticipated new Steinberg notation product, not to mention free software such as MuseScore, which has also gone quite a while without a major release.