7. Automatically combined rests in multiple layers. This is a new feature in Finale 2014 that Sibelius doesn’t automatically support, activated by a setting in Finale’s Document Options and optionally controlled via a keystroke upon note entry. Both Finale and Sibelius have previously supported this through plug-ins (TGTools’s Join Rests of Multiple Layers for Finale; Bob Zawalich’s Hide Duplicate Rests for Sibelius).
It’s worth noting, though, that Sibelius will still more intelligently handle a situation where a rest is hidden in a voice for part of a measure; in Finale, one has to still manually flip stems, articulations, and other markings, in a tedious multi-step process:
|Finale 2014||Sibelius 7|
8. Improved handling of accidentals between layers. (Note: Finale “layers” are analogous to Sibelius “voices”.) In Finale versions prior to 2014, if an accidental occurred on the same note in multiple voices, one would be forced to choose between disabling Use Cross-Layer Accidental Positioning in Finale’s Document Options (resulting in poor handling of accidentals elsewhere in the score), or force-hiding the offending duplicate accidental in a voice and dealing with the consequences there.
Finale 2014 now intelligently handles these cases, as Sibelius already does:
|Finale 2012||Finale 2014||Sibelius 7|
Finale also always used to show an accidental when it was stated in another voice, even if it was not desirable (like in piano music). Finale 2014 improves this and offers a bit more flexibility than Sibelius regarding restating cross-layer accidentals by offering it as a per-instrument option in Staff Attributes > Redisplay Accidentals in Other Layers Within Measures. Sibelius offers this as a global option, when Restate accidental when seen in a new voice is switched off in Sibelius’s Engraving Rules > Accidentals and Dots > Cautionary Accidentals:
|Finale 2012||Finale 2014||Sibelius 7|
Cautionary accidentals in Finale 2014 are not automatic and must still be handled by the Cautionary Accidentals plug-in. Sibelius has automatically supported cautionary accidentals, with various attributes controlled in Engraving Rules since Sibelius 6.
9. Anchored measure-attached Smart Shapes. Finale 2014 takes incremental steps toward making lines (Smart Shapes) behave better. Measure-attached Smart-Shapes such as hairpins, trills, and 8va markings now have attachment points, just as expression marks do. This means that positioning will be better in linked parts, and for the first time in Finale, you can adjust the length of a measure-attached Smart Shape in a linked part without it affecting the score.
Hairpins and other measure-attached Smart Shapes now snap to an attachment point upon entry; once placed, they can be horizontally adjusted. There is no automatic collision avoidance or alignment in Finale 2014, nor does there seem to be a way to set the default vertical placement of hairpins and other measure-attached Smart Shapes.
Finale users have long had the ability to align dynamics on a case-by-case basis by calling up TGTools’s Align/Move Dynamics, which ships with Finale. If the score content or layout changed, the plug-in needed to be re-run, so it was best to do this near the end of the layout process.
Jari has demonstrated a group script called Fix Dynamics for a series of plug-ins he’s developing for Finale 2014, which appears to adjust for both collision avoidance and alignment:
While Jari’s plug-in will be a huge help for Finale users, having to accomplish these tasks on a case-by-case basis through a third-party plug-in pales when compared to Sibelius’s powerful Magnetic Layout feature, which was introduced with version 6 in 2009. Magnetic Layout not only automatically aligns objects horizontally, but also vertically, and it encompasses sophisticated collision avoidance as well, for which there is no comparable feature in Finale.
10. Improved percussion notation interface. Getting percussion notation to both look and play back correctly, all while trying to keep note entry from getting too complicated, is one of the most difficult challenges for notation software. Finale has long had the ability to map pitches and noteheads to specific MIDI pitches, which then call up a particular sound depending on the sample used. Finale 2010 improved some aspects of this, while confusing many users in the process.
Finale 2014 improves the user interface while keeping the underlying percussion map engine intact. Jari has an excellent write-up of the details. Sibelius’s way of handling percussion is not necessarily more or less complicated, or powerful, than the Finale way — it’s just different, and it hasn’t changed much in recent versions of Sibelius. (Interested users with 20 minutes to spare can learn the Sibelius method by watching my 3-part tutorial: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)