Today MakeMusic released the fourth update to version 25 of Finale (25.4). This is a free update for all registered users of Finale v.25. Users can update directly through the software or through their MakeMusic account.
The main focus of this release is support for MusicXML 3.1, the latest version of the MusicXML format and the first one to be developed within the W3C Music Notation Community Group.
About Music XML 3.1, Michael Good, MakeMusic’s vice president of MusicXML technologies, said:
MusicXML 3.1 improves support for the Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) and addresses interoperability issues that have come up over the past six years since MusicXML 3.0 was released. For Finale users, one of the nicest changes is being able to export expressions with a descriptive mix of musical symbols and text in a standard, interoperable way.
There are several smaller changes too. These include support for parenthesized accidental marks, circled noteheads for percussion notation, distinguishing the two styles of percussion clef (rectangle vs two vertical lines), highest/lowest notes without leger lines, and the sfzp, n, and pf dynamics.
Finale and the new SmartMusic are among the first applications to support MusicXML 3.1, which is still being finalized at the W3C Music Notation Community Group. Since the first versions of MusicXML, Finale’s support for new versions of MusicXML has helped to drive adoption throughout the rest of the music notation software industry. We believe that the same will be true for MusicXML 3.1. For now, the biggest change for Finale users will be improved transfers to the new SmartMusic, and better exchange with older versions of Finale from 2009 through 2012.
One other change that people will see is that uncompressed MusicXML files now have a .musicxml file extension, rather than the generic .xml file extension. This will allow applications to better distinguish MusicXML files from XML files used by other applications that might be on the same computer system.
Users of Finale 2009-2014.5 can take advantage of MusicXML via the Dolet 7 plug-in for Finale.
Finale 25.4 also adds support for text enclosures with rounded corners, the first native support of this style by any of the major commercial scoring programs, although MuseScore already boasts this feature.
With expressions, this is done by way of a Round Corners checkbox in the Enclosure Designer dialog, accessed via Expression Designer > Enclosure Shape. It can also be applied to text boxes via the Text Tool > Standard Frame.
You can set the Corner Radius value to control the degree of the effect.
Mark Adler, MakeMusic’s notation product manager and senior editor, told me: “Rounded corners for enclosures allows for users to further customize the look of their work. Personally, I’ve found that using rounded enclosures for rehearsal markings goes a long way in making the page look warmer and have used rounded enclosures for years in my work, but in the past I had to rely on custom fonts to achieve this.”
Another new feature in Finale 25.4 is an addition of an option in Document Options > Key Signatures allowing the user to cancel outgoing key signatures only when switching between signatures of only sharps or only flats, but not when switching between signatures with sharps and signatures with flats — because the change is more obvious in that instance and saves horizontal space.
There are a handful of fixes in 25.4, too. See the release notes for Mac and PC for a full list, and for more information, read our coverage of the 25.3, 25.2, and 25.1 updates, and our review of Finale 25.