Jason Loffredo returns to Scoring Notes to talk to Philip Rothman and David MacDonald to review Finale version 27, the latest release of MakeMusic’s flagship music notation software. Headlining the new features in v27 are deep support for the two open standards championed by the W3C Music Notation Community Group: Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL), and MusicXML. Tighter SmartMusic integration, playback improvements, and user interface enhancements round out what’s new.
We cover it all, along with our take on what these new features mean for the future of Finale. We also offer our suggestions on what could be improved as Finale enters its fourth decade, and if you listen closely, you’ll get Jason’s step-by-step instructions on the “SMuFL shuffle” you’ll need to do to make the most of the new version.
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Philip, this interview with Jason Loffredo was much better and more informative about what v.27 than the previous interview with Jason Wick. It seemed as though the three of you were not as apprehensive about what has not only improved, but where else Finale may need to do in the coming years. Personally, I think this version is going to be a bit of a hard sell for MakeMusic, even though SMuFL seemed to be about 50% of your conversation; I know many of us using v.26 are probably going to wait until other fonts or all of them are completely “SMuFLized” before switching over. I am also hoping this is inspiring Sibelius to jump on board in this area.
I’d say the problem is not a lack of fonts: it’s the integration. We need to see improved ways of converting documents to and from SMuFL; there are still places where you can’t access the Character Selector; and several plug-ins need to be updated to work with SMuFL (Alphanotes, Easy Tremolos, Create Coda, etc).
In 27 “point Zero”, SMuFL is still a bit of a ‘proof of concept’ than a functioning feature. Hopefully, additional point updates will address this.
Certainly, the benefits are more in ‘where Finale can go from here’ than ‘what the update currently provides for the user’. Trouble is, Finale has been promising future improvements based on overhauling its technology for a decade.
… not just a decade. There are things that NEED attention and I am surprised again and again how certain things are not being addressed since version 1997.
It would be good if apart from improving the quality of musical writing, they improve the ability to handle audio. It would be nice if they could include a professional DAW in FINALE.
I watched the Finale developer round table and these developers struck me as… completely incapable of accomplishing what the software needs to move it forwards into the future.
Also, they barely address issues in their patches. I feel like the market will eventually phase this software out, naturally, as it’s legacy users age or pass out of the market. It will be like Visual Basic 6.
Sibelius development is surprisingly robust, these days. Arguably more so than PT or MC. I’m a bit surprised, history and all. I can’t even be mad about the support contract model, because they seem to deliver the goods over the course of a year. Dorico is Dorico.
It’s a bit sad to see a product fade away, almost in slow motion.