Jason Wick on Finale development

Scoring Notes
Scoring Notes
Jason Wick on Finale development

Jason Wick joins David MacDonald and Philip Rothman to talk all about the upcoming release of Finale version 27. Jason is MakeMusic’s senior manager for Finale, and he gives us an inside look into its development, the planning process, how new features are considered, and how they’re eventually incorporated into the software that we use. We hear about the brand-new support for the Standard Music Font Layout, or SMuFL, that’s included in Finale version 27, and how that will make it easier for users to switch between music fonts in their document.

Jason also talks about some of the other new features in Finale, like project sharing and MusicXML 4.0 support, which improve how people work with other tools in conjunction with Finale, and we learn what’s in store for future updates beyond this latest release.

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  1. Ben

    Is there any news yet about whether Finale 27 will be a Universal Binary for MacOS?

  2. Florian Ross

    It’s nice to interview the Finale rep – I am just wondering why almost no critical questions were asked?

    There are sooooo many weird bugs happening since Finale 1997 that have not been addressed and it seems like they are keeping on ignoring them.

    Only one example: How can one still not change tied notes’ enharmonics without having to change every note?

    I don’t understand how celebrating small upgrades in “user experience” help professionals while major weird things are going on since more than 25 years…

  3. J Adrian Verkouteren

    In the past, when a new Finale release has appeared, I have gone through all my files, opened them, and resaved them in the new format (to avoid the “No! I cannot open my Finale 2003 files in Finale any more: I’m shocked!” situation I sometimes see on the Finale Forum).

    But Jason seems to say that the only way to update old files to SMuFL is to export as XML from the old file and then import the XML into a new default file.

    Will Finale be providing any conversion routine that makes this easier for those who have many legacy files (even as recent as Finale 26) that would need converting to protect against the day when non-SMuFL fonts become deprecated? Even a routine that allowed one-at-a-time file conversion in a single step would be a help.

    1. Ben

      Adrian, my take on it is that old files will continue to use the “ASCII” glyphs, which are also in FinaleMaestro, but if you want to convert your existing document to SMuFL characters, then you’ll need to rinse it through XML.

      I would also expect there to be FinaleScripts and Library files to convert to SMuFL.

      MM tends to place a strong emphasis on loading old documents correctly — perhaps to the detriment of development. I have files from the mid-90s that still open fine.

      1. Philip Rothman

        Just to clarify —the “ASCII” glyphs are in Finale Maestro but not at the same codepoints. So if you were to switch your default music font from (legacy) Maestro to Finale Maestro (which Finale v27 won’t actually allow you to do), everything would look garbled.

        We will be explaining all of this and more very soon… keep your browser tuned to Scoring Notes :-)

        1. Ben

          Philip, from what I can see, there aren’t any ASCII glyphs in the new fonts at all. Adding the “Legacy Maestro” glyphs, in the same way that November2 does, would have been a much more compatible solution.

          1. Philip Rothman

            Hi Ben. Perhaps this would work in the short-term. On the other hand, it might make it more difficult and confusing for the user to work with other SMuFL-compliant fonts (which won’t have those legacy codepoints). If the file appears to be using SMuFL, but is really using the legacy codepoints, the user is no better off in the end.

            Let’s see if/what they come up with for a proper converter process that is set up for long-term viability and is workable with any SMuFl font, not just Maestro.

  4. Philip Rothman

    Thanks for the great questions so far. Please keep them coming. We’re planning on addressing all of these and more in our usual Scoring Notes review once Finale v27 is released, and also in next week’s podcast episode. Here’s what we know so far:

    Finale v27 is not yet a Universal 2 binary, but it is fully supported under Rosetta 2 on M1 Apple Silicon.

    MakeMusic has announced the list of bug fixes in 27.0. If it’s not on this list, it likely has not been addressed.

    A conversion routine from non-SmuFL to SMuFL files is planned for a future update, but not in 27.0.



    Thank you for an enlightening podcast. I’m a Finale nerd since 1994. In this podcast, no mention was made regarding the functionality of the Score Manager and any forthcoming improvements. I ask because I have moved away from Garritan and into 3rd-party VSTs. (Which probably makes me a “persona non grata”.) I have never expected Finale to embrace the DAW concept because I realize that is not Finale’s main focus.

    I was curious to know if Finale’s back burner list of projects will ever address this. I am sure you realize that personalizations in the sound palettes used in Finale are a nice perk to those users who may not want or afford to move to full-fledged DAWs.

    That being said, Score Manager’s clunkiness surely needs to be addressed sooner than later.

    Thank you.


    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Enrique. I have also been a Finale nerd since 1994. The Score Manager is largely unchanged in Finale v27. Some work was done on revising the instruments, and the percussion layouts are much improved, but the core functionality and design of the Score Manager is the same as v26.


        Thank you for quick reply, Philip. Much appreciated !


  6. Vladimir

    Honestly, SMuFL literally isn’t even that important when you have an application with such awful UI responsiveness. Fix the bugs, and then you wont’ have to sell it at half price to gank users into buying it only to realize it’s literally unusable on their system for real, productive work.

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