Finale or sibelius? - Anyone have any experience with these?

Talk to others about making and writing music on a computer

Postby Stretto » Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:40 am

I just began researching software for notation, but at my rate of research, it will be a long time before I actually have something in hand. I am planning to look into Finale or Sibelius. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience between the two or have another recommendation to research as well?

I'm needing of course as user-friendly as possible yet with the capabilities I'm looking for. I kind of got cold feet after reading the review on notation software that a lot of software for notation may be not user-friendly enough for a computer illiterate person like me. I'm worried about getting in over my head trying to install the software/equipment and run it. Is there training that would help enable me to be able to figure out how to set up the software and run it? Does anyone know which of the above two may be more user-friendly or any others? I don't want to be playing the "frustration with the computer" game when I'm trying to write music. I'd probably prefer to give up some capabilities if it meant more user-friendly software. Any advice or recommendations?
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:01 am


I was waiting to see if someone else with more experience would post on this. Since it hasn't happened, let me comment. Of these two programs, Finale is probably easier to use and Sibelius more powerful. More of PEP's visitors seem to use Sibelius than Finale, although that is, at best, an unscientific survey. Before you buy, you may want to look at our Software Reviews page. We have reviewed several notation programs there.

If you have a working MIDI keyboard connected to your computer, setting up notation software should be easy. Just follow the install routine. If you don't have a keyboard set up in Windows XP and you use Windows, install the keyboard first, then the notation software. These days, MIDI devices are pretty well handled by Windows, so, as long as the keyboard provides drivers for Windows, or can use the default Windows drivers, you should be OK.

Power almost always means complexity. As I've said in the past, it's hard to beat Cakewalk for notation software, if you can deal with the complexity of it. Almost all notation programs come with a "guided tour" or similar training material, usually available from the program's Help menu. Don't try to "wing it"; use the training program if one is provided. I think you'll find that, once you've taken the "tour", you'll be up and composing pretty quickly with almost any program.

Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1135789885
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Postby Stretto » Fri Dec 30, 2005 7:52 am

Thanks for the reply. I was wondering what about Finale did you think made it easier to use than Sibelius?

I can't find anything about notation software on Cakewalk's website. I only found some information implying that Cakewalk sold some notation software off to another company? Am I misled on this? What was the name of Cakewalk's software? It might help me locate info. on it.
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