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Finale or Sibelius? Or something else?

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I have the occasional need to make up Real Book-style charts for tunes, because either the tune isn't available in one of my Real Books or I need to transpose it to another key for a singer. I've been making do with the notation capabilities of Band In A box for years but it's always been a pain, very cumbersome interface for that kind of stuff, and also rather limited quality of the output.


I've started working with some singers again and it sure would be nice to make the process easier and with better results. So I've been thinking about Finale or Sibelius.


My questions:


Do any of you use either of these products? What do you like about them? What do you dislike?


Have any of you switched from one to the other, and was the switch worth it?


Is there something else on the market I should be considering (Notion/Notion Progression)?


My needs really are mostly Real Book-type lead sheets (melodies, with chord symbols above); I don't really need something that can create full-bore professional scores for orchestras etc.... so I'm hoping the "lite" editions (Finale PrintMusic or Sibelius First) will be adequate. Is that a reasonable assumption?



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I've used Finale for several years (starting with 2007 version) It is somewhat arcane and cumbersome, but is capable of producing some very fine looking pages. Finale also has some lower priced versions - one of them might be what would work out for doing mostly lead sheets. Generally, Finale releases a new product yearly, with one major patch in between. Runs on both Mac and PC, is licensed to be put on two computers. Unlicensed copies (after 30 days) no longer save nor print. I started using it while taking Music Theory at the local community college. New versions will read older Finale and convert to the new format, which is NOT backward compatible. If you qualify for academic discount, pricing is significantly lower on either Finale or Sibelius.


I've been considering doing a competitive upgrade to the new Sibelius, would cost me about the same as upgrading to 2010 Finale. Sibelius does not have as frequent upgrades.


Both are fully capable of producing excellent looking work. According to reviews I've seen, both have a significant learning curve, and the way to do something is not always evident.


(I saw a link posted in the Guitar forum, but posted over here since that is where the thread originated).


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I've been working with both programmes and now work exclusively with Sibelius. I find to be less troublesome and easier to access than Finale.


However, for lead sheet writing you will get excellent results with both programmes, and AFAIK Finale is significantly cheaper than Sibelius.


Personally, I prefer the font types and layout possibilities that Sibelius gives me over those of Finale, and I had a lot of trouble in the past with Finale not accepting my chord symbols. Sibelius is way more comfortable in that area. Also, note input is already very fast just with mouse and computer keyboard in Sibelius. I use from lead sheet up to big band charts, and it works conveniently.


There is a quite recent version of Sibelius (6) that is supposed to make layouting more easy. Maybe it's best if you check out the website, because I haven't been able to check out the new version (it's not yet available here).

It's not a clone, it's a Suzuki.
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