[Dixielandjazz] Sibellius or Finale or Encore?

Don Mopsick mophandl at landing.com
Mon Oct 10 23:21:06 PDT 2005

I have been using Finale for Windows since 1995. A lot of changes for
the better since then. I am using version 2005b. I know the program so
well by now that I feel I can do anything I need to do with it. I even
did some very complicated copy work for a solo piano score for Dick
Hyman, the most challenging in my career as a copyist. I have done a
total of 3 full orchestra scores, all were "Pops" charts for jazz band
and symphony orchestra. 

Yes, the learning curve for Finale is a long one, but the rewards are
great once you learn it. The newer versions have some very handy
time-saving improvements, like the Staff Tool which can turn regions of
measures into repeats, slashes for blowing, or rhythmic notation. I can
usually turn out a chart for a 7-piece jazz band of about 125 measures
in length in about 4-5 hours, including printing out the parts and
scotch taping them together. 

There is a built-in sequencer with MIDI which I find very useful for
clam-checking the score before extracting the parts. 

The graphics tool allows one to export the finished parts in a number of
leading graphics formats like .tif. I have never gotten the scanner
music recognition software to produce any useable results. 

Sometimes you can get a significant discount on Finale if you can prove
that you are a music or jazz educator.

I have seen the output of the other notation programs. Nothing beats
Finale. There is a special "jazz font" available that makes it look like
a conventional copyist with a traditional Osmiroid ink pen, but that
reminds me too much of Berklee School of Music. So I just stick with the
more formal font. Looks just fine, and muisicians never complain about
the clarity.

I have found that printing from Finale works best with a laser printer. 


Don Mopsick, Riverwalk Webmaster

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