Finale turns 20


Above: Finale 1.0 running under an emulated System 7.5 in OS 10.5.4.

I’ve been a longtime Finale user since version 3.2, and while there have been speed bumps along the way, it is still my notation program of choice. It is now 20 years old, and it’s interesting to see how much it’s evolved over the many years. I’ve been a beta tester for the past few years and have been running Finale 2009. Quite a difference from the 1.0 days:

Finale is a lot more powerful. And complicated. It took me a year before I felt truly at home with 3.2 and later versions. While Finale can handle pretty much any notation issue I throw at it (although it still can’t easily handle some things, like big time signatures that replace those on individual staves, or truly independent tempi and time signatures), playback still is more a matter of karma than anything else. I say this after spending several hours last night in my hotel room tweaking an old 2-hour piano work to sound presentable, and I’m still only halfway through it since some things don’t playback reliably. Hoping to have these things resolved before flying back to PHL.

But faults aside, Finale has come a long way, and without it, I’d still be using paper. While handwriting can handle any notation challenge, I’d like to think we’re in the digital era. And unlike the old days, there are far fewer dialog boxes to navigate when using Finale. I’d hate to have to do all of this to enter a simple dynamic or other expression:

Very strange to be running System 7.5 on a MacBook Pro. It’s deja vu all over again.