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Notation Software Update


Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
Upgrade bottom line:

If you use Sibelius 7, I think that's a good version to stick with for now. (that's the version I use for most of my work.)
If you use Sibelius 7.5, that's fine too. (This version added some small new features, but it also changed the file format, so it's annoying to share files with people working in earlier versions.)
If you use Sibelius 6, that's a little tougher call. It's acceptable to work in, but there are some limitations and it's now several versions back. I would recommend moving on from that version before long.
If you use any version prior to 6, I would recommend you upgrade to 7 or 7.5 before you get trapped in the version 8 licensing scheme. But act quickly, you'll need to buy 7/7.5 from a retailer who has existing stock since Sibelius is no longer selling those versions.

Finale 2014d is pretty stable and it's the version I tend to use for most projects. But opening old files in new versions of Finale can cause problems, or in some cases it won't even work. Finale's free NotePad is surprisingly the best choice for opening old Finale files and allows for simple editing.
If you use a version of Finale prior to ver. 2012, it's time to upgrade.
Notation software is absolutely essential for virtually anyone who needs to write down a musical idea. I have about 70,000 music files on my computer, and I'd estimate 2/3 of them are in Sibelius format, the rest in Finale and SCORE format. I don't foresee abandoning Sibelius or Finale any time in the future, and I am reasonably confident the programs will remain functional and useful, even if they don't add any significant new features or fix the glaring problems that remain. Perhaps Steinberg's entry into this market will shake things up and force some serious competition among all of the programs. Despite all of the grim news here, I remain optimistic and hopeful.

Read more: http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/to-upgrade-or-not-to-upgrade-a-notation-software-update/


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member

If you want free notation software that has very decent output, hands-down, MuseScore is the best option.

FWIW, if you are using notation software and you're worried about version conflicts, here are a couple things to try:

* Make good quality hard copies. At least one copy of every part.
* Export your score/parts in as many formats as you can, particularly MIDI, MusicXML, and PDF. These formats aren't going anywhere. Also, you might have an option that says something like, "Save in older format," or "Save in Open Format." Of course, you might no longer be able to edit (PDF format) or you'll have to make some changes if you want to re-print (MIDI format), but it's better than having to re-write entire parts or scores. Hey, hard drives are cheap. Save lots of copies.
* Use a virtual machine and install your old software in it. I can install Windows XP in a FREE virtual machine environment (I tend to use VirtualBox) and run most XP software without a problem, regardless of whether Microsoft still supports it. Hey, I think I could go all the way back to Windows 95, if I needed to. The only thing to note is that if you need to make MACINTOSH virtual machines, you need a Macintosh and, preferably VMWare Fusion ($50), or you're going to have a very, very hard time. Yes, this might mean that you have to buy more memory for your current computer (somewhat inexpensive), a faster or larger hard drive (pretty cheap), or a better computer (surprisingly, not that expensive, if you go with one a year or two old).

Oh. If you need old software, check Amazon and eBay, then Google. It's probably out there and it's both legal and relatively inexpensive.
I've started using notation software again. I'm finding the new MuseScore has come a long way in the several years since I've last used it. It's free, so I'm going to try to stick with it. :)
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