For the price of a couple of fonts

Many of us have come from Finale and have valid Finale licenses. I still use Finale perhaps 5 times a year to edit an old project, or to convert a new project to XML when working with a collaborator. It has been so long since I worked actively in Finale that it would be extremely painful for me to try to do any real work.

So I stopped updating licenses after V25. However, recently Makemusic lowered the price considerably. And right now they have a $79 Cyber Monday / Black Friday price to upgrade to V27.

That’s basically the cost of 1 or 2 commercial fonts, and this package comes with a bunch of very good SMuFL fonts. To me, this made sense to upgrade my license.

You can of course download Finale’s fonts for free, even without a licence!

But, yes, if you need Finale, it’s very cheap right now. Though the advertised price doesn’t include tax.

Good to know. I didn’t know those fonts are free. Nonetheless, it is a small price to pay to have the license current. I do have some colleagues who occasionally send me some stuff in Finale format.

If you do upgrade Finale, don’t get rid of your Finale 25. I’m using F26 and occasionally have to go back to F25 to run a routine that fails in 26.

Ouch. I let the V27 installer remove V25. I use it so little, I doubt that will be a problem.

I wonder how Sibelius is doing in the market. While I do have several collaborators each year who want to send me Finale scores, I don’t think I have ever had anybody send me a Sibelius score. I have a license, but I don’t think I have upgraded that for almost a decade.

It stands to reason that active Sibelius users would have been more likely to switch to Dorico early on. Finale has an ecosystem of plug-ins that the user base feels really attached to.

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I believe Sibelius has a pretty essential suite of plug-ins, too. But plug-ins are the problem! If a feature is provided by a plug-in, the developer doesn’t feel compelled to implement that feature natively.

Finale users are utterly dependent on a number of third-party plug-ins; so much so that when Jari Williamsson ‘went dark’ and stopped developing his plug-ins, MM had to take over the code and promise to bundle them in the next version, 27.3.

Plug-ins as “transformative utilities” – e.g. changing 3/4 to 3/8 – are one thing, but when you have to run a series of plug-ins as part of a standard workflow to get basic functionality, like decent beaming (and then re-run them if you change the notes), then that’s a massive productivity drain.

There’s also the confusion of “where’s that feature?” Is it under the Utilities menu? Or the relevant Tool’s menu? Or is it under the plug-ins?


I completely agree with what you are saying here. In addition, the plug-ins present a hodge-podge with the user interface. With Dorico, the user interface is complex because it is a complex application, but the UI is remarkably consistent throughout.

A further point in this direction is that with Dorico, most of the capabilities operate in real time whereas plug-ins have to be run manually in batches. It is like the difference between using Audacity and Cubase. As you say, it is one thing to have a plug-in toolkit to handle occasional special cases that do some necessary transformation. In Dorico, the Write → Transpose feature is of this nature, as is the new Generate Notes from Chords feature. But the essential functions of the program, especially anything affecting layout and appearance, should not require running separate plug-ins.

Personally I am very big on parenthesized cautionary accidentals. Once I saw Dorico do this automatically versus requiring a manual plug-in to get Finale to produce similar results, I was never looking back.

Also the plug-ins have their own separate documentation (or none at all) so you don’t find any of that information in the normal places.