EOL 5: Finale 98 review (Signell)

Power, flexibility

Like its wordprocessing counterparts, Finale is designed to carry out many tasks in many styles, from medieval notation to contemporary, from jazz and classical to (in my case) Turkish notation. Many ethnomusicologists will want to know if Finale can notate music outside the Euro-American classical tradition.

Classical Turkish (Ottoman) music, for example, is traditionally notated in a modified European style. It requires only some extra symbols for sharps and flats such as the one-comma flat: ( comma-flat symbol ), and many non-European time signatures such as 56/4 for the Mevlevi instrumental prelude. Finale will lay out notes in any time signature you give it. Finale has several large arrays of symbols but only the one-comma-flat of other flats and sharps Turkish music needs. So one would either create the symbols in Finale's "shape designer" tool or acquire Turkish musical symbols from someone. For free-rhythm notation of improvisations, Finale can easily omit stems and omit time signatures.

Finale is not the best software tool for notating all musics. A graphics program is likely more suitable for sui generis notation or extant traditional notation of, say, Japanese shakuhachi honkyoku or traditional central Javanese gamelan music.

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review | EOL 5 | email reviewer