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Discussion Starter #1
I have been looking to purchase some notation software in the near future. I mostly write for smaller ensembles. Primarily jazz, r&b, and rock arrangements. I've been looking at Finale and Sibelius but, I'm not certain I need the full professional versions. Money is not an object but it seems wasteful to pay for more than I will use. Any suggestions?
 

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I'd recommend Sibelius. There is only one version with no restrictions. Especially for jazz and stuff with chord symbols it's far more intuitive to use than Finale. I had a both Print Music and the full version of Finale before and got frustrated by both.
 

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If you're a student, you can get the full version of either at academic pricing for around $200 at somewhere like AcademicSuperstore.con or eBay.

I had similar needs to yours and used Printmusic for the longest. It worked fine.

If you're going to buy a Finale product, you might wait, as they will probably come out with a new version in the next few months.
 

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I'd suggest downloading the DEMOS of both programs and then deciding. A lot of people throw out that Sibelius is "intuitive", but its not. It hand cuffs you left and right, and it is down right frustrating to get things to look the way you want them to look.

Finale is sort of in the other camp, where there are multiple ways to do everything, and pretty much no restrictions on what you want to do. Except it's not going to hold your hand to do it, which a lot of people like to call "non-intuitive". Finale is by far the more flexible program. But you might not need that.

But don't take anyone's word on it, go try them. There are also some other programs, like Encore, that might fit the bill for you as well. There are even a couple of free ones as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So the other day I walked into the local sheet music store (which we are lucky enough to have where I live) looking for some original scores of some music, and I noticed a copy of Finale 2006. I know it isn't the newest version but they have discontinued their software and he was looking to offload it pretty cheat. I am not a teach for a school and not currently a student. Give that that is the case, I was wondering if it may be better to purchase the full 2006 version or print music. I honestly think that printmusic will probably suffice for my needs but depending on the deal I can get was wondering what I may be missing out on from that version without upgrading currently. Also when I do upgrade would I only have to pay 1 $170 dollar upgrade fee?
 

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I had the 2004 version in my computer at a new job two years ago, and it works just fine. I wouldn't call it intuitive by any stretch of the imagination, but the full manual is built into the program. With patience, and an hour per day to get your feet wet for a few months, you can turn out some impressive stuff. I have written concert band arrangements, choir arrangements with piano and organ, and much more. Some patience and exploration will be the key. I just upgraded to the 2011 version, and I am waiting for it to arrive.
I also have Sibelius at home, and it works great, too. I agree that Finale is more flexible, but Finale's learning curve is slower/steeper than that of Sibelius. Either way, you will get great looking notation that most publishers use as their standard. If you submit something to a publisher on disk in either Finale or Sibelius format (assuming that your chosen publisher will accept submissions for review -- many of them will not), you have a much better chance of getting it published, as their editors can make changes easily and set up for publication quickly.
Sax Magic
 

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I have Finale.
I find it extremely non-intuitive.
Written by a nerd obviously.

I don't use it much. I guess you might get used to the commands, but it
frustrates the hell out of me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have had some experience with finale and I have friends locally who are familiar with it. I looked at the demo versions of the softwares. I was just originally wondering whether I should spend the almost 5 times the cost to purchase a full version versus a perhaps a mid-grade-ish version. I'm thinking at least for the moment that I'll go with print music as it seems to offer everything I currently need it for at a lower cost and will allow me the time to learn the program. I am sure at some point I will pick up a full version but ultimately it not the piece of paper making the sound so... Thanks for the help all.
 

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I have used both quite a lot. Finale first which I found to be non-intuitive like all the others say, and then I switched to Sibelius, which I found to be much better designed. I don't find myself handcuffed at all and the results I have gotten with it are excellent and look like anything that comes out of a publisher. They both of course take a while to learn and become proficient in. I agree with the advice that you try the demos of both and then decide.
 

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I have used the full-blown version of finale and personally I thought it was pretty incredible. It does have about a thousand things you don't know what do do with, but if you just play with it for a while you eventually figure stuff out. There are some features that come in pretty handy. I have not used sibellius though, so I have no idea how they compare.
 
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