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Every 18 months or so, Coda Music Technology releases an upgrade to Finale, its music-notation program. Some of these upgrades have enhanced the program. Others, such as the recently released Finale 2001, offer improvements that look great on paper, but are less spectacular in the real world.
Despite the largely lacklustre new features, however, Finale remains the Mac’s premiere notation application. Whatever type of score you’re creating – choral, orchestral, or jazz – Finale is likely to provide all the tools you need to produce professional-looking results.
Coda has changed few of Finale’s notation-creation capabilities in the 2001 edition. The improved Setup Wizard makes it easier to lay out a score’s foundation, and Finale is smarter about fitting music systems onto the page. But most of the changes focus on getting music in and out of the program.
For example, Finale 2001 includes MIDIScan, an optical character recognition (OCR) component that allows you to import scanned, printed scores as editable notation. But even with uncomplicated scores, the resulting file is a barely recognizable mishmash of notes. Fortunately for those interested in OCR, Finale can import files produced by a more capable program, Musitek’s SmartScore (£254; Et cetera).
A useful feature is MicNotator, which places notes in a score by playing single pitches into a microphone. When using Apple’s PlainTalk microphone to record from a recorder, Finale notated it with 80 per cent accuracy.
Coda has also added commands for exporting Finale files to the Web via Coda’s Finale Showcase and the Net4Music Web site. By the time you read this, Coda should be distributing Finale Viewer, a free plug-in for viewing, playing, transposing, and printing Finale files saved as Web pages.
Finale 2001 is a great choice for people seeking the most comprehensive notation application available for the Mac. Finale 2000 users, however, already have the program’s best elements.
System 7.6.1; PowerPC.