The mother of all musical notation programs is still the most powerful and it's extensible via plug-ins to add even more functionality. There's nothing you can't do musical notation-wise with MakeMusic's Finale. The learning curve can be steep, and it's not always the most intuitive program, but there's a sea of people using it and help is only a question away. The output is nothing short of fantastic and it's suitable for anything from straight sheet music to full-blown orchestra scores. Sounds for playback come courtesy of the Garritan Personal Orchestra sample library.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you must register to download the demo version of the software. The demo which doesn't save, and prints only one watermarked page. Sounds are limited as well.
--Jon L. Jacobi
Without a doubt, this venerable entry in the notation field has the most complete feature set, allowing you to produce just about any score you can imagine. But the interface, while efficient and comfortable for long-time users, could use an imaginative revamp. Still, it's the boss-daddy of notation programs--currently rivaled only by Avid's Sibelius, though Steinberg's Dorico is in hot pursuit.
- The most complete feature set in the business.
- Excellent output
- Vast audience of users makes help easy to find
- Uninspiring interface.