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Finale 2007 from MakeMusic, Inc.

Finale 2007 from MakeMusic, Inc. (www.finalemusic.com; 1(800) 843-2066), Macintosh and Windows XP compatible. Suggested retail price $600.00. Academic/Theological price $350.00. Upgrade from Finale 2006 $119.95.

As a long-time user and teacher of Finale music notation software, I eagerly await each new subsequent version. In the past, some upgrades have been monumental, some not as significant. However, there are several improvements to Finale 2007 that place it in the first category.

Finale allows the user to either set up a music document manually, to use a variety of pre-defined templates, or to use the Setup Wizard. With the wizard, simply enter the requested information, click "Finish," and the wizard builds the score to your specifications.

Once the score is on the screen, there are many ways to input notes. "Simple Entry" allows the user to choose note values from a palette and then click the staff to place the notes one by one. "Speedy Entry" combines the power of a MIDI keyboard to speed up the process of notating music. Using this tool, you play and hold notes on a MIDI keyboard, then press a number key on the computer keyboard to choose the note value. I find this tool especially useful if I already know what I want to notate or when entering chords. Other tools allow real-time entry of notes--you play and Finale notates. Keep in mind that you can also scan in music, play your wind instrument into a microphone, or import MIDI and a variety of other file types to get notes on the page.

Finale 2007 is faster and more intuitive than ever. Particular improvements that make upgrading desirable include linked parts, on-screen video, faster performance, Latin percussion, better sounds and options for more realistic playback of notation, and other features to make notation faster and easier.

Users who write for ensembles will love linked parts. When you make

changes in the score, they automatically appear in the parts and vice versa. The new video support allows you to import digital video and synchronize it with your score. And Finale 2007 comes with the Kontakt Player 2, a powerful sample library sound player, and the sounds of the Garritan Personal Orchestra. These features, combined with the human playback option, allow for quite realistic playback of your musical score with no additional sound sources required. You can also use these sounds to quickly create an audio MP3 or wav file from your score.

Even though the annual upgrade of Finale is annoying and somewhat costly, the features included in Finale 2007 make this one well worth the investment.--Reviewed by Kenon Renfrow, Greenville, South Carolina
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Author:Renfrow, Kenon
Publication:American Music Teacher
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Words:445
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