Sibelius: How it compares, version 6 and composing with software

Well I often get asked what is the difference between Sibelius and Finale, which one is better and so on. So I thought I'd post a blog to put my views down and also to share some links which I think are just wonderful. Basically, my view is that Sibelius is a musician's program. It is intuitive and works as you'd want it to work. Finale is a programmer's program, it is powerful like Sibelius, but doesn't have the same ease of use. Despite an odd but common belief, as a Sibelius user there is nothing I have not found that I am able to do. As a copyist I tend to work the program hard, and so far to great success. There are of course a few features that differ, these do tend to be in favour of Sibelius. In the past Sibelius has been dominant in Australasia, Europe and the UK, and Finale was dominant in the Americas. This is changing, with Sibelius becoming very popular in America and Finale working it's way into the UK. Some publishers and copying houses swear by Sibelius, others with Finale, so perhaps it is becoming a fair share between the two companies. I won't get too deep into specifics because Daniel Spreadbury, the senior product manager for Sibelius, has a superb blog which answers all possible questions on this topic. A recent entry covers the specifics on this topic, where Sibelius leads, it's unique features, and why it's the copyists' choice, engravers' choice and teachers' choice.

What has brought Sibelius further into dominance as the world's leading notation program, is their recently released Sibelius 6. Another great blog is Daniel's two-part introduction to this new version. In part one he talks about the story behind Sibelius 6.

In part two he describes how they approached the development of their three biggest goals, Classroom Control, Versions, and their Keyboard and Fretboard windows.

Also related to this is a great new blog by Kenneth Froelich who is the Assistant Professor in Music Composition at California State University, Fresno. It is about composing with music software. He puts it that "as both a composer and a teacher of music composition, I have seen many of the missteps, pratfalls, and outright disasters that tend to come about from writing music on the computer. However, through my own personal experience, as well as working directly with my students, I have come up with several strategies and pedagogical approaches to help young composers recognize and overcome the traps that tend to hinder successful "computer composition"." It will be an interesting blog to keep an eye on.

I hope this is interesting reading for all of you. Enjoy.