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I guess I just don't understand why Finale doesn't work better. I've been using it for decades—since it came out. I keep waiting for it to work reliably.

If I open a file from a few years back, it won't play, or it crashes the app, or the instrument sounds are gone, or the music font spontaneously changes.

I once had a staff system that just wouldn't display in page mode at 100%. It played back, it printed, it showed at 75% or 200%. It just would not show on the screen at 100%.

The lyrics tool is still as awkward as ever.

When I tell it to write for an instrument, it indicates when a pitch is out of range for that instrument. First of all, sometimes it's wrong. It is certainly acceptable to write for basses to a B-flat below the staff, so why does it tell me that's out of range? Second, it won't play back pitches it deems to be out of range.

Sometimes slurs or expressions will flip from below/above a note to the other side, but not usually. I need it to work reliably every time.

When I use the Change Articulations function, it doesn't, well, change the articulations.

The bleep sound to indicate a mistake is so much louder than the music I'm playing it's damn near painful.

I can't write registrations for organ and expect to hear them played back. I can't assign "pizz." to a string part for 8 beats then "arco" and hear pizzicato for just those 8 beats when played back. I can indicate a harmonic for harp, but it won't play back. I can indicate pedaling for piano (una corda, sustenuto), but it won't play back.

I can't make a vocal part "colla parte." I can't write a soprano part and indicate that it should be doubled by, e.g., flute.

If I switch from one percussion instrument to another on a single line, I won't hear it played back correctly. It's very common for a percussion part to show one instrument, then then switch to another. The whole percussion is just a mystery. Different instruments for different pitches? That's just weird. If I want a staff to be tambourine, I expect a note I write on that staff to sound like a tambourine.

It crashes a LOT.

Etc., etc., etc.

I guess I just don't understand how, after all this time, the app still struggles with pretty basic functions. There may be ways to do all these things, but it should be easy. I shouldn't have to go to this menu, then click on this tiny button, then know the equation for blah blah blah. Just make it work!!?!


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I've used Finale since its beginning, and I know it isn't perfect; but I dare say I haven't experienced the kind of problems or frustrations you describe. There are, of course, other programs out there, but I'm not sure you would notably more satisfied with them until you survived an extended learning curve.

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I agree with Andrew; though my particular list of things that don't seem to work is different, I'm sure it's as long.

The Lyrics tool really takes the cake for me, though, as I deal mainly with choral/vocal arranging.

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to which Plug-ins and Finalescripts are allowed to work in score view but not in part view.

The many different ways to control tempo, and their hierarchy of "authority" is sort of like the process of a kid saying "Dad, can I?"  "Did you ask Mom?"  "Mom said whatever uncle Joe said is fine."  "Uncle Joe needs everything converted into quarter notes."


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Pretty long list of complaints I deal with all of those situations but none are issues for me.


I also have been using Finale since the beginning. Almost everything I want to do is easily done but it is not intuitive. For that reason, I always keep the User Guide open on another screen. I don’t try to remember how to do everything and, with the manual open, I don’t have to.


I have licenses for other notation apps and use them to collaborate with others. Only one is partly intuitive but it’s years out of date and is fairly useless anymore. I keep those manuals open when I work with them, too..


"Fix Finale!" Ok… what and how? There’s a Feature Request page for those suggestions.

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