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Windows 10, Finale 26

Hi all,

What is the difference betwixt Engraver and Maestro fonts?

Do any of you have a preference--and why?

Thank you,
:-)
Nessa

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It's just a choice. It doen't matter what anyone else thinks, which do you prefer?

 

I'm satisfied with Maestro. It's the default and does what it needs to do.

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What he said. Look at the two side by side, and see which one is more pleasing to your eye? Unless a client demands one or the other, do what you like.

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Thanks, guys.

It appears it is just a matter of appearance. :-)

I thought perhaps they might have different features or preferences.

:-)
Nessa

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As long as you do not have a client with specific font demands, you can freely use all fonts.

 

If you prefer the clefs in one specific font, then use that font as clef font, even if the document’s Default Music Font is another font.

 

If you prefer the time signatures in one specific font, then use that font as time signature font, even if the document’s Default Music Font is another font.

 

An example:

For the “hat” accent articulation (= V, not >) I prefer the glyph in Engraver over the glyph in Maestro.

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As others have mentioned, it's really a choice (and honestly, until recently, I didn't even know about Engraver, having only used Petrucci (yes, I'm old), Maestro and Broadway Copyist (which has been my default for awhile). But now that Finale (27.x) accommodates SMuFL, there are at least a few additional options with more coming. Besides Finale Ash, I've also found Petaluma to be pretty good, and if I wanted a non-handwritten font for some reason, there's also Leland and Bravura (which is Dorico's default), and many more like November and a few others if I wasn't too cheap to spend $ on them.

And yes, you can absolutely mix fonts. Petaluma is good but the dynamics look like something out of the Weimar Republic or worse, so I have a template (see below) that uses Petaluma for the music font and the treble clef, Finale Jazz for the bass clef, London Tube for text as well as the time signature. I didn't like the bass clef in Petaluma, but Finale Jazz is fine. So like Mini Coopers, one can customize and come up with something pretty unique. I also make my barlines thicker, at 5 EVPU's, but that's just me.

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Thanks, guys.

I also started with Petrucci and after the great initial learning curve "back in the day..." I have tended to remain rather conservative and unadventurous when it comes to exploring the broad depths of Finale.

And David, I like your example. I have used a similar time signature in some piano works and liked that. The Petaluma font looks inviting and not sterile--I did not know these other fonts are available. Where might one find them?

:-)
Nessa

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I got it here. It’s the equivalent of open-source.  It keep in mind you also need to download the .json file that is there along with the font file. There are instructions for where to install each. You can also find some more fonts here

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… I did not know these other fonts are available. Where might one find them? …

 

You are using Finale v26 - right?

If you download and install Finale v27 (demo), you will get several SMuFL fonts, such as Finale Ash, Finale Maestro, Finale Broadway, Finale Copyist, Finale Engraver, Finale Jazz, Finale Legacy.

 

The other SMuFL fonts David mentions, are third party SMuFL fonts.

You can read about them here:

https://www.smufl.org/fonts/ 

 

NB:

To use the SMuFL fonts fully, upgrade to Finale v27.

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Thank you, David and Peter,

Wow. These are very impressive looking fonts--I do appreciate the links.

I have been hesitant to upgrade to v27 because it doesn't seem to address many issues, including hairpins and note crowding.

Perhaps there is more to it than I thought?
:-)
Vanessa

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So honestly, F27.x has very little that is compelling, at least to me. The SMuFL stuff is fine but it certainly doesn’t make anything I do with Finale easier nor does it add functionality I need. The “sharing” thing they added: come on. Seriously? 

If you really want to use a handful of  SMuFL fonts that are newly accessible (only one of which comes with Finale 27, namely Finale Ash), then sure. But the other SMuFL fonts that come with Finale are essentially identical to the non-SMuFL versions. The main advantage of SMuFL as I understand it is that you have many more options for glyphs within the fonts themselves, like various microtonal options. That’s great, but not always needed. So Finale Maestro is more or less (non-SMuFL) Maestro. Same with the other Finale fonts. I also think the implementation of SMuFL in Finale remains not fully implemented (there are a lot of tweaks that can be added to the .json files that I’ve heard are not yet there in the Finale SMuFL fonts) but it’s still pretty good. 

So other than SMuFL, which is not needed IMHO, then yes, there is no real killer feature in F27. I’m hoping some new things do happen with the next major release, along with some enhancements to existing functionality (the MIDI tool is really really showing its age). 

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David,

You have expressed your sentiments beautifully.

They reflect mine, but with greater eloquence.

:-)
Nessa

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I don't think I would ever do a piano piece with large time sigs. I do use and make templates. My current concert band template looks like this.  I am not a big fan of New Times Roman so I change that.

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BTW, I would still encourage you to upgrade to 27 even though and I agree the file sharing is just fluff. There is still a lot of clean-up done under the hood in each version upgrade. Finale is at the point in its life span where most new "features" will be speed in functionality. There is already not much of anything Finale can't do. The trick is and has been for a long while, knowing how. 

Perfect Layout is a 'perfect' example. Finale can already do everything PL does. PL simply makes it easier in a keystroke. MM needs to wise up and install functionality like PL in favor of file sharing. IMVHO, as always.

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I'm not an "engraver" nor do I really care that much about whether Bravura is soooo much better than Maestro or this font is way nicer than this other font because the treble clef slants forward, etc as I've seen touted on some web sites. All I care about is being able to notate something legibly, and very little will trump Dallapiccola's handwritten scores or even those of Feldman (hard to read but definitely unique and the music is just wicked awesome). That all said, I have developed some preferences of late, and what one person might like, others will hate. I used to use the engraver time font (which I'm pretty sure is in the example above, right Ernest?) for large time signatures only to suddenly read on some notation forums that this is viewed with derision. So I started to think perhaps Engraver Time, while I like it, might be kinda bland, so I've changed to one or another font for large time signatures. In the end, it really doesn't matter. What I really want is for people to actually perform my music, which happens occasionally and none of the awesome performers have ever complained to me about the look of my scores. Never. I've experimented with cutout scores (which really is easy to do in Finale, probably easier than in most other programs) but went back to not doing that because I came to the conclusion it was more an affectation than something that really mattered or was worth the extra time on my part. But that's the nice thing about notation software; you can really experiment and see what you personally like. So long as it's legible, it's all good. 

As far as Perfect Layout, while it was gnarly to use on my older finale files from the 90's, overall it worked well. Honestly, there is little benefit for most of my recent scores; they just aren't that complicated and it's rare that I have more than one dynamic level or any other marking in my scores. But it does help. Having shelled out around $180 for it, I'm actually not a fan of Finale incorporating it (although in the bigger picture, they should have done this ages ago since they're pretty much the only ones who haven't; I'm told Sibelius has this "magnetic layout" thing and Dorico is supposedly capable of providing perfect layouts automatically, although I suspect YMMV and this is largely marketing-speak), but at the very least, it would be great to not have to rely on Jari's plugins as they seem to have been end-of-lifed and some as I've mentioned here before no longer work or crash very readily if any settings are changed. I love JW Change, JW Rhythm Copy etc, but these really need to be part of Finale. At the very least there should be a more robust way to address accidentals; I have seen how Dorico does it on their web site and it is much easier and more useful, it seems, than anything in Finale, even TGTools and JW Accidentals. 

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There is already not much of anything Finale can't do. The trick is and has been for a long while, knowing how. 

True, but if I could provide a counterpoint (pun intended), why should folks have to go through hoops to figure out how to do something? That's the argument a lot of users of that "other" software make all the time; we are all oppressed by Finale's cumbersome and outdated UI. And they do have a point. After nearly 30 years as a nonprofessional and occasional user, why am I only now learning how to do certain things with Finale that would have been helpful had I known earlier? Why is page layout something that only now have I kinda sorta made peace with (and in large part due to Perfect Layout)? And I'm still not convinced everything plug-ins do can be done with Finale, just with more effort. Some scripts I believe are hooked in deeply to functionality that is not necessary available to the user, so while the software technically can do it, if those functions are not available for users, then the reality is these are not possible outside of the plugin. I mean, you tell me how one could use Finale to create some of the things found among the Measure plugins, or how one could create retrograde inversions other than doing it yourself by inputting the notes (rather than having Canonical Utilities manipulate the notes without introducing user errors)? But it's mostly a distinction without a difference; if doing some of these things are herculean without a plugin, then that functionality really doesn't exist for the user minus a plugin. In Word, I can look up every word and try to translate it into another language if I don't already know that language, or just run a plugin in Word to translate it. Same with referencing; I need a plugin that hooks into my reference software when I write journal articles because it's way cumbersome to deal with that manually. I suspect it's similar with Finale; plugins are really necessary and much of that functionality is not practical or doable without these plugins. 

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OK my thoughts on several points.

"And I'm still not convinced everything plug-ins do can be done with Finale, just with more effort."

No matter how much you wish for additional tricks in any program none can do something that the original programmers didn't already include. Plug-ins simply gather all the commands needed for whatever task and run them in script program file.

"After nearly 30 years as a nonprofessional and occasional user, why am I only now learning how to do certain things with Finale that would have been helpful had I known earlier?"

David you can insert any name of a few other software programs akind to Finale such as Photoshop and/or Autocad, etc., and you would get the very same reaction form folks. Complex software is, well, complex. I have been a Photoshop user ever since it came on the scene and today I still find stuff I didn't know was there.

" In Word, ..."

Finale is not Word, could there be improvements? Of course there can and I think most of us agree MM has spent time and money in places that some of us think is fruitless.

David if you are frustrated with Finale I encourage you to switch to Sibelius or Dorico but I will absolutely say you will be just as frustrated. Perhaps in a different way but you will be. After nearly 30 years of Finale you are far better off continuing to learn all its little, perhaps hidden, treasures.

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"I'm actually not a fan of Finale incorporating it (although in the bigger picture, they should have done this ages ago since they're pretty much the only ones who haven't; I'm told Sibelius has this "magnetic layout" thing and Dorico is supposedly capable of providing perfect layouts automatically,..."

 

I hear this complaint all the time and it makes little sense. I don't use lyrics so I wish MM would remove it from Finale. The fact others do use lyrics means it needs to be there and if you don't want to use it fine but the ones that do can. Perfect Layout is the best thing that has happened to Finale. It is something MM has not been able to do. However, if you don't like it or don't want to use it fine. You don't have to but for the ones of us that do like it, well, we can't because MM doesn't see fit to include it. Fortunately we can buy it.  Fortunately there is JW but what if there wasn't?

They don't seem to want to create their own perfect layout. PL is here and handed to them in a package. Not just PL either some of the JW plug-ins need to be included such as JW Change. It is a hundred times more powerful that the anemic version offered in Finale.

I have a good friend who is a successful composer/arranger. He makes his living selling his work. He is a Sibelius power user. I have sit with him for hours composing music and I can assure you Sib does not make a press ready score.  Magnetic layout or not. You still have to tweak stuff.

I don't know what Dorico can do, never used or  and don't know anybody that does, but a final score can not be made until is is final! No software can do that. It can not know what you are going to enter until you are completed.  And why PL is run after you are through.

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Ernest, I think the Perfect Layout folks should pay you commission since I’ve never seen anyone proselytize so strongly and consistently for a software package. Seriously, your frequent “ads” for them are what convinced me to buy it. 

no, I’m not ever switching to dórico or Sibelius or musescore or whatever.  Of course they all have steep learning curves and I don’t have time for that. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have attributes that are worth emulating in finale. 

my point about perfect layout is they having shelled out $ for it (and it ain’t cheap), I’d hate to have wasted that if finale suddenly reproduced it. It’s like how I felt after buying the Radical Pianos rack extension for Reason only to have Reason provide it for free in the subsequent upgrade.  

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David I have no connection with PL or JW for that matter. I'm just telling my experience with both. I am sure that it depends on what type music you compose for or arrange for. My main most thing for using PL is concert band stuff and for that it has been invaluable. For The Bones Midwest stuff I either compose or arrange I don't really use it much. Those scores for that purpose are well more simple, perhaps 4 to 8 parts.

BTW, to be brutally truthful PL should be called "Almost Perfect Layout".

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I wasn’t suggesting you do have a link, but that’s kinda my point; you evangelize for Elbsoft’s plugin quite a lot. So they’re getting a lot of free marketing from you, that’s all. And it is not perfect. Neither are “magnetic layout” or Dorico. If Magnetic Layout were so great, a lot of these folks would not have switched to Dorico, and then engage in badmouthing Sibelius every chance they get. 

 

But within them there are definitely some advantages from what I’m hearing from many who use them. The fact that one needs a plugin to deal with various collisions in Finale that the application itself could handle if so programmed suggests there is still a lot of room for improvement. And yeah, complicated apps have features that take many many years to even realize they’re there. But that’s also suggestive of a need to improve the UX for Finale overall. I see a lot of questions here and in the unofficial forum from users who don’t know how to do something that is not at all exotic, but basic functionality. That someone has to then point them to a plugin means this is not at all intuitive for a lot of people. Some of the plug-ins have names that don’t totally clarify what they do (why is Search and Replace a way to change fonts, for example? That’s an odd name for it.). Yes one can do tons of stuff with Finale, but we all agree it’s not always intuitive or straightforward. The shape designer is the same shape designer I used in the 90’s when I actually needed it badly. It’s horrific by today’s standards. Too many tools, including some of the Special Tools, only function on a selected measure, making the ability to make tweaks over multiple measures impossible. That’s a dumb way to design things. It represents a 90’s way of doing things and that was 30 years ago.

 

I mentioned I have zero interest in changing my notation program. But a lot of that has to do with the simple practical fact that it takes a long time to learn a program like Finale, and at this point, with only rare time to compose let alone learn a new notation program with different paradigms and commands, I’m locked into Finale (plus I have nearly 30 years of Finale files to deal with). But if this were, say, 20 years ago, there is very little chance I would not be using that notation program that some think is the new hotness. It doesn’t have 30 years of code to hobble it. The UX, while it wouldn’t work for me today, clearly is effective for a lot of people who are not stuck with 30 years of muscle memory to unlearn. And the lead product manager seems to be ridiculously responsive to anyone who posts on their forums, even on third-party forums. So they are responsive, and they get it. Again, I am not going to switch. But I’d be an idiot if I didn’t appreciate that the newer applicatio isn’t stuck in the past, has some novel features that Finale doesn’t have, and can do some things much better. There are few things that Finale can do (eg, the rare need or desire for a cutout score being one the few) that this newer program can’t now do.

So I was surprised to get the suggestion that I should go try one of these other programs so I can realize their limitations, I’d rather express these concerns so that maybe, just maybe, some enhancements and fixes could get done with Finale. Of course it’s a mature product at this point so less in the way of new features is perhaps necessary. But I’m trying to think of the last time a major release of Finale had something really new and useful. It’s been awhile, and even macOS is finally adding some new things like Universal Control that is worthy of a new release. Why not Finale? 

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David and Ernest,

I want you to know that I really enjoy and appreciate your exchanges.

Because of you--and others--I have discovered JW_Change and JW_Rhythm_Copy. The former has been a great benefit to me after using Finale's "Cautionary Accidentals" and forgetting to uncheck the "courtesy accidental" box, which resulted in accidentals on every repeated note in a bar. I can undo it only immediately afterwards, but JW_Change (among many other things) has allowed me to recover from Finale's limitations.

There have been many other tips, and also it has been nice to know I have not been alone in my frustrations of antiquated features such the the Expression Designer, etc.

:-)
Nessa

 

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Thanks! Completely agree about the JW plugins and I shudder thinking about a future without such functionality. 

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To both of you Davis and Nessa.

I believe you lose, like many people, the fact Finale is an extremely complex program. I compared it to the likes of Photoshop and AutoCAD. Both or all three have steep learning curves if you intend to use them to their fullest. Anybody can crop a photo in PS. And, anybody can draw a box in AutoCAD.  However when you get into layers and masks or need to draw a locomotive, you need more than a basic understanding of the software. The same is true with Finale and Sibelius. When you have any software that is as complex with that ability it will be by its very existence, complex to learn.

Sibelius also has plug-ins to help with or speed up some actions. And, David old code does not necessarily mean bad code. There is something to say about keeping the GUI as is. I must say Finale  with the plug-ins I use, which will remain unmentioned in an effort to remain neutral with no promotional intent, does exactly what I want. Most of the time the folks that complain about Finale simply don't know how to use it. But that brings us back to the complexity of Finale and it ability to do all things in music.

I am not excusing MM for doing things I don't  think is in the correct direction to go. They certainly don't listen to me especially the new group in Boulder. I had much closer ties with the previous staff. I was a beta tester for five years for them. But like I always say, it always comes down to one of, or both of, two things. Not enough money or don't know how to.

 

BTW, Photoshop is one of my other big software I use daily and have for many years. It was no picnic in the beginning either.

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I think you might be missing the point. I think I’m pretty well versed in how to use finale and it’s functionality. But regardless, Finale is hard to use for most people and if users are asking folks like you and me about how to do some basic things, it’s often because those things are not intuitive. Not because most people don’t bother to read the manual. 

yes, old code works. But old code also limits what can be done. That’s why many times programmers will literally rewrite and recompile from scratch. Mac system 7 still works. But by the time things got to macOS 9, Apple had to purchase NeXT in order to jumpstart things with OS X and get a more modern OS. What’s happened with finale is we are all hampered by old legacy code. As a result it gets harder to scale, to add new features without breaking other functionality. hence the ancient shape designer and midi tool. 

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I believe this discussion has reached a climax. The bottom line is Finale is still the best and most capable music notation software there is. You can switch to Sibelius or Dorico, your choice.

You can continue to fight Finale and continue to have difficulties or you can accept it and do the things offered to enhance it and move on.

Good luck to both of you.

EB

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What is this, “my notation program, right or wrong. Love it or leave it?”

No one should have to “fight” a notation program. Nor should one just accept clunky ways of doing things and blithely keep one’s mouth shut. 

if most of us didn’t want to keep using finale, we would indeed have moved on and would not bother arguing with you, EB. But we want it to be better. Less clunky. More capable and easier to use and have less difficulty encountering  functions that are indeed there but buried. Do you really think we should be ok with a MIDI tool and a shape designer from the 90’s that are no longer as useful as they could be if only they had some updated functionality? Zooming on the Shape Designer should be a pinch gesture, just as one example, not selecting 400% from a dropdown menu. 

people shouldn’t need to spend $100-300 extra to buy plugins in order to actually make Finale useful. Vertical collision avoidance should be automatic. Cautionary accidentals should be much more powerful and configurable by the user (which is what I think Jari’s JW Accidentals plugin could provide if only it didn’t crash every time I try to change the default profile). Even many of the plugins are getting old and buggy without regular updates. That’s the problem; having to rely on these third-parties who aren’t well monetized or staffed is not sustainable for the long term, no matter how talented or well-intentioned these folks are. 

So no, I’m not going to change programs but I also am not going to struggle using finale or simply accept things as they are. I think most of us, regardless of experience, run into issues using Finale quite often. So I’d prefer to have Finale enhanced and developed further and in a more substantive fashion than just some minor “nice to have but not really impactful” updates. Between this and also the lack of any improvements in GPO (I’ve not seen any updates since I purchased the sounds a few years ago), I wonder where MakeMusic is really planning to take things. 

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Ernest and David,

Thank you, again, for the wonderful exchange of ideas. Perhaps it is time to move on, though I think there has been some misunderstanding.

After 30ish years of using Finale (first with Coda) and Photoshop (yup, me too) I am grateful for all of the wonderful things it can do--and still I am amazed, particularly after revisiting my scores AND parts that all were hand-written by me. These include the old
"ozalid" (blueprint/drafting pens and ink; I can still smell the ammonia on the paper :-).

Still, I look forward to a point of fine tuning some of those everyday tool that 3rd party plugins supply.

Hope to hear from both of you in the future as our topics and questions expand.
:-)
Nessa

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Wow, someone else who used those pens and paper. As I recently posted on a different forum, in the 70's and until the early 90's, I used a Pelikan fountain pen, and electric eraser, Aztec transparency paper and a few other minor accoutrements to notate my scores by hand, which would then be printed at my expense at a place on W. 54th street just across from Studio 54. But then I got into Finale and have not actually hand-notated anything since Finale 3.2. There are definitely some things that were nice about writing things out-it was easy to notate things however you wanted. On the other hand, it was absolutely miserable to do. I spent hours late at night while I was a teenager and then an adult, and mistakes had to be removed with that electric eraser and unless i spent more money on a better version of the Aztec paper, it inevitably caused holes in the transparency paper. I remember that the paper that came with a blue cover was the cheaper version, and was only intended to last a few years, whereas the more pricey version came with a yellow paper cover and not only lasted longer but also was less prone to holes when erasing my inevitable mistakes.

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