It's now been 48 DAYS (including today) since I posted a question about a playback problem in a string quartet file. One tech support person made a few attempts to fix the problem, to no avail. Then it was handed over to a second support person who hasn't even made an attempt to help. This is f-ing ridiculous! Is there a person I can complain to—a tech support supervisor or somebody else who can get the tech support person assigned to this problem to do their job? This has moved beyond being an annoyance and is now and instance of complete incompetence! I have performers asking me for .wav files of the quartet and now they're getting ticked off at me because I haven't sent them.
I was just asking if there was a change in Finale's tech support. And I realize there may not be a solution to my problem, although it would have been nice to hear that from tech support instead of silence. Maybe it's time for me to look into Dorico, which seems to have more design imput from composers than Finale does.
Well there is no doubt the Boulder group is not as responsive as the old one was. I know it's frustrating and I know it seems they don't care very much. You hear that a lot these days but I doubt Dorico will solve the issue. You may just be exchanging one problem for another. But it's your dime.
Playback, while not the primary purpose of Finale (or any notation program, TBH), can be hit or miss although it's a lot better now than it used to be. Have you tried using NotePerformer? I've found that other than glissandi (which are a known issue for NP with Finale), it works very well. What is it about the specific section that isn't playing back correctly? Could you post it here? I've struggled with getting decent playback for a long time and mostly have succeeded. Sometimes it's a matter of using the very antiquated MIDI tool to clear any stray MIDI input that came into the file. Is your issue with a specific performance technique (eg, harmonics, col legno [limited possibilities with GPO 5 and better with NotePerformer])? With balance? With unwanted accents? Does anything sound better if you import the MIDI into a DAW like Reason?
And as mentioned, not clear that Dorico is going to be any better at this. While they have added what amounts to a piano roll in their latest version (which is a nice idea in many ways), that is nothing more than Finale's MIDI tool on steroids (and certainly an improvement over the MIDI tool in Finale). I've heard mixed opinions about Doritos built-in sounds. I think Dorico, without generalizing, is more for people who want their scores to look really good/professional without a ton of extra work or a plugin like Perfect Layout, whereas Finale is a good balance between appearance and performance and versatility, at the expense of a somewhat old-fashioned UX. Dorico has a steep learning curve not much different from that of Finale or any other notation program, so if you do go there, be aware it will take some time to get up to speed, and then you also have to get your existing scores into MusicXML and hope for the best with import. Very doable but it will take some effort and time.
I've been using Finale for a quarter of a century (I think since 1998—with all those print manuals) and am not really eager to swich to Dorico or Sibelius. I need to spend most of my time composing and not f---ing around with computer crap. Thanks for the tip about NotePerformer; I'll check it out. I wish Make Music would concentrate on fixing known issues instead of doing things like bringing out a Spanish edition (even though I can speak and read Spanish.) How about an edition in my native language of Hungarian? LOL At this point, I fear that "upgrading" to v.27 will just present me with a batch of new problems.
The issue I'm dealing with is with the string harmonics in GPO5 cutting out too soon at the end of the second movement of my 45-minute long scordatura string quartet. The same GPO5 harmonics work fine in the rest of the score, but in the last few measures of the movement the harmonics cut out sooner than the notated duration. I've decided to quit dealing with this problem and will use a workaround—notating the harmonics in a "fake" duration and put a text box in the score saying this was done for Finale playback purposes and cite the proper duration. This might seem a trivial issue, but those harmonics cutting out too soon affect the density, balance, and emotional tone of the movement's ending. My composition teacher Stefan Wolpe once told me that I worry about things that most composers don't know exist. Maybe that's just OCD or conforms to this statement by Michelangelo: "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle." Probably a little of both.
The ability of present-day performers to be able to look at a score and hear it has seriously declined. Too many of them want audio files of a composition to "evaluate" it. So I'm stuck with using Finale to produce them. (Pity poor Mahler, who had to read through an opera score to decide if he wanted to perform it in Budapest or Vienna.) Yes, I know there are alternatives to using Finale to produce audio files, but I really don't want to spend the time or money on more computer hardware or software.)
Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to my question. Best wishes/Keep safe!
I've been using Finale for a quarter of a century (I think since 1998—with all those print manuals) and am not really eager to swich to Dorico or Sibelius.
Been using it since version 3.2.1 in the early 90's and I still have those print manuals-they were amazingly useful. I'm not switching either, ever. No time-I'm also a composer like you with too little time to compose due to my day job.
I need to spend most of my time composing and not f---ing around with computer crap. Thanks for the tip about NotePerformer; I'll check it out. I wish Make Music would concentrate on fixing known issues instead of doing things like bringing out a Spanish edition (even though I can speak and read Spanish.) How about an edition in my native language of Hungarian? LOL At this point, I fear that "upgrading" to v.27 will just present me with a batch of new problems.
As a fellow person of Hungarian descent, I can assure you that F27 actually has not posed any new problems for me. It allowed me to start using some free SMuFL fonts that for my personal taste are better than those included with F27. As F27 otherwise really didn't add anything very new (file sharing-seriously???), there wasn't much that could break.
The issue I'm dealing with is with the string harmonics in GPO5 cutting out too soon at the end of the second movement of my 45-minute long scordatura string quartet. The same GPO5 harmonics work fine in the rest of the score, but in the last few measures of the movement the harmonics cut out sooner than the notated duration.
I'm still happy to take a look; my last piece (for two violins and viola) consists mostly of string harmonics with some challenging rhythms and tuplets and they start and end correctly. The audio from Finale with NotePerformer 3 is here. So what you're facing should not be the norm.
My composition teacher Stefan Wolpe once told me that I worry about things that most composers don't know exist. Maybe that's just OCD or conforms to this statement by Michelangelo: "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle." Probably a little of both.
One of my favorite composers and the teacher of two other favorites of mine, Feldman and Shapey (I encountered the latter many times when I was a bio major in college and he absolutely detested anything minimalist so he wasn't exactly a fan).
Small world—my given name was Király Rogerius (from the Latin, I guess. All my family pronounced it ROW-gare-eee-oosh.) My parents broke with tradition and gave me a middle name that was my paternal Grandfather's: Mihály: Király Mihály—Jesus! And when school friends would come over my house to play, they'd tell me that my relatives all sounded like Dracula. LOL And I'm married to a biologist who did circadian rhythm research with Franz Halberg at the U. of Minnesota. I'll write more later about your piece and my playback problem; as for now my wife and I have to go play a game with our pumi. (Not my favorite Hungarian breed: we had kuvaszok for many years.)
Roger I doubt 27.2 and the soon to be released 27.3 will fix it but 27 is the best Finale so far. Well worth the upgrade price.
NotePerformer 3 is also worth the price of admission as is the Perfect Layout plug-in. Those add-ons help complete the job MM and Finale don't see as important. Perfect Layout is a game changer!
In re Orbán:
I've composed two sets of Bitter Bagatelles for string quartet—the first overtly "political" music I've ever composed (although Chris Hedges would probably say that my refusal to become a "classical" composer working in an academic institution is a political act.) The first set was aimed at the growing threat of fascism in the US and then, with leaders like Orbán in Hungary and the invasion of Ukraine, I wrote a second set based on Hungarian patriotic songs and marches: Keserii Bagatellek.
As I sit watching videos of the political violence around the world and—let's be honest—the attempted right-wing coup in the US—I have nothing but utter disgust for all of the cowardly classical musicians who have refused to play my Bitter Bagatelles (in spite of my offer of no payment to me.) Not one string quartet was interested, including quartets characterized as "radical".. One such incident of cricketing made me laugh: my attempted communication with the Dover Quartet. This quartet was lauded for their CD titled Voices of Defiance: ”The young American string quartet of the moment delivers an original, deeply felt program of three European composers' distinctive responses to the destruction and despair of World War II." (New Yorker) Yet my response to the destruction and despair caused by neo-fascist politicians received silence from those "deeply felt" musicians. I also had to laugh over the fact that the earliest composition on Voices of Defiance was from 1943, the year I was born. Maybe 78 years from now—if the planet still exists—some string quartet will play my bagatelles.
It is obvious that only "pop musicians" have the courage to perform music protesting governmental offenses that put citizens in danger..Classical musicians sit in their entitled enclaves and feel they are above all of this turmoil and that their oh-so-pure art has nothing to do with hoi polloi. In March, Zachary Wolfe, the "classical music editor" of the New York Times wrote: “Classical music likes to think of itself this way: floating serenely above politics, in a realm of beauty and unity." Anybody who has more than a passing acquaintance with professional classical musicians would have a rueful laugh at that mendacious self-flattery.
OK; I'll climb down from my ricketiy soapbox. I realize that this site is not meant for poltical statements. However, all musicians should keep in mind how their music is related to things happening around them—us—and that our work should be more than DMAs writing music for DMA candidates, or to rack up YouTube viewers, or to get rich. We all make "political" choices, implied or overt.
Bartók left Hungary because he refused to live in a fascist country. Kodály stayed.
I've also written works that involve "politics" (really, I think a better term is "social activism" since raising awareness of Palestinian oppression or that of Black people isn't political per sé IMHO). They don't necessarily get performed any less often than my other stuff since my music doesn't get performed that often. That said, my work gendarme de la libertad for speaking pianist is going to be commercially recorded in Europe in the next year or two. It is very relevant to the continued oppression and murder of Black people in the US, and I'm sure it will not make me any friends since the text is from Che, but I really don't care. That portion of his (rambling and polemical) speech before the UN is important.
TBH, it's been hard for me to compose much anymore since what's going on here in the US is pretty horrific and getting worse. I've written only one piece so far in 2022, and while part of that is because work keeps me busy, a lot of it has to do with my just feeling disgusted with all that is happening. I used to perform surgical and medical abortions when I was in practice and cannot believe that after marching in DC more than once for reproductive choice, speaking out, etc, we are in a worse state than we were in the 90's. I don't even know how I'd practice ob/gyn anymore if I were in half of the country where abortion is severely restricted or illegal.
And yes, Bartók had to leave. Same with Dallapiccola, Schoenberg and tons of others from their respective countries. I go to Europe quite a bit (was there last week for work) and many of my colleagues there are very disturbed by the goings on here in the US and do not understand how we are letting it happen before our eyes. Just like Weimar I guess, in some ways.
Anyway, I agree with you-I don't think music is divorced from the milieu in which we live. And I don't think it should be.
Our power went out due to severe thunderstorms just when I was writing to thank everyone who has offered their assistance in trying to solve my playback problem. I heard from a Finale support tech this morning, telling methat my support question had "fallen through the cracks"—more like plummeting into the Kali Gandaki Gorge. I'll have to decide if it's worth proceeding with a Finale fix instead of just keeping the workaround I devised that requires two separate versions of the string quartet.
I realize that I have probably overstepped the boundaries of this support community and veered off into "artistic philosophy" and personal information. So I invite anyone who wants to keep up a dialogue that goes beyond technical problems with Finale to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I realize we're all tired of dealing with the pandemic, but cases are surging again so I hope all of you will take precautions and keep safe.
Best wishes and keep writing music!
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