|Hi, well I've been a finale user since 10 years ago, starting with finale 3.5. and at last with finale 2007. For me it has been BY FAR the best software for music notation, but at the same time, it is THE WORST for playback issues. Coda has been improving a lot in this, but finale is still a RETARD software when I click play in playback controls. Here are some of my concerns. Maybe some of these wishlists are already incorporated in finale 2008, but I really don't think so.
1. HUMAN PLAYBACK (HP). After a lot of versions at last finale can play ornamentations, smart shapes crescendo diminuendo < >, ties, etc.. with the human playback. But, it has a lot of problems. First, if I would like the violoncello to make a solo in a string quartet ensemble, it's just imposible to make it sound. Human playback always thinks the higher voice is the most important, so in a string quartet, violin I will sound at higher volume ALWAYS. I tried putting dynamics, but I have to put the cello in fff and the violin I at ppp to achieve that sound. In mac there's an option to prevent that but, in pc, i haven't found it. It could be really, really easier if HP would identify "solo" as a text expression, or maybe make a lot more hp's options in playback for text expressions, like instrument solo, non-solo, pizz, soto vocce, etc.
Another issue is that HP is worst when it tries to play a solo piano score. First, I have to put dynamics to both staves, it looks really bad a piano socre with 2 f's on both clefs.... I don't know how they programmed it, but dynamics in a solo instrument are not real at all, if I make a crescendo from pp to fff it sounds like mp to mf. f sounds like f and pp sounds like mf and mf sounds like f. Another very bad thing is that when it plays a piano score, it can't enchance the main melody, just the opposite from multi instrument scores. It can't also make a difference between bass, harmony and melody which is so common in piano notation. Maybe the solution for this was not creating a human playback, just make finale play articulation ornamentations and smart shapes and letting the user to have more control on the playback with more options.
2. CHORDS. Well, they have improved a lot of options for chords, fretboards, playing fretboards, voicings, easy system and very complete way to create chords, yeah, it looks great, but at the same time, it's so stupid. Don't they realize that musicians always need to put chords in empty measures? Well, after a lot of years, I still have to enter notes in layer 2 and then hide them, cause you can't put a chord in an empty measure. And when I put playback it's more stupid and ilogical to just hear the chord sound for the exact value of the note it was attached to, it doesn't matter if it's a 32nd. Hearing a lead sheet for a simple song in finale is still HORRIBLE. Maybe it I put chords in layer 2, then hiding the extra notes with blank notation tool it would certainly play better, but this is a lot of work that could be very simple if they could fix this.
3. GARRITAN AND MIDI. Garritan was a great improvement in finale, but it has a lot of ilogical things. I recently wrote a composition for accordion, oboe, cello, violin and rhodes. A very rare ensemble. I wanted to use GPO's sounds for violin, oboe, and cello, and I needed my Roland XV 5080 sounds for rhodes and accordion. Well, I don't know who's idea was, but finale can't play GPO's sounds and an external synth sounds at the same time. There's no way to change that if you choose "play finale through native instruments AU". It's like an absolute command, they should have put instead "play finale ONLY thorough native instruments AU, external synths', gm's and any other kind of sounds NOT ALLOWED". So, as you can see, i have to use my Roland's awful sounds for strings and oboe... or maybe try to use and organ as an accordion and steinway piano as rhodes in GPO. Why couldn't they make the user have the option to choose for every staff a GPO, softsynth, or just to midi out? Is this really hard to develope?
4. GREAT INCOMPATIBILITY. When finale will incorporate something like a REWIRE system? Imagine finale running with Cubase, acid or reason... and making it compatible not only with garritan but with almost all the VST instruments available in the market? If this may happen, it would make finale for sure the best software for professional musicians EVER, but.......
well, this is my finale wishlist, hope someday it could be real......