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Posted By : pillsbur - 6/13/2007 11:15 PM
Dear Collective Wisdom,

Recently I completed a copying job for a client who wanted the score for his own portfolio and limited performances. Now I've just learned that a rather well-known publisher would like to publish the work and (as I've been told by my client) they would like me to send them my Finale file so they can adjust it to their in-house style, etc.

Is this something I should reject out of hand without a reasonable fee between me and the publisher? Or, without a specific agreement regarding such matters, have I forfeited control of the file to the client and his wishes?

I remember seeing a thread here a while ago where one of you mentioned you never give clients the original Finale file, but I can't find the thread now. If this is indeed your practice, may I ask why it is, and do you have any advice for me in this situation? If I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill and it's really no big deal, that's fine too; I just remember that for some around here it really is a big deal and I'd like to know why and what to think about before responding to the publisher.

For clarity's sake, there wasn't any discussion about ownership or copyright between the client and me, and we have a very good relationship. I'm primarily interested in understanding all my options at this point.

Thanks as ever,

Posted By : Peter Thomsen - 6/14/2007 1:42 AM
An engraver once was inspecting some music on a computer at the Frankfurt Musik Messe that he thought looked vaguely familiar.
It was at the stand of a publisher he didn't know.
He grabbed the mouse and looked at the file info box and, lo and behold, it was done with a file of his!
Obviously a previous customer had let go of a Finale file the engraver had delivered to him and it had made the rounds until it had been used as the basis of a start-document for this publisher.
Using the engraver's special default settings instead of coming up with their own.

Therefore, many engravers provide a digital copy of their work in PDF format only.

However, in this case it sounds like the publisher has no interest in copying your default settings.
If you want to be safe, you could provide a digital copy in MusicXML format.
That format should be sufficient for the publisher.


Mac Finale 2006d & 2007c, Dolet 3.5 plug-in, Mac OS X 10.4.9, iMac Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.16 GHz, 2 GB RAM

Posted By : Thomas Matta - 6/14/2007 5:57 AM
What is the MusicXML format?

Finale 2007c -- Mac G5 Dual 1.8 (1GB ram) -- OSX Tiger (10.4.9) -- Alesis QS7 -- GCC Elite XL 20/600

Posted By : Bill Stevens - 6/14/2007 7:59 AM
Under File you'll see that you can export Music XML. It is a translator made by Recordare and the best way to learn about it is to go to their website at


Posted By : pillsbur - 6/14/2007 9:43 AM
Thanks for the replies. Actually Music XML might be best because the publisher actually prefers Sibelius, and my understanding of Music XML is that it would make conversion to Sibelius easier. Correct?


Posted By : Peter Thomsen - 6/14/2007 9:45 AM


Mac Finale 2006d & 2007c, Dolet 3.5 plug-in, Mac OS X 10.4.9, iMac Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.16 GHz, 2 GB RAM

Posted By : rumsong - 6/14/2007 10:16 AM

This is an intersting subject and it seems to me that the engraver remains owner of his own 'art-work'. So it would seem fair if the publisher paid a fee for the use of that work in a publication.

I'm not sure if this makes sense, but it is only a vague thought. Comments welcome.

All best wishes,

Gordon Rumson

Posted By : N. Grossingink - 6/14/2007 2:12 PM
rumsong said...
This is an intersting subject and it seems to me that the engraver remains owner of his own 'art-work'.

I agree, somewhat. But, when the actual music is the property of the composer or publisher, who owns what?

Personally, I don't really care if my document settings and even fonts fall into the hands of others. They can duplicate and use them, and still come up with a mess. Hopefully, my work is characterized by attractive spacing and layout as well as attention to detail throughout each measure of every score and part. All of this is done on the fly, using knowledge that I have gained through much blood, sweat and tears.


Finale 2006c
TgTools, Patterson Plugins, QuicKeys X3, Suitcase X1
QuarkXPress 4.1, Adobe Acrobat/Distiller 7
Mac Mini 1.25ghz PPC - OSX 10.4.8
"Cocktail" OSX utility

"The sonatas of Mozart are unique; they are too easy for children, and too difficult for artists."
-- Artur Schnabel