Finale as a Boon
Finale is a sensational program that puts power to notate and compose music in the hands of people who otherwise would never have such a chance. Those who do not play piano now have the opportunity to try out voicings, chords, and sounds they could never produce alone. Finale lets aspiring arrangers and composers create masterworks with professional publishing quality, and allows for playback of what you’ve written. It’s an absolutely indespensible tool, and it (or Sibelius) is highly recommended. In order to download Finale Notepad, the freeware version, you should visit FinaleMusic.com. Give it a whirl! It will be your best friend.
Finale as a Bane
Warning: Yuri is currently mounting his hobby horse for a wicked ride on a coiled spring!
Finale 2009 – the world’s most powerful music notation software – lets you express your creativity and love of music. Compose, arrange, notate, and print engraver-quality sheet music.
—FinaleMusic.com (emphasis added)
Finale is a fantastic tool, but it is fundamentally a tool for music notation; it does a rather pitiful job of performing pieces written for it. Since we’ll be composing for the voice and not strange synthesized “oo”s, it’s wise to take extra care when using Finale. When people write music in Finale instead of at a piano, an instrument, or with their voice, there’s a neigh-unavoidable tendency for it to come out sounding like Finale playback. And it makes perfect sense that this should be the case. Instead, work on picturing in your mind what your arrangement might sound like sung by real people.
We’ll discuss this later in detail, but the short of it is that the best way to arrange is to remember that vowels, syllables, dynamic effects, and fantastic sounding voices are by far the most exciting and interesting parts of a great a cappella arrangement; Finale can provide none of these for you, so if you use it to test the sound of your arrangement, you’ll be apt to miss the best parts! Don’t let this happen to you.
Alternative Technique: Multitracking
Highly recommended is the use of multi-tracking recording software such as Adobe Audition to record yourself singing your arrangement. By multitracking yourself or friends, you will get an opportunity to hear what an arrangement sounds like when performed with voices. Better still, by singing every line throughout, you’ll be forced to learn what parts are hard to perform, which contain improveable voiceleading, and how to teach the group how to do certain sections. This process could be done anywhere along the line, but also works quite well as an initial compositional sketchbook. More on all this in Advanced Explorations.« Go Back