I had gotten a lot of requests for my arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner, so I thought, “This morning, I’ll notate it and put it up. Won’t that be nice?”

Of course, since it involved FAILnale Finale software, I had to write some stuff in, like the counterpoint lines. Perhaps it is possible with my current edition of this ghastly application, but I could not figure it out. I think I’m fairly adept at this stuff, having worked as a copyist over the course of a few summers, but maybe I’m living a lie. I sure do a lot of stupid stuff after all, like purchasing Finale. I’m sure some rep from the company could write me a terse email about how to do it and all I have to do is control option click double tab space alt F2 and it would work, but I am really fed up with software that is like some badge of valor to learn how to use.

Let’s leave those badges to the magnificent men and women we celebrate today. I dare say a Happy Veterans Day to you all. Not because serving the United States is all fun and games, but because the whole reason the military exists is to protect us from those who would compromise our chance at “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. I consider myself fortunate to live in a place where those values are held in such deep regard that they are part of the founding tenet of the land. Our country is complicated and oft divided. Thank you, Veterans, for doing the things that are asked of you, no matter how difficult or unpopular they are.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for the arrangement.

    I'm convinced that the authors of Finale software deliberately left out critical tools (and help features) from each "level" to constantly remind us what cheapskates we were for not buying their top of the line package. I really doubt that those higher levels required that much more programming effort to justify their pricing.

  2. The full-feature Finale program can do just about anything. You can get an educational discount on it too. I use it for everything from composing to re-writing pre-existing music that is poorly notated, to making arrangements and exercises for my students.

    I do share you sentiments about our Veterans, however. Thanks for putting your very nice arrangement on line, and giving a little musical nudge to the importance of the day.

  3. Emily,
    As one currently in the process of deciding which music notation software to purchase, would you recommend Sibelius as an alternative to Finale? Some other program?

    Thanks for your tribute to veterans.

  4. Elaine: Good to hear from you again! I really do need to go back and read more of your stuff, which I always find enriching. 🙂

    PDR: Everyone I know who has moved from Finale to Sibelius says it's a change for the better, and that you get more for less money. There are people who will swear by the full Finale edition, and I'm sure they have a point, but after 6 years of suffering with it, I'm ready to make the move, no matter what. btw, you can download trials of both.

  5. My college had a class in how to use Finale…it's that complex. (And that was 10 years ago!)

    It's rough, but well worth the time to learn it. I swear by it, myself. And now that they've incorporated Native Instruments sound patches to it and introduced the "human playback" feature, I've actually used sound files as demo recordings for some of my larger ensemble works. Every time I'm inquired about it, they ask "Who's the ensemble performing this?" They're shocked to hear it's nothing more than an over-glorified midi file.

  6. NICE EMILY!!!!! I KNEW you'd come thru for me (hahaha – see how this always relates back to ME? lol). Anyway, looks great – now I can print and practise to my hearts content!

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