My students just finished their week of our Songwriting Workshop and we used Finale Notepad 2012 (free) to make lead sheets. While this is a very helpful tool, it has many limitations, so I wanted to outline the other Finale products that are available for purchase which do not have as many limitations:

PrintMusic® is designed for educators, worship directors, performing musicians, composers and arrangers who don’t require the advanced features in Finale. PrintMusic is easy to use and fun to learn. You can create sheet music up to 24 staves and input your music with a midi keyboard. This is a remarkable product for the money! If I could recommend any of the Finale products (but had to stay away from the costly full Finale which is only necessary if you are practically a publisher), I would recommend this one! Price is about $119

PrintMusic from Amazon

Finale SongWriter® is designed specifically for songwriters. It is a fast, easy way to create and print professional-quality sheet music. Import and export MIDI files, enter music with your mouse, computer keyboard or MIDI device to create music with up to 8 staves for $49.95. There are some limitations that would keep me from recommending this for piano students (you can’t “hyperscribe” which helps you play the notes in with your keyboard.)

Songwriter from Amazon

The full version of Finale is the ultimate music notation program giving you complete control over every aspect of the printed page while providing full MIDI capabilities and unparalleled audio output. At $600/$350*, Finale provides unmatched power and flexibility (*Academic and Theological pricing), but is a little too much power for anything a piano student would need.

Finale from Amazon

See a side by side comparison of all of these products.


By |2016-12-31T15:20:06+00:00July 2nd, 2012|Composer Tools, Composing, Wendy's Piano Studio|4 Comments

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  1. Kerry Drombosky July 3, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I have Song Writer and have used it extensively with my students. Mine does have hyperscribe-we used it quite a bit a year or so ago to “play in” our pieces. Mine was purchased several years ago,maybe this feature has been eliminated
    from the current version.

  2. Wendy July 3, 2012 at 11:37 am

    No, you are probably right that it’s included. But Finale makes a big deal on their product comparison chart about Songwriter not having some of the direct input methods that PrintMusic does. I guess I need more clarification about what it can’t do. Thanks for the info!

  3. Em July 4, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Wendy, I was wondering how you put together your worksheets where notation and text are both needed? I was especially impressed with the lead sheets you put together (I think it was an assignment you gave your students last summer??) where the treble clef melody is large and clear, and you also included a few little pieces like the LH chords and a few notes to help the student get started. I’ve tried using PrintMusic and cut/paste into word documents but the notation always turns out a little fuzzy. If you already have a blog post about this maybe you could just point me in the right direction?

  4. Wendy July 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Hi EM,

    I use Finale (full version) and Word or Pages. The trick is to export the finale image as at least a 600 dpi image. If you don’t have that option in Print Music, then you might try making the staff bigger (percentage tool) and then trying to export a bigger looking sample. I know the graphics export and import options are better in Finale full version, but I would think that you could at least export a tif or other file as a better resolution.
    You might visit the finale forums or send them an email inquiry about this. They are good at helping and would know the right answer!

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