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Re: LilyPond, Finale and Sibelius (was Review of Valentin's Opera)

From: Neil Thornock
Subject: Re: LilyPond, Finale and Sibelius (was Review of Valentin's Opera)
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2009 14:02:46 -0600

I will agree with many of the preceding posts that entry of notes,
slurs, etc, is faster for me in Lily than in Finale.  However, with
every new piece I have to devise a new hack to accomplish a certain
advanced thing - even as simple a thing as a slanted hairpin or a
cross-staff slur, which I simply must have every now and then.  I can
spend huge amounts of time developing the hack and then significantly
more time adjusting it just right in the actual score.  I don't
compose nearly the quantity I used to because LilyPond really puts me
through the ringer with certain notational difficulties.  But OF
COURSE it's worth it, because no other software produces as
professional a result.

That said, I keep waiting for the day when I've developed all the
hacks I'll ever need and can remember them long enough that I don't
ever have to snoop them out again.  Or when all this stuff will be
built into the software.  Whew!

But Chris's comment is a real clincher for me:

> The way that music is entered for LilyPond causes me to think in a more
> musical way - there have been times when I've been stumped as to how to
> tell Lily to engrave something, only to realize that even if I did get
> it exactly as the composer wanted, the music would be confusing to read.
> LilyPond makes it much easier for me to work in my dual editor+engraver
> role.

>From a compositional point of view, Finale encourages the worst kind
of laziness.  LilyPond, by the manner in which it encourages a focus
on the notational details, makes me think more critically toward my
musical material.  LilyPond also encourages a kind of healthy
perfectionism, because control over any element of the score *is*
possible.  Finale keeps resetting to certain bad defaults, and
eventually the typesetter caves and goes with it.  But with Lily I
can't be lazy about it.  And that has translated itself into my
composition work.  It's been a heaven send that way.

Neil Thornock, D.M.
Assistant Professor of Music
Brigham Young University

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