Sample Files in Finale

New to Finale? Want to see what it can do? Check out a sample file. These files look and sound good, and can serve as models if you’re new to engraving music.

To check them out go to Finale’s File menu, choose Open, and then navigate to your Sample Files folder:

(Macintosh) HD>Applications>Finale 2010>Sample Files
(Windows) C:\Program Files\Finale 2010\Sample Files

Within the Sample Files folder are several subfolders to choose from:  Brass, Choral, Latin, Marching Percussion, Opera, Orchestral, and Piano. Feel free to check them all out, but for now open the Orchestral folder and select “Mozart Symphony in G Minor.”

Press Play to hear the Mozart sample file play back. I think it’s interesting to note that the nuance you hear is courtesy of Finale’s Human Playback feature. While we could have had a virtuoso keyboardist play these notes in, or we could have had a MIDI expert tweak each note (and with Finale you can do all of this and more) we didn’t do this, and I find it encouraging that anyone can get similar playback results without keyboard skills or MIDI editing prowess.

You might have noticed upon opening this file that the various sample file folders each contain several pairs of files, one with  — and one without – the acronym “GPO” near the end of the name. The files with GPO at the end are configured to play the premium Garritan sounds included with Finale 2010. While Finale includes Garritan sounds from several Garritan libraries, we’ve used the Garritan Personal Orchestra library’s acronym to keep the file names reasonably short.

The files that don’t include GPO in their names play back the SmartMusic SoftSynth sounds also included with Finale. These are the sounds you just heard. While most folks will prefer the sound quality of the Garritan instruments, there are advantages to both. Since playing the Garritan sounds make greater demands on your computer’s hardware, if you’re using an old computer you might have better results using the SmartMusic sounds. Another advantage of the SmartMusic sounds is portability – even the largest orchestrations will play back identically — on anyone’s computer – regardless of whether they are played with Finale, the free, downloadable Finale Reader, or any other Finale-family notation product.

If you’d like to hear how the Mozart sounds with the Garritan instruments, you don’t actually have to close this file and open another, however, as we cleverly configured each sample file to easily play both. All you need to do is this:

(Mac) From the MIDI menu choose “Play Finale though Audio Units”
(Win) From the MIDI/Audio menu and choose “Play Finale through VST”

…and press play again. If your machine has a fast enough processor and sufficient RAM you should hear a significant difference in sound quality – enjoy!

Want to hear something completely different? Try the Latin or Marching Percussion sample files. Feel free to experiment with all the sample files to get an idea of just some of the looks and sounds you can accomplish with Finale.

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