Finale 2009 Retail Box ImageThe very popular Finale Notepad will soon be getting a major upgrade for its 2009 edition.  New features are being added, but this most basic of music notation software programs will no longer be free.

In an email sent out to registered users of Finale Notepad MakeMusic has announced the imminent release of its newest version, Finale Notepad 2009.  Until now this bare bones music notation software program has been made available for free (registration required) via the MakeMusic web site.  While missing most of the bells and whistles of their commercial versions of Finale, Notepad was still a solid, useful tool for beginning music students to use on their home computers to complete assignments or simply to doodle in the world of composition.  According to a September 4th email Notepad 2009 will break with this tradition and instead come with a very modest price tag of $9.95 and will purchased as a download from the MakeMusic web site.

So what will the buyer get for $9.95 that was not previously available for free?  Only two additions were mentioned in the message, most prominently the addition of expressions (dynamics, accents, etc. would be a good bet) and the addition of MusicXML import and export.   

MakeMusic is also planning the release of another product, Finale Reader which will reportedly open, play, and print Finale format files but will not allow any editing of the music.  A release date for Finale Reader has not yet been published.

As of the writing of this article the old (free) version of Finale Notepad 2008 was still available for download on the MakeMusic's Notepad page.  Anyone that wants to grab a copy of it should act immediately as the old versions are slated to be removed as soon as the new version is officially published in the next week or so.

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