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[Finale] Mr. Phil Farrand, the inventor of Finale

Finale is a software invented by a person named Phil Farrand (1958-). Even if you search for this name in Japanese “フィル・ファランド” there is almost no information in Japanese, so I guess his name is probably very little known in Japan. 

When Mr. Farrand was studying composition and arrangement at the Central Bible College (CBC), which was later integrated into Evangel University, who is releasing this interview video, he was given an assignment that required him to write a large amount of musical notation. It seems that he first came up with the idea of converting what he played on the keyboard into musical notation on the computer.

Mr. Farrand, born in 1958, was a university student in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Computers at the time were just beginning to emerge, such as the Apple I (1976-1977) and Apple II (1977-1979), and there was no music notation software as what we see now, so a special typewriter called MusicWriter* was used in common to create music scores.

*MusicWriter is a product developed and sold by Music Print Corporation, and more than 5,000 units were manufactured from 1956 to 1990. See the article below for details.

▼Life before Finale? (Finale developer MakeMusic blog, English)

After graduating from college in 1981, he got a job at a music publishing company, but he quickly grew tired of creating scores by hand.

One day, he found a company that printed music notation on small flyers. He called the company and asked if they could use their company's software to create sheet music for what he was playing on the keyboard. They replied, “We don’t have such software but if you can create it for us, we will pay you a royalty”. 

Mr. Farrand laughed and hung up the phone, but then quickly realized that maybe it wasn't all that difficult.

With the help of his friends, he taught himself to program, and two years later, in 1984, at his first NAMM Show featuring MIDI keyboards, he released PolyWriter, music notation software for the Apple II. I guess this PolyWriter is probably the prototype for Finale.

Mr. Farrand then developed Finale in collaboration with Coda Music Technology (now Finale developer MakeMusic) and released the first version of Finale 1.0, in 1988*.

*In Japan, Finale 1.0 is sometimes said to have been released in 1989, but MakeMusic's blog says it was released in 1988.

He also mentions in the interview what Finale named after. 

“I called it Finale because I knew that was going to be my last piece of music notation software”

Perhaps Finale, which he created after developing PolyWriter, was the perfect music notation software for him at the time.

This is the splash screen of Finale v2.6.1, not Finale v26.1. You can read the name "Phil Farrand" as the author.

(As an aside, in the picture on the left side of this splash screen, there is a conductor standing immediately after the screen appears, but if you leave the screen open for a minute or two, he will put down his baton and come up from the stand. Apparently this was a joke program, and this screenshot is probably taken with the conductor gone. This is mentioned in MakeMusic's official blog, which is probably the only one that mentions Mr. Farrand.)

In the 1990s, Mr. Farrand sold Finale to Coda Music Technology and suddenly left the music notation software development industry. After that, he turned to writing, and currently seems to be continuing his writing activities while making a living as an IT consultant.

Finale, which he created, is now the oldest music notation software in use, and has grown into a product that, together with Sibelius, divides the global market.

It seems strange that someone who created such a product is still alive and no longer in the industry. I suppose maybe that's one of the reasons why almost no one talks about Finale's origins, at least in Japan. 

▼Phil Farrand's website



The finale intensive course is being held in parallel on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. Click on the banner below for details. (Lecture is given in Japanese. ) 

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