Finale is the flagship program of a series of proprietary scorewriter music notation software developed and released by MakeMusic for the Microsoft Windows and macOS operating systems. First released in 1988, the version 25 was released in 2016. Finale has been regarded as one of the industry standards for music notation software.
Finale is one of a number of types of software used by composers, songwriters and arrangers for creating sheet music, including the score for an entire ensemble (e.g., orchestra, concert band, big band, etc.) and parts for the individual musicians. A scorewriter is to music notation what a word processor is to text, in that they both allow fast corrections (via the "undo" button), flexible editing, easy sharing of content (via the Internet or compact storage media), and production of a clean, uniform layout. In addition, most scorewriters, including Finale, are able to use software-based synthesizers to "play" the sounds of the notated music and record the music—an especially useful feature for novice composers, when no musicians are readily available, or if a composer cannot afford to hire musicians.
MakeMusic also offers several less expensive versions of Finale, which do not contain all of the main program's features. These include SongWriter, PrintMusic, and a freeware program, Finale Notepad, which allows only rudimentary editing. Discontinued versions include Finale Guitar, Notepad Plus, Allegro, and the free Finale Reader.