Find Plugins & Information about Finale & Sibelius QUICKLY

Have you noticed that a typical internet search doesn’t always produce relevant results for music notation? For instance, if you do a Yahoo, Bing or Google search for  “articulation”, you’ll get dozens of results, with none of them related to Finale or Sibelius, and only a handful related to music . . .

‘NET SEARCH (see sidebar) is a useful resource that can help.

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Note Spacing in Finale & Sibelius : Matching Music In Print

Q: While I was reading your article about note spacing in Sibelius and Finale, an interesting idea came to mind: Do you think it is possible to recreate the exact note spacing of a certain publisher from a printed page or pdf file in Sibelius?

A: Great question! I assume you are referring to punctuation (the word used to describe the horizontal spacing between music characters).

Note spacing, or punctuation,  works in tandem with the physical layout of measures on the systems / pages, which is historically referred to as “Casting Off”.

For starters, it’s worth noting that duplicating a publisher’s *exact* horizontal music spacing (punctuation) involves more than consistent numerical settings. This is partly because there have been so many different types of processes for engraving music over the years:

  1. Punched on plate
  2. Lithograph
  3. Autographed (drawn)
  4. Stamping
  5. Photomechanical
  6. Music Typewriter
  7. Acetate and Rub-off sheets
  8. Computer

…and partly because punctuation, as it turns out, isn’t necessarily an exact science, and can fall into three basic categories:

  1. Mathematically perfect
  2. Mathematically imperfect
  3. Lyrical

In addition, other factors besides notes can affect note spacing. For instance, accidentals, note flags, articulations, material in other voices etc …

However, in spite of the variations which are inherent in all of the above  processes and categories, it should be possible to closely approximate the punctuation (horizontal spacing) of a particular published piece in either Sibelius or Finale by taking some measurements and setting up your software to duplicate these.

Note that you can  even apply different rules to different sections of a score to increase or decrease spacing widths, or approximate the “mathematically imperfect” and “lyrical” punctuation categories above, or address a specific concern where some circumstance requires a special consideration. More on that in a moment…

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Finale 2014D Announced

November 3rd, 2014 : MakeMusic today announced a new 2014d update to Finale which includes a half-dozen new features, as well as a handful of bug fixes:

Of special note is a new opt-in anonymous usage data feature which will help MakeMusic better track how Finale users are working with the program, so that relevant improvements can be made more frequently and efficiently in the future:

“Improve Finale: By selecting “Yes” below, you allow MakeMusic to automatically collect anonymous information about your hardware configuration and how you use the software. With this information, we will identify usage patterns so that our designers can make informed decisions when creating future versions of Finale.

We will not collect your name, address or any other personally identifiable information, and you will not be contacted in any way. Since we have no visibility into your actual documents, there is no risk that any unpublished or copyrighted material will be accessed.

You can change this setting at any time by choosing “Help Improve Finale” from the Help menu.”

Here is a list of the features and bug fixes:

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Finale : Automated Bar Numbers & Instrument Family Group Brackets

Q: We just came across something that seems to be a major annoyance in Finale. We had never run into it before because we usually start from a Document Style with the Setup Wizard, rather than creating a template from an existing file.

It seems that when you add, delete, or change an instrument from the Score Manager, it resets staff attributes for a bunch of staves all at once. For example, our templates were set to only display measure numbers over the first Violins in the score, but on making any change it resets the attributes of the first staff in each instrument choir, so all of a sudden we have huge measure numbers all over the page, and redundant grand staff braces and / or brackets are created.

I wanted to ask you if you’d encountered this issue before, and if there’s a solution.

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Music Spacing Between Layers in Finale

Q: In this screenshot, you’ll notice that the G natural accidental in the third bar is colliding with the previous F sixteenth note between the two layers:


I have tried all sorts of ways to fix it, using the Document Options’ minimum spacing, space between, etc. I have tried Note/Beat/Time Sig. Spacing, all the JW note spacing alternatives and nothing fixes this issue automatically. Is it only fixable manually?

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Legni Woodwind Fingering Font for Finale & Sibelius

Good music engravers are always on the lookout for inventive and elegant solutions to make their work easier. To me, one of the more interesting niche areas of typeset music notation are graphical fingering diagrams for musical instruments.

Fonts are the optimal solution for creating fingering diagrams in Finale or Sibelius. Since font characters are essentially vector graphics (as opposed to bitmapped graphics), they will look great when printed at any size, and remain clear and legible on screen.

There are several shareware and freeware fingering diagram fonts currently available for both woodwind and brass instruments from enterprising font designers. I covered a few of these in a previous post.

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On Location : Vertical Placement of Bar Numbers

I recently had a discussion about measure number placement with a colleague. For film scores, game scores and other commercial recording sessions, bar numbers are most typically shown on every bar.  Although my colleague is a Finale user, this discussion is relevant to both Finale or Sibelius users.

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Working with the Logic Pro X MusicXML export feature


Logic’s Music XML feature only does export, not import, which makes sense – you’re likely not bringing music into Logic to clean up the notation. You can import .smf from Sibelius or Finale for file transfers if needed.

To access the Export feature, you need to have the Score Editor open and then go the main File Menu>Export>Score as MusicXML. This will be greyed out if a Score Editor window is not open.


The score display is what is exported – make sure you have the correct tracks and number of tracks displayed. With that in mind you could do a score set of e.g., just strings and export those.

Once exported you’ll find the file with a .xml ending. If you just click to open you’ll likely not get it opened in a notation program – you can import / open via Finale / Sibelius or select one of them to open the file.

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