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.
Q: I’m formatting a Timpani part with key signatures hidden. The score contains a number of keys changes / signatures. The timpani part itself is fine with all accidentals in place.
However, I need cued notes from other parts to appear in the Timpani part. The source parts all show key signatures. I used the TG Tools Add Cue Notes… plugin to make the cues, but none of those accidentals appear in the timpani part. For example, the flute is in the key of G major, and has a passage with F-sharp in it. If I cue that passage in the timpani part, Finale doesn’t show the sharp to indicate F#.
I can’t believe this is an uncommon problem. How can I globally make these diatonic accidentals appear in a part without Key Signatures?
A: As you are already aware, historically, Classical scores displayed some instruments without Key Signatures. Timpani and French Horn are probably the most common of these “keyless” instruments, although you will find examples in the repertoire for Trumpet and even Clarinet.
For Timpani, since it is not a transposing instrument, one would think that all you’d need to do to hide the key signature is to uncheck Key Signatures in Items to Display of the Staff Attributes, and any diatonic accidentals would then automatically appear in the staff:
However, to see how this really works (and how it doesn’t), let’s (1) define a Key Signature, then (2) set our Timpani not to display the Key Signature as above:
(3) Now, enter some notes using your MIDI keyboard. If you enter a sequence of non-diatonic naturals, you get (redundant) naturals displaying on every note; if you enter notes that are diatonic to the hidden Key Signature, the accidentals aren’t displayed at all, neither of which is very useful:
So, as you can see, simply hiding the Key Signature isn’t really an ideal solution at all. If you’ve already entered music in the staff with “Items to Display>Key Signatures” unchecked, there is a partial solution for showing accidentals more correctly after the fact, which I will cover at the end of the blog post. But first…
Q. Do you know if there a solution to the omission of a Cut Time option in Finale’s Engraver Time font?
A. As you know, the Engraver Time font is a vertically “stretched” narrow font specifically designed to display large time signatures in scores:
However, inexplicably, Finale doesn’t provide the Cut Time symbol in the Engraver Time font; the character slots “c” and “Shift-C” in Engraver Time have been left blank. It’s unclear why a vertically stretched Cut Time symbol was not included with the Engraver Time font.
Finale’s Document Options > Time Signatures dialog can control positioning of the abbreviated Cut Time symbol vertically separate from the regular meters.
I have logged a feature request with MakeMusic to add the Cut Time and Common Time Symbols to the Engraver Time Font (if you would like to request this as well, refer to case #130919-000264)
In the meantime, if you also happen to own Sibelius 7, you can use the “Opus Big Time Std.” font from Sibelius which *does* have a version of Cut Time and Common Time symbols. Make sure the Cut Time option is checked in Document Options > Time Signatures.
(Hint: if you don’t own Sibelius 7, ask a friend who does to email you the Opus Big Time Std. font, or you can download the Sibelius 7 30-day free trial, which comes with all of the fonts.)
Once you install the Opus Big Time Std. font, depending on the font size you choose for your big time signatures, you will likely need to separately adjust the vertical positioning for the Abbreviated Cut Time symbol so that it appears properly related to the positioning of your regular time signatures:
for Susan Pascal
You may already be familiar with Wallander Instruments Virtual Instruments (WIVI), which are known for their very expressive sound modeling capabilities. Wallander Instruments has just released NotePerformer – no-hassle, realistic orchestral playback specifically designed for Sibelius 7 and Sibelius 6 at an affordable price point (retail is $129.00)
NotePerformer includes an extensive collection of virtual instruments - section strings and solo strings, a comprehensive range of marching band and orchestral woodwind and brass instruments, pitched and unpitched percussion, saxophones, piano, harpsichord and, well, you get the idea.
When working in Sibelius, NotePerformer works just like the built-in sounds. Instruments are assigned automatically from your score, and you control them from the Sibelius mixer. The setup simplicity of the sample library is one of it’s biggest selling points. There is really nothing new to learn – everything is done within Sibelius. The collection uses your existing House Styles, Dictionary and Instrument Definitions, and you can switch between the built-in sounds and NotePerformer with one-click in Playback Devices.
Finally, NotePerformer has a very low CPU footprint. All instruments in the library use either synthesis technology or samples powered by Wallander’s patented technology for changing the timbral brightness in real-time, or a combination of the two. Large or complex scores should always play back correctly, even if your computer isn’t the latest and greatest.
SibeliusBlog posted a detailed review of NotePerformer which even includes some demos reviewer Philip Rothman created using the collection.
Q: I have been unable to solve the problem whereby Sibelius 7 appears to add numerous measures to the end of my score as I am recording (in Flexi-time) when I input notes via MIDI controller. I am not sure what I am doing to cause the score to expand in that way. This is not a major problem, but having to delete needless measures every so often is a bit of irritation. I would be delighted if you could suggest a solution.
A: By default, the Flexi-time feature of Sibelius 6 and 7 is designed for you to be able to begin recording with no previous sense of the form of the piece – e.g. the idea is that you are simply going to begin recording your recorded ideas into Sibelius, and much the same as you would if you were recording with a tape recorder or DAW, within reason, you will want to be able to record until you make a mistake (or run out of ideas).
To facilitate this, when you first begin recording in Flexitime, Sibelius adds blank bars to form a “container” for the transcription it will create. By default, this is set at 100 bars. The good news is that if you are using Sibelius for a scratchpad to record your ideas, Sibelius will generally capture everything.
But, if your score is past the stage of plunking in thematic ideas on the MIDI keyboard, it’s likely you’ve already determined the ”form” of your piece – perhaps you are trying to record the trumpet lines in an existing orchestral score, or a sax line at rehearsal letter B in your big band chart. The last thing you need in an existing score is an extra 100 bars added every time you turn on Flexi-time to record 8 bars in the middle of the piece!
Fortunately, it’s very simple to keep Sibelius from adding these additional bars.
Frequently, in jazz charts, drum parts are written with rhythm cues included so the drummer can catch specific accents and phrases the band is playing. These cues might look something like this:
Finalescript™ can help speed up the process of creating these cues, automating the following steps required to create cue notes in drum parts:
- Move cue notes to Layer 4 in drum staff (Layer 1 is used for slashes)
- Transpose all pitches in selection to space above the staff
- Change to cue sized notes
- Change stem direction of cue notes to stems up
- Change tie direction of cue notes to “over”
- Move Rests up, parallel with notes in Layer 4
- Apply a custom slash notation style that allows the cue notes in Layer 4 to show
The script is designed to create rhythm cues using the Normal Notation Style.
Before starting to create rhythm cues, you will need to paste the Finalescript lines below into a new Finalescript. Copy and paste the script lines from “//start script” through the line that says “//end script”. In Finale, the script editor can be accessed from the plugins menu: Plugins>Finalescript>Finalescript Palette.
Here is the Finalescript:
“Smart”, or curly quotes are in common use in published works of all types, including books, music and even modern web sites. For music scores, these “smart quotes” give a more refined look than the “flat“ or “straight“ quotes do. The difference is subtle, but appreciable.
You can enter these “smart quotes” on the fly in Finale, using the standard keystrokes recognized in Word and many other applications. On Mac, these are Option-[ for the curly start quote and Option-Shift-[ for the curly closing quote.
Presumably, on Windows the corresponding keystrokes are ALT-[ for the curly start quote and ALT-Shift-[ for the curly closing quote.
Sometimes, however, it would be nice to be able to quickly convert all existing quotes and apostrophes in a Finale score in a single operation. And, as it happens…