Finale, Finally…

8/16/16 • The latest version of Finale was announced today by MakeMusic, and it’s evident that MakeMusic has put a good deal of thought and effort into this release.

Finale is finally a true 64-bit application. On my venerable 2009 MacPro running OS X 10.11.6, after installation, I opened a few scores to poke around in. The first thing I noticed was a substantial speed increase with certain operations. For instance, on a large score, Human Playback, which was glacial in 2014.5, loads almost instantaneously. Editing within a larger file seems much more responsive.

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Finale Quick Tip – Hook Direction of Default Smart Lines

Q: I can’t get the hook on the dashed Smart Shape line to turn down instead of up in Finale. Any suggestion?

A: The hook direction (above or below) with the default smart lines is dependent on whether it is entered initially over or under the staff. If you enter the line under the staff, the hooks will automatically reach *up* toward the staff. If you enter the line over the staff, the hooks will reach *down* toward the staff.

For special cases, you can use this trick to create a Smart line with the hook facing the opposite direction: create the Smart Shape on the “wrong” side of the staff and then drag it above or below.

f-smart-lines

Behind-the-Scenes: The Music Font Comparison from Elbsound.studio

What is it ?

Music Font Comparison is an online A/B comparison of 150 music font families rendered using four musical examples. The font examples were created in a fully automatic font conversion process in Finale with a JW Lua plugin from a master document in Maestro font. No manual adjustments were made afterwards.

score-excerpt

Online Music Font Comparison from Elbsound.studio : The images on the website are downscaled JPEG versions of the PDFs created from within Finale.

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Note Spacing & Locked Systems in Finale

Q: “I’d like to create a document with one measure per system in Finale, with a different time signature per system, and where the width of each measure varies according to the time signature so that the distance between quarter notes is the same for each measure, regardless of the time signature.

I can do this by manually dragging the Edit System Margin handles, but was hoping that this spacing (measure varies according to time signature) can be done automatically somehow.”

A: It’s a great question. I hope you won’t mind if I reel this out a bit, since it will allow us to look at the relationship between note spacing and the measures and systems which encapsulate that spacing:

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Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale

Q: I have been trying to figure out how, or if it’s possible to add a staff (for an instrumental solo, etc.) later within a score, as opposed to having that staff appear at the beginning of a piece. I can’t find a thing regarding this issue in the Finale tutorials or other help options. If you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it!

A: Good question. A common convention for score layout is to show all staves for all performers on the first score page. This establishes the instrumentation, and also provides a head’s up to the conductor about custom instrument ordering etc.

After the first page of music, in published music, a convention is to show only staves of the musicians who are actually playing, with tacet staves being hidden. It’s worth noting that for commercial scores such as film or video game recordings, pops concerts, etc, any resting staves continue to be shown. This helps the conductor stay oriented, as rehearsal time is typically very limited.

However, there are situations where there is no need to show every staff on the first page of score, and in fact, it would serve no purpose to show these staves until the performer is playing. For instance, the strings are notated on single staves at the top of the piece, but at some later point, break out into additional staves of divisi. Another example is where one player within the section is given a solo passage which is written into the regular ensemble part.

Finale allows you to control staff visibility globally or on a per system basis, so whether you are showing the first staff and then hiding resting staves or hiding an instrument until its entrance, the following technique will work.

Let’s take a look at how we might show a short solo string passage in an ensemble score.

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Faking special stems in Sibelius

While working on a recent project I was faced with the challenge of recreating two varieties of custom stems. While Sibelius does offer a set of custom stems as symbols, the fact that these can not be attached to notes makes it difficult to work with them in practice. If there a lot of them in use, each one needs to be manually placed and, should anything change in the formatting, they easily slide around and need to constantly be checked. Plus the particular symbols I needed for this piece were not available.

sib-custom-stems-image01

The first type of stem basically has an “s” through it to signify a kind of exaggerated pitch fluctuation/vibrato. Here is a sample from the original manuscript:

sib-custom-stems-image02

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