Find Plugins & Information about Finale and 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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A Finale Tip When Working With Older Files

I recently received this helpful tip from Beth Varela, MakeMusic’s Digital Marketing Manager I thought was worth sharing:

“When I need to open files originally created in a much earlier version, I sometimes run into weird behaviors (usually only when I’m going really far back like revisiting a Finale 2005 score). I open the old file, export as MusicXML, then re-import the MusicXML file (before doing any other work). Finale will think that the file was created in the newer version.

For my purposes, I find this trick works well, and I used it all the time when I worked in the customer support department solving odd support cases.”


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Make a New Instrument or Text Style Available to All Your Scores in Sibelius

In Sibelius, new text styles, line styles, symbols, noteheads, and instruments are available only in the score in which they are first defined. This gives you the flexibility to make custom definitions without affecting existing scores.

You may, however, want to have a new style or instrument appear in another score, or even in all your new scores. Sibelius allows you to export a house style from the score containing the definitions you wish to share, and then import that house style into other scores. Those scores will now contain the new definitions.

You can also import a house style into manuscript paper files, which are used as templates for new scores, and any scores you create that use those manuscript papers will inherit the definitions from the house style.

This article explains how to import a house style into one or more manuscript paper files.

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Finale TGTools 2.71 for Windows released

2/22/14 – Plugin Author Tobias Geisen today announced the release of version 2.71 of TGTools full / pro version for Windows.

The update is FREE and is recommended for all versions of Finale from 2010 thru 2014.

Concurrently, TGTools 2.71 for Mac has been released, which fixes the menu on German Finale versions and fixing smart shapes which could not be recognized in 2.70.

Like the Windows version, the Mac version is compatible with versions of Finale from 2010 thru 2014.

As a nice aside, Mac users may also note some cosmetic improvements in version 2.71.






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TGTools for Mac now compatible with Finale 2014

If you are a Mac user with the full (pro) version of TGTools who recently upgraded to Finale 2014; there is now a Finale 2014 compatible version of TGTools for the Mac OS (2.70).

An update for Windows users is expected soon. While version 2.61 of TGTools for Windows is compatible with Finale 2014, manual installation of the plugin is required. (The Mac OS version was non-functional, so the Mac updater was released first.)

Tobias Geisen quietly announced the update in a recent thread on the Finale forum:

“TGTools for Finale 2014 on Mac are now available on my web site as well as via the easy installation from the about menu of one of the bundled TGTools plug-ins.

A paid upgrade may come a bit later with a more dedicated adaptation.

I am open to suggestions for further improvements (by email), and also whether further development should be for Finale 2014 only or also include Finale 2012.”

tobias at

If you plan to continue to work in Finale 2012 as well as Finale 2014 (one reason might be the version of the operating system you use), note that Tobias is asking for people to weigh in on whether he should make future versions of the plugin compatible with Finale 2012, or only with Finale 2014. So, if you would want the option of using new plugin improvements which also could be used in Finale 2012, you may wish to email Tobias and let him know. Now’s the time.


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Cue The Maelstrom

This is the story of a rescue operation undertaken by people who don’t commonly find opportunities for heroism in their professional lines of work. Nevertheless in this case, their joint actions saved money and reputations and kept a large project from unraveling after years of work. 

Cue 1 : Prelude — Adagio

Licensed video games, by definition, start off with a cache of existing material: the groundwork for plot and character already laid, the tone and style somewhat pre-determined. If the video game is based on a feature film, there may also be pre-existing music from the movie score. Comparing the full listing of cast and crew for a film and a related video game on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) might awaken in the uninitiated the idea that the video game is a comparatively simple enterprise.

But that is not the reality. A licensed video game can take much longer than a film to develop—as long as 3–5 years, have a great deal more music—as much as 4–5 hours, and may be less derivative than the typical description implies. It may adapt the characters and spirit of a movie and leap off from there, acquiring extra characters, extended plotlines, and new music as the game logistics are worked out. Or the game may be slated for completely new music from the start.

Sound is added after the corresponding game levels are complete, meaning composition can start about halfway through the cycle. And no matter how limited the number of new cues, if the music is orchestral, the coordination of a large number of people will be necessary to get those cues recorded.

The creation of a score with an orchestra is a process that has operational planning demands similar to those of any large-scale, extremely intricate, synchronized operation: a university graduation, the staging of a Broadway show, a plan to shut down the opponent’s defense in a pro football playoff game. Specifically, it requires meticulously prepared instructions in the form of a musical score that gives the conductor a detailed overview and tells each performer exactly which pitches to play for how long at what tempo and dynamic and with what technique and feeling for each split second of time. It also requires that this score be meticulously performed by dozens of people and captured by sound engineers in the shortest amount of time possible to avoid astronomical costs. The professional musicians who perform the score are expected to simultaneously provide an exacting rendition of what they see on the printed pages of music they have received only moments beforehand, as well as provide an often highly emotional and dramatic reflection of the video game’s plot, expressing markedly different moods and tones as they move from cue to cue.

What follows is the story of one video game score that almost didn’t get recorded and how it was saved in the end by the dedication and professionalism of people you may not typically think of as heroes: it was saved by music industry professionals.

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Engraving for a Publisher

Q: So, what is a music engraver?

A: What sets us apart from average Finale or Sibelius users is an extreme eye for detail and a head full of notation rules, conventions, and study. An engraver will keenly assess and finesse every slur, articulation, spacing, page turn. Engravers are the difference between the notation program’s default template look and the look and feel of quality published music.

In my years engraving for publishers, I’ve worked on everything from a massive multi-volume band and string method series to jazz bands, complex percussion books, the Suzuki Method, hymnals, school band/orchestra, and handbell music. Each genre and publisher brings its own set of styles and techniques. Even within the same publisher, house styles can vary between product lines so awareness of these details is a huge part of the job. I keep style books for every product line and publisher I work with.

Two brief examples of program default vs. engraved (Finale):



Default slurs crash into staff lines, the leftmost slur will be bleed almost completely into the staff line once it’s printed, and the second two slurs give the player no useful information on where the melody is going next.


Engraved slurs’ tips and arcs clear staff lines and their direction follows the direction of the music. I prefer substantial slurs so these have been customized significantly. Finale’s default settings produce wispy curves that tend to easily get lost in the staff lines.

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L.V. Symbols in Sibelius (Laissez vibrer) – Several Solutions

Laissez vibrer [Fr.] allow to sound, do not damp.



from Ned Rorem’s Flute Trio

Laissez vibrer, or L.V. indications such as the one pictured above, are common notation practice. Instead of writing out a series of notes or chords together for what might be a long duration, the player is simply instructed, via a tie and the abbreviated ‘l.v.’ text, to let the note(s) ring out for as long as they would sound.

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