Finale 27 – Symbol Select for Expressions, Smart Lines, and More

Finale 27 introduced a powerful new feature that is easy to overlook, especially since MakeMusic hasn’t mentioned it in any of their marketing materials.

In almost every place you can add text in Finale, there is now an ‘Insert Symbol’ command added to the text menu:

Insert Symbol in Text menu

Note that this command has the shortcut Cmd+Opt+Shift+S on the Mac (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S on Windows).

Invoking that command will bring up the new and improved Symbol Select window, including the category sidebar if you are accessing a SMuFL font. So why is this such a big deal? Because it makes actually using the ~2600 symbols in the SMuFL spec much easier.

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Finale 27 – First Impressions

On June 15, 2021, MakeMusic released Finale 27, the first major release since version 26 was released in October 2018. The major features being touted are:

  • Interactive music sharing functionality using the SmartMusic platform.
  • Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) support, including new SMuFL-compatible versions of Finale’s default music fonts.
  • An Improved instrument list, including new instruments as well as better automatic configuration of sounds for playback.
  • MusicXML 4.0 support, including the ability to export/import linked parts.

Here are my first impressions of Finale 27 and these new features.

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X / Cross Noteheads in Music Notation

X noteheads, also referred to as “cross” or “crossed” noteheads have a number of functions in modern music notation.

In percussion writing, they are the go-to for non-pitched metallophone instruments such as cymbals or tamtam or gong. For drum set, particularly in jazz or rock charts, cymbals are typically the most active part, and X noteheads help these stand out from the other parts on a 5 line staff.

In vocal music, x noteheads are often used tor spoken text, or for unvoiced sounds / vocal effects. In both instrumental and vocal writing, they can be used to indicate notes of indefinite pitch. And in jazz charts, X noteheads can be used to indicate “ghost” notes in a melodic line.

(for drum set writing, there is an actual “ghost” notehead, which is a regular notehead in parenthesis.)

Cross (x) noteheads can also be used as a special effect to indicate hand / finger damping of instruments such as guitar, or tuned percussion such as vibraphone.

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Dorico: Editing Recorded Scripts

I have been spending a lot of time lately working in the JW Lua plug-in for Finale (here’s a shameless plug for the JetStream Finale Controller), but I have also been falling in love with Dorico. I’m very excited about the fact that Dorico also uses the Lua scripting language as the basis of its macro system.

If you are not familiar with how Dorico’s macro feature works, there’s another Of Note post you can read here to get you started. Of special importance is the location of the generated scripts, and the necessity to rename the userscript.lua file in order to access it from the menu.

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Expression maps and Play mode improvements | New Features in Dorico 3.5

🎬  This article is a transcription of one of the excellent tutorial videos posted to the official Dorico YouTube channel.

Presented here in written form with the kind permission of its creator, Anthony Hughes, this tutorial is titled “Expression maps and Play mode improvements in Dorico 3.5“…


Hello, I’m Anthony Hughes, and I’m here to show you the improvements we’ve made to VST Expression Maps and working in Play mode, here in Dorico 3.5.

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JetStream Finale Controller Update Announced

If you are a Finale user, you may have already heard about JetStream Finale Controller. JetStream is a tool designed to increase your speed and productivity in Finale, which works with Elgato’s 15 key or 32 key Stream Deck hardware, its Mobile apps for iOS and Android, and also Keyboard Maestro for Mac.

JetStream Finale Controller is a community-driven project; written by a small group of Finale users with diverse backgrounds. JetStream itself is (and its developers promise) will remain, free to download and use.

Today, an update to JetStream Finale Controller was announced, with a number of new features, as well as various bug fixes and enhancements. Here’s what’s new:

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