Create Drop Shadow Enclosures for Rehearsal Marks in Finale

In graphic design, a drop shadow is a visual effect consisting of a drawing element which looks like the shadow of an object, giving the impression that the object is raised above the objects behind it.

The “Reprise Rehearsal” font for Sibelius automatically provides this effect with a handwritten look:

fin-reprise-rehearsal

“Finale Copyist Text”, “Broadway Copyist Text” and “Jazz Text” are handwritten look fonts from MakeMusic that provide a way to bracket text, although this is not technically “drop shadow”. See this related article.

For years, in both Finale and Sibelius, I have used Bill Duncan’s “Rehearsal” and “Rehearsal Sans” fonts to create drop shadow rehearsal marks with a more typeset look:

font-rehearsal-both

Each of the number and letter characters in the Rehearsal and Rehearsal Sans font have a  drop shadow outline above and below each character (including the space character), but with open sides:

rehearsal-zed

This design allows you to globally prepend and append [ ] drop shadow brackets to any text string, regardless of length:

chorus

These rehearsal mark fonts were originally part of Bill Duncan’s “Finale Productivity Set” which is long since out of print. The last known source I am aware of is NPC Imaging.

But if you really like this effect, you don’t really need a special font; at least not in Finale. All you need to do is create two different rehearsal mark Expressions with slightly different enclosure thicknesses and positioning and when you add each rehearsal mark, overlay these two rehearsal marks one on top of the other.

(Sibelius provides a global setting for “Text Borders” in its Engraving Rules which affects all text enclosures, so it isn’t currently possible to use this technique in that program.)

Here’s how:

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25 Free Music Fonts for Finale

The Elbsound Music Fonts Package v1.11 is a free package with 25 music fonts for Finale, created by Jan Angermüller.

The package now includes four new music fonts for a total of 25, and has been updated with many improved symbols.

The fonts were tested on Windows 10 with Fin 2014, 2014.5 and 25 and MacOSX El Capitan Fin 2012, 2014.5 and 25.

According to the information on the Elbsound website, it should also be possible to use these fonts with Sibelius by using the “Maestro” font style.

elbsoundmusicfontpackage

Be sure to read the FAQ/Troubleshooting section on the download page which contains important information about creating FAN files, cross-platform compatibility etc.

See also:

Finale 25.2 update available

Finale 25, released this last August, is one of the most successful and feature rich efforts from MakeMusic in quite awhile. The point release for Finale v25.1, announced only a couple of months later, surprised Finale users with a small number of useful new features as well as the usual incremental bug fixes.

Multiple free-of-charge releases are part of MakeMusic’s new continuous development and release initiative; e.g. they have announced that they plan to share bug fixes and new features more frequently rather than saving them up for a single larger release.

As it turns out, this free point release to 25.2 released today (12/08/16) also feels substantial, with a couple of very nice feature enhancements along with fixes for a number of bugs (some of which have been around for awhile). Let’s dive in.

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Sibelius Gap Before Bar & Brackets Appearing in Middle of Page

Q: I’m having some technical problems with a Sibelius score. I’m trying to reformat the score layout at the oboe section (pages 53-55). There is a weird thing where system brackets appear in middle of score instead of just at the left edge.

A: The brackets are caused by changing the amount of space before one or more bars. Sibelius calls this distance (normally zero) “Gap Before Bar” and it is useful to indent a the first system of a piece or movement or to create a space for a Coda in the middle of a system. Unfortunately, it is possible to add these gaps without realizing it.

In your example file, these Gaps Before Bar were a very, very small amount (.72 spaces), and if I had to guess, were very likely previously at system starts where they would be extremely hard to notice.

However, when you attempted to reformat the page layout, the “extra” brackets became visible since these bars were no longer at the starts of systems.

To correct this, select the individual bar following the mid-system bracket, then use the Inspector (Properties in Sibelius versions before v7) to reset the positioning for GAP BEFORE BAR to zero.

sib-inspector

gap-before-bar-v6

The bracket should disappear and now you can reformat the score without the mid-system brackets.

That’s all there is to it!

~robert

Finale 25.1 released

10/19/16 : Coinciding with the hoopla and fanfare of the release of Steinberg’s new Dorico notation program, MakeMusic today released their first incremental upgrade to Finale 25.

MakeMusic seems to be on a mission to increase the pace of their development of Finale, and this free incremental upgrade is a case in point. Along with the usual minor bug and cosmetic fixes typical for a .1 point release, there is a small but healthy list of new features and UI improvements to sweeten the pot:

It is now possible to export not only the score, but the the parts to MusicXML by selecting File > Export > Linked Parts to MusicXML.

In the Score Manager, you can now Mute or UnMute every instrument in one shot by clicking the M button at the top of the column. Solo works the same way, (click the S button), which simplifies toggling between Mute and Solo configurations more easily in the Score Manager.

Note that it still isn’t possible to toggle between selection of a single instrument and selection of every instrument except the current one by clicking an instrument while holding down a modifier key, as is possible in DP and other programs, but this addition of a basic global select all / none is an excellent incremental step.

The “Repeat Endings” sub-dialog of Document Options has a new feature for controlling the backward repeat bracket position:

fin-backward-repeat-bracket-positon

First ending brackets can now be set to align by default with the thin inner line of the backward repeat rather than the end of the repeat symbol, so the first and second ending repeat brackets don’t appear to overlap one another.

A subtle but nice improvement is the addition of increment / decrement arrows at the bottom of the scroll bars in the Key Signature dialog, making it easier to select a Key Signature:

fin-key-sig-dialog

A new “Allow Transparency” checkbox allows exported graphics to have  transparent backgrounds when exporting EPS, PDF, PNG, SVG or TIFF graphics.

In previous versions of Finale, I always found the “slider” selection method for Number of Beats and Beat Duration in Finale’s Time Signature dialog to be a bit frustrating, as it was pretty easy to slide right past the target values:

fin-old-time-sig-selection

In Finale 25.1, these sliders have been replaced. Number of beats can either be incremented / decremented using the arrow keys, or typing in the number of beats directly. Beat duration can be selected from a pop up menu:

fin-new-time-sig-selection

As with previous versions of Finale, time signature denominators can be selected from whole note to 32nd (with their corresponding dotted variants).

Rewire mode has been improved in Finale. You now have the choice of using either Finale’s tempo map or syncing tempo to your  DAW via a new Slave to ReWire Tempo check box in the playback transport. A Sync button has also been added to the Playback Controls to update your score data when using a DAW to playback:

fin-slave-to-rewire

Among the noteworthy fixes:

Finale 25.1 is now optimized for high DPI Windows computers. This means that the tool pallets will now display at a more optimal size on high DPI Windows hardware.

Finale’s graphic output is now true black.

There is no question that Finale 25 is a the most significant Finale upgrade in a long time, and actually seeing useful new features and UI tweaks in a point upgrade like this is very encouraging.

However, some of the excitement of the new architecture and excellent new features continues to be tempered by the unavailability as yet of compatible releases of some of the popular pro level third party plugins. Here is the current status as I am aware of it:

Robert Patterson’s website states that Patterson Plugin Collection for Finale and Copyist’s Helper plugins are optimized for Finale 25 (64 bit).

There is currently a v3 beta of TG Tools for Finale 25 available on Tobias Geisen’s website.

It is unknown at this time when Jari Williamsson (JW plugins) will release 64 bit versions of all of his plugins compatible with Finale 25. As of this writing, there are 13 plugin beta versions for Windows posted on his website, but nothing yet currently available for Mac. JW plugins are (to date) freeware, so if you find them useful, consider making a donation to help with future development.

Finale : Experiments in Automatic Font Conversion

Plugin developer Jan Angermüller has been hard at work on a promising new plug-in for Finale he calls “House Style Changer“. You may remember that Jan wrote a guest article for the Of Note blog back in July describing his Music Font Comparison tool, which is a development tool related to this new plug-in.

Jan just posted a new article on his own website entitled “Experiments in Automatic Font Conversion“. The article is resplendent with geeky fontographer-centric detail and lots of great visuals. And one more thing: a freeware font package with 21 free new Maestro compatible music fonts converted for Finale.

Check out this video demo, which shows the creation of a Maestro-compliant music font from an arbitrary unicode font that previously didn’t work in Finale at all. The whole conversion process takes under a minute.

Fonts are: Bravura, Beethoven, Cadence, Emmentaler, Euterpe, FreeSerif, Gootville, Gutenberg, LV-GoldenAge, Haydn, Improviso, JazzyBasic, LilyBoulez, Leipzig, LilyJazz, Profondo, Paganini, Ross, Scorlatti, Sebastiano, and Unifont Upper.

Moving forward, Jan’s automated method of converting older, well-loved music notation fonts into the SMuFL format using a music symbols database and custom scripting has the potential to benefit people working in a variety of music notation software. Pretty exciting stuff.

More information:

 

Dorico Music Notation Scoring Program 2016 Launch Event

dorico

If you work with music notation, no doubt by now, you are aware of Steinberg’s new notation program, called Dorico.

On October 18, 2016, Steinberg will be holding their launch event for Dorico at Bush Hall in London. The event will be live streamed via Dorico’s Youtube channel and on Steinberg’s Facebook page.

Live stream date and time

PDT – Oct 18, 11:30 AM (Los Angeles)
EDT – Oct 18, 2:30 PM (New York)
BST – Oct 18, 7:30 PM (London)
CEST- Oct 18, 8:30 PM (Berlin)
SAST – Oct 18, 8:30 PM (Cape Town)
CST – Oct 19, 2:30 AM (Beijing)
JST – Oct 19, 3:30 AM (Tokyo)
AEDT – Oct 19, 5:30 AM (Sydney)

The Dorico notation program will be available for sale from October 19th. A complete features list is available in PDF form here.