Finale’s Shape Designer is a built-in vector drawing program that can be used to address all sorts of little notational problems. It crops up in all sorts of places:
Expression Tool – Select “Shape” from the bottom of the Expression Designer.
Articulation Tool – Select “Shape” for the main and/or flipped symbols
Custom Arrowheads – This is available when designing a Smart Line, or when adding a line from within the Shape Designer itself (see below).
Executable Shapes – This can be found under the Playback tab of the Expression Designer.
Clef Designer – Accessed through Document Options. Choose “Shape” instead of Character:
Multimeasure Rests – Accessed through Document Options. The multimeasure “H” shape is actually a set of three lines grouped together: By ungrouping these you can adjust the thickness or appearance of your multimeasure rests.
Custom Stem Tool – Double click a note’s editing handle to bring up the shape selection box.
Here is a brief overview of some of the things the Shape Designer can do, along with a few examples of ways I’ve used it recently.
more >> “Finale: Shape Designer”
I recently had to retire my trusty 2007 Macbook due to lack of Dropbox support for OS X Lion (10.7). I ran into an unexpected snag with the Macbook Air I bought to replace it, though: the most current OS X operating systems do not support older versions of Finale, but a number of orchestrators I work with still use Finale 2011 and Sibelius 6.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this dilemma in the form of virtual machines.
A virtual machine (VM) is an emulation of a computer operating system. This operating system could be a different operating system (such as Windows OS running inside the Mac OS) or, in this case, an older version of the same operating system (e.g. two different versions of the OS running on the same computer).
My Macbook Air is now running High Sierra (OS X 10.13), but I have El Capitan (OS X 10.11) installed inside Parallels Desktop to run older software versions of Finale and Sibelius. It was a relatively painless process, though not without a few kinks along the way. I hope my experiences will help others navigate those setbacks. more >> “Using Virtual Machines (VM) for Legacy Music Notation Software”
Expression Positioning in Finale
I used Finale for years knowing that there were all sorts of options in the Expression Designer for how the Expression should get positioned, but without necessarily understanding what all the different terms meant, or how they would actually affect the resulting position of the Expression. Looking at dropdown menus like these tended to make my eyes glaze over:
I have come to appreciate the power of understanding how these settings work and setting them properly. The more things naturally pop into the places I want them to by default, the less time I spend adjusting them by hand later!
more >> “Finale: Understanding Expression Positioning”
Sometimes knowledge and wisdom get lost, only to be rediscovered later. I recently stumbled across some old Finale Tips and forum posts that offer some useful tools for working with lyrics in Finale that deserve some attention again!
more >> “Finale: Lyric Tools”
I was just working as a proofreader on a recording project, and the cue I was looking at was supposed to start with measure 6. I noticed that it was starting at measure 1, and (figuring that the copyist had simply overlooked it) went to set the Measure Number Region accordingly. I was surprised to see that the measure number region had in fact been set properly, but for some reason was not updating:
With a little bit of trial and error, I tried reselecting the numbering style, and voila! The region updated appropriately:
Usually measure number regions update dynamically as you change the “Starting Number” field, and I’m not sure why this one got stuck… But if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, give this a try!
Jacob Winkler is the Artistic Director of the Seattle Girls Choir, and an instructor in Finale and Sibelius for the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program. He is frequently engaged as a choral singer for film and game soundtracks, including the Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and World of Warcraft series. LinkedIn
Harp pedal diagrams in Sibelius can be entered using several methods. For instance, as shown in this blog post, you can manually enter a harp pedal diagram using 4 regular text characters (LMNO), then change the font to Opus Text.
There are also a growing number of harp support plugins for Sibelius to automate the process of creating harp pedaling notation (and playback), as outlined in this article by Bob Zawalich on the Sibeliusblog.
more >> “Sibelius: Harp Pedal Diagrams Quick Tip”
FinaleScript™ can be used to create fairly complex changes to your score, but you can also use it to do simple tasks like call a single menu item quickly and easily. Since FinaleScripts can be mapped to keystrokes, you can use this to fill in the gaps in MakeMusic’s own shortcuts.
more >> “Simple (but Powerful) FinaleScripts”