Finale Quick Tip : Fix Frozen Ties in Managed Voices

Sometimes in Finale, particularly in older scores which have been updated , ties on notes in secondary layers can get “frozen”. The ties in both Layers look normal in the score:


..but in Managed Parts (which use Finale’s Voicing feature), these same ties appear upside down:


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Finale Quick Tip : Fix Incorrect Tied-to Pitches w/ Hidden Accidentals

Say you have a B-flat in one bar, tied to another B-flat in the next bar. In Finale, it is possible to (ahem, accidentally) enter the second B-flat as either a B-natural or a B-flat and it will look the same:


Even thought there’s no visual indication that it’s wrong, it won’t play back correctly. And in a score with a number of staves, they are a nightmare to aurally locate for proofreading.

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Finale Quick Tip : Note-Attached Custom Smart Lines

To make Custom Smart Lines note-attach like the preset ones in Finale, Option-Click (Mac) or Alt-Click (Win) the Tab Slide Tool:

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Create Parenthesized or Bracketed Hairpins in Finale

Finale has a lot of flexibility when it comes to creating Custom Smart Shapes. You can create a line shape of any thickness, make it solid, dotted, dashed or even invisible, control its start and end locations and add hooks, arrows or text to either end of the line and / or to the center.

Hairpin crescendo and decrescendo are sometimes bracketed (parenthesized) by publishers to show that they were added later by the editor – e.g. not in the original composer’s manuscript:


These types of brackets can also be used for other reasons; for instance to show that the marking is optional or implied.

In Finale, crescendo and decrescendo smart shapes have controls for line thickness and opening width, found in Smart Shapes > Smart Shape Options, but unlike the shapes available in the Smart Line Selection dialog, there is no obvious way to add a parenthesis to the start and end of these defined hairpin Smart Shapes.

So, how would we create this type of Smart Shape in Finale?

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Sibelius MIDI File Import / Export (Braced Grand Staff)

Q: I am trying to convert my piano vocal score to an original musical from Logic Pro 9.1 to Sibelius 7.5. Having a monstrously diffucult time exporting and importing as MIDI files. Would you be able to help with this?

A: I’m not a Logic user, so I wouldn’t be able to help with that side, but hopefully I can offer some help on the Sibelius side. (These are very general tips which can work with Finale or any notation program)

As I’m sure you are aware from your experience, accurate transcription of piano music is a difficult assignment for notation programs such as Sibelius or Finale because of the general complexity of the music, multiple voices / layers, and other factors.  In addition to the usual requirement for your recorded performance to be metronomic with the click, with piano music, you need to take into account inside and outside voices for each hand which aren’t necessarily homophonic.

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Scoring software and sample libraries; a survey

If you are composing, arranging or orchestrating in Finale or Sibelius and have ever tried to incorporate any of the available high end third party sample libraries with the goal of achieving realistic, expressive playback from your notation program, you might be interested in a recent survey posted by Steinberg titled “Scoring software and sample libraries“.

The survey is here:

As you may already be aware, Steinberg is currently developing a professional level scoring program.

There are already several professional level scoring (music notation) programs available. Some, like Finale and Sibelius offer decent playback using bundled sound sets, but while playback quality is adequate, it is nowhere close to the level of realism offered by sample libraries from VSL, EastWest, Project SAM, Wallander, Cinesamples, and others when triggered via a DAW.

Finale and Sibelius both allow the user to control (and save for later recall) parameters to control Instrument Techniques (in sample library parlance “Articulations”), Dynamics and Special Effects optimally configured for playback of a specific sample library. Finale calls these parameters Human Playback Preferences, while Sibelius calls them Sound Sets.

However, many composers, arrangers and orchestrators working in Finale or Sibelius have simply given up trying to achieve realistic playback from within their scoring program. The result is that their primary use of playback from the scoring software becomes checking for wrong notes and other mistakes.

For those professionals who need to produce high quality audio mockups for clients, the most intuitive and least labor intensive option remains a DAW sequencer (Logic, Digital Performer, Cubase etc), which offers much greater flexibility and ease of use to get realistic playback results.

Sibelius users should check out The Sound Set Project, which provides Sound Sets for a number of 3rd party sample libraries designed to facilitate realistic playback from Sibelius. If you are aware of any other resources of this type for either Sibelius or Finale, please share them in the comments. 

I encourage you to take the survey, even if you plan to continue to work in Finale and / or Sibelius in the future. In a small niche market like notation software, competition raises the bar – if Steinberg develops a scoring program with amazing playback of third party sample libraries, there is a greater chance that playback will improve in your scoring program of choice, too.

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Important Security Notice from MakeMusic

MakeMusic has issued a security notice for all registered customers of SmartMusic, Finale or Garritan products. On April 23rd, an attempted intrusion to MakeMusic’s computer systems was detected.

At this time, there is no indication of unauthorized acquisition of computerized data that would compromise the security, confidentiality, or integrity of personal information maintained by MakeMusic.

However, as a precaution, MakeMusic is encouraging all of their customers to change their current password to a new secure, strong password for all MakeMusic related products and accounts.

MakeMusic is in the process of hiring a third party computer security firm to review their  systems to prevent future compromises of online security, and has pledged to communicate with their customers when additional information becomes available.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact MakeMusic’s Customer Support team.

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