Adding an Ossia Staff in Finale

A previous OF NOTE post, “Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale”, illustrates how to hide unused empty staves in Finale:

Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale

A score where string sections are broken out into divisi on several staves for part of the score, but confined to their separate staves for other parts of the score would be an example of this. (e.g. typically, the ancillary 2nd or 3rd divisi staves would be hidden where music for that instrument section is confined to a single staff. )

Ossia bars have a similar visibility requirement. Ossia staves are frequently used in instrumental solo literature to indicate an editorial (or original) ornamentation for a well-known classical passage, or to show alternate chord voicings, rhythmic variations or a different transposition for a double  in a jazz chart.

Let’s take a look at how we can create ossia bars for an instrumental solo, as in this example:

more >> “Adding an Ossia Staff in Finale”

Finale’s Text Tool : On-Page Alignment

SibeliusBlog author Philip Rothman recently wrote a helpful article on formatting title pages in Finale. While reading the article, I was reminded that while formatting music notation is very advanced in Finale, formatting text on a blank page isn’t as immediately intuitive as working in your favorite word processor.  (As notation programs go, Finale is not unique in this regard.)

In years past, on many projects done in both Finale & Sibelius, I admit to having taken the path of least resistance; simply cutting quickly to the chase to create dedication pages, composer notes pages and instrumentation pages in a more friendly word processor environment, saving them as PDF files and then prepending them to the music once it is finished.

The disadvantage, of course, is that you have multiple files floating around for something that really should be one project file. And, as it turns out, while Finale doesn’t provide the same familiar work space as your favorite word processor, or the level of detail of a desktop publishing software package, it is perfectly capable of getting the job done. Let’s take a look.

more >> “Finale’s Text Tool : On-Page Alignment”

Finale tip : Use Layers to highlight specific noteheads

Q: I’m creating instructional handouts for students in Finale. Is there a way to color / highlight specific noteheads? Here’s an example, where I’m trying to show the student how to follow the movement of a voice on one string through a series of drop-2 inversions – it would be cool to have the other 3 noteheads “grayed out”.

A: Yes, for examples like the above, you can do this very easily in Finale with Layers. Enter the moving voice you want the students to follow in Layer 1. Now, go into Program Preferences > Display Options and change the color of Layer 2 to be whatever lighter shade of gray you want these to appear:

The remaining chord notes in Layer 2 will appear as “background”:

(For this type of example, you may also want to change the Display Color of your Smart Shape arrows to black)

Finally, when you are printing your handouts, be sure to check Print : Display colors in Finale’s print dialog:


That’s all there is to it!


for Brian Monroney

Finale Plugin : Yada Tremolo version 2.01

Hot on the heels of the release of JW Yada Yada Tremolo for Finale 25  is a new version 2.01, which addresses some limitations of the first release:

* Supports percussion notation
* Speed improvements (typically around 30% shorter processing times)
* Added safety dialog when if settings have been modified.
* If a document region is selected when Apply or OK has been pressed, there’s now a user question if the settings should be applied directly to the region.
* “Scale Custom Spacing Relative to 24 Points” now scales with a bit more precision. It now uses the glyph height ratio instead of the point size ratio.
* Error message box for strange/non-existent FAN data has been redesigned
* When verifying fonts, the current document is now also checked for potential problems with tremolo
* Font list (in the tremolo font dialog box) is now sorted alphabetically
* Windows version can now rearrange items in the tremolo font list as well
* Numerous UI fixes on Windows

Download link for Windows/Finale 25

Download link for Mac/Finale 25

original post: Finale 25 Plugin : Yada Tremolo (v2)

Finale : Cross Staff Notation with More Than Two Staves

Q: I want to have notes move across 3 manuals (3 staves) using cross staves, with a sequence of individual notes going from bottom to top and back. Easy to do in pencil, but is there a way to do this in Finale?

A: Absolutely. Finale is extremely flexible in this regard, using the Note Mover Tool. From the Note Mover menu, choose Cross Staff.

With source notes in the middle staff, you can select the notes you want to move to any adjacent staff either above or below and drag them into position:

Depending on the direction, interval etc, use the Special Tools Reverse Stem Tool to fine tune on which side of the noteheads the stem appears for each.

Perhaps not as well-known is Note Mover’s powerful ability to create cross-staff notation using any number of staves, even across a full score:

Nothing to it!

Does Sibelius support cross-staff notation?

Yes, but only to adjacent staves of the same instrument. For instruments with three staves, do your note entry in the middle staff, then use the above technique of having the middle staff function as a “pivot” outwards for cross-staff notation covering all three staves.

Sibelius only supports cross-staff notation within the same instrument, but you can use the “Extra Staff Above / Below” feature to create a multi-staff instrument of up to three staves (when notes are entered into the middle staff) to which you can apply cross-staff notation.


for Judith Shatin

Hide Cautionary Key & Time Signatures in Finale

Q: I’m creating very simple exercise sheets in Finale; scales and so forth. But I don’t know how to end one scale and go to the next key as a new song, meaning, brand new time signature and key signature. I can add the new key signature. But this leaves a key signature change reminder at the end of previous line that I would like to erase.

I would also like to add a time signature at the start of each exercise. But I can’t add it unless it’s a different time signature. None of the Finale Worksheet templates have exactly what I need. I would like to use the regular piano template and manipulate it. Is that possible?

A: In Finale, it is very simple and fast to format exercise sheets, etudes and multiple movements of the same piece correctly. Let’s take a look…

more >> “Hide Cautionary Key & Time Signatures in Finale”