Q: While I was reading your article about note spacing in Sibelius and Finale, an interesting idea came to mind: Do you think it is possible to recreate the exact note spacing of a certain publisher from a printed page or pdf file in Sibelius?
A: Great question! I assume you are referring to punctuation (the word used to describe the horizontal spacing between music characters).
Note spacing, or punctuation, works in tandem with the physical layout of measures on the systems / pages, which is historically referred to as “Casting Off”.
For starters, it’s worth noting that duplicating a publisher’s *exact* horizontal music spacing (punctuation) involves more than consistent numerical settings. This is partly because there have been so many different types of processes for engraving music over the years:
- Punched on plate
- Autographed (drawn)
- Music Typewriter
- Acetate and Rub-off sheets
…and partly because punctuation, as it turns out, isn’t necessarily an exact science, and can fall into three basic categories:
- Mathematically perfect
- Mathematically imperfect
In addition, other factors besides notes can affect note spacing. For instance, accidentals, note flags, articulations, material in other voices etc …
However, in spite of the variations which are inherent in all of the above processes and categories, it should be possible to closely approximate the punctuation (horizontal spacing) of a particular published piece in either Sibelius or Finale by taking some measurements and setting up your software to duplicate these.
Note that you can even apply different rules to different sections of a score to increase or decrease spacing widths, or approximate the “mathematically imperfect” and “lyrical” punctuation categories above, or address a specific concern where some circumstance requires a special consideration. More on that in a moment…
November 3rd, 2014 : MakeMusic today announced a new 2014d update to Finale which includes a half-dozen new features, as well as a handful of bug fixes:
- Meet Gear Fisher, MakeMusic CEO (Gear Fisher, via Finale Blog)
- Finale 2014d and News from MakeMusic - (Finale Blog)
- Announcing Finale 2014d! (Erik Vork, via MakeMusic Forum)
- Finale 2014d and beyond: a discussion with MakeMusic (Sibelius Blog)
Of special note is a new opt-in anonymous usage data feature which will help MakeMusic better track how Finale users are working with the program, so that relevant improvements can be made more frequently and efficiently in the future:
“Improve Finale: By selecting “Yes” below, you allow MakeMusic to automatically collect anonymous information about your hardware configuration and how you use the software. With this information, we will identify usage patterns so that our designers can make informed decisions when creating future versions of Finale.
We will not collect your name, address or any other personally identifiable information, and you will not be contacted in any way. Since we have no visibility into your actual documents, there is no risk that any unpublished or copyrighted material will be accessed.
You can change this setting at any time by choosing “Help Improve Finale” from the Help menu.”
Here is a list of the features and bug fixes:
Q: We just came across something that seems to be a major annoyance in Finale. We had never run into it before because we usually start from a Document Style with the Setup Wizard, rather than creating a template from an existing file.
It seems that when you add, delete, or change an instrument from the Score Manager, it resets staff attributes for a bunch of staves all at once. For example, our templates were set to only display measure numbers over the first Violins in the score, but on making any change it resets the attributes of the first staff in each instrument choir, so all of a sudden we have huge measure numbers all over the page, and redundant grand staff braces and / or brackets are created.
I wanted to ask you if you’d encountered this issue before, and if there’s a solution.
Q: In this screenshot, you’ll notice that the G natural accidental in the third bar is colliding with the previous F sixteenth note between the two layers:
I have tried all sorts of ways to fix it, using the Document Options’ minimum spacing, space between, etc. I have tried Note/Beat/Time Sig. Spacing, all the JW note spacing alternatives and nothing fixes this issue automatically. Is it only fixable manually?
Good music engravers are always on the lookout for inventive and elegant solutions to make their work easier. To me, one of the more interesting niche areas of typeset music notation are graphical fingering diagrams for musical instruments.
Fonts are the optimal solution for creating fingering diagrams in Finale or Sibelius. Since font characters are essentially vector graphics (as opposed to bitmapped graphics), they will look great when printed at any size, and remain clear and legible on screen.
There are several shareware and freeware fingering diagram fonts currently available for both woodwind and brass instruments from enterprising font designers. I covered a few of these in a previous post.
I recently had a discussion about measure number placement with a colleague. For film scores, game scores and other commercial recording sessions, bar numbers are most typically shown on every bar. Although my colleague is a Finale user, this discussion is relevant to both Finale or Sibelius users.
Q: I am dealing with bar lines that go through multiple parts in a score. I would like to group the instrument choirs rather than having bar lines running down the entire score. Is there an easy fix for this in Sibelius and / or Finale?
A: Yes, absolutely.
In Sibelius, click at the bottom of the staff right at the point where the bar line joins the bottom staff line. A box will show up. Click and drag the box down and the staves will become joined or separated.
In Finale, in Staff Attributes there is an attribute called “Break Barlines between staves” which controls whether the bar lines join with the staff above that particular instrument.
That’s all there is to it.