Reposition Staves Vertically In Finale

It’s common practice to include a little extra space between groups of instruments throughout the score. It’s also common to see extra space above staves which are showing tempo or metronome marks. And finally, for vocal scores, a little extra consistent space is typically required for lyrics under vocal staves.

When creating a new score, in the Document Setup Wizard, there is an option to “Add Vertical Space”, which is great for defining a little extra space between specific staves when you are starting a project:

The actual amount of vertical space that is added here is determined by the settings in Finale’s Document Options > Staves dialog. This is also where you can control the default distance between the instrument staves themselves.


But what if I want to adjust vertical positioning of certain staves in an existing score?

more >>

would you like to comment?

Finale Quick Tip : Align Hairpins and Other Smart Lines

The Contextual Menu for Smart Shapes makes quick work of aligning hairpins, trills and other measure – attached smart lines in your score. For instance, to align trills so their line start and end points match down the score, click and drag-lasso them so their selection boxes are all highlighted, then right – click one of the highlighted selection boxes, and select “Align Vertically” from the Contextual menu.

This tip applies to all measure-attached Smart Lines in Finale, so it can be used with hairpins, trill extensions, ottava lines, bracket lines or custom measure attached smart lines you create.

If you have the full version of TG Tools, be sure to also check out the Align-Move plugin which automates this functionality over a larger selection area.

would you like to comment?

Finale Quick Tip : Divisi Stems Up, Stems, Down

It used to be that in Finale, if you wanted divisi stems up / down, you had to enter (or re-enter) each part in as a separate Layer in two passes, or resort to multi-step workarounds. No more. It’s a single step with the freely available JW Explode Layers plugin. And merging two Layers into one is also a single step with JW Merge. Visit the above link, and navigate to Downloads for your OS.

would you like to comment?

Finale Quick Tip : Change Measurement Units on the Fly

Finale supports six+ different units of measurement :

  1. Inches
  2. Centimeters
  3. Points
  4. Picas
  5. Spaces
  6. EVPUs (Enigma Virtual Page Units)

While Millimeters aren’t specifically listed as an available unit of measurement in Finale, you can enter mm values when using Centimeters by simply moving the decimal point to the left (25.4 mm = 2.54 cm). 

You set the measurement unit from Preferences > Measurement Units in the Finale Menu, but that doesn’t mean you always have to think in those units. Some places in Finale, such as the Document Options and Page Format dialogs, have a handy Units popup menu which apply only within that dialog:

But Finale gives you even greater control. You can enter values in any unit of measurement in any numeric field of any dialog by simply adding the first letter of the unit of measurement after the number.

For example, if you need to “think in inches” for a moment, regardless of the current unit of measurement setting, type in “1.75i” (“i” for inches) and Finale will enter the measurement correctly, and convert the number to the current unit of measurement for you.

On the off chance you should ever need to enter a value in picas this way, the shortcut is “p0″ (“p” is reserved for “points”.)

.5i, 6s, 144e, 1.27c, 36p, 3p0 are all the same value, just entered differently

would you like to comment?

Finale Quick Tip : Create an Opaque Enclosure (Mask) for Text

Sometimes in Finale, it is desirable to place text in the foreground over a line. One common usage is for a text instruction in the center of a hairpin:


Another common usage is to make text stand out against a barline:


more >>

would you like to comment?

Future-Proofing Finale & Sibelius Notation: Considering MusicXML

A few days ago, I was received an email from fellow music engraver Andrei Pricope on an interesting topic – how can we future proof our  existing notation work in Finale and Sibelius? I found his observations insightful, and I thought I would share some of them here. (I’ve paraphrased in some places.) He writes:

“I am a long time Sibelius user, having invested hundreds of hours of my own engraving and thousands of dollars on out-sourced engraving projects. In addition, I have made a substantial investment in both hardware and music notation software.

Recent developments with Sibelius and now Finale signal that both are now at the whim of parent entities, their corporate visions, agendas, budgets and priorities; a situation less than ideal for our community and music-making at large; hence my deep concern about the long-term blind reliance on any particular music engraving solution.

In today’s rapid-changing technology environment, and with the recent dramatic and uncertain changes for both Sibelius and Finale I’ve recently adopted a new system of file archival:

In addition to saving my files in the current version of my notation program of choice, I plan to save and archive all of my music notation files using the MusicXML file format. A number of companies currently support MusicXML, and it meets several important criteria for longevity:

  • It is currently supported by a diverse group of music programs.
  • The file format is essentially ASCII text so MusicXML is platform and OS-version agnostic.
  • It is also fairly mature at this point, which means the files can be successfully imported / translated in the future, hopefully by a variety of programs that support music notation.

In summary, moving forward, I plan to archive my files in multiple formats: (1) The original Finale or Sibelius File (2) PDF files and (3) MusicXML format.”

Thanks, Andrei!

Note that while MusicXML is currently pretty robust, some musical symbols are not universal to all notation programs, and so MusicXML conversion will fail in these cases. An example between Finale and Sibelius are tremolos. Sibelius supports tremolos with up to 5 slashes, Finale supports tremolos only up to 3 slashes. If you save a MusicXML file from Sibelius with 4 and 5 slash tremolos, these trems will not be converted. When the file is imported into Finale there will be no tremolos in these locations.

Do you have any thoughts on ways to future proof your music notation work? Please leave a comment.

(2) Comments

Finale Quick Tip : Defining Articulation Playback

If you’ve ever opened Finale’s Articulation Designer (Opt.-Click or Alt.-Click on the Articulation tool to open the dialog), you have probably seen the “Playback Effect” settings:


more >>

(2) Comments