Finale 25.1 released

10/19/16 : Coinciding with the hoopla and fanfare of the release of Steinberg’s new Dorico notation program, MakeMusic today released their first incremental upgrade to Finale 25.

MakeMusic seems to be on a mission to increase the pace of their development of Finale, and this free incremental upgrade is a case in point. Along with the usual minor bug and cosmetic fixes typical for a .1 point release, there is a small but healthy list of new features and UI improvements to sweeten the pot:

It is now possible to export not only the score, but the the parts to MusicXML by selecting File > Export > Linked Parts to MusicXML.

In the Score Manager, you can now Mute or UnMute every instrument in one shot by clicking the M button at the top of the column. Solo works the same way, (click the S button), which simplifies toggling between Mute and Solo configurations more easily in the Score Manager.

Note that it still isn’t possible to toggle between selection of a single instrument and selection of every instrument except the current one by clicking an instrument while holding down a modifier key, as is possible in DP and other programs, but this addition of a basic global select all / none is an excellent incremental step.

The “Repeat Endings” sub-dialog of Document Options has a new feature for controlling the backward repeat bracket position:


First ending brackets can now be set to align by default with the thin inner line of the backward repeat rather than the end of the repeat symbol, so the first and second ending repeat brackets don’t appear to overlap one another.

A subtle but nice improvement is the addition of increment / decrement arrows at the bottom of the scroll bars in the Key Signature dialog, making it easier to select a Key Signature:


A new “Allow Transparency” checkbox allows exported graphics to have  transparent backgrounds when exporting EPS, PDF, PNG, SVG or TIFF graphics.

In previous versions of Finale, I always found the “slider” selection method for Number of Beats and Beat Duration in Finale’s Time Signature dialog to be a bit frustrating, as it was pretty easy to slide right past the target values:


In Finale 25.1, these sliders have been replaced. Number of beats can either be incremented / decremented using the arrow keys, or typing in the number of beats directly. Beat duration can be selected from a pop up menu:


As with previous versions of Finale, time signature denominators can be selected from whole note to 32nd (with their corresponding dotted variants).

Rewire mode has been improved in Finale. You now have the choice of using either Finale’s tempo map or syncing tempo to your  DAW via a new Slave to ReWire Tempo check box in the playback transport. A Sync button has also been added to the Playback Controls to update your score data when using a DAW to playback:


Among the noteworthy fixes:

Finale 25.1 is now optimized for high DPI Windows computers. This means that the tool pallets will now display at a more optimal size on high DPI Windows hardware.

Finale’s graphic output is now true black.

There is no question that Finale 25 is a the most significant Finale upgrade in a long time, and actually seeing useful new features and UI tweaks in a point upgrade like this is very encouraging.

However, some of the excitement of the new architecture and excellent new features continues to be tempered by the unavailability as yet of compatible releases of some of the popular pro level third party plugins. Here is the current status as I am aware of it:

Robert Patterson’s website states that Patterson Plugin Collection for Finale and Copyist’s Helper plugins are optimized for Finale 25 (64 bit).

There is currently a v3 beta of TG Tools for Finale 25 available on Tobias Geisen’s website.

It is unknown at this time when Jari Williamsson (JW plugins) will release 64 bit versions of all of his plugins compatible with Finale 25. As of this writing, there are 13 plugin beta versions for Windows posted on his website, but nothing yet currently available for Mac. JW plugins are (to date) freeware, so if you find them useful, consider making a donation to help with future development.

Finale : Experiments in Automatic Font Conversion

Plugin developer Jan Angermüller has been hard at work on a promising new plug-in for Finale he calls “House Style Changer“. You may remember that Jan wrote a guest article for the Of Note blog back in July describing his Music Font Comparison tool, which is a development tool related to this new plug-in.

Jan just posted a new article on his own website entitled “Experiments in Automatic Font Conversion“. The article is resplendent with geeky fontographer-centric detail and lots of great visuals. And one more thing: a freeware font package with 21 free new Maestro compatible music fonts converted for Finale.

Check out this video demo, which shows the creation of a Maestro-compliant music font from an arbitrary unicode font that previously didn’t work in Finale at all. The whole conversion process takes under a minute.

Fonts are: Bravura, Beethoven, Cadence, Emmentaler, Euterpe, FreeSerif, Gootville, Gutenberg, LV-GoldenAge, Haydn, Improviso, JazzyBasic, LilyBoulez, Leipzig, LilyJazz, Profondo, Paganini, Ross, Scorlatti, Sebastiano, and Unifont Upper.

Moving forward, Jan’s automated method of converting older, well-loved music notation fonts into the SMuFL format using a music symbols database and custom scripting has the potential to benefit people working in a variety of music notation software. Pretty exciting stuff.

More information:


Finale, Finally…

8/16/16 • The latest version of Finale was announced today by MakeMusic, and it’s evident that MakeMusic has put a good deal of thought and effort into this release.

Finale is finally a true 64-bit application. On my venerable 2009 MacPro running OS X 10.11.6, after installation, I opened a few scores to poke around in. The first thing I noticed was a substantial speed increase with certain operations. For instance, on a large score, Human Playback, which was glacial in 2014.5, loads almost instantaneously. Editing within a larger file seems much more responsive.

more >>

Finale Quick Tip – Hook Direction of Default Smart Lines

Q: I can’t get the hook on the dashed Smart Shape line to turn down instead of up in Finale. Any suggestion?

A: The hook direction (above or below) with the default smart lines is dependent on whether it is entered initially over or under the staff. If you enter the line under the staff, the hooks will automatically reach *up* toward the staff. If you enter the line over the staff, the hooks will reach *down* toward the staff.

For special cases, you can use this trick to create a Smart line with the hook facing the opposite direction: create the Smart Shape on the “wrong” side of the staff and then drag it above or below.


Behind-the-Scenes: The Music Font Comparison from

What is it ?

Music Font Comparison is an online A/B comparison of 150 music font families rendered using four musical examples. The font examples were created in a fully automatic font conversion process in Finale with a JW Lua plugin from a master document in Maestro font. No manual adjustments were made afterwards.


Online Music Font Comparison from : The images on the website are downscaled JPEG versions of the PDFs created from within Finale.

more >>

Note Spacing & Locked Systems in Finale

Q: “I’d like to create a document with one measure per system in Finale, with a different time signature per system, and where the width of each measure varies according to the time signature so that the distance between quarter notes is the same for each measure, regardless of the time signature.

I can do this by manually dragging the Edit System Margin handles, but was hoping that this spacing (measure varies according to time signature) can be done automatically somehow.”

A: It’s a great question. I hope you won’t mind if I reel this out a bit, since it will allow us to look at the relationship between note spacing and the measures and systems which encapsulate that spacing:

more >>

Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale

Q: I have been trying to figure out how, or if it’s possible to add a staff (for an instrumental solo, etc.) later within a score, as opposed to having that staff appear at the beginning of a piece. I can’t find a thing regarding this issue in the Finale tutorials or other help options. If you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it!

A: Good question. A common convention for score layout is to show all staves for all performers on the first score page. This establishes the instrumentation, and also provides a head’s up to the conductor about custom instrument ordering etc.

After the first page of music, in published music, a convention is to show only staves of the musicians who are actually playing, with tacet staves being hidden. It’s worth noting that for commercial scores such as film or video game recordings, pops concerts, etc, any resting staves continue to be shown. This helps the conductor stay oriented, as rehearsal time is typically very limited.

However, there are situations where there is no need to show every staff on the first page of score, and in fact, it would serve no purpose to show these staves until the performer is playing. For instance, the strings are notated on single staves at the top of the piece, but at some later point, break out into additional staves of divisi. Another example is where one player within the section is given a solo passage which is written into the regular ensemble part.

Finale allows you to control staff visibility globally or on a per system basis, so whether you are showing the first staff and then hiding resting staves or hiding an instrument until its entrance, the following technique will work.

Let’s take a look at how we might show a short solo string passage in an ensemble score.

more >>