A Simple Finalescript™ To Create Rhythm Cues in Drum Parts

Frequently, in jazz charts, drum parts are written with rhythm cues included so the drummer can catch specific accents and phrases the band is playing. These cues might look something like this:


Finalescript™ can help speed up the process of creating these cues, automating the following steps required to create cue notes in drum parts:

  1. Move cue notes to Layer 4 in drum staff (Layer 1 is used for slashes)
  2. Transpose all pitches in selection to space above the staff
  3. Change to cue sized notes
  4. Change stem direction of cue notes to stems up
  5. Change tie direction of cue notes to “over”
  6. Move Rests up, parallel with notes in Layer 4
  7. Apply a custom slash notation style that allows the cue notes in Layer 4 to show

The script is designed to create rhythm cues using the Normal Notation Style. However, I’ve also had luck with using it with a drum staves using the  Percussion Notation style, although as outlined below, in newer versions of Finale there is an additional step required.

Before starting to create rhythm cues, you will need to paste the Finalescript lines below into a new Finalescript. Copy and paste the script lines from “//start script” through the line that says “//end script”. In Finale, the script editor can be accessed from the plugins menu: Plugins>Finalescript>Finalescript Palette.

Here is the Finalescript:

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Convert Straight Quotes & Apostrophes to Smart Quotes via FinaleScript™

“Smart”, or curly quotes are in common use in published works of all types, including books, music and even modern web sites. For music scores, these “smart quotes” give a more refined look than the flat or straight quotes do. The difference is subtle, but appreciable.

You can enter these “smart quotes” on the fly in Finale, using the standard keystrokes recognized in Word and many other applications. On Mac, these are Option-[ for the curly start quote and Option-Shift-[ for the curly closing quote.

Presumably, on Windows the corresponding keystrokes are ALT-[ for the curly start quote and ALT-Shift-[ for the curly closing quote.

Sometimes, however, it would be nice to be able to quickly convert all existing quotes and apostrophes in a Finale score in a single operation. And, as it happens…

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A Simple Finalescript™ for Fractions in Finale 2012

One often overlooked but very important “under the hood” feature of Finale 2012 is its full support for the Unicode text standard.

What is Unicode? Unicode provides a unique number for every text character, no matter what the platform, no matter what the program, no matter what the language.

As of Finale 2012, it is possible on both Mac and Windows to show proper fraction characters as standalone text, or as part of technique instructions such as “1/2 section trem., 1/2 ord.” or “1/4 tone bend”. Here’s how:

As with any other text, you can copy the Unicode “½” or “¼” fraction characters seen on this page to the OS Clipboard and paste them into Finale 2012 Expressions. You don’t even have to memorize the keystrokes!

For future use, you could create a New Document Without Libraries, then create and save your fraction characters as a small Text Expression library for later import.

Many times, I receive Finale score files where the “fractions” are written out as a string of regular numerical characters and slashes, e.g. “1/2 section trem., 1/2 ord.” or “1/4 tone bend”. In these cases, it’s most efficient to simply replace all of the “one-slash-two” and “one-slash-four” text strings in one shot with the proper fraction characters.

This search and replace can be done globally in Finale 2012 with a simple Finalescript™ that references the proper Unicode characters.

Copy and paste following lines into a new Finalescript™ to convert these text strings to proper fraction symbols:

//start Finale script
process current doc
search "1/2" replace "½"
search "1/4" replace "¼"
search "3/4" replace "¾"
//end Finale script

The majority of modern fonts support these extended characters. If you find that the script does not work, it’s possible that the font you have chosen is too old to support the extended characters. Certainly the standard fonts that come with your OS, such as Times New Roman, Helvetica and so forth, will include the fraction characters.

The only thing you really need to watch for when running this script is Instrument Names. If the score uses slashes in Instrument names like “Trombone 1/2”, the instrument name will become “Trombone ½”. Typically, multiple instrument names should appear as “1 & 2”, “1, 2” or “1-2” so hopefully, this isn’t an issue.

If you are using Finale 2012, that’s it! That’s all there is to it!


Related : Creating Fractions & Other Symbols in Finale 2012 & Sibelius 7 using Unicode

Finale : Using Linked Parts, Finalescript & House Styles for Commercial Parts

Back in 2011, I posted Making Efficient Use of Linked Parts In Finale which outlined a few of the advantages of using Linked Parts in Finale vs. the “old school” method of individual part extraction, or pasting parts into a separate template file.

Recently, a conversation with an industry colleague made me realize that even 6 years after the introduction of Linked Parts in Finale, some of the very best veteran professional music copyists working in LA and elsewhere still are not taking advantage of Finale’s Managed Parts feature.

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Change Stubborn Text in Finale Quickly, Easily & Globally with Finale Script

In “Finale Text Sized, Placed & Styled – Document Options & the Category Designer, we looked at how we can set up a Finale document’s overall font choices using the Document Options > Fonts and the Category Designer.

Changes to the Category Designer and Set Default Music Font affect your score in real time; however, some of the text objects in Document Options > Fonts can only be set prior to starting work on your score; problematic if your score is already completed, or you need to update your House Style after the fact.

So, since some of the Document Settings don’t update in real time in Finale, how do we change the font settings for text types such as Lyrics*, Measure Numbers*, Staff Names* and Text Blocks* which we have already entered?

This is where writing a few short lines of Finale Script can help you. Wait! You don’t have to be a computer programmer. It’s really simple, I promise. And it will save you hours of work over time with minimal effort up front.

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Creating Fractions & Other Symbols in Finale & Sibelius using Unicode

noun /ˈyo͞oniˌkōd/

An international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, by which each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different platforms and programs.

More recent versions of Finale and Sibelius both feature Unicode font support. Among other things, this means a number of new symbols useful for music notation are now readily available in addition to the 256 “regular” characters we’ve always had access to. This cross – application Unicode support represents an important step for digital music preparation, as we not only have access to the comprehensive set of accented and diacritical characters used in Latin based languages, but we can now enter the text and symbols for titles, credits, lyrics and directives in non-Latin based languages such as Russian and Chinese.

One useful type of symbol sometimes used in music scores not built in to the Sibelius Word Menus or the Finale Expressions Selection Dialog in Finale are fractions.  Without Unicode, fractions need to be displayed as two numbers with a slash between them, e.g. “1/2”. Directives such as “½ section trem.” or “Slow ¼ tone bends” or “trill ½” appear frequently in modern scores, for instance, so it is great to finally be able to display these properly and easily in both Finale and Sibelius.

On the PC, you should be able to type the most common fractions directly into either Sibelius 7 or later or Finale 2012 or later using ALT codes. Hold down the ALT key, type 0188 on the numeric keypad, and then release the ALT key to insert the symbol ¼. To insert the symbol ½, use the character code 0189. To insert the symbol ¾, use 0190.

Unfortunately, there are no designated keystrokes for fractions on a Mac, and if you are like me, you may have trouble remembering obscure ALT codes, anyway.

The good news is that with Unicode support, you now can simply copy and paste these characters into your music, and recall them again quickly at any time. It just takes a couple of minutes to set up, and from then on, they’ll always be there when you need them.

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