Add a2, a3, a4 playback for NotePerformer in Finale

The default Garritan Sounds which ship with Finale 26 do not support “unison” groups of reduced player configurations such as a2, a3, a4 etc., but if you are a NotePerformer user, you are in luck.

NotePerformer 3 installs a Finalescript folder containing a number of Finalescripts labeled “UNISONS – Playback to Expression”. There are scripts for a2, a3, a4, a5, a6, a7, a8, and “solo/default”, which will either restore playback to one player for a solo instrument, or the default ensemble.

These Finalescripts work by adding appropriate MIDI controllers to selected “a2”, “a3” text, thereby defining their playback characteristics.

You can use the scripts to add this MIDI Controller data each time, but it’s also easy to define these in your Finale score template so you don’t have to run the scripts each time to get this enhanced playback in NotePerformer. Here’s how…

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JetStream Finale Controller – Introduction to Stream Deck

JetStream Finale Controller – Prologue

I remember first hearing in early 2018 that some copyists working at JoAnn Kane Music in LA were using a new type of gaming controller called Elgato Stream Deck to speed up their workflow in Finale and Sibelius (in the case of Finale, no doubt in conjunction with with some sort of Macro program such as Keyboard Maestro).

While not designed specifically for music notation, the original Stream Deck is a perfect productivity companion for Finale. Stream Deck expands on the best features of previous hardware and software controllers.

Like the XKEY system, the original Stream Deck has tactile hardware keys (there is now also an iOS version).

One advantage of the hardware version of Stream Deck for a controller is that the tactile button design allows you to keep your eyes on the music on the main computer screen as you work.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

The XKEY system allowed you to print custom graphics icons and slide them under the key covers; the idea is great for music notation, but while it’s practical, it’s not very flexible. On the other end of the spectrum, iOS apps can be more flexible with color coding and other graphical attributes for virtual buttons, but to date haven’t contained useful iconography related to music notation software. (MetaGrid has note duration icons and some other related graphics, but even this is more generic).

Stream Deck takes a completely different approach. Each of Stream Deck’s 15 keys is a fully customizable backlit LCD. (the newer Stream Deck XL hardware has 32 keys).

As an example, here are some buttons for selecting tools in Finale, showing how they might appear in a TouchOSC or Lemur layout for iOS. Users will quickly learn what these buttons do, but initially, seeing these words representing Finale tools without any additional context isn’t very clear:

Finale Tool Selection Keys in Lemur Finale Controller for iPad

But Finale users will instantly know what each of these tool buttons represent in Stream Deck, because each of these familiar icons is associated with a specific tool selection in the Finale application itself:

Finale Tool button graphics in JetStream Finale Controller
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JetStream Finale Controller – Prologue

If you have spent any time with MakeMusic’s Finale™ music notation application for Mac or PC, especially recently, you are no doubt well aware of what a powerful software tool it is.

Finale has an enormous wealth of features under the hood, but getting to some of these power tools quickly is not always straightforward or intuitive.

Finale has a few keyboard shortcuts hardwired to various tasks. For instance, number keys correspond to durations during note entry as they do with all scoring programs. However, as of Finale 26. Finale still does not offer user programmable keyboard shortcuts to access the majority of its menus and functionality.

So, historically, users of Finale have had to figure out their own solutions to speed up workflow. Finale itself offers some very powerful plugins, and two different scripting languages; FinaleScript and JW Lua designed to increase productivity.

But, how are you supposed to access all of these productivity tools quickly without something as basic as user customizable keyboard shortcuts?


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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:

fin-rhythm-cue

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!

~robert

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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