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 >> “Behind-the-Scenes: The Music Font Comparison from”

Boxing Clever : Handwritten Font Enclosures for Music Notation

The Finale Copyist Text, Broadway Copyist Text and Jazz Text fonts by MakeMusic work with a variety of music scoring programs, including Finale and Sibelius. These fonts include the ability to surround text with handwritten looking boxes. To do this, special enclosure characters are available as part of the character set; a nice touch.

(use the regular, not extended versions of these music text fonts for this).

Finale Copyist Text and Broadway Copyist Text have a cool preassembled box which works really great with single numbers or letters. Simply type the tilde ~ character first, followed by a single digit or letter. They look like this:

For longer text strings, you could use standard open and closed bracket shapes. The main bracket shapes [ and ] produce just what you would expect. Shift-Open-Bracket and Shift-Closed-Bracket { and } produce a wider version of the open and closed bracket character.

However, if you just type either lower case or shifted open bracket followed by two or more letters or numbers and a closed bracket, you’ll see a separation of the enclosure:


more >> “Boxing Clever : Handwritten Font Enclosures for Music Notation”

Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius

Q: Is it possible to make title text appear more “expanded” (as I might do in a Word doc?) My client has a specific font request, but his letter spacing looks wider than the same font on my computer, which is more “tight”: title-text-w-tracking A: This difference is due to letter-spacing, referred to as “Tracking” in typography. Tracking refers to a consistent degree of increase (or sometimes decrease) of space between letters to affect density in a line or block of text. more >> “Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius”

Legni Woodwind Fingering Font for Finale & Sibelius

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.

more >> “Legni Woodwind Fingering Font for Finale & Sibelius”

Finale: Use Percussion Pictographs for Staff Names or Instrument Changes

This tutorial is also available for Sibelius.

I recently typeset a piece of music for children’s choir and percussion. The percussion part, which was on three different instrument lines, needed to be as clear and readable as possible for the kids performing. The publisher requested that we use percussion pictographs instead of abbreviated text for the percussion instrument names after the first system:


I thought this would make an interesting tutorial, useful for worksheets and other specialty applications (like my kid’s choir project). I hope you agree. Let’s take it from the left edge…

more >> “Finale: Use Percussion Pictographs for Staff Names or Instrument Changes”

Creating Big Time Signatures in Finale which include the Cut Time Symbol

Q. Do you know if there a solution to the omission of a Cut Time option in Finale’s Engraver Time font?

A. As you know, the Engraver Time font is a vertically “stretched” narrow font specifically designed to display large time signatures in scores:


However, inexplicably, Finale doesn’t provide the Cut Time symbol in the Engraver Time font; the character slots “c” and “Shift-C” in Engraver Time have been left blank. It’s unclear why a vertically stretched Cut Time symbol was not included with the Engraver Time font.

Finale’s Document Options > Time Signatures dialog can control positioning of the abbreviated Cut Time symbol vertically separate from the regular meters. 

I have logged a feature request with MakeMusic to add the Cut Time and Common Time Symbols to the Engraver Time Font (if you would like to request this as well, refer to case #130919-000264)

In the meantime, if you also happen to own Sibelius 7, you can use the “Opus Big Time Std.” font from Sibelius which *does* have a version of Cut Time and Common Time symbols. Make sure the Cut Time option is checked in Document Options > Time Signatures.

(Hint: if you don’t own Sibelius 7, ask a friend who does to email you the Opus Big Time Std. font, or you can download the Sibelius 7 30-day free trial, which comes with all of the fonts.)

Once you install the Opus Big Time Std. font, depending on the font size you choose for your big time signatures, you will likely need to separately adjust the vertical positioning for the Abbreviated Cut Time symbol so that it appears properly related to the positioning of your regular time signatures:


You can vertically adjust the three fields for Abbreviated Symbol, Top Symbol and Bottom Symbol to where you think they look best based on the size of your time signatures.

for Susan Pascal


  1. Finale Blog: Creating Large Time Signatures in Conductor’s Scores
  2. Finale Manual – Document Options-Time Signatures dialog box