Finale: A Simple Trick for Misbehaving Measure Number Regions

I was just working as a proofreader on a recording project, and the cue I was looking at was supposed to start with measure 6. I noticed that it was starting at measure 1, and (figuring that the copyist had simply overlooked it) went to set the Measure Number Region accordingly. I was surprised to see that the measure number region had in fact been set properly, but for some reason was not updating:

With a little bit of trial and error, I tried reselecting the numbering style, and voila! The region updated appropriately:

Usually measure number regions update dynamically as you change the “Starting Number” field, and I’m not sure why this one got stuck… But if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, give this a try!

Jacob Winkler is the Artistic Director of the Seattle Girls Choir, and an instructor in Finale and Sibelius for the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program. He is frequently engaged as a choral singer for film and game soundtracks, including the Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and World of Warcraft series. LinkedIn

Adding an Ossia Staff in Finale

A previous OF NOTE post, “Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale”, illustrates how to hide unused empty staves in Finale:

Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale

A score where string sections are broken out into divisi on several staves for part of the score, but confined to their separate staves for other parts of the score would be an example of this. (e.g. typically, the ancillary 2nd or 3rd divisi staves would be hidden where music for that instrument section is confined to a single staff. )

Ossia bars have a similar visibility requirement. Ossia staves are frequently used in instrumental solo literature to indicate an editorial (or original) ornamentation for a well-known classical passage, or to show alternate chord voicings, rhythmic variations or a different transposition for a double  in a jazz chart.

Let’s take a look at how we can create ossia bars for an instrumental solo, as in this example:

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Create Drop Shadow Enclosures for Rehearsal Marks in Finale

In graphic design, a drop shadow is a visual effect consisting of a drawing element which looks like the shadow of an object, giving the impression that the object is raised above the objects behind it.

The “Reprise Rehearsal” font for Sibelius automatically provides this effect with a handwritten look:


“Finale Copyist Text”, “Broadway Copyist Text” and “Jazz Text” are handwritten look fonts from MakeMusic that provide a way to bracket text, although this is not technically “drop shadow”. See this related article.

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Finale 25.2 update available

Finale 25, released this last August, is one of the most successful and feature rich efforts from MakeMusic in quite awhile. The point release for Finale v25.1, announced only a couple of months later, surprised Finale users with a small number of useful new features as well as the usual incremental bug fixes.

Multiple free-of-charge releases are part of MakeMusic’s new continuous development and release initiative; e.g. they have announced that they plan to share bug fixes and new features more frequently rather than saving them up for a single larger release.

As it turns out, this free point release to 25.2 released today (12/08/16) also feels substantial, with a couple of very nice feature enhancements along with fixes for a number of bugs (some of which have been around for awhile). Let’s dive in.

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Bar Number Flexibility for Score & Parts in Finale & Sibelius

In both Finale and Sibelius, one simple and common way to separately control bar number size, location and frequency is to save off a separate copy of the final score as a Parts Score. However, while this is one way to achieve precise control, for bar numbers, at least, this isn’t really necessary, since both programs offer plenty of flexibility for displaying different bar number settings between the score and integrated parts.

Typically, bar numbers appear somewhat larger in the score than in the parts, and sometimes, bar numbers are bold or italic in one view, but not in another. As an example, for an orchestral pops chart or a film score soundtrack where a tabloid score and 9×12 parts are specified, bar numbers frequently appear nearly twice as large in the score as they do in the parts, and bar numbering may appear on every bar of both the score and parts, or on every bar in the score only, with the parts showing bar numbers at the start of every system.

Once you know where everything is, it’s quite straightforward in both Finale and Sibelius to create a separate score and parts “House Style” for bar numbers:

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