Hide Cautionary Key & Time Signatures in Finale

Q: I’m creating very simple exercise sheets in Finale; scales and so forth. But I don’t know how to end one scale and go to the next key as a new song, meaning, brand new time signature and key signature. I can add the new key signature. But this leaves a key signature change reminder at the end of previous line that I would like to erase.

I would also like to add a time signature at the start of each exercise. But I can’t add it unless it’s a different time signature. None of the Finale Worksheet templates have exactly what I need. I would like to use the regular piano template and manipulate it. Is that possible?

A: In Finale, it is very simple and fast to format exercise sheets, etudes and multiple movements of the same piece correctly. Let’s take a look…

more >> “Hide Cautionary Key & Time Signatures in Finale”

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 >> “Note Spacing & Locked Systems in Finale”

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 >> “Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale”

Hide Notes to Create Multi-rests in Voiced Linked Parts Using a Staff Style

In orchestral scores, it is common to combine two similar instruments onto a single staff:


Text indicators like “1”, or “2” are used to show when a specific player plays a particular portion of the line. Following a passage where one player rests while another plays, a directive like “a2” or “tutti” shows that both / all players play the same line in unison from that point. By default, these text indications appear in both the score and parts, making it easy to identify who plays where.

Note the hidden text expression “both”. This technique serves a useful purpose, which I’ll explain in a moment.

more >> “Hide Notes to Create Multi-rests in Voiced Linked Parts Using a Staff Style”