How to Create Stemless + Stemmed / Beamed Sections in the Same Finale File

Q: I compose music for Psalms from scripture. The format typically has a REFRAIN or ANTIPHON of 4 to 10 measures of metered (4/4, 6/8, etc.) notation, with stemmed notes and standard notation of quarter notes, eighth notes, repeat signs, etc.

Music example © Mark J. Stenson

When that short section is done, the music for the longer verses uses a “chant like” un-metered melody, usually without stems on the note values. For example, the start of an “unmetered” section below  is made up of sequential bars of 10/4 and 11/4, with the time signatures and stems hidden; giving the impression of “un-metered” notation.

However, when I try to take the stems off of the notes in the un-metered measures, all of the notes lose their stems, including the original 4 measures of metered music.

My current “work-around” is to merge the contents of the two different Finale documents as a graphic. There must be a way to show both a stemmed section and an unstemmed section in the same Finale file?

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Is Music Preparation Part of Your Required Curriculum for College?

I recently heard from my old friend and colleague Sean McMahon.  He and I go way back; we worked together on more than a few hectic feature film score schedules back in the day.  Sean is currently on the faculty at Berkelee College of Music in Boston, and wanted to get my perspective on music preparation at the college level. I thought I would share our correspondence here.

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Finale 25.5 update released

MakeMusic continues its recent pattern of releasing incremental point updates at regular intervals to fix bugs and make minor improvements to Finale’s UI.

Finale 25.5 is the latest of these, offering a few minor enhancements while fixing some bugs which were evident, particularly on the newest OS versions (like Mac OS X High Sierra).

For instance, the following new features of this upgrade are very much “under the hood” type enhancements; stuff that subtly makes Finale easier to use:

1) Garritan Instruments for Finale. The Garritan Instruments for Finale installer has been updated to improve speed and produce a higher installation success rate.

2) Finale’s file structure has been updated in an effort to make the application more localizable.

3) MusicXML. Measure number text is now exported when a file contains measure numbers that are repeated in multiple movements or sections.

On Mac, users can now access the clear key functionality of a full keyboard on a laptop computer by using FUNCTION+SHIFT+DELETE.

If you plan to use CLEAR or FUNCTION+SHIFT+DELETE when working in PART view, keep in mind that Clear functionality is a Stack operation, meaning that rather than clearing only notes and other staff attached objects, it will also delete global system text such as tempo text or rehearsal marks affecting all other parts. Use with caution.

The update includes a number of little UI fixes. For instance, text in a number of dialog boxes now displays correctly.

And, good news for for Mac High Sierra users: a whole bunch of crash scenarios have been sussed out and fixed.  The Finale installer ReadMe file has a complete list of these.

While there isn’t anything really “exciting” about this update, what *is* exciting is the way MakeMusic has been supporting their Finale notation product with more frequent point release updates to fix bugs and make Finale run more smoothly.

For more information, visit www.finalemusic.com

 

 

 

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

FinaleScript™ Tip : Search and Replace

More recent versions of Finale have a powerful tool called Text Search and Replace (TSAR), found in the Edit Menu:

As the name implies, from this dialog you can search for specific text and replace it with something else. For example, you can quickly replace all occurrences of “1/2” with a proper “½” symbol:

This TSAR dialog also has a filter which allows you to selectively search a specific area of Finale; only replacing, say, a specific lyric spelling or a particular articulation character with another:

Which is great!

However, one thing which would make this search and replace a lot more powerful: The ability to SAVE and RECALL common search and replace commands somehow so you didn’t have to keep typing them in manually each time…

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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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Finale’s Text Tool : On-Page Alignment

SibeliusBlog author Philip Rothman recently wrote a helpful article on formatting title pages in Finale. While reading the article, I was reminded that while formatting music notation is very advanced in Finale, formatting text on a blank page isn’t as immediately intuitive as working in your favorite word processor.  (As notation programs go, Finale is not unique in this regard.)

In years past, on many projects done in both Finale & Sibelius, I admit to having taken the path of least resistance; simply cutting quickly to the chase to create dedication pages, composer notes pages and instrumentation pages in a more friendly word processor environment, saving them as PDF files and then prepending them to the music once it is finished.

The disadvantage, of course, is that you have multiple files floating around for something that really should be one project file. And, as it turns out, while Finale doesn’t provide the same familiar work space as your favorite word processor, or the level of detail of a desktop publishing software package, it is perfectly capable of getting the job done. Let’s take a look.

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