Getting a Good Mix in Finale

Finale’s audio output has the potential to generate great audio and wonderful-sounding scores for consumers and demos. For the majority of users, the default settings are adequate. Midi/Audio>Play Finale Through Audio Units should be selected in order to activate Garritan Instruments for Finale (or Garritan’s premium libraries. For more information on setup for these libraries, see this article on the Scoring Notes blog: “Getting Started in Finale with Garritan’s Premium Libraries”).  For those working on larger scores in pursuit of the best possible quality, however, the defaults don’t work well. Let’s take a look at how to address common problems you may encounter, and create the best possible mix in Finale.

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Sibelius score playback (notes switching off)

Seattle composer Bill Panks posted this question about missing notes during Sibelius score playback on the Seattle Composer’s Alliance Discussion email list, which I thought I would share here:

Hi All!

When playing back scores in Sibelius 7.5, I frequently have notes cut off suddenly throughout a score. This is especially a problem with larger scores (30+ instruments).

My guess has been that given the number of midi channels available, multiple instruments are placed on each channel, and instruments on the same channel occasionally play the same note – and the note-off signal from one instrument is cutting off both/all of those unison notes. (For example, a harp arpeggio might cut off a sustained choral note on the same channel).

My question is whether there is a quick work around for this, or do people generally custom-route their instruments to channels in a way that avoids conflicting notes (i.e., pair bass instruments with treble – but then might you encounter key-switch conflicts when you export to a DAW for mockup? – so perhaps pair instruments that share similar rhythms and would therefore have similar note-off times if they do happen to cross)? (To date, I’ve been using the channels that Sibelius automatically assigns to each instrument – maybe that’s my mistake).

Or, do others not experience this? Is there something else happening that’s causing the notes to cut off?

I appreciate any thoughts or feedback.

Thank you,
Bill Panks

Hi Bill,

Regardless of whether you are using the Sibelius 7 Sounds, Sibelius 7 sounds (light) or Sibelius 6 sounds, only one iteration of the Sibelius Player can be included as a sound set. This shouldn’t be a problem, though, since the Sibelius Player supports up to 128 channels. Check Preferences > Playback > Sibelius Player Options to make sure this hasn’t been inadvertently changed to a lower value:


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Finale Quick Tip : Chord Symbol Playback

Chord symbols in Finale can play back, should you want them to.

To turn on Chord Symbol playback, select the Chord tool, then make sure Enable Chord Playback is checked in the Chord menu.

Chord Symbol playback can be muted for an individual staff in Score Manager > Instrument List > Instrument > Chords in Finale 2012 and later, and in Window > Instrument List > Instrument > Chords in Finale 2011 and earlier.

Some chord libraries, such as the JazzCord suffix library from Finale 2010 and earlier are not defined to play back by default, which is a shame, since the JazzCord suffixes look really nice for handwritten charts. Or perhaps, you’ve created a custom chord suffix and would like it to play back.

Here’s how to define a non-playing chord suffix for playback:

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Convert MIDI CC64 on / off messages to Pedal markings in Finale & Sibelius

Q: Is there a plug-in/tool that will convert MIDI CC64 on/off messages to Pedal on/off markings, respectively, in Finale? It almost seems like a no-brainer… I know it could potentially introduce positioning issues, but I think positioning could be quantized to hit the right beat… at the very least, once they’re in Finale, it’s much easier to move them around. Just wondering if you know of anything that will help.

A: Yes! As it happens, there are plugins available for both Finale and Sibelius that perform this task.


Jari Williamssohn has written just such a plugin for Finale, called JW Pedal. The plugin adds pedal up/down markings as articulations wherever CC64 MIDI controller events are found.

One current limitation is that you must have the down and up definitions of the pedal markings (as Maestro) in the articulation list before you start – otherwise nothing will show up. But definitely a time saver.

Tip: In a new Document Without Libraries, you can create these 2 articulation characters and export / save them as a library for quick import into future documents rather than having to recreate them each time.

Download the FREE JW Pedal plugin (and other useful plugins) here: Mac | Windows


Bob Zawalich has authored the useful (and free) Pedal Lines plugin for Sibelius, which converts CC64 MIDI controller events to Sibelius pedal lines.

Download the FREE Pedal Lines plugin for Mac | Windows here.


for Rolando Gori