Finale has an enormous wealth of features under the hood, but getting to some of these power tools quickly is not always straightforward or intuitive.
Finale has a few keyboard shortcuts hardwired to various tasks. For instance, number keys correspond to durations during note entry as they do with all scoring programs. However, as of Finale 26. Finale still does not offer user programmable keyboard shortcuts to access the majority of its menus and functionality.
So, historically, users of Finale have had to figure out their own solutions to speed up workflow. Finale itself offers some very powerful plugins, and two different scripting languages; FinaleScript and JW Lua designed to increase productivity.
But, how are you supposed to access all of these productivity tools quickly without something as basic as user customizable keyboard shortcuts?
Finale has released the latest maintenance update to Finale 26; version 26.2.
Since introducing Finale 26, which had several major new features, much of the focus of development has gone into technical improvements under the hood; admittedly, unglamorous architectural work designed to bring Finale into the future.
This means that while you may not see much change on the surface with this point upgrade, the underlying code is being updated dramatically.
According to the Finale Blog article from October of this year, senior manager of the Finale product development team Jason Wick stated: “The architectural work that we’ve been doing modifies hundreds of thousands of lines of code and those changes are investments in the long-term viability of Finale.”
The Finale 26.2 point release is a continuation of MakeMusic’s “long game” trajectory. For instance, on Mac, this update ensures that Finale v26 is compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina.
Nearly all of what is going on with this update is laying the code base groundwork for future, larger improvements and features. This will mean that significant new features will be easier to implement in the future.
In working with Finale 26.2 over the last couple of days on Mac, while I can’t provide any scientific evidence to back it up, it seems more responsive overall to me than the previous Finale 26 versions.
Library / House Style Improvements
Finale’s libraries now retain more information. A subtle, but nice enhancement to Finale 26.2 are the inclusion of Page Format for Score and Parts as well as Guides when you export / save a Library.
FinaleScript’s import options commands now import all associated options.
Finale’s ARIA Player has been updated to v1.959 in the full Finale installer. if you would like to download the update directly, the ARIA Player v1.959 installer is available in the MakeMusic Download Library.
Patterson Beams Plug-in
The Patterson Beams Plug-in has been updated to so that grace notes and resized notes appear more elegantly. Stem lengths and beam angles look like they would at full size, and place themselves more appropriately within the staff lines.
The various Finale installers for the application, Aria player and on Mac ReWire are now compliant with current OS security protocols. Finale users on both platforms can be more confident that their software install is safe and stable.
On Mac, for instance, Finale executables such as ReWire now comply with Mac notarization standards. The Apple notary service is an automated system that scans the software for malicious content, checks for code-signing issues, and provides alerts to any potential problems.
I’ve been using the update in my regular work on Mac now for a few days, and everything is really stable on Mac (which as a professional user as you can imagine is very important).
I’m also please to report that v26.2 is excellent with my (free) JetStream Finale Controller, which you may have been hearing will be released this year.
In summary, my recommendation is to update. Finale 26.2 is a free maintenance upgrade for all Finale 26 users, which is paving the way for future functionality and power.
Welcome to the second article on learning to code with JW Lua.
In the first article, we learned some of the basics of the lua language, including datatypes and for loops. Today, we’re going to take that knowledge and apply it with creating an actual script that changes every notehead in a selected region.
JW Lua is quickly becoming a popular plug-in for Finale because of it’s unbelievable potential for improving your Finale workflow. It’s over 300 times faster than FinaleScript, more flexible than your macro program of choice, and connects directly to Finale’s codebase. Which means it can save you lots of time while achieving better results, regardless of what “better” means to you.
There’s just one problem:
Because it’s written in a language not known by all programmers, and is a highly customized version of that language, it can appear daunting to learn how to code with it. It can seem even harder if you’ve never coded before.
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” ~Goethe
MakeMusic just announced the release of version 26.1 of Finale. This is a solid point release update which refines new features introduced since the initial release of Finale v26 in October of 2018 and earlier, and also squashes some bugs which were affecting productivity for some users, as well as improvements for MusicXML and SmartMusic.
Lead Line Chord Notation, also referred to as Topline Notation is a shorthand notation convention that is sometimes used for rock, jazz and pop guitar or keyboard charts.
Lead Line / Topline notation is a good way to get the chord voicings you are looking for as a composer or arranger, particularly if you don’t actually play guitar (or piano); it allows you to specify melodic motion of the chords without having to supply details of voicings you may or may not know are practical (or possible) on that instrument.
To create this type of notation, visually, the stems are extended past the noteheads to show that the chords are voiced below (or above) the written lead notes. Here is an example:
Let’s take a look at a couple of different ways to create this type of notation in Finale.
In my opinion, Finale is a great music notation program, and probably the most flexible one available. However, there are little quirks about the program that can cause more frustration than they need to.
That’s where plug-ins come in.
Because plug-ins are created by Finale users just like you and me to solve these quirks and make our engraving lives faster, easier, and less frustrating.
And luckily, a while back Jari Williams created JW Lua, a scripting language for efficiently coding your plug-ins. With this plug-in, several developers have started to develop custom scripts that you can start running today.