Beyond Defaults : Take Control of Note Spacing in Finale

Music spacing (historically referred to  as “punctuation”) is controlled by a mathematical ratio in Finale. At any point in time, this equation determines the horizontal placement of notes and related musical objects within each measure and across each system to create the appropriate balance of music notation density on each page.

Note spacing is more than simply assigning a specific width for each note duration; a number of variables interact to affect how the final music music notation output looks on the page. These variables include stems, flags, accidentals, articulations, ties, chord symbols, lyrics and much more.

Finale’s music spacing acts on three key areas to achieve consistent note spacing results: (a) mathematically perfect spacing between notes of different durations (b) additional event spacing or “padding” of specific objects to prevent collisions, and (c) lyric spacing, where music is theoretically spaced to fit the words instead of the words fitting the music.

If you examine music  note spacing (punctuation) from various published sources, you’ll see that while there are definitely variations between publishers, as a general rule, all music publishers follow similar practices.

Historically, plate engravers of music measured widths from the left side of the characters. For instance, the distance between two quarter notes is measured by the space from the left side of the first notehead (or rest) to the left side of the next notehead (or rest).

Finale provides professional looking note spacing results by default, so that even casual users can achieve properly balanced looking scores and parts. However, as you might expect, Finale offers a great deal more flexibility and control than these defaults. You might be surprised at how much power Finale has under the hood here.

Let’s take a closer look…

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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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Finale Plugin : Yada Tremolo version 2.01

Hot on the heels of the release of JW Yada Yada Tremolo for Finale 25  is a new version 2.01, which addresses some limitations of the first release:

* Supports percussion notation
* Speed improvements (typically around 30% shorter processing times)
* Added safety dialog when if settings have been modified.
* If a document region is selected when Apply or OK has been pressed, there’s now a user question if the settings should be applied directly to the region.
* “Scale Custom Spacing Relative to 24 Points” now scales with a bit more precision. It now uses the glyph height ratio instead of the point size ratio.
* Error message box for strange/non-existent FAN data has been redesigned
* When verifying fonts, the current document is now also checked for potential problems with tremolo
* Font list (in the tremolo font dialog box) is now sorted alphabetically
* Windows version can now rearrange items in the tremolo font list as well
* Numerous UI fixes on Windows

Download link for Windows/Finale 25

Download link for Mac/Finale 25

original post: Finale 25 Plugin : Yada Tremolo (v2)

Finale : Experiments in Automatic Font Conversion

Plugin developer Jan Angermüller has been hard at work on a promising new plug-in for Finale he calls “House Style Changer“. You may remember that Jan wrote a guest article for the Of Note blog back in July describing his Music Font Comparison tool, which is a development tool related to this new plug-in.

Jan just posted a new article on his own website entitled “Experiments in Automatic Font Conversion“. The article is resplendent with geeky fontographer-centric detail and lots of great visuals. And one more thing: a freeware font package with 21 free new Maestro compatible music fonts converted for Finale.

Check out this video demo, which shows the creation of a Maestro-compliant music font from an arbitrary unicode font that previously didn’t work in Finale at all. The whole conversion process takes under a minute.

Fonts are: Bravura, Beethoven, Cadence, Emmentaler, Euterpe, FreeSerif, Gootville, Gutenberg, LV-GoldenAge, Haydn, Improviso, JazzyBasic, LilyBoulez, Leipzig, LilyJazz, Profondo, Paganini, Ross, Scorlatti, Sebastiano, and Unifont Upper.

Moving forward, Jan’s automated method of converting older, well-loved music notation fonts into the SMuFL format using a music symbols database and custom scripting has the potential to benefit people working in a variety of music notation software. Pretty exciting stuff.

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