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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Vertical Spacing of Staves and Systems in Finale

Q: I’m working on an orchestral score in Finale, and I’m having some trouble with the vertical staff spacing. Is there something like the Space Systems evenly tool, but for staves within a system? Finale’s leaving a big margin on the bottom! Thanks!

With orchestral scores, one system very often represents a full page of music, and so in this case, we want to adjust the vertical positioning between the staves themselves, rather than the distance between systems to create the proper look. Fortunately, Finale offers some great tools for this purpose.

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Page Numbering in Finale & Sibelius : Ranges : X of Y

This tutorial was updated 9/26/12.

Question: A client wants the page numbering to read, page 2 of 7, page 3 of 7, etc., for pdf downloads of some piano pieces (regular numbering for print versions). These would be in the upper outside corners where standard page numbers would appear. If you can tell me whether this can be done and how, I would greatly appreciate it.

Depending on whether you are using Finale or Sibelius, you’ll be using text “Inserts” or “Wildcards: to facilitate this. Here’s how:

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Bar Number Flexibility for Score & Parts in Finale & Sibelius

In both Finale and Sibelius, one simple and common way to separately control bar number size, location and frequency is to save off a separate copy of the final score as a Parts Score. However, while this is one way to achieve precise control, for bar numbers, at least, this isn’t really necessary, since both programs offer plenty of flexibility for displaying different bar number settings between the score and integrated parts.

Typically, bar numbers appear somewhat larger in the score than in the parts, and sometimes, bar numbers are bold or italic in one view, but not in another. As an example, for an orchestral pops chart or a film score soundtrack where a tabloid score and 9×12 parts are specified, bar numbers frequently appear nearly twice as large in the score as they do in the parts, and bar numbering may appear on every bar of both the score and parts, or on every bar in the score only, with the parts showing bar numbers at the start of every system.

Once you know where everything is, it’s quite straightforward in both Finale and Sibelius to create a separate score and parts “House Style” for bar numbers:

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Finale Collision Avoidance Part 2 : Articulations

Q: How do you avoid collisions in Finale, i.e: dynamics, hairpins, accents, chord symbols, etc.? I end up manually moving a lot of stuff, and then I have to manually adjust each part as well.

A: I typically start with the smallest elements and work my way out to the big ones. It’s important to make as many placement adjustments as you can in the score, because in doing so, you are also updating their relative positions in the parts (location changes to articulations, text or shapes made in the parts are *not* reflected in the score). I covered collision avoidance of staff text, dynamics and lines in my post from 10/31/11, so let’s talk about articulations . . .

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