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.
more >> “Finale’s Text Tool : On-Page Alignment”
In graphic design, a drop shadow is a visual effect consisting of a drawing element which looks like the shadow of an object, giving the impression that the object is raised above the objects behind it.
The “Reprise Rehearsal” font for Sibelius automatically provides this effect with a handwritten look:
“Finale Copyist Text”, “Broadway Copyist Text” and “Jazz Text” are handwritten look fonts from MakeMusic that provide a way to bracket text, although this is not technically “drop shadow”. See this related article.
more >> “Create Drop Shadow Enclosures for Rehearsal Marks in Finale”
Q: Is it possible to make title text appear more “expanded” (as I might do in a Word doc?) My client has a specific font request, but his letter spacing looks wider than the same font on my computer, which is more “tight”: A: This difference is due to letter-spacing, referred to as “Tracking” in typography. Tracking refers to a consistent degree of increase (or sometimes decrease) of space between letters to affect density in a line or block of text. more >> “Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius”
Sometimes in Finale, it is desirable to place text in the foreground over a line. One common usage is for a text instruction in the center of a hairpin:
Another common usage is to make text stand out against a barline:
more >> “Finale Quick Tip : Create an Opaque Enclosure (Mask) for Text”
If you are a music educator teaching the fundamentals of rhythm, from time to time, you may find the need to count out beat numbers over the notation to help indicate various rhythms for your students.
Sibelius has a useful plugin called “Number Beats” (found in the plugins Text category) which does this automatically, but until recently, I wasn’t aware of a similar plugin for Finale.
The JW Pattern plugin ( mac | windows ) will do the job nicely in more recent versions of Finale:
- Select a region
- Choose JW Pattern
- Drop-down the Sequences category
- Choose the “Numbered Steps” task.
- For “Step Method”, choose Beats in measure”
Finally, you can choose one of Finale’s Text Categories from the Category drop down to control the text style and placement of the resulting text.
The JW Pattern plugin is available free of charge on Jari Williamsson’s Finaletips.nu website.
Thanks to my friend and colleague Gary Gibson for contributing this tip.
In “Finale Text Sized, Placed & Styled – Document Options & the Category Designer“, we looked at how we can set up a Finale document’s overall font choices using the Document Options > Fonts and the Category Designer.
Changes to the Category Designer and Set Default Music Font affect your score in real time; however, some of the text objects in Document Options > Fonts can only be set prior to starting work on your score; problematic if your score is already completed, or you need to update your House Style after the fact.
So, since some of the Document Settings don’t update in real time in Finale, how do we change the font settings for text types such as Lyrics*, Measure Numbers*, Staff Names* and Text Blocks* which we have already entered?
This is where writing a few short lines of Finale Script can help you. Wait! You don’t have to be a computer programmer. It’s really simple, I promise. And it will save you hours of work over time with minimal effort up front.
more >> “Change Stubborn Text in Finale Quickly, Easily & Globally with Finale Script”
There are two main requirements for managing Text in any notation program. First, we want to be able to define in advance how the musical and text elements will look, so that our score is following the same appearance rules throughout. This is part of what music publishers refer to as a “House Style”. Secondly, we need to be able to “break the rules” easily for special cases (for instance, if the title is to be in an ornate font where text is otherwise a more standard serif or san-serif font.)
For existing scores, knowing how to set up defaults for Text in Finale will also help us quickly locate font, size and attribute information about a particular string of text, and quickly make changes, if needed.
Initially, there are two main locations where we define Text in Finale. The first of these is found in Document Options > Fonts, and is the place where we determine the exact “look” of the music notation itself, as well as the default font, size and font attributes for some other Finale text.
The second “default setup” area for text is Finale’s Category Designer, where we choose the font, size, style and location of all instructional text for the piece associated with staves or systems. These categories include Dynamics, Expressions, Techniques, Tempo and Rehearsal Marks etc. Let’s take a look …
more >> “Finale Text Sized, Placed & Styled – Document Options & the Category Designer”