Finale: A Simple Trick for Misbehaving Measure Number Regions

I was just working as a proofreader on a recording project, and the cue I was looking at was supposed to start with measure 6. I noticed that it was starting at measure 1, and (figuring that the copyist had simply overlooked it) went to set the Measure Number Region accordingly. I was surprised to see that the measure number region had in fact been set properly, but for some reason was not updating:

With a little bit of trial and error, I tried reselecting the numbering style, and voila! The region updated appropriately:

Usually measure number regions update dynamically as you change the “Starting Number” field, and I’m not sure why this one got stuck… But if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, give this a try!

Jacob Winkler is the Artistic Director of the Seattle Girls Choir, and an instructor in Finale and Sibelius for the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program. He is frequently engaged as a choral singer for film and game soundtracks, including the Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and World of Warcraft series. LinkedIn

Adding an Ossia Staff in Finale

A previous OF NOTE post, “Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale”, illustrates how to hide unused empty staves in Finale:

Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale

A score where string sections are broken out into divisi on several staves for part of the score, but confined to their separate staves for other parts of the score would be an example of this. (e.g. typically, the ancillary 2nd or 3rd divisi staves would be hidden where music for that instrument section is confined to a single staff. )

Ossia bars have a similar visibility requirement. Ossia staves are frequently used in instrumental solo literature to indicate an editorial (or original) ornamentation for a well-known classical passage, or to show alternate chord voicings, rhythmic variations or a different transposition for a double  in a jazz chart.

Let’s take a look at how we can create ossia bars for an instrumental solo, as in this example:

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Instrument Group Names in Sibelius

…a tutorial for creating custom instrument group names in Finale is here.

There are some situations where you might need to show an additional label for a group of instruments in a score; to distinguish between different ensembles of like instruments or on stage or antiphonal instruments, for example:


One can achieve this in Sibelius by manually adding and placing text on each page of the score. However, this approach gets pretty tedious for large scores. The following technique is another method to help you achieve this look quickly and consistently.

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Behind-the-Scenes: The Music Font Comparison from

What is it ?

Music Font Comparison is an online A/B comparison of 150 music font families rendered using four musical examples. The font examples were created in a fully automatic font conversion process in Finale with a JW Lua plugin from a master document in Maestro font. No manual adjustments were made afterwards.

Online Music Font Comparison from : The images on the website are downscaled JPEG versions of the PDFs created from within Finale.

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Faking special stems in Sibelius

While working on a recent project I was faced with the challenge of recreating two varieties of custom stems. While Sibelius does offer a set of custom stems as symbols, the fact that these can not be attached to notes makes it difficult to work with them in practice. If there a lot of them in use, each one needs to be manually placed and, should anything change in the formatting, they easily slide around and need to constantly be checked. Plus the particular symbols I needed for this piece were not available.


The first type of stem basically has an “s” through it to signify a kind of exaggerated pitch fluctuation/vibrato. Here is a sample from the original manuscript:


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Curated Plug-in sets: Installing the first plug-in

A Curated Plug-in Set is a collection of Sibelius plug-ins that can be installed at one time and run from a single location. These sets are described in the Of Note post Working sets, My Plugins, and Curated plug-ins in Sibelius.

In order to install a curated plug-in set, you will first need to install the downloadable plug-in Install New Plugin, which will be used to install other plugins.

Here are step-by-step instructions for installing Install New Plugin. There are different instructions for Sibelius 6 and for Sibelius 7 or later.

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Working sets, My Plugins, and Curated plug-ins in Sibelius

There are about 650 published Sibelius plug-ins, of which 150 ship with Sibelius. A lot of people never use plug-ins. They can’t find them, or can’t install downloadable plug-ins, or can’t figure out which plug-in does what. This is unfortunate, because plug-ins could save them a lot of work.

A Working Set of Plug-ins

In Sibelius, plug-ins are organized by category and you run them by finding their names on a menu or by using a keyboard shortcut.

As an alternative, you can create a set of favorite plug-ins that you identify by name and find in the same place. I call this a working set. The plug-ins in the working set should be ones you use often and will be easily available when you need them.

A curated plug-in set is a working set of plug-ins chosen for certain groups of users. It can be based on instruments, such as harp or guitar, or it can be created for a specific project or a school class. A set consists of a zip file containing a text file of plug-in names that make up the set and a folder of downloaded plug-in files which will be installed on your machine.

The files needed to create a curated plugin set can be provided by a plug-in curator, who is an experienced Sibelius user who selects a set of plug-ins that would be useful. This could be a teacher, or a co-worker, or anyone else you trust who is comfortable choosing plug-ins.

more >> “Working sets, My Plugins, and Curated plug-ins in Sibelius”