I was recently asked to rebar an extended section of a score containing various time signatures 4/4, 2/4, 3/4 into 3/2 time. Fortunately, what could have been a hugely labor intensive and messy operation became a whole lot easier in Finale, thanks to Jari Williamsson’s “JW Meter and Rhythm” plugin. This plugin consolidates quite a number of useful operations related to meter and rhythm into one suite.
“JW Meter & Rhythm” features several powerful tasks related to tuplets:
- Tuplets/Merge task, where adjacent tuplets can be merged (such as 2 triplets into 1 sixtuplet)
- Tuplets/Split task, where tuplets can be split.
- Tuplets / Rests task, where tuplets rests can be controlled.
When you first run the plugin, the main dialog shows six Task categories; Relative Meter Changes, Compound Meter, Transform to Contents, Rhythm Transformation, Measure Groups and Tuplets (available in version 1.08 or later):
RELATIVE METER CHANGE
The Relative Meter Change task resizes the meter, and has two operations:
- Double Meter, which doubles the measure length.
- Half Meter, which creates measures of half duration.
In this mode, the plugin changes the numerator (top) or denominator (bottom) of the time signature number.
The Compound Meter task is for meters based on groups of 3. Possible operations are:
- Compound Meter to Triplet – this converts meters like 3/4 or 6/8 into straight time signatures (e.g. 4/4) with triplets.
- Triplet to Compound Meter – this converts straight time signatures with triplets to compound time signatures (based on groups of 3). So, for instance, you might use this to convert bars of 4/4 with triplets into 12/8.
- Create Compound Meter – in Finale, a time signature of 12/8 in Finale can be defined as being 4 groups of dotted quarters, or, as 12 individual 8ths. This task consolidates the beat groupings for any currently visible time signature based on groups of 3; for instance, grouping 12 eighths into 4 dotted quarters. This task does not have any visual effect on existing music (subsequent entries will appear grouped according to the new time signature definition).
- Split Compound Meter – in Finale, a time signature of 12/8 in Finale can be defined as being 4 groups of dotted quarters, or, as 12 individual 8ths. This task splits apart larger beat groupings for any currently visible time signature based on groups of 3; for instance, changing 4 dotted quarters into 12 discreet 8ths for beaming. This task does not have any visual effect on existing music (subsequent entries will appear grouped according to the new time signature definition).
TRANSFORM TO CONTENTS
The powerful operations in this task format the time signature or meter based on the note content itself:
- Create Time Signature – creates a time signature that matches the note content, It can use the content of a single staff, selected staves or the full measure stack to make this determination.
- Use Displayed Time – creates a time signature based on the contents while still keeping the current meter for display. For instance, this can be useful for pickup bars. e.g. 4/4 time with a single quarter note displayed.
- Free Time – creates a time signature that matches the contents and hides it. This is useful for cadenzas and similar notation. This powerful mode also includes a “Conceal Barlines” option to show the entire cadenza as a single phrase, without barlines.
- Bound Time – this reverses the process of the “Free Time” task. It displays the time signature and restores the barlines, barline numbering and spacing.
- Resize Contents to Signature – this mode stretches or shrinks the note contents to fit the measure’s time signature. This can be used as an alternative to the “independent time signatures” feature of Finale.
This category handles tasks like swing notation and rest groupings:
- Notated Swing – creates a noted (triplet-based) swing rhythm based on 2 straight notes. The created tuplet uses the current settings from Finale’s Document Options > Tuplets.
- Remove Notated Swing – replaces a notated (triplet based) swing rhythm with a straight rhythm.
- Dotted Pattern – creates a dotted rhythm based on a straight rhythm. The dotted value can be based on various note durations (e.g. 8th or 16th).
- Reshape dotted rhythms – this task will “flatten” or “sharpen” rhythmic patterns. For instance, you can convert a dotted 8th+16th pattern into two straight 8ths (“flatten”) or convert the same dotted 8th+16th pattern into double-dotted 8th+32nds (“sharpen”).
- Rest – here, you can transform rests to conform to the current time signature beat groupings, split rests into various sub-beat groupings (for both common and compound meters), modify rests within tuplets, and consolidate / merge rests.
The Measure Groups category has two tasks related to regrouping measures:
- Merge – which merges selected measures into one single measure and automatically creates a new meter. For instance, if you combine a measure of 3/8 with a measure of 2/4, you have a choice of the resulting meter being a traditional single bar of 7/8 time, or, you can instruct the plugin to create a complex meter (e.g. 3/8+4/8).
- Repeated Merge – merges groups of measures into single measures in the new meter. Measure attached information including measure numbers are automatically adjusted.
Jari Williamsson has put together a helpful video tutorial showing the various features of the plugin on Youtube:
(if the video doesn’t show up here, refresh the page, or use the link above).