Instrument Changes using 3rd party libraries in Finale later than 2012

This tutorial shows how to use “change instrument” to get correct instrument changes for playback when using available 3rd party ARIA libraries in Finale 2012 and later.

Start by opening an empty score with your previous ARIA sound setup, and make screenshots of the channel distribution for each instrument in your ARIA players.

Save your instrument setups of each ARIA instance (*or whatever player) prior to using the “new” feature.

Delete all your ARIA players (in my case there were 3 of them) by setting them to “- – -”

Now make one bar sections in your score and change instruments from your starting instrument to each possible doubling that might occur. It’s best to not use keyless, so you can see immediately that the instrument change happened. In my case I did the following:

Bar 1Bar 2Bar 3Bar 4Bar 5Bar 6Bar 7Bar 8Bar 9Bar 10
Alto 1FlutePiccoloClarinetBs.Cl.Sop. SaxTen. SaxBari SaxTin whistle
Alto 2FlutePiccoloClarinetBs.Cl.Sop. SaxTen. SaxBari SaxTin whistle
Tenor 1FlutePiccoloClarinetBs.Cl.Sop. SaxAlto SaxBari SaxTin whistle
Tenor 2FlutePiccoloClarinetBs.Cl.Sop. SaxAlto SaxBari SaxTin whistle
BaritoneFlutePiccoloClarinetBs.Cl.Sop. SaxTen. SaxAlto SaxTin whistle

The order of the doublings isn’t important, it’s just important that every “chair” has “seen” all possible doublings. Each time you add an instrument change, Finale will load an aria player and a sample slot from the default library. Delete all your ARIA players again by setting them to “- – -”

Go to the Score Manager and make sure that all instruments and doublings are using the player you want them to use, one by one, from top to bottom. In my case I chose ARIA in the dropdown of each instrument and doubling. Finale will load a new Aria player once you select the first sound. Set the correct MIDI channel for each instrument and doubling by referring to the screenshot you created with the ARIA players: Look up the channels that belong to your instruments.

Now empty all ARIA Players and reload your saved soundsets.

Note that when you add an instrument change somewhere in the chart, Finale knows it has already loaded the samples and will not do so again. Luckily, Finale doesn’t know that you changed the player and the Channels afterwards.

Distribute the remaining instruments to their channels, like Piano, Bass, Drums, etc. Even when those change between “doublings”, they won’t need any work since the transposition of their doublings won’t change. In order to change from Acoustic to Electric Piano, simply include an Electric Piano sample in one of your initial ARIA sets and make an expression “El-Piano” with a playback of that channel.

WARNING: to remove mid-score instrument changes, do not do this: “Identify the instrument by referring to its Name and the Start Meas. column, then click X to the right to delete it.” This would destroy all the work you’ve done. Rather, insert another change back to the original instrument.


Florian Ross studied piano and composition in Cologne, London and New York. Since 1998 he has released 18 albums featuring both small and large ensembles and written over 350 commissioned compositions and arrangements for large jazz ensembles. He received the prestigious Thad Jones Composition Competition Award in 2000 and the WDR Jazz Composition prize in 2006.

In addition to writing and touring, Ross teaches piano and composition at the Hochschule fur Musik und Tanz in Cologne as well as the Jazz Institute Berlin.

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