Finale Tip : Quickly Delete Duplicate Unison Notes in the Same Layer

Jack Butler: “Gonna rip these walls out and, uh, of course re-wire it.”
Ron Richardson: “Yeah, you gonna make it all 220?”
Jack Butler: “Yeah, 220, 221. Whatever it takes.”

from “Mr. Mom”, 1983 

Sometimes, after certain editing operations, or when importing a midi file, you’ll wind up with doubled unison notes with shared stems in a single layer:

While there are some cases where doubled unison notes (on the same stem / layer) are appropriate, it’s more common to see either stems up / stems down divisi in two Layers, or single noteheads, with technique text indicating “a2” throughout the particular unison passage, like this:

Fortunately, there are several solutions for eliminating duplicate unison notes appearing in the same Layer in Finale:

  • Finale’s Explode Music Tool
  • TGTOOLS Process Extracted Parts Plugin
  • JW Chord Manager . . . Plugin

Let’s take a look at how each works :

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Grand Pause ( G.P. ) Text in Sibelius – Symbols Method

Q: I’m trying to figure out a better mousetrap for dealing with Grand Pauses (GP) in Sibelius. When I use tempo text to create a grand pause in the score, it doesn’t center over bar rests in the score or the parts, so it requires a whole lot of tweaking in both places. I’m hoping there is a smarter, less laborious way to deal with this?

A: Good question. There is actually more than one approach we can take to address this question, in the absence of a true Sibelius feature to center text within a bar. In this tutorial, let’s take a look at the Symbols method:

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Aleatoric Elements : From Boxed to Out of the Box Notation In Finale

Music that supplies only the pitches while directing the players to improvise the rhythms freely is a common (partly) aleatoric device which gives the composer a desired degree of control over the tonality, while retaining temporal freedom.

The notation is typically indicated by surrounding a series of specific pitches with a square or rectangular box, along with a box extender line to indicate that the pitches are to be improvised on for a specific number of beats or a given number of seconds. The exact duration of the “box” can also be indicated as a text duration (e.g. 00:06″ etc).

In “Creating Aleatoric / Temporal Boxed Notation in Finale, Part 1” we looked at how to create these semi-aleatoric directives.

Sometimes, the reverse is desired: the rhythm is notated, but the specific pitches are left up to the player. A common convention for this is to show stems of different lengths (without noteheads) to show the relative pitch relationships:

This is quite simple to do in Finale:

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Creating Aleatoric Temporal Boxed Notation in Finale

Q: I would like to use Finale to notate the contemporary avant-garde works I am composing. In a score with a number of instruments, How do I encapsulate a series within boxes or repeat bars for only one instrument, while the others keep playing and counting normally, without the repeat sign?

A: Finale is very flexible in this regard. Start by entering the notes for the series you would like boxed. They can be quarter notes, or duplets or tuplets of any value. The note values you choose will determine the initial series width within a bar of score, and the relative width within the part:

If you are using tuplets, it is common practice to hide their numbers. Select the tuplet tool. Click the first note of the tuplet, and then double-click the little selection box that appears in the center of the tuplet. When the dialog opens, change the appearance popup menu to “none”, and do this optionally for the shape setting as well, then ok the dialog:

If you have multiple boxed notations on different instruments down the score which use tuplets, use the Mass Edit tool to select all the affected staves in your selected region,  then go to Utilities > Change > Tuplets . . . where you can hide the tuplet numbers globally for the selected area in one pass.

As of this writing, there are several systems for notating boxed notation. To keep it simple, I will walk through one of the more common conventions . . .

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Sibelius – Create Etude Numbers Using Instrument Changes

Etude numbers in published works commonly appear at the left edge of the first staff of each etude:

Since these occur in the same place as Instrument Names might in a score, (and since serendipitously, instrument names aren’t typically displayed at the left edge of systems in an Etude book), we can use the Instrument Name Text Style in Sibelius combined with Instrument Changes to create a series of Etude numbers. Here’s how:

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