Proofreading is an essential part of music preparation, whether it’s engraving for publication, a recording session, or for performance.

It’s more than merely having an eye for detail. Good proofreading really boils down to having an efficient and methodical / systematic approach which allows every aspect of the music on every page to be examined  consistently and thoroughly.

I recommend the method advocated by William Holab and David Fetheroff in “The G. Schirmer/AMP Manual of Style and Usage” as a great starting point. Once you’ve learned how it works, you may modify the process somewhat, as I have, but the gist is, you want to specifically target groups of musical elements one at a time in a methodical manner to produce consistent and accurate results.

In the G. Schirmer system, the proofreader prints out a copy of the score or part and pencils the following letters at the top of the page, crossing each letter off as that task is complete:

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Auto Note / Stem Side Articulation Placement in Finale

Articulations are small symbols which which are normally placed near the notehead to indicate how a note is to be played.

However, when music appears in more than one Voice or Layer, the placement rules change. Earlier versions of Finale required a lot of manual adjustment to make articulations appear in the right place where there were multiple Layers. In current versions of FInale, users can take advantage of a positioning feature for articulations called “Auto Note / Stem Side”:

use for: accent, accent-staccato, accent-tenuto, marcatissimo, marcato accent (rooftop) marcato staccato, staccato and tenuto (sostenuto).

Show Active Layer Only : What You See Is What You Edit in Finale

In Finale, sometimes it is desirable to copy only the material from one Layer (e.g. voice) to another location. However, while you can use use the settings in Edit > Edit Filter to control which elements are copied, all Filter settings apply to all visible Layers. But Finale has a very powerful feature hidden in the Document menu : “Show Active Layer Only”.

All you have to remember to use this feature is “If you don’t see it, it won’t get copied”. So, to copy only the music from Layer 2 onto the clipboard, make Layer 2 active, then select “Show Active Layer Only”.

Keep in mind that you can use this in connection with your settings in the Edit Filter to get very precise control of what gets copied to the Clipboard, for instance, copy just articulations attached to Layer 2…

Quick tip : Slur / Phrase Mark Entry in Finale 2012 / 2011

In Finale, with the slur tool selected, double click on the start note of the slur, but don’t release the mouse after the second click (down, up, down). Instead, drag the slur right to extend it. As it passes each subsequent note, it becomes highlighted, indicating that the slur will “snap” to that note. If you release the mouse while you see the highlight, the slur will be properly attached to the desired destination note.

While this technique will also work across systems, or even pages, it’s sometimes easier to enter phrase marks using Scroll View, since everything is linear in this view.

Articulation Alternatives for Staggered Bowing in Finale and Sibelius

Bowings are a type of symbol used in music notation to indicate the use of the bow in string parts, which indicate the manner in which a note should be played. Finale and Sibelius share a standard way to create these; they treat bowings as articulations, which are automatically positioned in proximity to the notehead.

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Notation Workflow : Tips For Moving Logic Files into Sibelius or Finale

For Logic users there may come the time that one needs to get a file over to Finale or Sibelius to finish a project. Logic has its own proprietary notation display formatting and doesn’t currently support Music XML. However, you can export a Standard MIDI File (SMF) and achieve good results. To maximize compatibility before exporting a SMF, you’ll need to do some adjustments, as described below.

The important proprietary formatting items are Display Quantize, Interpretation mode and to a lesser degree, Syncopation mode. These items affect Logic’s display only – playback remains unaffected. You may also need to deal with pedal markings (these do affect playback). Let’s look at what they do, and how to pass along this information in a SMF.

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Create a Divisi or Chorded Instrument from Two Separate Staves

In my postKeep it Together in Finale or Sibelius : Score & Parts in the same file“, we looked at methods of exploding chorded or divisi parts in the score into individual lines that, would be hidden in the page view of the score, while still available as single line parts.

Often, just the opposite workflow is required: the score already contains individual instrument staves that need to be combined for the score. That is, rather than allocating the contents of a divisi or chorded staff into individual instrument staves,  the requirement is to merge data from two or more independent staves into a single combined staff.

Let’s break it down.

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