Q: I would like to use three line tremolos for all unmeasured tremolos, and have them always play back correctly. Properly notated (on printed page) three line tremolos for timpani, drum rolls, and mallet percussion play back (somewhat) correctly at faster tempos, but sound like an M1919 Browning machine gun at slower tempos.
The four line tremolo (called “16 tremolos”) typically sounds best for strings, but I want to use the three line tremolo for unmeasured tremolo, which is visually correct. Is there a workaround to achieve (reasonably) proper playback of both, without co-opting an incorrect looking symbol on the printed page? I don’t want to have to use the alternate 16 tremolos (4-line), or 32 tremolos (5-line) for correct playback.
A: Yes. By default, Sibelius plays back three stroke tremolos as “8 tremolos”, which means that it is simply subdividing the note it is attached to 8 times. At faster tempos, this can sound ok, but this quantized “fast measured” effect sounds patently incorrect at slower tempos. I think the percussive 30 caliber M1919 Browning analogy is a good one.
This is a case where the software has introduced a possible bad habit for young composers and arrangers, because in order to get correct playback by default, one has to resort to using the 4 or 5 stroke tremolos.
Elaine Gould, in her book “Behind Bars” (page 224), states “The standard indication for unmeasured tremolo is three tremolo strokes.”
So, how can we get these three stroke tremolos to play back properly? Let’s take a look.
Feathered Beams in Finale are straightforward to create in a single staff (see this tutorial).
However, creating feathered beams in a grand staff with cross-staff notation is a little more involved, so it seems like an excellent topic.
In this tutorial, we’ll examine several methods for creating cross-staff feathered beaming in Finale. Thanks to Peter Thomsen, Luke Dahn and Zuill for their contributions to this tutorial, and a shout out to Alexander Blank at Indiana University for bringing us all together on the OF NOTE blog!
MakeMusic released the update to Finale 2012b today, which includes several new features:
- Range Checking. Finale now alerts you when notes are outside of an instrument’s range.
- Automatic Transposition while Copying. Music is now pasted into the most appropriate octave when copied between instruments of different registers. Also, music is transposed into the most appropriate register when changing instruments with the ScoreManager.
- Accessible Text Inserts. You no longer need to venture into a dialog box to edit text inserts. You can now edit them directly in the score like a regular text box. When you do so, the text insert’s definition is updated respectively.
- SVG Graphic Export. You can now export Scaled Vector Graphics from Finale.
- EPUB Export. You can now export EPUB files from Finale for viewing on mobile readers.
- New Finale Lyrics Font. This font improves lyric spacing, and is the new default for scores created with the Document Setup Wizard.
- Automatic Font Annotation. Finale can now automatically generate Font Annotation Files to accommodate files with 3rd-party music fonts.
- New Aria Player. Finale includes the latest Aria Player from Garritan.
There have been some interface changes since the release of Finale 2012:
- “Program Options” have been renamed “Preferences.” To access the Preferences, choose Finale 2012 > Preferences.
- The File menu has been reorganized. Several File menu commands have been moved into new Import and Export submenus, as well as new commands added to 2012b. See “File menu” in the User Manual for details.
- Undefined text inserts appear gray and do not print. Undefined text inserts, such as those that appear in the first page header after finishing the Setup Wizard, are now gray in color, indicating they will not print. You can update these inserts directly in the score using the Text tool. See “Text Inserts” in the User Manual for details.
- Staff Styles now (again) support staff transpositions. The ability to include staff transpositions in Staff Styles has been restored (allowing Staff Styles to be an alternative method for creating mid-score instrument changes). See “Staff Styles dialog box” in the User Manual for details.
Finale 2012b also includes a number of bug fixes, including:
- Audio - Audio files saved using Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL) no longer stutter.
- Fonts – (1) The missing Seville font has been added to MacSymbolfonts.txt. (2) Problems with results from Change Chord Suffix Fonts have been resolved. (3) The Font menu now reports all missing fonts correctly.
- Inserting - Inserting stacks no longer cause a crash when Automatic Update Layout is unchecked.
- Keyswitches – (1) Expressions with keyswitches are now correctly chased during playback when Chase from First Measure is selected in the Playback/Record Options dialog box. (2) JABB (Garritan Jazz and Big Band) trumpets and trombones now respect keyswitch commands for all muted sounds.
- Preferences- Folders - Finale no longer defaults to the MacOS folder if the specified folder is missing.
- Staves - Problems deleting multiple staves in Scroll View have been resolved.
If you have been thinking of purchasing the Finale 2012 update, now might be a good time.
Makemusic’s upgrade sale price of $99 has been extended through July 9th, 2012.
Q: I’m trying to import a graphic onto my score, but whenever I place it where I want it, the multi-measure rest breaks in a way I don’t want it to. How can I place the graphic above the staff and keep the multi-measure rest at the full duration?
A: From version 2 of Sibelius onward, the Properties Palette has provided a good solution for controlling placement while keeping multimeasure rest integrity. In Sibelius 7, the Properties Palette was renamed “The Inspector”, but for all intents and purposes, it is still the same tool.
Suppose you want a graphic to appear in the score and parts at a location prior to the barline, over the multirest:
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:
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 . . .
An international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, by which each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different platforms and programs.
Finale 2012 and Sibelius 7 both feature Unicode font support. Among other things, this means a number of new symbols useful for music notation are now readily available in addition to the 256 “regular” characters we’ve always had access to. This cross – application Unicode support represents an important step for digital music preparation, as we not only have access to the comprehensive set of accented and diacritical characters used in Latin based languages, but we can now enter the text and symbols for titles, credits, lyrics and directives in non-Latin based languages such as Russian and Chinese.
One useful type of symbol sometimes used in music scores not built in to the Sibelius Word Menus or the Finale Expressions Selection Dialog in Finale are fractions. Without Unicode, fractions need to be displayed as two numbers with a slash between them, e.g. “1/2″. Directives such as “½ section trem.” or “Slow ¼ tone bends” or “trill ½” appear frequently in modern scores, for instance, so it is great to finally be able to display these properly and easily in both Finale and Sibelius.
On the PC, you should be able to type the most common fractions directly into either Sibelius 7 or Finale 2012 using ALT codes. Hold down the ALT key, type 0188 on the numeric keypad, and then release the ALT key to insert the symbol ¼. To insert the symbol ½, use the character code 0189. To insert the symbol ¾, use 0190.
Unfortunately, there are no designated keystrokes for fractions on a Mac, and if you are like me, you may have trouble remembering obscure ALT codes, anyway.
The good news is that with Unicode support, you now can simply copy and paste these characters into your music, and recall them again quickly at any time. It just takes a couple of minutes to set up, and from then on, they’ll always be there when you need them.