There is a visual style preferred by many composers and orchestrators in which instrument group names are shown bracketing two or more staves, with numbers (1., 2. or I., II.) rather than individual instrument names showing for the specific instrument staves:
This is a nice presentation, which clearly shows how the orchestration is organized with a minimum of clutter. The method to create Multi-Stave Groups like the above in Finale, as well as a cool variation for group name display are covered in this post by my colleague Jon Senge.
However, while this works great for the score, it’s quite another thing if you are also creating the parts, because there are no longer unique identifiers for each instrument. When you get to the parts phase, you first have to figure out which staff goes with which instrument, and once you do, you have to manually type in each instrument name in the Linked Parts! Ideally, the instrument names should remain in the template for parts. So, how can we do this?
Simple Vertical Group Names
I was recently asked to create a score layout that evoked some old Hollywood styles. One of the aspects discussed was a different way of formatting instrument families. Vertical instrument labels can be found on some old manuscript papers but are all but forgotten in today’s computer notation.
Creating vertical staff group labels are easy work in Finale. If you already have staff groups established, as in the excerpt below, it’s just a matter of reformatting the label itself. If you don’t, here’s a brief explanation.
Q: I’m composing a piece for full orchestra plus large percussion ensemble / steel band). In order to save space, I’m using shared staves for most of the winds (two of each, and usually tutti).
Ordinarily I really like this feature in Finale that allows each player to see their own part, but it isn’t properly spacing the music within each part…specifically the grace notes (of which there are MANY).
Furthermore, because Note Entry tools are disabled when looking at the part from a shared staff, I can’t simply manually drag the notes left to make the proper space. Have you run into this?
A: The Specify Voicing feature in Finale’s Managed Parts is a huge productivity tool in Finale which I use all of the time. Unfortunately, Specify Voicing can’t be used for parts that contain Grace Notes. The issue is that Note Spacing is completely broken for grace notes with Specify Voicing turned on for that staff, rendering an otherwise elegant feature useless for these Linked Parts.
And, as you point out, there is no way to manually edit an individual note’s horizontal location (note spacing) in the part once Specify Voicing is active for the part. Fortunately, for these cases there is an excellent workaround.
I’m working on a composition of a 17 year old student for their final exams at the end of high school. He has written a drum part which requires samples as well as drum kit.
These samples are notated as diamond noteheads on his score:
However, when I export the midi file to to Logic, I lose all these diamond headed notes.
So, I created a second version of his score (Liam Comp 2.sib), where I managed to copy these diamond noteheads into a new staff. However, when I try to play these back – nothing (whether the new instrument is drum set or piano).
Are you able to see why these notes on the score do not appear to be registering as midi messages on playback and export?
Please help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.
Thanks very much,
Hello everybody, Michele Galvagno here with a rather interesting notational matter. I’m currently working on a piece by a living composer scored for 2 percussionists, with harp and piano.
The composer’s original manuscript is set as a system with four piano grand staves, the first two of which are labelled “Vibraphone & percussion” and “Marimba & percussion”:
Upon looking at the original manuscript more closely, I noticed that the composer had notated all the unpitched percussion onto extra 1-line staves positioned in the middle of each player’s respective braced grand staff:
I thought it might be good to devote some time to reviewing Finale’s Staff Height (Size) controls, since this seems to be a misunderstood area of the program.
There is a reason for the seemingly unrelated numerical values which have remained in Finale’s Page Format Dialog > System Scaling since very early versions. A bit of an historical perspective may be a good place to start.
Prior to the era of computer note-setting, plate engravers (music engravers) used a system of universally accepted staff sizes. There were 8 standard staff sizes, of which 5 were in common use:
from “The Art of Music & Engraving” by Ted Ross
Q: We just came across something that seems to be a major annoyance in Finale. We had never run into it before because we usually start from a Document Style with the Setup Wizard, rather than creating a template from an existing file.
It seems that when you add, delete, or change an instrument from the Score Manager, it resets staff attributes for a bunch of staves all at once. For example, our templates were set to only display measure numbers over the first Violins in the score, but on making any change it resets the attributes of the first staff in each instrument choir, so all of a sudden we have huge measure numbers all over the page, and redundant grand staff braces and / or brackets are created.
I wanted to ask you if you’d encountered this issue before, and if there’s a solution.