Finale 27 introduced a powerful new feature that is easy to overlook, especially since MakeMusic hasn’t mentioned it in any of their marketing materials.
In almost every place you can add text in Finale, there is now an ‘Insert Symbol’ command added to the text menu:
Note that this command has the shortcut Cmd+Opt+Shift+S on the Mac (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S on Windows).
Invoking that command will bring up the new and improved Symbol Select window, including the category sidebar if you are accessing a SMuFL font. So why is this such a big deal? Because it makes actually using the ~2600 symbols in the SMuFL spec much easier.
X noteheads, also referred to as “cross” or “crossed” noteheads have a number of functions in modern music notation.
In percussion writing, they are the go-to for non-pitched metallophone instruments such as cymbals or tamtam or gong. For drum set, particularly in jazz or rock charts, cymbals are typically the most active part, and X noteheads help these stand out from the other parts on a 5 line staff.
In vocal music, x noteheads are often used tor spoken text, or for unvoiced sounds / vocal effects. In both instrumental and vocal writing, they can be used to indicate notes of indefinite pitch. And in jazz charts, X noteheads can be used to indicate “ghost” notes in a melodic line.
(for drum set writing, there is an actual “ghost” notehead, which is a regular notehead in parenthesis.)
Cross (x) noteheads can also be used as a special effect to indicate hand / finger damping of instruments such as guitar, or tuned percussion such as vibraphone.
If you are a Finale user, you may have already heard about JetStream Finale Controller. JetStream is a tool designed to increase your speed and productivity in Finale, which works with Elgato’s 15 key or 32 key Stream Deck hardware, its Mobile apps for iOS and Android, and also Keyboard Maestro for Mac.
JetStream Finale Controller is a community-driven project; written by a small group of Finale users with diverse backgrounds. JetStream itself is (and its developers promise) will remain, free to download and use.
Today, an update to JetStream Finale Controller was announced, with a number of new features, as well as various bug fixes and enhancements. Here’s what’s new:
Music notation software has evolved considerable over the last 20 years, A goal for Finale and the other big players in this space continues to be automation; eliminating, as much as possible, the need for manual edits.
For instance, as of Finale 26, when you add more than one articulation to a note, they stack intelligently; and automatically adjust to avoid collisions with slurs. But collision avoidance of articulations is just the starting point for any good layout.
What if you could just enter notes and rests, articulations, phrasing and text, define a page size and margins, and the software would automate nearly all of the little details to make the music look great on the page? Magical, right?
If you are already using JetStream Finale Controller, hopefully by now, you’ve had a chance to explore and enjoy many of its time-saving productivity functions, which range from simple tool and menu selection to multi-step productivity macros for Finale.
There are currently close to one thousand functions in the Stream Deck versions of JetStream, with almost 500 functions in the Keyboard Maestro version. The first point release update to JetStream v1 was released on November 1st.