Hide Cautionary Key & Time Signatures in Finale

Q: I’m creating very simple exercise sheets in Finale; scales and so forth. But I don’t know how to end one scale and go to the next key as a new song, meaning, brand new time signature and key signature. I can add the new key signature. But this leaves a key signature change reminder at the end of previous line that I would like to erase.

I would also like to add a time signature at the start of each exercise. But I can’t add it unless it’s a different time signature. None of the Finale Worksheet templates have exactly what I need. I would like to use the regular piano template and manipulate it. Is that possible?

A: In Finale, it is very simple and fast to format exercise sheets, etudes and multiple movements of the same piece correctly. Let’s take a look…

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Finale’s Clef Designer


Finale supports as many as 18 different clefs within a single score, and as we’ll see, allows you to modify existing clefs and even create your own.

This is the continuation of a previous post: Octave Displaced Staves in Concert Scores with Transposed Parts in Finale. As you will see, Finale’s Clef Designer feature is very flexible and powerful.


Finale displays music notation intelligently relative to each clef’s definition. If you change a clef, Finale will correctly re-notate  the music and also keep track of the playback pitches. Any new clefs you create appear in the standard palette of eighteen clefs (replacing existing clefs).

Finale 2014 and earlier offer “octave clefs” which allow instruments like Piccolo or Contrabass to play back at the correct octave in concert pitch scores. (These look like treble or bass clefs with a small 8 above or below them.) However, modern common practice for concert pitch scores is to use standard bass and treble clefs for octave-displaced instruments.

The good news is, it’s easy to swap out the old-style octave clefs for the regular bass and treble clefs in Finale while retaining the correct octave-offset playback for specific instruments. Let’s take a look.

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Octave-Displaced Staves in Concert Scores with Transposed Parts in Finale

Before reading this article, please see: Concert Pitch, Transposing and Octave Displaced Instruments : A Prelude.

Instruments which are not considered “transposed” per se, but written in a different octave than where they sound are referred to as octave-displaced instruments. Examples of octave-displaced instruments are Glockenspiel, Piccolo, Guitar and Contrabass.


The current convention for scores in Concert Pitch specifies that instruments which transpose at the octave-only be displayed at their written pitches, e.g. mostly within the staff, rather than requiring numerous ledger lines.

Reading a full score is complicated enough without forcing the conductor to always count ledger lines!

Additionally, in modern scores, It is understood that instruments such as the piccolo, guitar, contrabassoon and contrabass sound an octave above or below where written, and so the small reminder number 8 (or 15 if two octaves) above or below the treble or bass clef has fallen out of popular use.

If you think about it, the convention of written pitches makes a great deal of sense; The Glockenspiel sounds two octaves (15ma) above where written; the highest written note for Glockenspiel, C above the staff, requires nine (9) ledger lines to display at concert pitch!

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Clefs for Music Notation

A clef is a musical symbol placed at the beginning of a staff to indicate the pitch of the notes on the staff. “Clef” is the French word for “key”. Clefs first started appearing in music scores in the late 1500’s as letters placed precisely on a specific staff line to identify letter-named pitches, which provided a “key” to their identity.

In modern music, there are three main clef designs / shapes we use for pitched music, plus some ancillary clefs used for percussion instruments, tablature and so forth.


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