Q: I am currently studying Elaine Gould’s “Behind Bars” and on page 30 she states: “Terminate the octave transposition with a corner”. In Finale, octave lines seem to automatically end with a corner whereas in Sibelius the line finishes as a vertical stroke which the writer advises to avoid.
How can I make a proper corner at the end of the extension line in Sibelius, if at all possible?
A: Both Finale and Sibelius by default use line strokes rather than shapes to create both the horizontal extension line and the vertical end “hook” for the Octave up and Octave down symbols and other lines.
Both programs also allow the use of a Symbol to end a line, so you can end a line with an arrowhead, corner or any other shape. The advantage of using vector lines for this is that it allows the engraver to precisely mate the line width of the extension line and the hook very precisely so that the line and hook appear to be an extension of the same line.
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.
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 . . .
Q: What method(s) do you use to avoid collisions in “busy” scores in Finale, i.e: a tutti section with dynamics, hairpins, accents, chord symbols, etc… I have messed with the Avoid Collisions plugin but that doesn’t seem to do the trick for me.
A: For me, regardless of the notation program you are working in, there are a couple of basic “small things” that make a piece of music look “clean”. The first is a consistent amount of white space between any two objects that are close together on the page. The amount of minimum white space between any two objects is usually a matter of personal taste; a “house style” decision.
The second is that wherever possible, the vertical alignment of similar grouped objects such as dynamics, chord symbols or lyrics should remain consistent. Horizontal alignment should also be consistent. For instance, if you decide that techniques like “arco” and “pizz.” should be right aligned with noteheads horizontally or centered over notes, then you should locate these markings consistently in that position as much as is possible.