Creating lyric elision slurs more easily in Finale 2012 and earlier


Elision is defined as the omission of a vowel, consonant, or syllable while pronouncing or writing something, sometimes as a natural shortening, as in “he’s,” sometimes for literary or poetic effect, as in “’tis”.

In vocal music, elision slurs are the curvy ligatures used to connect two lyric syllables under one note. This type of markup is quite common in vocal music in a language other than English:


In Finale, the process to show two elided syllables on the same note should be very straightforward. One could ideally type a specific keystroke to produce the elision (it’s a underscore in Sibelius) and you could type these in on the fly.

In Finale, you use a single keystroke to create the elision character; SHIFT-I. But even in Finale 2012, the process described in the User Manual requires several steps:

To create an elision slur between lyrics

  1. Click the Lyrics Tool . The Lyrics menu appears.
  2. From the Lyrics menu, choose Lyrics window. The Edit Text window appears. Type the lyrics in the usual way, up to the elision.
  3. Type the first syllable. Without adding a space, type a capital I, then the second syllable.
  4. Drag to select the I. From the Text menu, choose Font. Choose EngraverFontSet then click OK., choose Set Font, then choose EngraverFontSet. Complete the remaining lyrics.
  5. Click OK. When you enter these lyrics using the Option+Click Assignment method (see Lyrics), Finale distributes the syllables you just created to the corresponding notes of the melody, but treats the elision as a single syllable. A slur will appear between the two syllables.

But note that there are other, more efficient ways to enter these elision slurs which can save you a great deal of time.

This first solution makes use of the Text Search and Replace feature in Finale.
(thanks to David Bolton for posting the basics of this technique back in 2006.)

Click the Lyrics Tool. Begin typing your lyrics as you normally would.

When you get to where you need an elision slur, use a substitute character such as the equals sign. Be sure to pick a substitute character that isn’t used  elsewhere in the piece.

Once you have all your lyrics entered, you’ll end up with this type of thing:

Now, from Finale’s Edit Menu, choose Text Search and Replace.

In the “Search for” field, enter your substitution character. If you are concerned that you might have this character somewhere besides Lyrics, uncheck Search everywhere, and select just Lyrics, otherwise, you can leave the default.  In the “Replace with” field, type a capital I and check the box next to it.

Click the Use Style button to the right of the checkbox.

When the Select Font and Styles dialog comes up,  choose EngraverFontSet as your font. (Shift-I in the EngraverFontSet is the elision character), and press OK.

Now, when you press the Replace All button, all of the elision slurs will be updated at once in the document:

In addition to this one-step global swap being very fast, another advantage is that it you can either enter the lyrics via Type Into Score, or in the Lyric Window. And of course, you don’t have to worry about changing the font for the Shift-I elision character each time.


If you have a macro program such as Quickeys, you can program a short sequence that will allow you to enter elision slurs on the fly. I’ll use Quickeys to describe the process, but it should work the same in any macro program that gives you access to menu selection.

Basically, there are three steps to this short macro:

  1. Select the EngraverFontSet from the Text Menu in Finale
  2. Type Shift-I
  3. Select the normal lyric font (again) from the Text Menu in Finale

Here is what it looks like in Quickeys:

Now, assign the Macro a Hot Key (something with a modifier that isn’t used in Finale for something else works well). Here, I’ve assigned CMND-I:

Now, as you type in your lyrics using either Type Into Score or into the Lyric window, simply type your Hot Key whenever you need the elision, and you can do the entry in real time.

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