Display Instrument Names Differently Between Score & Parts in Finale

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?

One solution that will give you a different display of instrument names between score and parts is to create single-staff groups for each Staff in the score, with numbers displaying instead of names, and without any brackets. First, we’ll need to hide each instrument’s Staff Name in the score. Open Staff Attributes for a selected instrument and uncheck “Items to Display : Staff Name in Score”:


OK the Staff Attributes dialog and click to highlight that staff from beginning to end (e.g. with the Staff Attributes Tool still selected). From the Staff menu, choose Groups and Brackets > Add…

Depending on which instrument you are identifying, type “1” or “2” etc. into the Full Group Name and Abbreviated Group Name fields,and check “Show Group Name”:


Once you have entered all of the appropriate “number names” for each instrument, and you’ve added your multi-stave groups as outlined here, your score should have that professional numbered look, while retaining the full instrument names for when you get to the parts.

In the Staff menu,  choose one or more of the options for name positioning under Set Default Name Positions to fine-tune instrument name and group text placement to taste. 

As long as we are discussing ways to retain the full instrument names for the parts, while at the same time, showing instrument numbers in the staves of the full score, there is another method for you to consider.

This approach is more simplified in some ways, because it doesn’t require that you fake up a separate “single instrument group” for each instrument number-name in the score. Instead, it uses a little trick with hidden text that works in connection with right-aligned Staff Names. You won’t have to uncheck “Items to Display : Staff Name in Score”, either.

Here’s how it works. Finale allows you to hide different types of text, and in fact, hide only part of a line of text so that it doesn’t print. For instance, in Staff Attributes, you can hide the part of the Staff Name that isn’t the number. For the Flute, double click to select the Instrument name in front of the number:


Now choose Style > Hidden from the Text menu and apply:


For the abbreviated staff names, you can use the same approach, or simply replace the text with the number, since the abbreviated staff names won’t be visible in the parts.

Hidden Text will not print, no matter how dark or lightly it displays on screen. The amount of opacity for this hidden text, called “Hidden Object Shading” is set in Finale’s Program Options > View Menu:


You will see the hidden part of the Instrument names on screen now, at whatever shading percentage you set in Program options, but they will not print:


A cool side benefit of this method when using Setup Wizard or when you add new staves to an existing score is that the part of the name that you have hidden in Staff Attributes will remain visible in Managed Parts by default.

Note that once you edit a part name in Managed Parts, it becomes “unlinked” from the score, so you will have to make further edits to visibility etc. manually from that point.

In other words, you should be able to add new staves to your score and hide the text in front of the numbers in Staff Attributes of the score as outlined above.  When these new staves show up in Managed Parts, your full instrument names will be ready to go!


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