Finale Quick Tip : Smart Word Extensions @ Double Barlines

In vocal music, single syllables of text which span several different notes in succession are shown with horizontal lines, called Word Extensions, or Lyric Extensions. The technical name for these vocal phrases is “melisma” or the plural, “melismata”:


Finale has a great productivity feature which automates the drawing of these lyric extensions called Smart Word Extensions.

However, by default in Finale, Smart Word Extensions break whenever there is a double bar line. If you have a syllable that is tied over the bar line, say in the case where there is a pickup into a verse, you wind up with the word extension incorrectly truncated, as in this example:


Fortunately, there is a simple toggle to make Smart Word Extensions a bit smarter in Finale:

Select the Measure Attributes tool. Now, double-click in the bar preceding the double bar to open the Measure Attributes dialog. Locate the Behavior section at the right side of the dialog, and uncheck “Break Smart Word Extensions”:


The result is that the Smart Word Extension now behaves just as it should at the double bar line:


I hope this tip is helpful to you.


The Coda:
From a UI standpoint, I would personally prefer that MakeMusic uncheck this option by default. I can think of cases where you might want to break the word extension at a bar line – a Coda for instance, but by far the most common case is like the example above.

3 Replies to “Finale Quick Tip : Smart Word Extensions @ Double Barlines”

  1. Nice! On a similar subject, do you know how to “turn off” Finale’s automatically breaking multi-measure rests that precede a D.S. (when entered as a “repeat” expression)?

    For instance, if my D.S. in a trumpet part is preceded by a 4-measure rest, Finale will change that into a 3-measure rest and a bar with a whole rest. SO infuriating. My only workaround is to enter D.S. (etc) as text expression, but this lacks the playback/repeat jumps.


    Thanks for the great info.

    ~ Rick

  2. Thanks so much for this tip, Robert! It is well-written, and it answered my question beautifully and resolved my frustration. I totally agree with your “Coda” comment, too.

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