How to Create Stemless + Stemmed / Beamed Sections in the Same Finale File

Q: I compose music for Psalms from scripture. The format typically has a REFRAIN or ANTIPHON of 4 to 10 measures of metered (4/4, 6/8, etc.) notation, with stemmed notes and standard notation of quarter notes, eighth notes, repeat signs, etc.

Music example © Mark J. Stenson

When that short section is done, the music for the longer verses uses a “chant like” un-metered melody, usually without stems on the note values. For example, the start of an “unmetered” section below  is made up of sequential bars of 10/4 and 11/4, with the time signatures and stems hidden; giving the impression of “un-metered” notation.

However, when I try to take the stems off of the notes in the un-metered measures, all of the notes lose their stems, including the original 4 measures of metered music.

My current “work-around” is to merge the contents of the two different Finale documents as a graphic. There must be a way to show both a stemmed section and an unstemmed section in the same Finale file?

A: Yes, absolutely. The fastest, easiest solution is to use one of the available plugins for this purpose.

The full version of TGTools Pro suite has a “Remove” plugin.

The plugin allows you to remove stems, beams and also rests:

TGTools is compatible with Finale 25 (64 bit) and later and offers several pricing tiers depending on your usage.

Another plugin option is the freeware plugin JW Change by plugin author Jari Williamsson.

The JW Change Plugin has visibility control settings for both Stems and Beams. Make a selection in Finale, select JW Change and scroll down to stems and set visibility to Hide:

If your non-metered section also has beams, you can hide these in the Beams section of JW Change:

With either of these plugins, you select a region and apply. The remainder of the piece will not be affected. The JW Change plugin is available here. Donate something to Jari Williamsson to show your appreciation here.

Non-metrical music, whether a Gregorian chant or a modern cadenza typically involves what might be considered “mathematically odd” meters. That is to say, most likely, you’ll need to fit an odd number of notes into a metrical container that is not 4/4 and then hide its time signature for this non-metrical section.

This technique of hiding time signatures is also a common way to create a Cadenza in Finale.

Cadenza ex. from Mozart’s K. 398 (end of Variation 6). Source: Wikipedia

To hide the meter for specific measures, select the region, then choose Always Hide in the Time Signature popup of Finale’s Measure Attributes dialog:

Depending on the situation, you may wish to also either hide or show *cautionary* Time Signatures while in this same dialog.

In Summary: Plugins provide a fast and efficient  solution for creating stemless and stemmed / beamed sections within the same Finale file.


for Mark Stenson

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