Displaying Different Octaves In Score and Parts in Finale Part 1

Q: “I’m working on a Violin Concerto in Finale 2011. The violinist who is playing the concerto prefers to have all the high passages written out in pitch (rather than using ottava notation).  However, I would like to use ottava notation In the score. How to I show the notes at pitch in the part, and at 8vb with the ottava lines in the score?”

A: While this is a little different than creating a part for an octave transposing instrument, we’ll use similar techniques to create it. In FInale 2012 and earlier, we’ll create and use an octave transposing Staff Style for this, in combination with ottava lines which are visible in the score, and hidden in the part. Here’s how:

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Combining Two or More Instruments Into a Single Part in Sibelius

In Sibelius, some instruments, such as piano or harp, automatically appear as a grand staff part. However, many times, it is desirable to create a part which combines two or more staves from the score into a single part.

For instance, you might want to combine Violin 1 and Violin 2 onto the same part, or perhaps you have several percussion instruments that should appear in a percussion part score, or an SATB chorus that you’d like all on the same part. Here’s how: more >> “Combining Two or More Instruments Into a Single Part in Sibelius”

Real – Time Recording of Continuous Control Changes in Sibelius


I recently had this question posed to me by fellow note-slinger John Hinchey, “Is there a way to overdub continuous control changes in Sibelius? Say you’ve got a staff with notes in it; now you want to insert just control changes, but in real time, using your midi wheels, pedals, faders etc.”

If your playback doesn’t sound very natural, you can add control changes, but in real time, using your midi wheels, pedals, faders etc. For example, you could “perform” the pedalling of a piano part in Sibelius.


Let’s assume you already have notes in the staff, which you’ve either entered in Sibelius, or perhaps you’ve imported using MIDI,  Photoscore or MusicXML.  At this point, you are ready to overdub Controller Changes onto the staff.

Sibelius 7 : Select the Note Input Tab of the Ribbon, then click on the little box in the lower right corner of the Flexi-time section to open the Flexi-time options dialog.

Sibelius 6 : From the Notes menu, select Flexi-time Options to open the Flexi-time dialog.

Sibelius 6&7: In the Flexi-time panel of this dialog, first uncheck “Record Into Multiple Voices”, then select the “Voice 2” radio button. If you have notes already in Voice 2, you can select Voice 3 or 4. Under “Existing Music” select the Overdub radio button.

Now, go to the Notation panel of Flexi-time options, and under MIDI Messages, check “Keep Controller Changes”.

OK the dialog, and that’s all there is to it! Select the bar to start recording in. CTRL-SHIFT-F (CMND-SHIFT-F) starts Flexi-time rolling, so you can record only the controller changes (CC) on this pass.


This excellent YouTube video tutorial by David Healey of Total Composure from Northern England details how to record CC controller changes in Sibelius 7:

Gaps Before Codas for Score and Parts in Sibelius

“I would like to add a gap between bars for a Coda in my score and parts in Sibelius, but the gap is only showing up in the parts. How can I make the split system show up in the parts as well?”


In Sibelius 6, you must manually split the multirest in the same bar as the Split System in order for a Coda (e.g. System split) gap to show up in all the parts.

In Sibelius 7, the Split Multirest is automatically added when you select Split System, so normally, these will show up automatically in the parts this way.

However, note that in either Sibelius 6 or Sibelius 7, you also need to have “Keep gaps before codas (that have split multirests)” checked in the Layout Tab of the Multiple Part Appearance dialog for this to work properly.

In Sibelius 7, go to the Parts tab, Part Appearance and select the Layout tab. Check “Keep gaps before codas (that have split multirests)”

In Sibelius 6, select the Multi Part Appearance button in the Parts Window, and select the Layout tab. Check “Keep gaps before codas (that have split multirests)”

Create a score without key signatures for some instruments in Finale

There is a convention in Classical music to display certain parts chromatically, without a key signature, in a piece where the other instruments show the key signature – technically a mix of tonal and atonal staves, for lack of a better term. Timpani, Horn and even Trumpets are sometimes found notated chromatically this way.

Copeland, Stravinsky and Holst are three well known composers that have followed this convention for some of their works.

If you are using Finale 2014 or later, support for Keyless Scores is now built in; you no longer have to change transposition manually.

But how does one create a score which shows key signatures on some staves but not on others in Finale 2012 and earlier?

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Horizontal Split Points : Split a single measure across a system break in Finale

Q: I have a Finale file which has one long measure with about 20 notes in it, and it’s somewhat cramped.  Is there a way to “split” the bar into two systems without adding an extra bar, and without adding a bar line in the middle? Also, if this is in a score with integrated parts, can I do this without altering the score or other parts, etc.?”

A: Split measures are often found in published hymnals, with pickups into the start of a new verse or chorus appearing at the end of a previous system to keep the music symmetrical. Cadenzas are another example, where there may be a large number of notes within a single “bar”.

Finale’s “Allow Horizontal Split Points” feature is designed to split a single measure across a system break.

With the Measure Tool selected, double click on the measure you want to split. When the Measure Attributes dialog opens, check “Allow Horizontal Split Points”:


OK the dialog. This adds a 3rd selection handle below the other two at the measure’s right bar line. Click the new handle, and you’ll see a strip running the length of the bar. Double click where you want the break to occur. You can actually split the bar into more than 2 segments if you want, and you can drag these split points anywhere along the horizontal placement strip:


Now, update the layout, and this measure will appear split across two systems as you’ve defined it.

This technique works great for a hymnal piece, or any music where the score and part share the same layout. The same technique is a little tricky with an integrated score and parts, if you only want the split to appear on one particular part (for instance, a cadenza). It will work as long as you don’t update the layout anywhere except where you want the split. 

However, it is pretty easy to update the layout accidentally, so I would recommend completing the layouts for the score and all parts except for this one part containing the (e.g. cadenza) bar which requires the split. Extract this part *before* you do the split. By dealing with this split point in a separate file, for the one instrument only, you will maintain the integrity of the layout in your score and the other parts.

Now that you understand how to do this manually, try Finale’s Split Measures plugin which automates the beat where the split occurs, the bar line style, and can also move the second part of the split measure to the next system. Found in : Plugins > Measures > Split Measures.



Puntos de división horizontales: Dividir un solo compás a lo largo de un cambio de sistema en Finale

Making Efficient Use of Linked Parts In Finale

It baffles me that there are still a number of commercial Music Copying Houses in LA, New York and elsewhere that are still not taking advantage of the benefits of Finale’s integrated score and parts. These copyists are still using an old method from the mid 1990’s, where a master parts template file is created, and each part is pasted into the template one at a time, then saved off as individual, separate files.

From a housekeeping standpoint alone, the difference between managing 1 master parts file or 30 individual files is a no brainer. Printing is also much slower, as each individual file must be opened up and printed vs. being able to take advantage of the batch printing option in recent versions of Finale. Factor in any sort of last minute edits, particularly those where notes from one staff are to be copied into another, or changes to the form of the piece, and it quickly becomes obvious that a few minutes to learn a technique which integrates all the parts into a single file would be invaluable.

Let’s take a look…

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