Use Keyboard Maestro with Finale to respell notes quickly

Ancillary macro programs are a great way to get more productivity out of Finale. There are  macro programs available for both Windows and MacOS. I’m currently on MacOS, and use a popular macro program called Keyboard Maestro.

I’ve attached a small downloadable set of Keyboard Maestro macros I use a lot with Finale to this post that will give you a very good idea of one of the most basic things you can do with Keyboard Maestro – assigning keystrokes to menu items to save time.

The set contains four “Note Spelling” related macros that allow you to predetermine enharmonic note spelling in advance of entry, and also respell notes to their enharmonic equivalent in a passage after the fact. If you are a PC (or MacOS) user, using a different macro program with Finale, these are easy to program if you are already familiar with another program.

There is nothing that exotic about these macros – as stated, they are are basically just calling menu items in Finale – essentially just mapping keystrokes to locate and call menu items more quickly than having to reach into the menu hierarchy each time.

The first three macros control future entry or re-spelling:

Enharmonic | Use Default Spelling
Enharmonic | Favor Flats
Enharmonic | Favor Sharps

I currently have these mapped to CONTROL-D (default), CONTROL-F (flats) and CONTROL-S (sharps), but you can use whatever keystrokes make the most sense to you.

Here is a screen shot of the KM dialog for setting Default enharmonic spelling.

You will note that the script contains references several versions of Finale going all the way back to Finale 2011. The reason for this is that until Finale 25, the Application Menu Name identified the current version; e.g. “Finale 2011”, “Finale 2012” etc.

If the macro doesn’t find the menu item “Finale 2011”, it goes to the next step, and if there is no “Finale 2012” menu item it goes to the next step, and so forth. Moving forward from Finale 25, the application menu will show only the application name “Finale”, so these extra steps won’t be necessary.

Once KM finds the currently active version of Finale in the application menu, the script itself is very simple. The macro simply chooses the appropriate enharmonic spelling option in the Finale submenu “Enharmonic Spelling”.

You may have noticed that, in addition to triggering with a keystroke, the macro above can also be triggered by MIDI. This is a powerful feature of Keyboard Maestro, which accepts MIDI notes, MIDI controller, or MIDI packet information to be used as input triggers.

The other remaining macro in the little downloadable set simply selects the Respell Notes function from the Utilities menu, to the prevailing note spelling (favor sharps, favor flats, or default).

Keyboard Maestro is a MacOS specific solution, but the real takeaway is this: Whether your platform of choice is MacOS or Windows, third party macro programs have the potential to greatly increase your productivity in Finale. I hope this simple example set is helpful.



for Emmanuel Choi

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.