Our Overview class is like Finale 101, covering all aspects of basic operation of the program. Students will be able to record classes they attend on their own computer for additional review. We’ll reserve time at the end of all classes for Q & A.
Creating a File
- Default Document
- Setup Wizard
- Import XML
- Open Midi
- Key Signature
- Time Signature
- Simple Entry
- Speedy Entry
- Enter Articulations, Expressions & Smart Shapes
- Midi Entry
- Typing In
- Using the Chord Definition Tool
- Using the Suffix Selector
- Audio Units vs Midi
- Human Playback Styles
- HP Options
The Score Manager
- Add instruments
- Set Levels
- Change Channels and Banks
Quick Mix Basics
- Score Dynamics
- Mix window
- Score Manager
- Bank Assignments and Levels
- Audio Units Banks and Effects window
- Voicing via RePitch tool
- Dragging Selections
- Edit Filter
- Insertion tool
- Creating New Parts
- Modifying Part Names
- Adding Staves to Parts
- Using the Voicing Feature
Outputting Audio and Printing
- Export pdf parts and score,
- Export audio
- Making an mp3 from Finale audio
Creating a File
Step one in any Finale project is creating a document. There are 5 basic ways to do it.
Most of the time we use the Setup Wizard, which is useful because it offers the opportunity to set up your score as you create the document. It automatically assigns sounds to all the instruments for playback, configures all the clefs and transpositions, and creates a set of linked parts for your score.
You can use a Document Style you might have created previously. The Default document opens a single staff “Default Document.”
Finale also ships with Templates that are pre-configured for many standard ensembles, such as Symphony Orchestra, Studio Orchestra, Broadway Pit Band, and many others.
ou can pick a key signature or time signature in the setup wizard, and also set a tempo. We usually wait on that last until the score opens, because of the way Finale interprets tempo information. We have a course later on on tempo issues in Finale, so for now, let’s just pass on that step and do it when the document opens instead.
We can open Midi files directly into Finale. Although it’s possible, it’s not a terrific option – they usually need a ton of editing.
The last option on the screen is XML, useful for opening XML files created in other Notation apps such as Sibelius and some Digital Audio Workstations.
Adding Staff Elements
Key Signature Time Signature Tempo
If you haven’t chosen a key signature and time signature in the Setup Wizard, now’s a good time to do that. Something else we usually do at this point is set a tempo using the Expressions tool.
Entering notes is the primary function of the program, and where most of the work takes place. Once the notes are in the score, there are limitless ways to array and combine them.
To use Simple entry, click a note or rest value, then click in the score. We find this method to be the slowest, requiring a lot of clicking and mousing.
We prefer Speedy Entry.
Another option is HyperScribe, which allows you to play directly into the score. When I do play something in, editing it takes more time than it would have when just using Speedy Entry.
Enter Articulations, Smart Shapes & Expressions
t’s a really good idea, after entering a passage, to enter your desired articulations and expressions as you go, after finishing note entry for a phrase. They will stay with the notes you create, even when using Finale’s voicing capabilities. Your markings are interpreted by Finale’s Human Playback to create realistic results.
Midi entry works well for basic chords including triads and sevenths. Finale even detects inversions such as C over E.
When using upper extensions to the chords, typing them in works, but it’s slow, and often you’ll find yourself in the Chord Definition dialog.
Using the Chord Definition Tool
You can do a lot of things in this dialog, including creating new extensions, modifying your chord library, and configuring chord playback and note detection settings for chord midi entry.
You can add to your chord definitions, importing your chord Library into your default document.
Using the Suffix Selector
For chord entry, Finale’s most powerful feature is the chord Suffix editor.There’s a dialog that opens after typing a key combination following your chord’s root. Type colon – zero and hit the spacebar, and the suffix selector appears. This shows all suffixes currently available in the current document’s Chord library. Finale ships with a lot of them pre-configured. Once you know the extension number, you can type the root, a colon, the extension number and spacebar and your chord symbol appears in the score. You can edit any extension and add your own spellings and symbols in the Chord Definition window. You can save your chords to a Finale library, then export the library and import it to your Default Document, and have it available for all your projects.
Audio Units vs Midi
Midi playback in Finale has been part of the program since its beginning, and in some cases it might be a good choice. We use Midi playback when connecting Finale to MainStage 3, for example – but midi playback in Finale sounds primitive and antiquated. MakeMusic, the parent company that owns Finale, also owns Garritan, a maker of sample libraries.
Finale’s best results within the program come when using Audio Units playback, through an instance of the Garritan Aria Player. Finale ships with Garritan Instruments for Finale, but also provides for additional instruments and articulations available in Garritan’s premium libraries, including Garritan Jazz and Big Band, Garritan Personal Orchestra, Garritan World Instruments, and others.
Human Playback Styles & Options
Finale uses a technology known as Human Playback, which can interpret score markings dynamically. There are a variety of Human Playback Styles available from within Finale, as well as numerous options to configure Human Playback. Human Playback can write midi controller data to an exported midi file, potentially saving an engineer a lot of editing.
The Score Manager
Add instruments Set Levels Change Channels and Banks
The Score Manager is used to add instruments, assign sounds, set levels, change channel and bank assignments, and edit Score metadata.
Quick Mix Basics
Garritan Musical Instruments for Finale aren’t as balanced “out of the box” as they need to be for score markings to make sense. Drum sounds, for example, are really quiet, and it’s not a good idea to put 4 f’s in the score so you can “almost hear” the drums in playback.
The first stop for further balancing is the Mix window. The faders and knobs also set the volume and panning in the Score Manager. The effects in the Mix window only work on Midi sounds – they don’t do anything with Garritan. You can ignore them, usually. In the Score manager you can see the numbers you tweaked in the Mix Window if your Score Manager mix controls are active in the Customize View options.
Bank Assignments and Levels
If you still aren’t getting a good balance, then assign all of your too-quiet instruments to their own bank, which creates another instance of the Aria player, with its own master volume. Same with too-loud instruments.
Audio Units Banks and Effects Window
These levels are managed in the Audio Units Banks and Effects window, which also permits the management of plugin effects in their own slots in the window. A better solution for effects is in the Aria Player, which can also be opened from this window. The players have their own built-in effects in the Player’s Effects tab, which we’ve found to the be lightest weight, best-sounding solution. Sometimes we use a compressor plugin with our “too-quiet bank” to get the drums up. For truly granular power over the mix, the next step is exporting Finale midis and setting up the Aria Player in a Digital Audio Workstation, or connecting Finale to MainStage 3 through midi.
Voicing via RePitch tool and Exploding
You can do a lot of things with the entries in your score, including voicing lines in a staff, then exploding them into other parts by hitting the 2 key.You can also edit, repair and modify entries various ways.
Dragging selections can be really powerful. For example, you can select a quarter notes’ worth of a whole note in one bar, then drag it to replace any beat in another bar, and a quarter note will appear in the new location at the same pitch.
Using the Edit Filter
The Edit Filter is another powerful feature, allowing you to copy or clear selected elements only without disturbing the rest of the content in a bar. It takes a few clicks and a lot of mousing to change the settings – but we use Finale Script shortcuts to call up particular Edit Filter settings. We’ll go into depth on that in our Finale Script class
Creating New Parts & Adding Staves to Parts
If you’ve used the Setup Wizard or a Template to create your score, you’ll see a set of parts already created in the Manage Parts window. They’re linked to the score. You might want to create a new part, like maybe a piano-vocal part, and you can do that in this window. You’d create a new part and add the staves you want to it.
Modifying Part Names
You can modify part names, for example if you’ve added doubles to the woodwinds.
Using the Voicing Feature
You may notice more than one instrument in a staff in some of Finale’s large instrument templates, condensing the score somewhat for the benefit of the conductor. These are set up with individual parts using the Parts Manager’s “voicing” controls.
Outputting Audio and Printing Parts
Formatting Parts and Page Setup Exporting audio
When your score is written, and almost ready to deliver, there’s still work to do. We want to look over the parts to make sure they look OK, looking out for nasty page turns and collisions, looking out for bars that are too wide or too skinny, and fix the layout. We might want to ensure that the part name appears on every page of every part. We can do that with the Text tool and a Text insert. We’ll cover more about that in our Templates and Default Files class. Finale doesn’t do this by default except in some of its Templates.
Printing & Exporting pdf Parts and Score
We might want to change the page size for the score and adjust the layout for the new page size. When they’re looking right, it’s time to print or export to pdf. Make sure you have a page size selected for your printer that matches the page size for your score or parts.
Making an mp3 from Finale audio
Delivering an audio playback file is usually part of our workflow here at arrangerforhire.com. Finale exports AIFF or WAV files and doesn’t export mp3. We use the free audio app Audacity (or Adobe Audition) to convert the file to mp3 so we can email it. Audacity comes in handy for doing transcriptions – it’s essential to our workflow here. We’ll talk more about that in our Transcription class.