Human Playback® has become core to Finale’s playback rendering, producing realistic demos at the default settings. We’ll discuss issues and workarounds to take full advantage of it.
- Automated Interpretation
- Human Playback’s Continuous ControllerOften referred to by its abbreviation "CC," either followed by "#" and a number, or just the number: CC#11, Expression or CC#1, Modulation Data is Writable to the File
- Exportable CC Data Saves DAWDigital Audio Workstation. Some are: Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro X, Cubase, Pro Tools, Studio One, Reason, Reaper, Digital Performer, Bitwig Studio, Samplitude Pro X, GarageBand (Mac), Cakewalk by BandLab, Presonus Studio One, Tracktion Waveform Editing
- Human PlaybackFinale's built-in algorithms designed to interpret score markings to create audible changes in dynamics, note durations, and instrument techniques. Human Playback generates useful MIDI controller and keyswitch data that can save time editing in a DAW. Helps Learn OrchestrationThe art and science of arranging music for an orchestra, including the assignment of individual parts to different instruments and the creation of a score.
- TempoThe speed at which a piece of music is performed, often indicated in beats per minute. Handling Errors in Finale
- Notea symbol used to represent a specific pitch and duration Durations
- Non-Standard Keyswitches
Human Playback Options and Preferences
Advantages of Human Playback
MakeMusic has invested considerable resources in the development and extension of Robert Piéchaud’s Human Playback. It’s designed to create realistic playback by interpreting scoreA written representation of a piece of music, including the notation for all parts of an ensemble. markings. It makes dynamic edits to midiMIDI is a data protocol with information that enables computers and other sequencers to perform music according to the instructions it contains. data affecting tempo, duration, controller data, and KeySwitches to samples of alternate instrumentIn terms of the Finale interface, an instrument refers to the collection of settings for each row listed under the Instrument column of the ScoreManager. These include staff properties (staff name, transposition, clef, etc.), playback sound, channel, and other settings. An instrument may include more than one staff (e.g a piano grand staff). techniques.
Human Playback reads score markings such as dynamicsThe relative loudness or softness of an element of piece of music, indicated by symbols, or controlled by MIDI values, articulation and tempo changesJazz shorthand for Chord Changes; the chord progression, and creates MIDI data to control these parameters.
Human Playback’s Continuous Controller Data is Writable to the File
It does this by adding or altering the midi data it’s sending to its sample players. Marks such as accents will triggerIn Finale, the term "trigger" describes a keyboard shortcut that is used to display the Waiting for Input dialog box while entering music with the Simple Entry caret. Once displayed, a Metatool key can be used to enter certain markings, or the marking can be chosen from a selection dialog box. loud samples, while markings such as hairpins will write lines or curves in controller data for midi volumeThe perceived loudness of a sound, determined by its amplitude. or an expression parameter that the sample will respond to. Changes from, say, arco to pizzicato in the strings will be read by Finale causing a keyswitch to be sent to the samplera device or software that allows you to play back recorded sounds and manipulate them in various ways., calling up a different sample for the duration of the expression. It also writes to its internal tempo mapComponent in MIDI data defining the tempo and tempo changes in a musical piece or track, which can be “printed” to the file.
Exportable CC Data Saves DAW Editing
This HP midi data will be included when you export a midi fileA type of file written in a standardized format that can be understood by music programs from different manufacturers so that one file can be used in several different programs. while HP is turned on. Creating realistic playback in a DAW requires controlling many of the same parameters that HP is doing automatically in Finale. It can save hours of editing using HP for exported midi.
Human Playback Helps Learn Orchestration
Listening back to a score can be a thrilling experience. HP’s interpretive power can give a fair representation of what your ideas may sound like played by a live orchestra, allowing you to experiment with blend and balance and learn about instrument function and combinations in real life.
Drawbacks of Human Playback
As good as Human Playback can sound, it’s not without some problems we’ve encountered in a professional arrangingThe process of adapting a piece of music for a different ensemble, style, or performance context. and production workflow.
Tempo Handling Errors in Finale
Human Playback has some notorious issues with tempo interpretation, especially if you’re playing back or exporting audio for anything but the whole score. We did an article on this issue. The workaround is to apply the full-score playback data before exporting individual partsIndividual pieces of music, each designed to be performed by a single musician or section of an ensemble. or sections.
Some of the note durations HP comes up with are too short to fire the samples in the sample player. There’s a setting that keeps HP from changing any note durations.
Most sample libraries write their keyswitches in the register of C1 – but Finale writes them 2 octaves lower that that. If you’re using Finale HP CC data, you’ll need to transpose your KeySwitch midi note numbers in the Midi Events List of your DAW.
Mushy Strings in Garritan Personal Orchestra
Garritan Personal Orchestra strings samples (GOS, Solo especially) are recorded with a slow attack, which is the default behavior of these libraries. The solution to this is not obvious (there’s no knob for the setting in the Aria Player), but it can be solved by creating a Text ExpressionIs added to the score with the Expression tool, containing information for display in the score, or non-printing information controlling playback in Finale.
- Create a Text Expression (“fast attack” or whatever – you can hide it in the score)
- Go to the playback tab and select “Type:Controller”
- Type “119” in the Controller Number field (the next field) and set the value to 127 (max) or something lower if you want whatever degree of the build effect.
This causes playback to start at a later point in the sample itself, cutting off the slow build at the start of the sound. The strings will suddenly play back “on time,” staccatos will be crisp and strong, and fast passages will all sound with clarity and no dip in dynamics.
Human Playback Options and Preferences
There are a lot of options for different performance styles and configurations. It’s possible to create your own HP controller triggers, and create them for other libraries. You can control aspects of tempo alterations and whether it edits note durations. All in all, it’s a very powerful and fantastic tool for arrangers and composers.