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Finale Drum FAQ

This page contains tips and tricks for drummers using Finale to create drum and percussion parts. Most of these questions and answers were gathered on the Finale message boards. I want to thank all those who have answered questions and contribute to the Finale message boards.


Q. How do you insert a space or hyphen in a lyric?

A. Because space and hyphen move the cursor to the next note, you'll have to insert the space or hyphen using the numeric keypad. Space = alt-0160 and hyphen = alt-0173.

Useful combinations:

[ALT]0160 Hard-space
[ALT]0173 Hard-hyphen ­
[ALT]0151 long-hyphen —
[ALT]0145 left apostrophe ‘
[ALT]0146 right apostrophe ’
[ALT]0147 left quote “
[ALT]0148 right quote ”
[ALT]0169 Copyright symbol ©
[ALT]0174 Registered symbol ®

Q. I'm looking for the symbol (P) (a P in a circle like ©). You can find this on CD's (produced by...)

A. The symbol is available in Webdings font.


Q. How do you hide a clef for just one staff system?

A. Create a new staff style and uncheck the clef option.

Q. Here is an easy question. I think.  I'm writing a method book that will be about 40 pages long and I want a few opinions on approach. I'd like to know what the best practice is for the following:

Question #1: The beginning of the method book has a title page, a few pages of introductions (text only), and a few pages of mixed text and notes and rests. Should I use Finale for this beginning material? If so, can Finale draw a page border? Or, should I just do this beginning material in a word processor like Microsoft Word. Can Word use the music font for notes?
Question #2: How many Finale files should I have? Should I use 1 file per page or 1 file for the whole book or 1 file for each section? What's the usual thing to do? I'm leaning toward 1 file per "logical" section. A logical section would be when I need to do something that's difficult in a single Finale file. Because this is a method book, I want to introduce various methods for notating percussion. For example, I seem to have trouble notating both 5-line and 1-line staffs in the same file. For example, on a later page in the book, I want to introduce the idea of using a 1-line staff to notate snare drum. If this stuff is all possible in Finale and I just need to learn it better, than I don't mind sticking with one file because I'm a computer programmer so I'm sure I can learn all the features.

A. After several hours of fiddling, I changed my mind again. I hope for the last time. I decided to do everything in Word so that I could mix text and music easier than I could if I just stuck with Finale. So, in Word I have two types of pages: mixed and finale only.

The mixed pages are a combination of the Bach font listed above, normal text in Arial, and Tiff images of music from finale using the graphic export. Very pretty pages.
The Finale only pages are whole pages created in Finale. Also very pretty, but really easy to maintain if I keep whole lessons in Finale. Only the footer and margins from Word are used. This gives me the capability to add a header, footer, and page border to these pages. Here is my procedure:
  1. Create the page in Finale with the same 8.5 x 11 page size as the Word doc with 1/2 inch margins.
  2. Export the entire page as a 600 DPI Tiff
  3. Import the page into Word and crop 1/2 inch from top, bottom, right, and left. This is really easy to do in Word and only takes about 5 seconds.
In Word, I have odd and even pages with an outside margin of 1/4" and an inside margin of 3/4". The cropped full page Finale only pages fit nicely into it cause I cropped them as indicated above.
So that I don't have to renumber pages or lessons, the full Finale pages are based on a lesson with the exercises from that lesson always starting with 1. This gives me the freedom to insert a lesson between lesson 17 and 18 and push all the lessons and exercises out without having to renumber the exercises in Finale (because each lesson's exercises start with 1).
In Word, I use a Sequence # field to number the lessons. I do this so that when I insert a lesson in between two lessons, they are renumbered automatically. This also made maintaining the table of contents and page numbering automatic. Also, in the footer I included both the book title and last header 1 text. In that way, each page is uniquely identified. I wanted this uniqueness in case I choose to photocopy a single page.
For those that want more control than Microsoft Word provides, you can use this same technique with PageMaker or any other desktop publishing program. I've written six computer programming books all in MS Word so I know how to make it do everything I want for this book. At least for the first printing.


Q. How do you specify odd groups with beams? For example, in 4/4 I want to group by 3 + 3 +2.

A. With the Simple Entry Tool, you can highlight the second note and press the "/" key to add or remove a beam.

Two Columns

Q. I need create a two column exercise sheet with exercises 1-12 down the left column and 13-24 down the right. What is the best practice for doing two columns? Any other suggestions or tips or advice?

A. You can do it with systems by unchecking Page Layout | Avoid Margin Collision and positioning all the systems as you see fit.

Or you can use 5 measures per system and hide the 3rd measure. You can show the clef on the right column if you only hide the first part of the 3rd measure. You hide staffs by applying a staff style.

Generally the "systems next to eachother" solution works best:

With the Page Layout Tool you can position each system precisely by the numbers in the Edit System Margins dialog box.

The other solution with a hidden measure 3 has its limitations.
One of them is that you can't get a group bracket in the second column (you will want a group bracket if you ever make piano exercises or two part exercises).
You CAN, however, show the clef on the right column:
Use the Clef Tool to make a clef change in the 4th measure.
Use the Clef Tool to change the clef back again.
In the Change Clef dialog box set the clef to "Show Always", and set the clef size to 100 %.

Uniform Measure Size

Q. How do I freeze the width of a measure? I set the width of several measures and when I add quarter notes to one and sixteenths to the next, the one with sixteenths gets bigger. I'd like to freeze the widths. Obviously I can drag the sizes afterwards, but I was hoping to "freeze" the width.

A. If you create a set of exercises and you want all the measures to look uniform whether they have quarter notes or sixteenths, set the minimum and maximum field with to the same number under Document Options | Music Spacing. You can also save all your document options as part of a standard library.


Q. How do you add a new articulation to the default palete for new documents? I'm used to writing snare drum closed rolls using a "Z" as in the following:

I created the above using the articulation tool but the problem is it's not available with new documents. Any ideas?

A. Duplicate the document with your new Z articulation. Open the duplicate document, and delete all other articulations from the Articulation Selection dialog box. Save an articulation library. This library will only contain your Z articulation. Load this library into your templates and into the Default Document.


Playing Percussion

Q. How do you play back flams and ruffs?

A. To play back flams, make sure you use the grace notes tool on the palette and not the grace note on the articulation tool menu. An EDU of 32 works well "enough" for playing flams and ruffs.

Q. I've really screwed up my percussion playback. I'm not exactly sure what I did but now a piano plays for all my percussion.

A. In the MIDI setup dialog, when I clicked the advanced tab and change my Base Channel to 10, I screwed it up. When you close the advanced options, unfortunately the Base Channel DOES NOT reset to channel 1. This is true at least in Finale 2004a.r1.

Q. Okay, I'm still trying to understanding percussion mapping and what gets played back. When I use the Setup Wizzard and choose any of the percussion options, Finale plays back the correct sounds. Where is that? I can't find how to change it for my existing percussion files where I started with the wrong wizzard.

A. Under staff tool, double click on the staff handle, or any measure in the staff. At the bottom of the box is a window for notation style. Choose percussion. Click the select button next to that. You can choose from many preset maps, or create your own. The preset maps can also be edited to your liking. The staff has to be set to channel 10 in the instrument list for the percussion instruments to sound correctly.

You must select the button "all notes" for the notes to show in the proper place on the staff. You can select or deselect individual ones as well. You HAVE to CHOOSE the percussion instruments.

Q. How can you get Finale 2005 Human Playback to correctly play abbreviated drags (i.e. 1e&a where the "e" is slashed to indicate 32nd notes)?

A. First, set Human Playback to None. Second, in HP Preferences, set Tremelo to 16 notes per second. Third, set your tempo between 100 and 120 BPM. Finally, use the Apply Human Playback plug-in to apply the Marching Band plug-in to generate the correctly played "hidden" notes. These steps work for both simple time like 4/4 and compound time like 6/8. Once applied, you can change the tempo to any tempo you wish.

 "Play-drums: Finale Drum FAQ"
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