You are here: Encyclopedia > L > Lyrics


SongWriter defines a syllable as any letters separated by a space or a hyphen. When you put the lyrics into the score, SongWriter places the syllable in your score, centers the hyphen between notes, and moves any syllable correspondingly if its notehead moves.

To type lyrics directly into the score

  1. Click the Lyrics tool  image\Lyric_Tool.gif. The Lyric Menu appears. If you want to specify a verse number, choose Specify Current Lyric from the Lyric Menu.
  2. Choose Lyrics > Type Into Score. Two positioning triangles appears at the left edge of the screen. The triangles control the baseline of the lyrics (against which the bottom edges of the words line up). For a full discussion, see To set the baseline (vertical position) for lyrics, below.
  3. Indicate the staff and the note to which you want to begin adding lyrics by clicking on the staff at the position of the first melody note. Click the note. The blinking cursor—the insertion point—jumps to a position beneath the first note, in the staff you clicked.
  4. Type the lyrics. Each time you type a space or a hyphen, SongWriter automatically moves the insertion point in preparation for entering the next syllable. As you type, SongWriter automatically scrolls the music so you always know where you are.

If you make a mistake, just backspace over it by pressing backspace. (If you backspace to the previous syllable, SongWriter highlights the whole syllable so that you can replace it all at once with anything you type.) To change a word you’ve already typed, click in the staff so that the syllable is highlighted, and then type its replacement.

If you encounter a melismatic passage, where one syllable is sustained through several melody notes, press the space bar for each note of the melisma; the cursor will skip ahead to the next note.

Important: When you enter lyrics using this method, pay special attention when entering additional lyric lines, one beneath another. To add a new lyric line, be sure to change Verses before typing in each new line; to do so, choose Specify Current Lyric from the Lyric Menu. Otherwise, SongWriter will believe that all the lyrics, even successive lines, are all part of the same “verse,” and unexpected results may occur.

Tip: if you want a quick MIDI audio check of the notes you’re attaching lyrics to, hold down ctrl and the space bar and drag the cursor across the staff. SongWriter will play any note the cursor touches, no matter which direction you drag.

To edit lyrics already in the score

  1. Click the Lyrics tool  image\Lyric_Tool.gif. The Lyrics Menu appears.
  2. Choose Type Into Score from the Lyrics Menu. Click on the staff at the position of the syllable you want to edit. The syllable is highlighted.
  3. Type the new syllable. Anything you type replaces the highlighted syllable.
  4. Press SPACEBAR to advance to the next syllable. Press BACKSPACE to backspace over what you’ve just typed. To select any syllable, click within the staff lines; the syllable becomes highlighted, so that you can replace it with whatever you now type.

To set the font for lyrics globally

This will set the default font for lyrics you are about to enter. It will also change the font for lyrics already entered in the score.

  1. Choose DocumentSet Default Fonts. The Select Default Fonts dialog box appears. See Select Default Fonts dialog box for more details.
  2. Click the Lyrics Set Font button.
  3. Select the type style you want for your lyrics.
  4. Click OK (or press ENTER) twice. Use this method to set the font for your lyrics.

To set the baseline (vertical position) for lyrics

  1. Click the Lyrics tool  image\Lyric_Tool.gif. The Lyrics Menu appears. Choose Specify Current Lyric from the Lyrics Menu to specify the verse number.
  2. Choose Lyrics > Type Into Score. At the left edge of the screen are two small triangles pointing to the right. They control the baseline for the lyrics. If necessary, click the staff whose lyrics need adjustment.
  3. Drag the left triangle up or down to set the baseline for the entire piece (for the selected verse). As you drag it, the triangle moves with it.
  4. Drag the right triangle up or down to set the baseline for this staff, this system only (for the selected verse). Use this triangle only in Page View (so you can see the system you’re affecting).

To move or delete a syllable

  1. Click the Lyrics tool  image\Lyric_Tool.gif. The Lyrics Menu appears.
  2. Choose LyricsAdjust Syllables.
  3. Click on the staff at the position of the syllable you want to move. Don’t click the syllable. Just click within the staff lines in line with the syllable you want to move or delete; its handle appears.
  4. Drag the handle to reposition the syllable. Select it and press the arrow keys to “nudge” it for fine positioning; select it and press delete to remove the syllable. Note that this method of deleting a syllable doesn’t pull the following syllables one note to the left; it allows you simply to remove a selected syllable, leaving all other syllables where they are.
  5. To restore a syllable to its original position, click its handle and press BACKSPACE.

To draw a “word extension” underline

When a syllable’s note is tied over to another note or sustained through several notes (as in a melisma), a common practice is to draw an underline following the syllable to indicate its extension.

As you enter lyrics, word extensions are defined automatically where appropriate. While using Type Into Score, they do not appear immediately, only after switching out of Type Into Score mode, or changing tools. These underlines are called Smart Word Extensions because they expand and contract along with the music as you enter additional lyrics and modify the page layout. They can also automatically extend over a system breaks.

A Smart Word Extension underline will extend to the next syllable of the same lyric type and number regardless of the baseline difference of the individual syllables. A word extension underline will extend to any syllable provided it lies on the exact same vertical baseline as the previous syllable. Word extensions do not terminate at the startpoint of the next syllable if it is of the same type, but a different number (verse 1, verse 2) regardless of the next syllable’s baseline position.

After word extensions appear in the score, each can be edited manually.

To edit word extensions individually:

  1. Click the Lyrics tool  image\Lyric_Tool.gif. The Lyrics Menu appears.
  2. Choose Lyrics > Edit Word Extensions.
  3. Click near the syllable to be extended. A handle appears at the end of the syllable.
  4. Drag the syllable’s handle to the right. As you drag, you create an underline. To remove the underline, click its handle and press delete. To clear manual positioning, press BACKSPACE (or right-click and choose Clear Manual Positioning.

To number lyrics

Automatic numbering can be added to lyrics, and the numbers can be placed either immediately to the left of first syllable or left-justified according to the leftmost number.

  1. Click the Lyrics Tool image\Lyric_Tool.gif. The Lyrics window and Lyrics menu appears.
  2. Choose Lyrics > Auto-Number.
  3. Enter the lyrics. Finale adds automatic numbering to your lyrics. Subsequent verses under the same note will be numbered consecutively. (See also Lyrics menu).



User Manual Home