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Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation: Part 2



In part one of this post, we identified some quick ways to make your charts more readable. We focused on beaming, rests, chord symbols, and comping notation. Today, we zoom out and concentrate on how your music occupies the page. As before, our focus is to empower sight reading and accurate performances.

Phrasing and Spacing

I believe the most important step in writing contemporary music is spacing the music appropriately. Take a look at this example (click on an image for a larger view): 

Observe how difficult it is to read this example, especially in the second and fourth systems. In the former, the spacing is so loose that it’s difficult for your eyes to move quickly along with the music. In the latter, the opposite problem occursthe music is too close together, is difficult to follow, and looks like a jumbled mess.

Fortunately, a few quick fixes with the up and down arrow keys in Finale can clean this part up well: 

What I’m doing here is changing the number of measures per system. This is a concept known as “phrasing” in copyist work. Traditionally, the copyist must plan each system out before even starting any work. In Finale it only takes a few keystrokes to “re-flow” the systems into better spacing.

When you’re still composing, I recommend ignoring the layout as you write. Finale’s scroll view is perfect for separating the tasks of writing with layout. If you prefer working in page view, I suggest keeping your spacing wide open while you write. Try for only 3 or 4 measures per system. This can create a lot of extra pages, but after you finish you can go back and reflow systems together to save space.

Layout Considerations

After notation is perfected within the staff, the next dilemma is of page sizes. While Finale’s default document uses “letter” sized paper (8.5 x 11) to ensure everyone can print what they create, publisher parts made in the U.S. are often written on “concert” paper (9 x 12). Traditionally, concert manuscript paper was sold with 10 or 12 lines per sheet, and offered either narrow or wide spacing.

Today, these paper dimensions may not always available at an office supply store, but they can easily be found online. The larger size affords more space and larger staves; it is considerably easier to read than on computer paper. Best of all, formatting for this size needs only a quick trip to the Page Layout > Page Size dialog box in Finale.

Many commercial parts are written on this type of manuscript paper. Copyists often left the top two staves of the first page for the title, creating the “fake book” appearance seen in many jazz parts. Even without blank staves on your score, it’s a good idea to leave two staves worth of empty space at the top of the first page for your title, part name, and other information. 

 

Page Turns and Fills

From there, the last two considerations are page turns and fills. Page turns are often pretty obvious: don’t make it hard for your performer to turn the page. Try to reflow your systems so that page turns happen during a large break in the music. If your performer must play through the page turn, try to make the turn occur where they can continue playing while they turn, or while they’re playing a part that is doubled by another instrument.

Finally, a good practice is to try and fill the last page of your part as much as possible. The best way to do this is to plan the part out separately, using a chart like the one below:

Normally I would make the above chart by hand on manuscript paper first. I made this one in Finale to spare you from suffering the illegibility of my poor handwriting.

Here’s what the actual chart looks like:

As you can see, I had to weigh many factors, including song length, measure phrasing, multi-measure rests, repeats, and page turns. My goal was to use up all systems on both pages, but as long as my last page is more than 60% covered I’m comfortable sending it off to my players.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful. I believe that adapting these simple practices in your writing will benefit most contemporary ensembles.

Please let us know via Facebook or Twitter what other quick tips you use to add magic to your sheet music.

Finale, SmartMusic, and macOS High Sierra



Finale, SmartMusic, and Mac OS High Sierra

Sometime in the next month or so, Apple is expected to release High Sierra, the latest Macintosh operating system. In light of this pending release, we have received several questions asking how our products will work in the new OS.

9-12-17 UPDATE: Apple has announced that macOS High Sierra will be released on 9/25/17.

Finale

Over the last several years we have been focusing on improving Finale under-the-hood to keep up with ever-changing operating systems. Thanks to these efforts we can guarantee that Finale version 25.x will be compatible with High Sierra. We are actively testing Finale v25 with the beta versions of High Sierra. Should there be any surprises upon the release of the gold master, resolving those issues would become our top priority.

SmartMusic

We continue to test the classic version of SmartMusic with beta software with success. It will remain supported. We don’t anticipate any problems with the new web-based version of SmartMusic.

PrintMusic and NotePad

Despite having worked closely with our Apple partners, we will not be able to support Finale PrintMusic or NotePad on High Sierra nor in subsequent operating systems. For that reason, we will discontinue selling these products, and they have already been removed from the MakeMusic store. We have also emailed all PrintMusic users, notifying them of these changes.

People using PrintMusic or NotePad on the Mac have two options. They can:

  • Remain on a pre-High Sierra operating system
  • Trade up to Finale

To help PrintMusic owners we’re discounting the trade up price to $99 through Sept 30, 2017.

What About PrintMusic and NotePad for Windows?

We will continue to support PrintMusic and NotePad for Windows for the foreseeable future and they remain available on our website. However, we do not plan to update these products, which are based on previous Finale versions. Instead, our focus will remain on improving our flagship notation product, Finale.

For more details, check out this related Knowledge Base article.

High Sierra image, by Don Graham, found on Wikimedia Commons.

Michael JohnsonMichael Johnson is the vice president of professional notation at MakeMusic. He first joined the company in 1996 as a technical support representative, solving tricky issues with Finale 3.5.2. He earned his music education degree from the University of Dayton and his computer science degree from Metropolitan State University.

Michael lives in Colorado with his spouse, Owen, and their son, Elliot. When he isn’t working in Finale, he enjoys playing the trumpet and bicycling around the Rocky Mountains.

Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation: Part 1



Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music NotationMusic notation plays a huge role in both sides of my double life. By day, I work at MakeMusic, where my primary tasks involve transferring published sheet music into SmartMusic. On nights and weekends I play guitar in a variety band. Unlike the published music I encounter by day, charts for this band are often hastily made, with little regard for the finer points of copy work. The results can sometimes look like the excerpt above, which is clearly not optimal for sight reading (or anything else). 

After reading many bad charts, I’ve begun to recognize some of the most common pitfalls people encounter when writing pop music for performance. Today, we’ll examine some of these bad habits and share quick ways to correct them in your work.

Beaming, Rests and the Invisible Barline

Beaming and rest choices are often ignored by the lazy copyist, but a little extra effort here will lead to better performances.

The meter of a measure must always inform the notation. Every time signature implies a grouping of beats, which determine beaming and rest choices. Take the following excerpt as an example. Which is clearer? 

Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 1

Most working musicians could play the first example correctly after some practice time, but ideally we’d like these charts to be sight read, as is typical on the gig. By contrast, the second example clearly defines the halfway point in the measure, which is a great aid to readers. This is a concept known as the “Invisible Barline,” and is vital to writing in an even meter.

Additionally, notice how the beaming has been changed to outline each beat in the measure. This practice makes it easier to subdivide rhythms while reading the piece. Proper beaming technique is especially important in complex meters: Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 2

The engraver’s rests must also support the performer by outlining the meter. I find each of the following measures to be very difficult to read: Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 3Here is the same example with appropriate rests and beaming: Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 4

Note that each syncopation is split into multiple rests. Again, this helps the performer subdivide rhythms easier. When mixed rests are needed, always choose rests which outline the beat appropriately.

Writing Chords

Another challenge for many writers is using chord notation. While this is a large topic that I’ve covered before, here are some basic guidelines to remember when building parts for the rhythm section.

First and foremost, develop a system that works for your performers. If your musicians prefer to see a ø7 chord suffix instead of min7 b5, then you need to swallow your pride and write the chord they want – even if you believe it’s “wrong.” Never sacrifice a good performance in the name of being “right.”

Just make sure to stay consistent – don’t write “C-7” in one measure, “Cm7” in the next and “Cmin7” later.

Comping Notation

Suffixes aren’t the only important part of writing chords; you must also pay attention to notation in the staff. While the lazy copyist may not see the value in writing notation during a comping part, the performers often need it badly, and each member of the rhythm section expects different conventions.

When in doubt, keep the notation simple. Here are some of my rules of thumb for writing rhythm section parts.

1. If you know exactly what notes you want them to play: write the notes in the staff. (This should be rare.)

Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 6

2. If you only have a few specific notes: write the rhythms in the staff and only the specific notes you want. (This is common for guitar players, who often remember voicings based on the top note of the chord.)

Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 7

3. If you don’t care what voicing they use but you have a specific rhythm: write rhythmic slash notation. (Common in a score with ‘hits’ that the band plays together.)

Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 8

4. If you want them to improvise a comping part: Use slash notation. (This is the most common and easiest way to notate chords, but your performer may not know exactly what to play.)

Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 8Being a guitarist, I wrote all of these examples for a guitar part. However, the same rules apply to other instruments. Typically, the bass part is written with a sample bassline and chord symbols – that way, the bass player has an idea of what groove to play, but they can freely ad lib fills when appropriate. 
Quick Fixes to Improve Your Music Notation 8
In part two of this post, we’ll step back a bit and turn our attention to how your refined notation appears on the page, discussing phrasing and layout.

Peter Flom is the production manager in the repertoire development department at MakeMusic. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Peter has previously worked at KMA Studios in New York City, and in MakeMusic’s Customer Success department. He now spends most of his days developing new content for Finale and SmartMusic, and has worked with many publishers along the way.

He also is a freelance arranger and engraver, and plays a mean guitar when no one’s watching.

Jazz Composition and Arranging Tips: Drum Cues



One question I am asked frequently in my courses is how to create drum cues. This refers to small notes written above the drum staff, indicating what rhythms other sections are playing (as seen above).

I used to, literally, enter each cue note individually and then reduce its size. This was not efficient! Then I “discovered” a hidden secret: Finale has a way to do it that is almost automatic – it just takes a little prep work.

1. Preparation for Drum Cues

First of all, I set up Finale’s layers. The trick is to designate layer 4 to hold the cue notes, and to NOT play them back. See how in the short video below:

2. Creating a Staff Style

You also need to create a Staff Style that allows you to show, simultaneously in different layers, the cues and one-bar repeats (or slashes, if you prefer).

3. Creating Drum Cues

Now we are ready to create the cues. In my example, I show use the lead trumpet part to show the drummer cues for an ensemble passage.

I hope these “tricks” will help you create your charts more efficiently. If they do, please check out my other Finale blog posts on ensemble voicing and copying and pasting

Socrates GarciaSocrates Garcia is a composer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, bandleader, guitarist, and educator from the Dominican Republic. He currently is the director of music technology at the University of Northern Colorado, where he teaches a variety of courses in music technology and advanced jazz arranging. He has given clinics at many music conferences including the Jazz Education Network, International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, TMEA (Texas), CMEA (Colorado), and OMEA (Ohio). His 2016 award winning album for MAMA Records, “Back Home,” features the Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Orchestra, a contemporary jazz big band that combines Afro-Dominican genres that include merengue, bachata, and palos or atabales, alongside other Afro-Caribbean genres.

 

Jazz Composition and Arranging Tips: Edit Filter and Paste Multiple



Jazz Composition and Arranging Tips: Edit Filter and Paste Multiple

As I mentioned in my previous post on ensemble voicings, I enjoy sharing tips with fellow Finale users that can help them work more quickly and efficiently. Today I’d like to share tips using the Edit Filter and Paste Multiple features. This pair can greatly speed up your work when you copy and paste in Finale.

The Edit Filter

This very powerful feature allows you to select specific items to copy/paste. For example, the Edit Filter makes it possible to copy things like chords and lyrics without also copying associated notes.

The Edit Filter was recently covered in this excellent Finale Blog post, but I felt compelled to mention it again for two reasons:

  1. Visual learners may benefit from seeing the whole process in action in my video below, and…
  2. I also want to mention Paste Multiple.

Paste Multiple

My second copy/paste tip involves the Paste Multiple feature. This is a supercharged way to make the copying/pasting process faster and more efficient.  

To use it, choose the Selection tool, highlight some music, and copy it to the clipboard by clicking CTRL+C (COMMAND+C on Mac).

Next, go to the Edit menu and choose Paste Multiple or type ALT+CTRL+V (CONTROL+COMMAND+V on Mac). Here you can choose to copy the music horizontally (to the next measure) or vertically (to the next instrument staff):

Paste Multiple in Finale In both cases, you can also choose to have the paste occur as many times in succession as you wish.

See the Edit Filter and Paste Multiple in use:

I hope you find these two features as invaluable as I do!

Socrates Garcia is a composer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, bandleader, guitarist, and educator from the Dominican Republic. He currently is the director of music technology at the University of Northern Colorado, where he teaches a variety of courses in music technology and advanced jazz arranging. He has given clinics at many music conferences including the Jazz Education Network, International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, TMEA (Texas), CMEA (Colorado), and OMEA (Ohio). His 2016 award winning album for MAMA Records, “Back Home,” features the Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Orchestra, a contemporary jazz big band that combines Afro-Dominican genres that include merengue, bachata, and palos or atabales, alongside other Afro-Caribbean genres.

Jazz Composition and Arranging Tips: Ensemble Voicings



Jazz Composition and Arranging Tips: Ensemble Voicings

I have been a Finale user since the mid-1990s. Along the way, I have learned many “tricks” to use the application in a way that compliments my writing flow and allows me to do things quickly.

I enjoy sharing these tricks in clinics for composers, students, and teachers as well as in my courses at the University of Northern Colorado. In all cases, it’s exhilarating to see the faces of fellow Finale users light up when they see a quicker and more effective way to do something they do on a regular basis.

I’m excited to share one of those tips today and look forward to sharing more in future posts.

Ensemble Voicings from Sketch to Score

As I am composing/arranging I often create my ensemble voicings in a single staff. This allows me to see all of the actual notes in one place and in concert pitch. For me, this simplifies work on sectional and ensemble voicings before I create the actual transposed score. In fact, when writing for jazz orchestra, I often use a sketch version of the score comprised of two grand staves, one for the saxes/woodwinds section and another for the brass section; and staves for guitar, piano, bass, and drums. You can hide or delete these staves later.

In addition to entering notes, I also add all my articulations and dynamics as I write these one-staff voicings (which saves me the effort of adding them to individual voices later).

Once the notes are entered, there’s an easy way to distribute the individual voices of each section to the appropriate staves. Finale calls this process “Explode Music,” and it’s pretty simple. With the Selection tool chosen, you indicate what music you want to distribute. Then from the Utility menu, you choose Explode Music and follow the prompts. Here’s what it looks like in action:

Exploding music can save you a lot of time and avoid many clicks of the mouse. It also allows you to develop a faster workflow. I hope this tip makes you smile and helps you to more efficiently create and share your music.

Socrates Garcia

Socrates Garcia is a composer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, bandleader, guitarist, and educator from the Dominican Republic. The director of music technology at the University of Northern Colorado, he teaches courses in music technology and jazz arranging. He has given clinics at many music conferences including the Jazz Education Network, International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, TMEA (Texas), CMEA (Colorado), and OMEA (Ohio). His 2016 award winning album for MAMA Records, “Back Home,” features the Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Orchestra, a contemporary jazz big band that combines Afro-Dominican genres that include merengue, bachata, and palos or atabales, alongside other Afro-Caribbean genres.

Problem Opening Finale Files Saved in Version 25.4



Problem Opening Finale FilesWe’ve received a few reports of a very isolated problem that is new to Finale v25.4. Certain files, that have been previously saved in Finale v25.4, cannot subsequently be re-opened. We want to make you aware of this issue, clarify the scope of the problem, and tell you how you can avoid it.

UPDATE 7/24/17: This issue has been fully resolved in 25.4.1, which is now available.

Details

The problem only occurs in Finale v25.4  and requires the use of an external file. Typically this is a percussion map, although an embedded graphic, an audio file, or other file types could also be part of the equation.

For the problem to occur, the file names of these external files must contain one or more of a few special characters, including the ampersand, angle brackets, apostrophe, and quotes.

The problem can be completely avoided by not using “&, “, ‘, <, and >” characters in these file names. For example, we recommend naming your percussion map “Brushes and Mallets” instead of “Brushes & Mallets.”

When the problem does occur, the file will appear to save properly but will produce one or more error messages when you try to reopen it (and it will not open). Specific error messages are listed in this related knowledge base article.

What Do I Do?

You can completely avoid the problem by not using the characters listed above in your file names.

If you do encounter this problem, please submit a case here and attach your file. We can repair the file for you, so it can be reopened, and we can help those who prefer to roll back to v25.3 until a fix has been released to the public.

Working on a solution is our top priority. We hope to share it soon.

Should I Not Update to v25.4?

If you don’t use the above-mentioned characters in your file names, you will not encounter the problem. Because v25.4 solves issues that impact more users, it will remain available while we finalize a solution.

In the meantime, thank you for your patience. If you have additional questions, please let us know via the case system.

UPDATE 7/24/17: This issue has been fully resolved in 25.4.1, which is now available.

Just Released: Finale v25.4 – a Free Maintenance Release



 Just Released: Finale v25.4 – a Free Maintenance Release 1This morning we released Finale v25.4, the fourth free-of-charge update for all owners of Finale version 25. This is part of our previously mentioned plan to frequently release modest-sized updates. The idea is to share improvements as they are made rather than saving them up in large batches.

MusicXML 3.1 is included in Finale v25.4

MusicXML is the technology used to exchange music with others – regardless of what software they use. Finale 25.4 includes a new version, MusicXML 3.1. In addition to being compatible with the new SmartMusic, 3.1 also offers improved conversion of the following items:

  • Arrowhead symbols
  • Circled noteheads
  • Dynamics such as n, pf, and sfzp symbols
  • Hidden ledger lines
  • Enclosures with more than 4 sides
  • Expressions or text blocks that contain a mix of Maestro text and symbols
  • Parenthesized accidental marks
  • Unexpected Maestro symbols used for articulations
  • Distinction between Finale’s two default percussion clefs (rectangle and vertical lines)

The benefits of MusicXML 3.1 are also available to users of Finale 2009-2014.5 via the Dolet 7 Plugin. For further information on the MusicXML 3.1 features in Finale 25.4 and the Dolet 7 plug-in see these release notes.

Additional Features in Finale v25.4

Just Released: Finale v25.4 – a Free Maintenance Release

Two features added in 25.4 can be seen above. You can now add rounded corners to any enclosure, as well as determine just how rounded they are.

We’ve also provided more control on how key signature cancellations appear. Previous versions of Finale would always show courtesy cancellations when moving from a flat key to a sharp key (or vice versa). Now you can eliminate all such courtesy cancellations with a single checkbox.

Also included is Windows-only feature that notifies you when you don’t have an audio device configured and a Mac-only addition providing access to presets for AU instruments (in addition to the access to presets for AU effect that was available previously).

Finale v25.4 Bug Fixes

Finale 25.4 also includes many bug fixes. We’ve highlighted a few below.

Windows only:

  • Launching Finale by double-clicking on a Finale file on an external drive no longer produces an authorization error message.
  • Finale now launches successfully on systems which also have ProTools 12 installed.  

Mac only:

  • Fixed crashes that could occur when specific Simple and Speedy Entry keyboard shortcuts were invoked.
  • Repaired truncated text in impacted dialog boxes.
  • N-up printing scaling has been restored.
  • Setting the audio buffer size to 32 no longer produces a crash.

Want to see all the features and fixes that have been added in Finale v25.4 (and earlier versions)? The Finale User Manual lists them in the “New Features” sections for Mac and Windows.

Installation Instructions

Ready to install? If you own Finale v25 or v25.1, 25.2, or 25.3, here’s how to get the free update:

  • Either follow the update prompt in Finale or:
    • Mac: Choose Finale > Check for Update. For Finale 25, click Learn More. About Finale appears. Follow the onscreen instructions and skip to Step 2. For Finale 25.1, 25.2 or 25.3, click Install Update. The download begins immediately.
    • Windows: Choose Help > Check for Update. For Finale 25, click Get update. About Finale appears. Follow the onscreen instructions and skip to Step 2. For Finale 25.1, 25.2 or 25.3, click Install update. The download begins immediately.
  • When prompted, log in to your MakeMusic account under “Existing Customers”
  • Click the Download button
  • Close Finale (if it’s still running) and run the installer from your Downloads folder

Don’t own Finale v25 yet? Try it for free.

Please let us know how 25.4  is working for you via Facebook or Twitter.

Robert Piéchaud Releases Medieval 2



Robert Piéchaud Releases Medieval 2Robert Piéchaud is a composer, performer, and a veteran Finale software engineer, having created Human Playback, FinaleScript, Score Merger, the November music font, and more. Today Robert has released Medieval 2, an update to his ingenious solution to creating ancient music notation with Finale. Below Robert explains exactly what Medieval is, what’s new in version 2, and what’s on the horizon.

How do you describe Medieval? Is it a plug-in? A font? Both?

Medieval is a specialized third-party solution devoted to ancient music. It was designed to help musicians create the most ancient types of Western written music known to us, taking advantage of the power of the world standard of “standard” notation, Finale.

It is a package with many facets; a font family, a very powerful plug-in with a multilingual user interface, rich documentation, and some specific templates and component files. Together with Finale, it offers a comprehensive environment devoted to medieval music. It could be described as a software within a software as its relationship with Finale is definitely a symbiosis.

Can you provide a brief history of the Medieval product?

I have long been bewitched by the idea of emulating the “warmth” of traditionally engraved music, but with modern digital tools. Keeping a strong link between the analog and digital worlds is an important theme in my work and in my music.

In the 1990s  Finale, Sibelius, Score, and other products were available, but I realized that there was no satisfactory solution to produce music notation created before the 15th century. Inspired by my passion for the fabulous musical diversity that existed since the 8th century, I came up with the idea of a font (Neuma) that would include many fine ligatures and medieval music features  I soon realized, however, that more was needed in order to adapt to medieval paradigms.

Neumes, in particular, proved problematic as they do not represent rhythms per se. Finale “thinks” in term of bars and rhythms while, for instance, there are no such things in Gregorian chant. Fortunately, Finale provides the flexibility to allow users (and plug-in developers) to emulate almost anything.

While in London in 1999 I met by chance with John Paulson, the founder and former CEO of Coda Music Technologies (before it was named MakeMusic). I had an early build of what would become Medieval on my MacBook and I was able to show it to John, who loved it. At the time I referred to the project with the obscure war code “Gradualis” to which John reacted abruptly with a “What the heck is this?” Then, in a gentler voice, suggested I rename it “Medieval.”

What circumstances led to the release of version 2 now?

Over the course of many years, Medieval became obsolete. A significant amount of work had to be done to adapt it to be compatible with modern operating systems (and versions of Finale).

While there was a great deal of interest in an update, and I had even created a beta version (that was used for publication by some chant specialists), I never could find the right window of time to complete the project. Finally, after the release of the November 2 font in February 2015, I began to find the time to sit down and work seriously on the update.

What is new in version 2?

First of all, the code base has been entirely rewritten. In addition, Medieval 2 has many new features. Perhaps most notably the Neume tool – a unique recognition system – has been enhanced a great deal with over 200 forms of fundamental neumes.

Robert Piéchaud Releases Medieval 2 for Finale

Graphically speaking, I have entirely revised the Neuma font family, adding many new symbols and paying much attention to details, as in my November 2 font.

I’ve made Medieval 2 much easier to use, with a dedicated menu and keyboard shortcuts. There is also a friendly notification system that feeds you with information or warnings without breaking the workflow, and the documentation has been rewritten from scratch. There are probably other many good points I’ve forgotten to mention!

Plus, you can now choose between five languages for the user interface: English, German, French, Italian… and even Latin! (This is thanks in part to my 15-year-old son who already is a true humanities scholar…)

Finale News: Robert Piéchaud Releases Medieval 2

Is a Windows version coming?

Yes, absolutely. Version 2.1 of Medieval is already scheduled for Q3 2017, and will be Mac and Windows. The Medieval 2 project had taken so much time that I felt that I couldn’t delay the release of the Mac version until both were complete. It was important to me to give the outside world a concrete sign of my progress! I am also planning the translation of the documentation into French, German, and Italian, as well as other goodies.

Other goodies?

Well, for instance, I am working on a new font that will emulate the St. Gallen style of neumes. It is a fascinating and very specific type of music notation that takes us back even further into history. Also called campo aperto (“open field”), it was developed around the 8th century at the Abbey of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and has no staff, so actually it is closer to mnemonics. In some ways, it resembles certain avant-garde music notation experiments! (The same could be said  for Ars Subtilior, another very interesting notation period that Medieval 2 embraces). Very often, scholars write Gregorian chant with the standard square notes and staff, and with the St. Gallen neumes upon them. The idea in Medieval 2 is that these neumes can be entered as text font characters, above the music and through a specific verse line in the Gregorian template.

What’s next for you?

Writing music is definitely high on my list! Last year was already quite intense with a carte blanche program entitled “Amerika” that was performed at Festival d’Automne in Paris, featuring my Wittgenstein-Lieder, my wind quintet (with voice) The River (after Henry David Thoreau), and some personal arrangements of music of the great Charles Ives, among them the Variations on America.

But for this year and the year to come, my dearest desire is to achieve some more ambitious orchestral projects. Perhaps this may lead me to some new technological ventures. Who knows?

I’d like to thank Robert for sharing this background. Medieval 2 is available through Klemm Music Technology, who is also the exclusive distributor of German-language versions of Finale.

Creating PDF Files from Finale Scores



Finale creations can be a saved in a wide variety of file types that allow you to share your music with collaborators. These options include the ability to export MusicXML files that can be imported and edited in a multitude of other music apps.

But what about those times when you simply want to share the notation, and not the keys to your masterpiece? PDF files work great for this. Not only are they not directly editable, they can also be viewed on Macs, PCs, tablets, phones; pretty much everything.

PDF files are very simple to work with. In most cases, there is no need for any additional software to create, open and view them.

Users of Finale for Macintosh have long been able to create PDFs directly from Finale. If you’re a Windows user, and using Finale 2011 (or an earlier version), you’ll want to check out third-party software like CutePDF, PDF Creator, or PDF995 (or consider upgrading to Finale v 25).

Otherwise, here are the steps for creating a PDF file in recent versions of Finale:

Creating PDF files from Finale for Windows

If you are using a PC with Windows 7 – 8.1, simply open Finale’s File menu, go to Export and then select PDF. Now, just save the file where it is convenient for you, and you’re done! You can see the process in action above (click on the animated GIF if you’d like it to appear larger).

If you are using Windows 10, you will also have an alternative option to use. Within the Print dialog, Windows 10 users can also select Print to PDF as an OS native printer.

Creating PDF files from Finale for Macintosh

If you are using a Mac, navigate to the File Menu, select Print, click the PDF option, then select “Save as PDF.” From here you can follow the prompts and you’re good to go. This menu also offers other options including“Mail PDF” or “Send PDF via Messages” to more quickly share your document.

It’s that easy.

Do you have remaining questions about creating PDFs with Finale? Please let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

David CuciskOutside his role as a MakeMusic customer satisfaction representative, David Cusick spends a lot of his time composing and producing music for TV and media. He has a passion for everything related to music technology. David’s music often incorporates digital and electronic sounds with traditional acoustic instruments and samples.

When not producing music, he enjoys hiking, camping, and biking in the beautiful Colorado outdoors.