SmartMusic Finale Garritan MusicXML

Free Update for Finale Version 25


Just two months after its initial launch, we’re excited to share a new free-of-charge update for all owners of Finale version 25.

This timely update, Finale 25.1, is part of our continuous development and release initiative. We plan to share bug fixes and features more frequently – often as soon as they are ready – rather than saving them up for a single larger release. Moving forward, we plan to provide similar feature-rich releases in the coming months.

Among today’s highlights are:

  • Enhanced ReWire Support (Finale’s tempo can now drive the ReWire host)
  • Official support for macOS Sierra (10.12)
  • Updated Windows toolbars, palettes, and dialog boxes for use with high-resolution screens (aka Hi-DPI, including 4K monitors)
  • Additional new features, including lyric hyphen character definition, true black printing, transparency support in graphics, and more
  • Many bug fixes and refinements to v25

Want all the details? You can find them, along with Mac and Windows “Read Me” files, in our Help Center.

Installation Instructions

If you own Finale v25, here’s how to get the update:

  1. Either follow the update prompt in Finale or:
    – Mac: choose Finale > Check for Updates > Click Learn More
    – Windows: choose Help > Check for Updates > Click Get update
  2. When prompted, log in to your MakeMusic account under Existing Customers
  3. Click the Download button
  4. 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.

Let us know how the update is working for you via Facebook or Twitter.

Connect with Others Using ReWire in the New Finale



The new version of Finale includes ReWire support. This allows Finale to synchronize with other pro-level audio applications, including Digital Performer, ProTools, Logic and many others.

In this oddly familiar video, I demonstrate the simultaneous use of Logic and Finale. I’m monitoring video within Logic, and creating notation within Finale. Both applications appear on the screen, with Finale across the bottom. When I press Play in Logic both programs begin playback simultaneously and remain in sync (and this works no matter where I start within the piece).

As a result, I can create sounds in either Logic or Finale and combine them instantly.

Not sure how you’d use ReWire?

Let’s say you’re writing pop or commercial music. It’s not uncommon to create a song within a DAW and then wish to add live strings or a horn section, which will require notation for the performers.

In the past you might first mock-up the added section within the DAW. Then you’d export it as a MIDI file and open it in Finale. Then you could begin arranging the parts for your musicians. Among the problems with this scenario is it’s tough to test your Finale arrangements against your DAW tracks until you have musicians on hand to play them. Plus it’s a lot of steps to move files back-and-forth.

Today you can write a string or horn arrangement in Finale and easily sync up the playback to your DAW. Press play in Logic, hear what needs to be changed, edit in Finale, rinse and repeat. In this way you can “test-run” the new additions again and again, with little to no effort, long before distributing parts to your performers.

As I mentioned previously, those writing for film will likely be among the most enthusiastic users of Finale’s ReWire support. As Finale engineers looked at how to improve and modernize Finale’s Movie Window, they determined that investing engineering resources towards integrating ReWire support would give users access to far better video support AND much more flexibility.

Please let us know how you’re using (or planning to use) Finale’s ReWire on Facebook or Twitter.

Mark Adler - Connect with Others Using ReWire in the New FinaleMark Adler is MakeMusic’s notation product manager/senior editor, a professional trumpet player, teacher, and a freelance music editor and engraver.

Mark is also a fan of silent cinema, and enjoyed transforming this 1923 Felix clip with the addition of Albert Ellmenreich’s “Spinning Song.” The notation for “Spinning Song” and hundreds of other titles are included with Finale. To find them, go to Finale’s File menu and choose “Open Worksheets and Repertoire.”

Finale Spotlight on Adam Perlmutter’s String Instrument Notation


Adam Perlmutter is a freelance contributing editor at Stringletter, publishers of Acoustic Guitar, Classical Guitar, Strings, Ukulele and Drum magazines. When you see fretted string instrument notation in these publications, chances are good he had a hand in creating it. An industry veteran, Adam previously worked at Guitar One and Guitar World Acoustic.

You can see Adam’s notation at the newsstand and online. It appears in articles he’s written, as well as in articles by other authors, which can range from fingerstyle folk and blues  to jazz chord melody, and beyond.

Adam and I spoke recently to discuss his work.

What do you do at Stringletter?

I handle all of the editing, transcribing and arranging of the music notation—both for lessons and songs—that goes into the print and online editions of Acoustic Guitar magazine, as well as some for Ukulele and Classical Guitar. I also write performance notes, gear reviews, features, and the occasional lesson.

What background prepared you for this work?

I have a bachelor of music degree from UNC-Greensboro and a master’s degree in contemporary improvisation (a program that, ironically, didn’t involve any written notation) from the New England Conservatory.

After graduating I moved to New York City and sought out transcription work with Hal Leonard. It happened that one of Hal’s editors had an office in Manhattan, in the same building as the headquarters of Guitar One magazine.

I ended up doing freelance transcription work for Guitar One before transitioning into a staff position as a senior editor as well as music editor of Guitar World Acoustic. When these two titles folded, in 2007, I reached out to Acoustic Guitar magazine for freelance work and have been contributing to it and other Stringletter publications ever since.

Can you describe a typical workday?

My youngest child is at home with me during the day so admittedly not a whole lot gets done during standard working hours. I tend to handle correspondence during the day and then begin work in earnest in the evening, when the house is quiet. On a typical day I handle whatever pieces will go to print first, and whenever possible I try to create a good balance between engraving, transcribing, and writing/editing.

What tools do you use when transcribing notation from recordings?

My setup is pretty bare bones. To work with the audio I use a software program, the Amazing Slow Downer, and most important, an excellent set of Grado headphones. Thanks to Finale’s playback feature I don’t normally use the guitar when transcribing, although I do like to test each finished manuscript for playability.

Have any suggestions for people interested in your field, either in terms of developing skills or finding work?

I would say it’s best to develop as wide a skill set as possible and to work at being speedy and efficient when transcribing and engraving. As for transcribing skills, these are gained through years of practice. In doing the work you learn your own tips, like listening for the guitar’s open strings to determine the tuning.

Regarding your guitar notation, do you work from a style guide ?

When I came on board with Stringletter there was an established house style for notation, and I’ve pretty much stuck with it.

Are there engravers or publishers you look to for inspiration on how to do things “right”?

I tend to adhere to the practices established by Stringletter and Hal Leonard, which are very solid. Sometimes I go with what I think is correct—notation that is streamlined, without any redundant symbols, and not over-transcribed, by which I mean filled in with extraneous details that can bog a reader down.

In terms of engravers, I have learned a lot from Woytek Rynczak of WR Music Service, who is one of the very best in the business. Woytek has been engraving professionally for more than 40 years and did all of the music for Guitar One. He worked remotely and we used to fax manuscripts back and forth, often requiring three or four different proofs for a given piece. To save time, I learned to make the corrections myself, with his careful and patient guidance.

What are you most proud of in your work?

I have a good ear and am most proud of the accuracy of my work when it comes to transcribing, as well as the generally uncluttered way that I notate music.

What was your introduction to Finale?

I started using Finale in 1999 when I got my first computer. (Clearly I am revealing myself to be an extremely late adopter to computers in general.) Before that, and all through music school, I wrote everything by hand. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I began using Finale. I inputted standard notation using the program, but not knowing I could just copy and paste in into the tablature staff, wrote in the fret numbers by hand on printed manuscripts!

What do you like about Finale? What would you change?

I really like the flexibility the program offers in making beautiful manuscripts. Stringletter has idiosyncratic tablature clef and chord symbols, for instance, that I couldn’t duplicate on another program. It’s really helpful, too, that I can specify the lowest fret when copying music from the standard staff to the tablature.

The things I would change are mostly little details. For instance, when I copy one of the most common guitar chords—open G—to the tab staff, I always have to adjust the numbers.

Also, a program that I use for some clients other than Stringletter has a shortcut—the R key, which repeats any element within a score—and it would be great if Finale had a similar tool.

Actually, we added something like that a few years ago. Holding down the – key while clicking will add the last element placed in the score. This works for articulations, chords, SmartShapes, expressions…

That’s cool—I’m glad you shared it. There’s always something new to discover in the program.

Can you share a tip or a trick you’ve discovered with Finale?

This isn’t necessarily unique to Finale, but having a clear understanding of a piece’s structure before getting started with the notational process is one the keys to my efficiency, which is obviously essential for me given my compressed workday. Once you see where the repeating figures are in a piece of music, you can use Finale’s copy-and-paste functionality to lay down the foundations very quickly.

What upcoming projects are you especially looking forward to?

I am always looking forward to the songs I am asked to transcribe and arrange for Acoustic Guitar each month, and to making the notation of our talented lesson writers as clean and readable as possible. There is just so much great music.

A smaller part of my work is transcribing all sorts of music for friends and acquaintances for private use. These projects can become a total bear because of the complexity of the music and the work that goes into figuring out exactly what the artist was thinking. But I love the challenge of it. It’s with projects like these that the flexibility and capabilities available in Finale are essential.

I’d like to thank Adam for shedding some light on his work and giving us a glimpse “behind the scenes” in the music magazine world. What are you doing with Finale? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

New Finale Sounds, from a Didgeridoo to a Concert D Piano

New Finale Sounds, from a Didgeridoo to a Concert D Piano

Working on a new piece? Maybe it needs a didgeridoo. Or a djembe. Or a dulcimer.

Or, perhaps just the sounds of a stunning Concert D grand piano.

More than 100 new Garritan sounds have been added in the new Finale (including those mentioned above, and others that don’t begin with the letter D). These additions augment the already impressive collection provided in previous versions. An updated ARIA Player is included, too, with a new interface that makes accessing these sounds easier than ever before.

Seeing is Believing

You can see a list of all the Garritan sounds included in the new Finale in this chart. We’ve subtly indicated sounds added in this version with a discrete “NEW!”

Also included are non-Garritan sounds. These appear in the chart as well, and include Virtual Drumline sounds from Tapspace Percussion. While it’s an impressive list, reading about sounds is like talking about food. Or something.  It’s not really satisfying. You need to hear the sounds…

Hearing is Better

Below is a playlist of pieces created entirely with sounds included in Finale. Here the emphasis is on sounds added in the new Finale. To start, check out the Didgeridoo, the Concert D, or the Harp example.


Don’t own the new version yet? You can purchase Finale, upgrade from a previous version, or trade-up from other MakeMusic (and competitors’) products. Learn more at

Didgeridoo image courtesy of imagicity.

Big Band Jazz Composition with Tim Davies


Tim Davies is no stranger to readers of the Finale blog. He is a prolific Hollywood orchestrator and conductor working in film, television, and gaming. In addition to 2013’s blockbuster Frozen, recent film credits alone include Muppets Most Wanted, Minions, Ant-Man, The Peanuts Movie, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and many more. Tim is also a very active composer, drummer, and bandleader. This month he’s released a new big band CD titled The Expensive Train Set.

We talked to Tim about the CD, his workflow, Finale tips, and much more.

The title of the new CD is “The Expensive Train Set.” Can you talk about that a little?

Many years ago someone at a show said that having a big band is like having a train set. Each involves many hours of work and preparation, and neither is ever finished. They are niche things, costly, and neither will ever make you any money.


Finale-prepared music appears on the cover of your new CD, right?

Yes, I am writing notes on one of my drum parts. All of the tracks, in fact everything I have ever written for big band, has been done in Finale.

The new album features both an LA band and a band from Melbourne, however on one tune both bands are playing together. How did that work?

In 1998, before I left Melbourne, I formed a band, and I have been back and played with them many times since. Apart from my going away concert, however, I have never recorded with them, and I thought it was time. Then the idea of bringing both bands together came to me.

It would have been nice to have everyone together, but I did not quite have the budget! I actually recorded my drums in LA, then went to Melbourne and recorded that band, then came back and recorded the LA band. We put together things like that all the time in film and game scores, so I knew what the pitfalls of working like that can be and how to avoid them.


Can you first talk about your compositional workflow – including the stuff you do BEFORE you fire up Finale?

Every piece starts with a doodle on the piano or the drums. If I am on the drums I will come up with a groove and sing, mumble, hum, or groan the other parts. If I am on the piano, I pretty much do the same as I can’t actually play! Then I go to Finale.

I work with a staff set showing two saxes, two trumpets, two trombones, and the rhythm section staves. I block it in like that, then once I have the form I go to full score and explode out the parts. I also jump between the two staff sets a lot and as my writing has gotten more textural and orchestrated, I have had to do more with all the staves showing. Having a big screen helps!

I have a basic playback setup in Plogue. I don’t host instruments in Finale, as I am opening and closing so many files in a day that waiting for sounds to load would kill me, so I leave them open in the background. I don’t use Human Playback; I want the most basic and nasty playback so I can hear all the notes.

You do have to have a good sense of what will work in the real world though, as jazz dissonance can sound pretty rough played back by samples. I am also not a fan of having excessive information in my scores, and if you are going to rely on human playback you need to put in lots of dynamics and articulations, things that real players don’t need. I use Linked Parts for the parts, and just have one score that contains everything.

Can you describe your workflow in creating these arrangements?

Again, I doodle, sing, hum and groan a lot when I write. I come up with an idea, put than in then play it back and I then sing the next part. That is how I do everything.

I am very particular about form. Every piece has to take you on a journey. I usually let it unfurl organically, but I do have my tricks. I often prefer to through-compose than to keep repeating the form, as in the traditional way of writing a big band chart. So I come up with new riffs, or use some motif, or just sing something that feels natural to me.

How does the way you work on your big band charts differ from your process when working on TV and film?

The way I use finale is the same. However when I am writing for my band, it is whatever I want, while when I am working on a film, my job is to make someone else look good. But I find all of my skills come in handy in both worlds and they do influence each other. A lot of the ideas I have come up with while working with orchestras have found their way into my band music.

On my first listen of Conceivilization it occurred to me that aspects of the piece felt very orchestral. Can you talk some more about that aspect of your band arrangements?

Most of my pieces are programmatic; I want to take the listener on a journey, tell a story, or paint a picture. It is hard to do that if you keep repeating the same thing over and over, so I often deviate from standard big band forms,  through composing and developing ideas, like you might do in concert music.

I find that once I have a good story, the music writes itself; I know where I have to take it. I like building to a climax, that part where the band goes to 11 and the lead trumpet hits the stratosphere. That was the sound that I heard as a child – that I fell in love with – and you hear it a lot in my music.

Big Band Influences

When you think specifically of your big band writing, who are some of your influences? 

My main influence and the reason I wanted to do this was an Australian big band called the Daly Wilson Big Band. I found a cassette of them when I was about 12 and decided that is what I was going to do. That band was co-led and co-arranged by the drummer too. They had a particular style, very full on, and on top of the beat.

When I was first in Los Angeles I spent several years assisting John Clayton and the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestras. His style and the band’s was nothing like Daly Wilson, but still had a huge impact on me. John is an amazing writer and his voicings are very cool. I would get a sketch from him at 2:00 am, orchestrate and copy it, and they would play it at 10:00 am.

I would see these voicings and wonder what the hell they would sound like and then within a few hours, I was hearing it with a great band. You can’t pay for that education, and I was lucky enough to get paid for it. I also like the textures of Gil Evans and the forms and orchestration of Oliver Nelson. My favorite album is Quincy Jones’ The Quintessence.

From an engraving/copying point of view, do you approach big band charts differently than, say, charts for a TV show? 

I approach it all pretty much the same. In both cases you don’t get a lot of rehearsal time. So it must be laid out clearly so players do not get lost. In a session we do a few things differently: numbers on every bar, no rehearsal letters, and we avoid consolidating rests. Instead we break them up a lot so it is easy to find your place if we stop and start. This also gives us a place to write in any new music we may wish to add.

For the band, I use lots of rehearsal letters and if it is a solo for 32 bars, they can have that as a single rest!

I do approach fonts differently. For film and TV work, a generic look is best. Also we pass files around among many people so we want to make sure the fonts are going to be standard so it looks the same. For my big band stuff, I have a look I have developed over the years. I use Swing font for text, Jazz for note heads and even one from the other program for titles. Why not! I have also customized all of the line, slur, and tie thicknesses and arcs.

In your big band writing, do you have some signature arranging techniques that you’d be willing to share with us?

More of an orchestration trick than arranging, but I love to repeat notes and have people play them at different times, maybe slip to the side every now and then. It is all over my music. If you look at bar 157 in Conceivilization you can see it in action. Then in 205 I do it again but start to add other notes and develop line.

Check out this scrolling playback video of a reduced Concievillization score:

Using Finale

What about in Finale – are there Finale tricks that you can share that are more specific to big band writing?

The most useful thing for me is working with staff sets. As previously mentioned, I have a reduced set I work with to sketch in ideas, and then I use plugins to explode it out.

Have a comic or outrageous Finale or big band story you can share?

Not so much comic but I can tell you about the hardest job I ever had to do. One thing that I did a lot for John Clayton was takedowns. And these were not for just anyone, they were often to be surprises for the actual composer or arranger. When John was director of Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl he would have a lot of guests, so I did takedowns for Neal Hefti, Quincy, and Johnny Mandel, but the hardest one was Take 6.

John wanted to add the band to them so he gave me a cassette of them. There were not cool computer programs to help slow down and loop or filter, it was just me and a tape deck. Usually when you do a takedown, you get the top, the bottom, and what else you can hear in the middle, and then use your arranging skills to reassemble what you can’t hear.

For example, I know there will be four trumpet parts in that chord, but I can only hear three, so I use my knowledge as an arranger to fill in the missing part. But Take 6 is six parts of vocal jazz and they don’t write out their stuff like a big band arranger would. They work it out so it does not follow the same rules. There is also something about the voice and how they blend that makes it really hard to pick out.

So I did my best and gave it to John and he added the band.

For some reason, Take 6 could not make it to the rehearsal the day before the show. Usually if there was something to change, you could fix it and then have it ready for the sound check the next day, but not this time. The first time we would hear it and see if I got it all right was the sound check on the stage at the Hollywood Bowl!

It was the most nervous I have ever been. But it went fine and I am still working!


Your daughter is how old now? Can you describe the effect that parenthood has had on your music?

Sarah is 8 now. For my previous album I had a four-movement trilogy based on some of my more interesting or recurring dreams and nightmares. (I had finished the three movements and then had a really crazy dream that I just had to write a piece for, hence the four-movement trilogy.) This time I had a few commissions and was wondering what I would write about. Every new dad composer seems to write a really sweet and mushy tune for their new baby. I had resisted, but then a commission came in for a ballad and I thought it was meant to be.

So I wrote the most mushy, ‘nice’ tune I could, then as the piece goes on it gets more Tim-ified, and I ended up with the piece called Sarahbande. I still needed a way to tie it all together, and then I realized that to make a baby you need two people, and so I thought instead of one solo followed by another, something I am not that keen on, I could just have two of them at the same time, a kind of duet. So the first three movements have two soloists at a time and the fourth, The Expensive Train Set (and Epic Sarahnade) is for two whole big bands!

View a scrolling playback video of the Sarabande reduced score:

Other Projects

What are some of the projects that you’ve done as your “day job” that have been competing for your time working on the new CD?

Quite a few! It took me over 3.5 years to finish the album. I have been conducting and or orchestrating a lot of movies, games, and TV shows; things like Frozen, Ant-Man, Minions, Empire, Book of Life, Trolls, CHiPs and La La Land. I am also scoring a TV show called Trollhunters that will come out on Netflix in December.

What’s coming next for the two bands?

I hope to do some gigs soon. A trip back to Australia too.

What’s coming next for you?

I am currently spending most of my time writing the music for Trollhunters. Not sure if I will end up with more composing gigs after it comes out. This is my first project on my own. I had never sought out composing gigs, but this one was offered to me so why not!

I am also working on preparing the scores from the album for release. I have been making reductions and scrolling videos. Eventually I hope to have them for the whole album for people to study. You can see a few here.

I like to thank Tim for taking the time to share his thoughts with us, for excellent scrolling score videos, and for the great music. I’m looking forward to the release of Trollhunters in December and hope to check in with Tim at that time to get a glimpse of a day in the life of a TV composer.

Compatibility with Finale Notation Products and macOS Sierra

Compatibility with Finale Notation Products and macOS Sierra - photo by Jonathan Fox

Apple’s new Mac operating system, macOS Sierra (10.12), is scheduled to be released next Tuesday, September 20, 2016. Last week Apple released the gold master version of Sierra for testing purposes. We have confirmed that Finale v.25, Finale 2014.5, and Finale 2014d work well in the upcoming OS, as does Finale PrintMusic 2014.5 and 2014.

We are aware of two issues. Palettes do not resize properly, and the SmartMusic Markers utility (found only in Finale) will crash. (This doesn’t impede your ability to save SmartMusic accompaniments.) While we will address both issues in an upcoming free-of-charge update to Finale v.25, there will not be updates to any 2014 or 2014.5 apps.

Finale NotePad and SongWriter

Unfortunately, NotePad and SongWriter cannot be installed in the new OS and do not run properly on updated systems. While we have notified Apple of these incompatibilities, we don’t anticipate that they will be addressed.

We recommend that Macintosh users of Finale NotePad and SongWriter either not upgrade to Sierra, or trade up to supported notation software.

To help, we’re offering discounts on Finale PrintMusic to all users of Finale NotePad and Finale SongWriter. (We’re including Windows users too, just to be fair.)

Additional information about compatibility between macOS Sierra and Finale family notation products can be found in this Knowledge Base Article. We will update the article should the situation evolve upon the release of Sierra.

Photo of Split Mountain – in the Sierra Nevada of California – by Jonathan Fox

What’s the big deal about a 64-bit Finale?

What’s the big deal about a 64-bit Finale?

Left to right: Michael Johnson, Mark Adler, and Fred Flowerday.

While industry experts like Philip Rothman and Robert Puff have applauded the inclusion of 64-bit support in the new version of Finale, a more casual observer may ask; “What does that actually mean for me?” To some, one of the biggest features in the new Finale may not seem like a feature at all. Of course, we believe it is. Today we’re sharing some of the thinking behind Finale’s 64-bit support. More importantly, we’ll also describe some of the ways it can benefit you.

Defining 64-bit

Bit size refers to how much data you can move and access through your computer. More bits are better and often translate into faster performance. While 64-bit processors were once extremely rare (like the Cray-1 super computer in Los Alamos), today they’re the standard.

Operating systems are all shifting to 64-bit as well.

“You haven’t been able to buy a 32-bit mac for a decade, and it’s expected that Apple will soon drop all support for 32-bit applications,” said Michael Johnson, MakeMusic’s vice president of professional notation. “While Windows has always been a little more cautious in their march towards the future, there will come a time when Windows will drop 32-bit support, too.”

So first and foremost, Finale needs to be a 64-bit application to remain viable on future operating systems.

“A tremendous amount of work went into making Finale a 64-bit application, and it was done because we’re in it for the long haul,” said Fred Flowerday, MakeMusic’s senior vice president of product strategy. “There are many features and enhancements we’d like to see in Finale but which are not possible without first establishing a strong technical foundation in 64-bit. By taking the long view and investing in this foundation, our goal is to provide greater benefit for all Finale users and ensure the long-term viability of Finale.”

So What?

Okay, so Finale will continue to work well into the future. That is obviously good news for those of us with a long-term investment in using the software. But what does 64-bit mean to those of us who use Finale today?

Many high-end sound libraries are 64-bit only. These libraries can now be used directly within the new Finale, without additional intervening software. In addition, 32-bit applications, like previous versions of Finale, are limited in the amount of samples they can load into memory. Top libraries will quickly use up this 2 or 3 gig limit. Today’s Finale, however, allows you to load much larger libraries. Your only limit is the amount of memory you have installed.

Don’t use premium sound libraries? You’ll appreciate enhanced stability and speed improvements, some directly related to the 64-bit work, and some that are not. As noted in Philip Rothmans review, performance in the new Finale; “demonstrates real improvement in some key areas.” Even in areas where performance isn’t yet improved, 64-bit compatibility is likely a necessary first step toward further enhancements.

Laying the Foundation for Additional Improvement

In developing a 64-bit version, Finale developers laid the groundwork for forthcoming advancements. This has great potential both for increasing performance and future feature development. Moving forward, working on 64-bit software allows developers to access better, more modern development tools that can also increase advances in Finale faster.

“Not only can advances be made faster, they can be shared with Finale users faster, said Mark Adler, MakeMusic’s notation product manager/senior editor. “We are set up to easily deliver smaller, free-of-charge releases that represent our plan for continuous development and continuous release. Finale 2014.5 is a great example of the kind of feature-rich free update we plan to share in the future; between major releases.”

What Future Improvement is Important to MakeMusic?

Michael Johnson offers his top three: “Performance, rendering (the speed it takes to draw things on the screen), and playback. Those are the big three that touch everybody’s life.”

While Michael pauses to recognize there have always been select Finale users who claim to have no need for playback (because their audiation is perfect), he adds:

“When you wait a few seconds for this or that, it adds up over time. In extreme cases this can arrest your creative momentum. More often the cumulative effect simply presents a hurdle in getting more done in less time. Our goal is to have everything play and draw instantly, and today’s Finale sets the stage for that future.”

Fred adds: “Our ultimate goal is to get your music in front of musicians more efficiently.”

Check out the new Finale for yourselfat no charge. Try the free trial version today.

What’s the big deal about a 64-bit Finale? Image 2

Third-Party Finale Plug-in Developers

Third-Party Finale Plug-in Developers

I recently asked readers of MakeMusic’s Finale forums to indicate what they’d like to see in future Finale blog posts. Among the replies was a request for more information on third-party plug-ins. In response we reached out to the most influential third-party plug-in developers asking for an update. Today we’re please to share replies from Jari Williamson, Robert Patterson and Tobias Giesen.

Finale includes plug-ins from each developer (although Jari’s many plug-in aren’t branded as such). In addition, all three offer additional plug-ins (which will be updated soon for use with the new 64-bit Finale). We’ll share more details on these plug-ins below.

I once conducted an informal survey of plug-in usage as an additional means to inform future Finale development. In the process I spoke with many professional power users. My take-away was that plug-in usage is very diverse. Everyone I spoke with had plug-ins they were very passionate about, but everyone’s list was very different.

I think that’s the beauty of the plug-in development community; it’s possible to create wonderful (if somewhat niche) applications for a relatively smaller number of fervent users. I also think it’s amazing how Finale draws people together from across the world, from Tobias in Münster, Germany and Jari in Göteborg, Sweden, to Robert Patterson in Memphis and MakeMusic in Boulder.

Robert Patterson

Robert Patterson was once best known in Finale circles for his Patterson Beams. Today he creates the Patterson Plug-ins suite, which includes the plug-ins detailed below (with commentary from Robert himself):

– Beam Over Barlines (included in Finale) automates workarounds for creating the appearance of beams over a barline.

– Beam Selection provides one­-click beaming of any notes within a selected region.

– Mass Copy allows flexible copying of edits such as tuplet edits, articulation and expression assignments, cross staving, and a host of other items. It works independently of bar lines and replicates the source throughout the selected destination region. I probably use this more than any other plug-in.

– Multimeasure Rests (new in v5) provides additional options for creating multi-measure rests beyond those in Finale, and it also is more flexible about creating them. (For example, it only takes into account staves visible in page view on the system where the multimeasure rest is. If you have force ­hidden staves containing music with a staff style, they will not prevent the multimeasure rest from being created.)

– Name Utilities provides one-­click repairs to a number of issues related mostly to bugs or limitations in Finale. Two examples: 1) Finale 2014 randomly modifies the staff name positions whenever you run a plugin on a part, and 2) The Setup Wizard applies full­name font size to abbreviated names. This plugin has one­-click repairs for both issues. It also has one­-click options to split and join staff­ groups.

– Note Spacing (new in v5) allows you to set up different regions with different note spacing options (not including allotment tables). It also has options for better spacing of leger lines and upstem flags.

– Page Mover allows you to change margins and page size without modifying the image size (and hence the layout) of your music.

– Page Title Copy copies page titles from one page to another or one document to another. It also can copy from score to part and hides or shows the title appropriately as it copies.

– Patterson Beams (included in Finale) modifies beams and stems according to engraver standards.

– Smart Shape Editor (new in v5) provides an assignment dialog for beat­ attached smart shapes similar to Finale’s assignment dialog for expressions. It allows precise placement of metric position of each endpoint as well as horizontal and vertical offsets. It is especially useful for beat­ attached slurs, which have never received the UI­ upgrade the other beat ­attached shapes received.

In addition there are plugins to mass ­edit ties and tuplets and a plugin to copy settings between files. There is also a separate product called Copyist Helper that provides extra handling for measure numbering and instrument name titles. It is mainly aimed at copyists working in musical theater.

The Patterson Plug-ins received a major overhaul in 2014­-2015. The development environment is now (approximately) state­-of-the-­art, and the code base is ready for 64­-bit. Several new plug-ins (mentioned above) were added as well. The result was v5.00 which was released in April, 2015 and updated most recently in April, 2016. The main plan for the immediate future is to release 64­-bit versions for the new version of Finale.

Jari Williamsson

Jari Williamsson has created several plug-ins within Finale and hosts the website, which offers a host of resources in addition to Jari’s many plug-ins. He shared the following:

My most popular plug-ins are: JW Change, JW Staff Polyphony, JW Meter and Rhythm, JW Pattern, JW Space Empty Rests, JW Measure Numbers, JW Accidentals, JW Yada Yada Tremolo, JW Navigate, JW Expand Region, and JW Change Pitches.

Many of these plug-ins are collections of many different tasks (JW Change, for example, contains more than 100 different tasks).

I currently have a lot of unreleased plug-ins in various development states. I will not reveal any info about unreleased projects, other than that a few of these plug-ins will also incorporate the functionality from some of my smaller plug-ins from the past.

Some plug-ins are currently available for download as open beta versions. The most popular plug-in there is “JW Lua”, which enables users to write their own fully-functional plug-ins.

Tobias Giesen

Tobias is the creator of TG tools. He offers an update on his latest developments below:

The TGTools Plug-In Collection for Finale has been available for more than 15 years now. An extensive feature set was created during the initial development years, ranging from various mass editing features thru part processing, Smart Explosion, as well as Lyrics and music spacing tweaks, and layout tools. It includes over sixty separate menu items and dialogs. Some of the features were so well-received by copyists that MakeMusic included them in Finale as free pre-installed plug-ins (also known as TGTools LE).

As an example, a useful music editing tool is the Beam Breaker. It is mostly used for breaking secondary beams such as to visually divide a sixteenth note sixtuplet into two or three parts. Beam Breaker does this automatically for you, intelligently analyzing the underlying rhythms and breaking the correct beams. Rather than doing each measure manually, you can have Beam Breaker process the whole score at once.

The Harmonics and Tremolo tools have more available settings and options than the ones that ship with Finale. The Smart Explosion tool is popular with many arrangers and copyists who need to make parts from scores where multiple instruments are on the same staff. It intelligently recognizes keywords such as 1., 2., a 2, solo etc. and does a completely automatic explosion, correctly distributing smart shapes and positioning expressions. 

TGTools is a commercial product. A free trial version is available from A new 64-bit version will be released soon, and the update will be free for any licenses ordered in 2016.

Do you wish we’d talked about other plug-ins? Would you like to see plug-ins you’ve created highlighted here? Please let us know via Facebook or Twitter and we’ll follow up with a subsequent post.

UPDATE 9/21/2016:

  • Tobias adds: My 64 bit versions are available but still in beta. I have received a few
    bug reports which I intend to fix ASAP. I hope to have an update before the weekend.
  • According to Robert’s website, his 64-bit versions are now available.


Mark AdlerMark Adler is MakeMusic’s notation product manager/senior editor, a professional trumpet player, teacher, and a freelance music editor and engraver. 

The New Finale is Here!

Finale team celebrating new Finale 25 launch

Finale development team, L to R: Mark Adler, Joan Deitchman, Matt Logan, Doug Rassmussen, Mark Green, Will Jones, Jess Garrett, Jason Wick, Marco Herrera-Rendon, Melanie Balderas, Jon Tschiggfrie, Michael Johnson. Not pictured: Fred Flowerday, Lawson Dutton, Dan Downs, Chris Cianflone, Joe Lenarz, Michael Good, Andrew Kruse, and Greg Angel

Today I’m pleased to announce that the new Finale is now available, both as a download and a USB drive. As I’ve hinted at over the last few months, some of the highlights of the new release include 64-bit support, additional Garritan sounds, transposed instrument entry, ReWire compatibility, significant streamlining, and more.

We’ve also updated If you currently own Finale, please check out the what’s new page to see what this upgrade offers you. If you’re new to Finale, check out the main Finale page for a brief overview. In either case, be sure to check out the audio samples highlighting just a few of the 100+ Garritan instrument sounds we’ve added.

Want to try it out today? The Free 30-Day Trial is ready to go.

You can also upgrade today, from any previous version, for just $149. Or, if you are using another pro-level notation product and want to own Finale too, take advantage of our competitive upgrade offer for just $149 as well.

If you have questions or comments, please let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

Mark AdlerMark Adler is MakeMusic’s notation product manager/senior editor, a professional trumpet player, teacher, and a freelance music editor and engraver. Mark is smiling in this photo because he’s thinking of how happy he’ll be when the new version of Finale is actually shipping. Today is the day!

More New Features in the Next Version of Finale

More New Features in the Next Version of Finale (Tall Time Signatures)

Tall time signatures have been the standard for studio scores for decades. They help ensure that the conductor sees the time signature changes, which is especially crucial when the clock is ticking and dozens of musicians are on the payroll. In recent years this style of score has also become increasingly popular in the concert hall as well as in published scores.

You’ve always been able create tall time signatures in Finale, but it the past it was laborious and error-prone. It has been accomplished with staff styles which are easily deleted by mistake (especially when copying music). The added complexity required to make this all work frequently inspires users to create two separate scores, one for the conductor, and another from which to create parts. In addition to duplicating effort, having two scores ALSO increases the likelihood of errors.

In the new Finale, with individual control on whether or not time signatures will appear in your score or parts, it’s no longer necessary to maintain different scores, or use staff styles to get the results you’re looking for.  

Another improvement that also impacts how your music looks is the addition of contoured dashed slurs, seen here in Bach’s “Invention No. 8:”

Unlike tall time signatures, this is not something most people can accomplish in current versions of Finale. These types of slurs are popularly used to distinguish editorial markings from those of the composer. They are similarly used in choral music to indicate where a breath should not be taken.  Soon they will simply be an additional item you can select from the Smart Shapes tool pallet.

Again, our plan is to make this available to you by late summer. Have questions or comments? Please feel free to let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

Mark AdlerMark Adler is MakeMusic’s notation product manager/senior editor, a professional trumpet player, teacher, and a freelance music editor and engraver.

Mark is particularly passionate about features that provide musicians with additional visual options for their scores AND save time in the process.