Adding Audio to Finale Notation

Only Finale allows you to record or import a mono or stereo audio track. Why would you want to add audio in a music notation program? Here are the first three reasons that come to my mind:

  1. To enhance the playback of any chart by adding a recording of a live vocal or instrumental solo.
  2. To create educational materials where notation appears (and scrolls in sync) with a recorded version of any piece.
  3. To aid in transcribing a solo or arrangement: The audio recording can be compared with your notation while transcribing, all in the same program.

Whatever your reason, let’s say you have an audio file you want to import into an existing Finale file. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Go
    to Finale
    ’s MIDI/Audio menu and
    select Audio Track
    Add Audio Track
  2. Go to Finale’s MIDI/Audio menu and select Audio Track>Load Audio, then navigate to your audio file and hit “Open.” When the Audio Clip Attributes dialog box appears, ignore it for now; click OK and you’re done.

Now the file plays right alongside your notation; you can mute and solo it accordingly. Here are a few tips that might help as you delve into this further:

  • Use Finale’s TempoTap feature to synchronize the tempo between the notation and the audio file. If you’re new to TempoTap, click here for details.
  • If your notation begins playing BEFORE your audio file, you can either edit off the front of your audio file (I like using the free audacity for this purpose) or you can shift the audio file to the left (earlier) in Finale using the dialog box we just ignored. To do so, go to the MIDI/Audio menu and select Audio Track>Audio Clip Attributes. The “Start in Clip” value appears in hours:minutes:seconds:milliseconds, so you might, for example, enter 00:00:01:000 to shift the audio to the left (earlier) by one second.

I’ll bet you’ve thought of additional ways to use imported audio in Finale. Please share them with us, or let us know how this is working for you, by clicking on the “Comments” button below.

PS: Want to see something really cool? Here’s a sneak peak at Finale 2011!

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