Creating Kodály Solfège Notation with Finale

In the course of teaching music fundamentals, general music teachers often have more demanding music notation needs. Educators often ask me how to create something like this:

While the specifics vary, this is the kind of notation that Kodály instructors use on a regular basis. Today I’ll share how I’d accomplish this; let me know if you can’t easily adapt the same concepts to your work.

From Finale’s Launch Window, under “Create New Music,” I’ll start by specifying “Default Document.” (This is my little shortcut when I want to create one staff of music without any emphasis on specific playback.)

To get started, choose the Staff tool and double-click inside measure 1, to arrive at Staff Attributes:


  1. Under “Items to Display” de-select “Clefs” and “Key Signature.”
  2. Under “Staff” select “0-line with Full Barline” from the menu provided, then click OK.

I think that’s pretty straightforward: You’ve specified that you don’t want clefs, key signatures, or staff lines to appear.

Then enter the desired rhythms using Simple Entry (or whatever method you prefer). Make sure the notes you enter are on the same pitch with stems up.

Next, let’s get rid of the noteheads. Choose the Selection tool and drag-select the music you’ve entered. Then, under the “Utilities” menu select “Change” then “Noteheads.”

Under “Change to” indicate “Selected notehead,” and hit “Select.” Because we want to replace the default noteheads with nothing, choose any empty box other than “0,” hit Select, and OK.

From here we simply enter the solfège pitch names and lyrics both as lyrics. To do so, select the Lyrics tool and click on the first note stem, then type in the desired solfège pitch names, moving to each subsequent note with the spacebar.

To add lyrics below the pitch names, start a new verse of lyrics and they will automatically appear a little lower on the page: Go to the Lyrics menu, choose “Specify Current Lyric,” and enter 2 (to create Verse 2) and click OK. Again, click on the first note stem and begin typing syllables.

Finally, if you’d like, you can easily increase or decrease the size of everything on your page. To do so, you need to be in Page View, then select the Resize tool (it looks like a percentage sign) and click in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Want to make all the music print bigger? Next to “Resize Page To:” enter 125%, and click OK.

When I shared these steps with a general music Kodály instructor in Boston last week, she was overjoyed — I hope you find them helpful too!

Have questions or comments? Let me know by clicking the “Comments” button below.

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