Digging up the dirt on Finale’s whole rests

Last weekend I was in my garden pulling weeds. I expected my wife to be delighted with the results, but she sadly informed me that I’d removed some “good” plants as well. They looked the same to me!

Or, rather, my expertise wasn’t such that I could tell the difference. So, with that in mind…

What’s the difference between these two measures?

“Nothing,” you say.
Okay, I agree, they do look the same, but the measure on the left contains a default whole rest while the measure on the right has a “real” whole rest.

What is the difference?

  • A default whole rest is purely visual, and one that Finale automatically places in every blank measure.
  • A real whole rest is an entry—something you placed in the score—just like a note or any other kind of rest.

In other words, Finale starts out every piece with default whole rests, and these change to real whole rests only when we consciously enter a whole rest. Because the default rest doesn’t quite have the clout of something you’ve intentionally entered, they work differently:

  • Lyrics, articulations, and other note-attached items cannot be attached to a default whole rest.
  • Only a real whole rest can be moved (in either Simple or Speedy Entry).
  • Only default whole rests can be consolidated into multi-measure rests.

The lesson learned from the third bullet above? When creating a score from which you’ll want to generate parts with multi-measure rests, don’t enter real whole rests; just leave those default whole rests alone.

As I re-read what I’ve written above I suspect that someone is going to read this and think, “Dang, now I have to keep track of what kind of whole rests I’ve used,” and that’s not the case. For most of what we do in Finale it doesn’t make a bit of difference. The only time it matters is when you plan to make multi-measure rests or are having difficulty attaching items to a whole rest. My approach is to only enter real whole rests when I know I want to attach something to them. Done!

Should you ever need to change a real rest to a default whole rest, simply click on a full measure or group of measures and press the backspace key (Windows) or the clear key (Macintosh) to make sure it contains only default whole rests. If you need to convert multiple rests, there are two related plug-ins in the Note, Beam, and Rest Editing folder called “Change to Default Whole Rests” and “Change to Real Whole Rests.”

Would you like some more detail on their use or anything else in this post? Please let me know by clicking on “Comments” below!

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