Finale Blog: More about TempoTap AND a Contest

Scott’s recent Tempo Tap blog post reminded me of two Tempo Tap stories!

Story Number 1

Last December I visited the Berklee College of Music in Boston. One of the many cool things about this school is that every student receives a laptop with Finale installed on it. While at Berklee I spoke before a group of the faculty and presented, among other things, Finale’s Tempo Tap feature in much the same way Scott saw me demonstrate it for the College Music Society.

After I was done, one of the faculty members told me that he uses Finale’s Tempo Tap in his conducting class. He explained that each student has an instrument part open in Finale on their individual computer. One student stands at the front of the class and conducts while the other students “perform” with their instrument via Finale’s Tempo Tap, by tapping on the spacebar of their computer.

I’d love to hear and see that in action: an orchestra of computers, one playing an oboe, another playing the clarinet, and so on, all moving forward in time as the conductor controls the tempo. I know it would work, but I’ve never had the access to that many computers AND willing collaborators. 

Story Number 2

While I can’t recall the specific tradeshow where it occurred, earlier this year I spoke with a Finale user who told me he used a presentation pen, instead of his computer spacebar or MIDI keyboard, to move Tempo Tap forward. He described how, with the use of this presenter, he conducts his live choir while Finale plays his orchestration – and he is able to control the tempo of them BOTH in real-time.

You can imagine how intrigued I was at hearing this. I couldn’t wait to try it out myself. But, being on the road so much, it took me a while to actually get my hands on a presentation device. And, then, it took me even longer to actually find the time to try it out.

Well, I finally got my hands on a nice-looking Targus presenter. It works like a remote control for your computer keyboard, so when you want to move forward or backward through your PowerPoint presentation, you don’t need to stay within arm’s length of your computer keyboard. The problem I’ve encountered is that my presenter only triggers the computer’s up and down arrow keys (which are all I need to move though my PowerPoint slides) while Tempo Tap looks to either the spacebar or a MIDI key for my tempo guidance. I can think of two theoretical solutions:

  1. Perhaps a different presentation device would allow me to control the spacebar as well, or
  2. I could convince my operating system, or some additional software (like QuicKeys), to remap my arrow clicks in such a way that they appear to Finale as a spacebar click (or a MIDI note).

My sense is that the Finale user who shared this tip with me found an easy solution (perhaps #1). This brings me to today’s contest.

Whoever provides the simplest, most elegant solution will win a Finale T-shirt. I’ll pick the best answer that arrives in the next week, and bonus points will be scored for answers that work for both Mac and Windows users. In the event of a tie, the winner will be chosen at random from the tied entries.

Remember, simple is better. Suggesting a specific presentation device that comes with software to allow it to control a spacebar is more likely to win than detailed steps of how to hack the Mac operating system using the Terminal.

Submit your entry, offer feedback, or suggest future blog topics by clicking on “Comments” below.

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