Instantly add a drum groove to any Finale file

 Last year I wrote a blog post about the Band-in-a-Box Auto-Harmonizing feature in Finale. I entered a familiar swing melody and then used the feature to harmonize it into a five-voiced sax section. I also created a brass section part in the same manner.

This week I thought I’d show you how I might quickly add some drums to that demo (or any other piece) using Finale’s Drum Groove plug-in.

To do so, I simply select the measures where I want to add a drum groove (in this case the whole tune) and go to Plug-ins > Scoring and Arranging > Drum Groove:

Here I can pick a style, determine what staff the drum groove will appear in, and how it will appear in that staff. For my example I specified “StraightSwing,” indicated that I wanted to create a new staff at the bottom of the score, and that I wanted slash notation to appear in this new staff.

Upon hitting OK my demo came to life with the addition of a swinging drum part. Done – and in seconds!

But wait, there’s more.

In the bottom right corner of the Drum Grove dialog box (seen above) there’s a “Note” added to convey how easy it is to add to list of styles found in Drum Groove. To do so, simply place ANY MIDI file in the Drum Groove folder. For example, you might download a MIDI file for a popular tune and place it in this folder (the file name will determine how it appears in the list). When you select this new style, any non-drum instrumentation in the MIDI file is ignored, while the popular tune’s drum part is instantly added to your piece.

The only trick is in finding the Drum Groove folder. Here’s where I found them for Finale 2011:

Windows: C:\Program Files\Finale 2011\Plugin Components\Drum Groove
Mac: Macintosh HD\Library\Application Support\Finale 2011\Plugin Components\Drum Groove

Being able to easily expand the list of styles could be leveraged in many ways. You might simply toss anything and everything in there to be used as creative kindling when working on new music, or you could put in grooves or fills that you are likely to reuse in similar (or related projects).

Let us know how you’re using Drum Groove by clicking on “Comments” below.

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