Jazz Musicians and the Audience

Like a musician who adjusts the evening’s set list to reflect the prevailing tastes of a specific venue, my Finale demonstrations vary greatly depending on where I am presenting.

I have fond memories of showing Finale at the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), whose  jazz educator audience always struck me as just a little more relaxed, a little more likely to be hugging old friends, and a little more likely to be accompanied by their significant other. Surely the sound of great jazz contributed to the mood, but I always thought that this show had a great community feel and a joyful sense of camaraderie.

The questions that IAJE attendees asked also had a slightly different flavor, while running the gamut from people contemplating pencil alternatives to power users with very detailed needs and requests. One question, however, was asked over and over again at this show – and only this show: How do I create Slash Notation with Rhythmic cues?

These steps create the above measure:

1. Using whatever note entry method you prefer, enter your cue notes/rhythms on the first ledger line above the staff using any layer other than layer one.

2. To make these notes all “stems up,” choose the Selection tool, highlight the notes, and, from the Utilities menu, choose Stem Direction>Up.

3. Choose the Staff Tool and double-click on this measure. This dialog box will appear:

Next to “Alternate Notation” click the “Select” button to see this:

Select “Slash Notation” and under “Other Layers” place a check next to “Notes,” then click OK – twice.

You’re done!

But wait. You don’t want to see the ledger lines? No problem…

4. Select this region, and from the Plug-ins menu select “Note, Beam and Rest Editing>Ledger Lines (Hide)”. Now you really are done. But wait…you want the noteheads smaller?

5. Return to Plug-ins>Note, Beam, and Rest Editing – choose Resize Noteheads – and click OK.

Done. There are a few steps involved, but creating this by-hand as we’ve done above lets you in on the secrets that you can apply to other notational challenges.

With that in mind, here are a few other tools you might also consider for creating various types of cues:

  • Finale includes two plug-ins that automate the creation of cue notes: Add Cue Notes and Smart Cue Notes – both appear in the Plug-ins menu, under Scoring and Arranging.
  • To turn cue notes into rhythmic cues check out the Single Pitch plug-in, found under Plug-ins>Note, Beam, and Rest Editing. To adjust the rests, go to the Document menu, choose Document Options>Rests.

Happy notating!

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