I spoke to a beginning Finale user the other day who was frustrated that his lack of keyboard skills kept him from entering music as quickly as someone who could simply “play it in” with Finale’s HyperScribe tool. I shared a few tips to help him speed up the process. He was so delighted with the results I knew I had to share them with you.
One solution is to enter JUST the rhythm first. Use the HyperScribe tool to simply play the rhythm of your piece, all on one note. Then use the Repitch feature in Simple Entry to quickly change those pitches to the correct pitches, using either letter keys on your computer keyboard to represent note names or by indicating specific notes with a MIDI keyboard. I covered the Repitch feature in a little more detail in this previous blog post.
Let’s say you used this technique to enter the following:
Now let’s see how quickly you can add some markings to this example so it looks like this:
While other blog posts (including this one) have covered how Simple Note Entry allows for really speedy entry of expressions and articulations as well as clef, time and key signature changes, here’s a quick recap of the highlights:
Select the Simple Entry tool and select the first note with a Ctrl-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac). The note turns color to indicate it is selected. To move to the next note use your computer’s right arrow key, or use the left arrow key to move in the other direction.
Once a note is selected, to add an expression (like a dynamic marking) type X for eXpression, then hit the Select button to see a list of expressions. From here, just double-click on any expression to add it. Before you do, however, note that each expression shows a number or letter in the upper right corner. These are the shortcut keys associated with each expression. Note, for example, that the shortcut key for “forte” is a 4. Next time, instead of hitting the Select button you could simply type a 4 and the forte would be instantly entered. Learning even one or two of these shortcuts gets you moving very quickly.
Articulations, like staccatos and accents, work the same way: simply use the asterisk key “*” (Windows) or the accent/tilde key Mac “`” (Mac) to specify an articulation. Even better, many of the articulation shortcuts are easily remembered: “s” for staccato and “a” for accent.
This is a short recap, but it serves as a reminder of how everyone can enter music (and markings) very quickly in Finale. Let me know how it’s working for you by clicking on “Comments” below!