Lyrics in Finale 2011

Last week I wrote about Staff Layout advancements in Finale 2011 and how they help users follow their own workflow. I believe these changes benefit all users in that they make the process more intuitive and flexible. That said, there is one group of Finale users for whom Staff Layout is not the biggest news in Finale 2011.

I am referring to those whose music includes lyrics. Finale 2011 improves both the way lyrics are entered and how they appear. This week I’d like to look at a few of the more subtle but dramatic improvements in the realm of lyrics.

The example below is an excerpt from a file created in Finale 2010: 

Let’s focus on the music spacing for a minute; the above example represents what Finale 2010 and previous versions of Finale would do by default. It looks good, but would require some tweaking to meet with an engraver’s approval.

For example, notice the extra space that appears between the time signature and the first note; Finale forced the notation over to the right to make room for the lyrics. If these verses started with larger syllables, the problem would be even more pronounced. While previous versions of Finale would let you move these syllables further to the left, you’d have to fine-tune the music that followed as well to get the overall measure to space as you’d wish.

If you were to enter the same music in Finale 2011, it would look better as you entered it:

Notice that the spacing at the start of each measure is more natural, and is technically correct from an engraving standpoint. No manual editing required.

You can see this and other lyric spacing improvements — in action — in the short lyrics video found here.

Finale 2011 also advances the way lyrics are entered, and this, too, is covered briefly in the video.

One aspect not covered in the video, however, has to do with numbering lyric verses, which used to be a little tricky if you desired both proper number alignment and lyric spacing. Now with a menu item, Finale automatically adds the verse numbers and spaces the music and lyrics accordingly.

That took two mouse clicks. In earlier versions you would have spent a little time with this to make it just right, and that would have been time away from composing. Or arranging. Or wherever your muse was taking you.

Have any questions or comments about Finale 2011? Share them by clicking on the “Comments” button below.

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