Quick Music Notation Tips: Rhythmic Hits

Quick Music Notation Tips: Rhythmic Hits

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In addition to a performer’s main voice, you may wish to notate rhythmic hits from another part. These might illustrate where kick drum hits are, that a vocalist should also be clapping a rhythmic pattern, or otherwise provide additional information to the performer. Most typically these are notated as rhythmic notation in the space immediately above the measure.

To create this in Finale, enter the performer’s main voice in Layer 1 as you would normally, then switch to Layer 2 by choosing View > Select Layer > Layer 2, and enter the rhythmic hits there. The pitches you enter won’t matter.

To make sure that the next steps only affect the rhythmic hits, choose Document > Show Active Layer Only.

To fix the pitches, select the measures with rhythmic hits, and choose Plug-ins > Note, Beam, and Rest Editing > Single Pitch…. Choose a rather high pitch so that these notes are positioned above the staff and won’t collide with any of the musical information in Layer 1. On this treble clef, we choose A5.

With that same music selected, choose:

  • Plug-ins > Note, Beam, and Rest Editing > Ledger Lines (Hide) to hide the ledger lines between the staff and your newly positioned notes.
  • Utilities > Change > Noteheads to produce rhythmic notation. In the dialog box that appears, choose All noteheads in the left hand column and Small slash (rhythmic notation) in the right hand column. Click OK.
  • Utilities > Stem Direction > Up to flip the stems up.

The only remaining issue is that rests are displaced. You could simply drag them into place. Instead, choose Plug-ins > Note, Beam, and Rest Editing > Move Rests:

  • Move rests in layer 1; Move rests -6 steps, Click OK, then repeat and:
  • Move rests in layer 2: Move rests 15 steps, Click OK.

Finally, choose Document > Show Active Layer Only and your layers will both appear — Layer 1 with your original notation, and Layer 2 with your rhythmic hits above the staff.

While that’s admittedly a lot of steps, we “took the scenic route” to illustrate additional options. You could reduce steps by entering all the notes on a single pitch above the staff. Also, if you want to control how the playback of the rhythmic hits, use the Score Manager to assign a different sound to Layer 2.

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