The Hidden Mysteries of HyperScribe

Last week I was near Houston, Texas, providing Finale training for the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. As is so often the case, I was reminded of the power of DEMONSTRATING some of Finale’s more unique features: Sometimes we don’t know we need something until we see it in action.

The main goal of any notation program is to enter notes as quickly as possible with the least amount of editing. That having been said, what is fastest to one person may not be the fastest for another, and the type of music being entered often dictates the preferred note-entry method. For example, if my keyboard chops are decent, I may find it faster to play in my music (real-time) rather than to use the one-note-at-a-time technique (step-time). Similarly, if I believe that scanning actually works (which I do) then it often is faster to scan in the music. Knowing Finale’s different note-entry methods, therefore, is vital to getting the most out of Finale.

There is one note-entry method that I find most Finale users have never discovered: Using HyperScribe in step-time. Let me explain: HyperScribe is Finale’s name for real-time entry. Usually, when entering music real-time in sequencing and notation programs, one must play along with a “click track” so the software has a reference for notating and/or quantizing correctly. However, in Finale it is possible for the user to “become the click” by tapping the beat reference in as they play. I know this may sound boring, but it really is quite ingenious. Let’s assume that we know what quantizing is, have a MIDI keyboard set up correctly, and want to enter a single line of music in 4/4 in a flute staff. Okay, here is what you do:

  1. Select the HyperScribe Tool
  2. From the HyperScribe menu choose Beat Source>Tap
  3. Click “Listen” and play the lowest tonic note on your MIDI keyboard. If you are in the key of C, this would be your lowest “C”. We will now call THIS the tap key.
  4. For the  “Beat”, select a quarter note (more on this later)
  5. Click “OK”
  6. Click in the first measure

You are now ready. “Tap” the tap key four times. You have just entered a whole rest! Why? Because you told Finale that four beats have passed without any notes being played. Now, play a scale with your right hand, tapping the tap key simultaneously with each scale note entered. Since there is one note per tap, you are entering quarter notes. If you play two consecutive notes in your right hand with only one tap on the tap key, you enter eighth notes…get it? If your right hand plays two or more notes simultaneously this will result in an interval or chord as usual. You can speed up and slow down at will and Finale will always notate correctly. This IS step-time note entry, BUT you are doing it using a real-time technique.

If you haven’t tried using HyperScribe Tap before I encourage you to do so – you might have one of those “aha!” moments that I enjoy so much in my live demonstrations. If you do – please let me know!

Okay, I PROMISE my future blogs won’t always be so product-centric – unless you WANT them to be. Please feel free to let me know what you’d like to hear about; otherwise I’ll just free-associate my way between Finale tips, Finale lore, and all manner of ranting.


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