The Power of Finale, Part 2: Working with Percussion Sound Libraries

In my previous blog, we explored the ease of entering percussion parts in Finale 2010 using just the Simple Entry Tool. In this entry, we will take a look at how Finale can easily switch between different VST/AU or MIDI percussion instruments without having to re-enter the notes or convert anything in the staff. This can be particularly helpful if you collaborate with others on a score and they do not have the same instrument libraries that you may (such as the Garritan Jazz and Big Band library or the Tapspace Virtual Drumline 2.5 instruments).

In previous versions of Finale, percussion staff playback was linked to MIDI note numbers. If you entered a snare drum part and later decided that you wanted to use a different snare drum sound, it could be difficult to quickly switch sounds. Finale 2010 is now smart enough to recognize that you entered a snare drum, and can switch back and forth between different sound libraries with a few clicks.

In my previous blog, we created a new snare and bass drum percussion staff using the Basic Orchestral Percussion found in Garritan Instruments for Finale 2010. After following those steps, let’s try switching to the General MIDI Percussion instrument in the SmartMusic Softsynth.

  1. In the example score we created in the previous blog, navigate to Window Menu > Instrument List
  2. Under Perc. MIDI Map, notice that Basic Orch. Percussion is selected. This map tells Finale what notes are included in that instrument, and which MIDI pitch to trigger when you enter that note into the score. Click the dropdown menu and change to SmartMusic SoftSynth > Orchestral Percussion
  3. Close the Instrument List and navigate to MIDI/Audio Menu > Play Finale Through MIDI
  4. Press play. Notice that Finale will still play a snare and bass drum sound, except though the SmartMusic SoftSynth

In addition, we can apply the same concept if we wish to use another VST/AU instrument.

  1. Go to the Window Menu > Instrument List and change the Perc. MIDI Map to Tapspace Drumline for Finale > VDLite General MIDI Percussion Map
  2. Go to MIDI/Audio Menu > Play Finale Through VST/AU
  3. Navigate to the MIDI/Audio Menu > Instrument Setup > VST/AU Instruments
  4. Click the Pencil next to Instrument for Finale for the bank that contains your percussion instrument
  5. In the Aria player, locate the Basic Orch. Percussion instrument (should be channel 10, 26, etc) and change it to 013. Tapspace Percussion > VDL Combo Instruments > VDLite General MIDI Percussion Map
  6. Close the Aria player and play your score

Using these steps, you can quickly sample different instrument libraries to find the perfect percussion sounds for your score. In addition, anyone else who has Finale 2010 that you collaborate with or send your score to can listen to your music without necessarily having to own the same VST/AU instruments that you do.

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