The Power of Finale, Part 3: Changing Percussion Sounds

In the first and second parts of this percussion blog I highlighted some of the features added in Finale 2010 that greatly simplify percussion notation. In the Finale 2010a update we added another new feature that makes switching non-pitched percussion instruments as easy as it is for pitched instruments.

For example, let’s say you wrote a concert tom part in your score, but as the piece develops you decide that you’d like a conga sound instead.

In previous versions of Finale, getting this to display and play back correctly was difficult: In many cases, the best solution was to re-enter the part. Today it’s easy to swap percussion sounds on a measure by measure basis or for your entire score if needed.

Here’s how simply this is accomplished in Finale 2010a (or 2010b):

  1. Create a score using a standard Percussion Staff (Setup Wizard > Choose SmartMusic SoftSynth as your Instrument Set, then specify Percussion > Percussion).
  2. Enter a few notes into the first few measures, using the Low-Mid Tom.

With 2010a we can now switch to a conga sound in three steps:

  1. Choose the Selection Tool, then indicate the measures you wish to adjust.
  2. Go to Utilities > Transpose Percussion Notes.
  3. Select the note you’d like to change (Low-Mid Tom) then indicate what sound you’d like to change it to (Conga):

Now the part will display as such:

Press play, and voilà! The selected region of this part automatically plays as a conga sound instead of a concert tom.

Keep in mind that the sound you switch to must be included in the instrument you have selected for playback (in this case the instrument is the SmartMusic SoftSynth).  If not, simply change the instrument in VST/AU Setup then change your output map in the Instrument list to the correct map.

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