Finale version 27.2 adds new jazz template, native Apple silicon support


Listen to the podcast episode

On the Scoring Notes podcast, Darcy James Argue talks about his role in creating the fully revamped SMuFL-compliant jazz default file and document style in the Finale v27.2 update, and offers some tips for how users can make the most of it. Listen now:

Scoring Notes
Scoring Notes
Darcy James Argue jazzes up Finale with "style"


Today MakeMusic released Finale version 27.2, the second update to Finale v27. With this update, Finale runs natively on Apple silicon Macs, such as those with the M1 chip, for the first time. All default documents and document styles in v27.2 are now SMuFL-based (Standard Music Font Layout) so that starting a project in any style can now take full advantage of the SMuFL benefits first introduced in the June 2021 release of v27.

Of particular interest and a welcome surprise is a fully revamped SMuFL-compliant jazz default file and document style. Created in collaboration with composer, bandleader, and Finale expert user (and Scoring Notes contributor) Darcy James Argue, every setting in the default style has been overhauled per Darcy’s recommendations, and there is a new Finale Jazz Text lowercase font to complement the existing character set.

This update also includes some other improvements and bug fixes.

The video

Of course, Jason has a new “Conquering Finale” video which covers the Finale v27.2 update in detail.


Gettin’ jazzy with SMuFL

The most noticeable new feature in Finale v27.2 is the revamped default jazz document and document style.

It’s designed to help users achieve better results while reducing the number of manual adjustments needed.

In the Setup Wizard, you’ll find the new style in the Select a Document Style > General category. It’s called Handwritten Style (Finale Jazz), and you’ll notice that “SMuFL” is confirmed in the description area. The legacy jazz, non-SMuFL style is found immediately below this one — it’s called Handwritten Style (Jazz Font), so be sure to select the correct style.

Darcy James Argue is a stickler for detail, and his influence takes many forms here. For starters, he requested the addition of lower case characters to the JazzText font — something that users have been asking for since it was first introduced by Rich Sigler back in the 1990s. It’s not just an aesthetic preference; when used in chord symbols, they make it much easier to read and understand.

Speaking of chord symbols, Darcy says:

The chord symbols in the new SMuFL Finale Jazz Font Default are all made up of individual characters (not single-character JazzChord glyphs) and can all be typed directly into the score. In fact, every chord symbol in the new library is typeable. There’s some fancy processing that allows for multiple variant glyphs to be used in the chord symbol library while preserving typability — for instance, if a user types C(add2) the parentheses will look one way, but if they type Cm7(b13) they’ll get a suffix with a different set of parentheses. If they type C7(#11b9) they’ll get a suffix that uses tall parentheses and vertically stacked extensions, and so on.

So long as there is an existing match in the redesigned Chord Suffix Library (which is pretty extensive and supports a variety of chord symbol styles), users should be able to type most commonly-used chord suffixes and see a well-designed chord symbol.

Now, for the first time, users can access the “stubby” flats and sharps, the narrow parentheses, the double-height and triple-height parentheses that were used in the prefab JazzChord glyphs and use them in their own custom chord symbols. And all of these bibs and bobs from JazzChord are now integrated into Finale JazzFont, instead of a separate font.

It’s worth using the Text > Insert Symbol menu command on Finale JazzFont and taking a scroll through the list to see all the components from JazzChord that have been added.

Some of the newly available glyphs available in Finale Jazz (SMUFL) that were previously part of JazzChord (non-SMuFL)

The old single-character Jazz Chord glyphs are still there, too, for those that wish to use them.

There are also many differences under the hood in Document Options, such as tie and slur appearance, tuplet bracket appearance, margins, and layer settings. There is also a pre-programmed Smart Shape for Slash Notation (Show Other Layers), which allows you to enter rhythmic cues above or below slashes in a drum part.

But, as Darcy says, the big takeaway from this is the chord suffix library. It’s exhaustive and accommodates the many variations of chord symbol suffixes that most users would want to see. One amusing but important tidbit — in a change from the usual Finale defaults, the chord symbols in this document style are left-aligned. We imagine Darcy would have refused to sign off on this otherwise!

All in all, this is a nice improvement for a “dot” release and even further validates the work that was done to make Finale use SMuFL; it’s nearly inconceivable such a project could have been done as effectively without it.

David Cusick, MakeMusic’s notation and Garritan product specialist, told Scoring Notes that “I’m very pleased that this release delivers all of Finale’s document styles and default documents using SMuFL-compliant fonts. This makes transitioning to and using SMuFL fonts easier and more transparent for a larger part of our user base. That, along with making this update a Apple Silicon native application, will benefit users of Finale for a long time to come.”

More SMuFL

For the first time, all Finale default documents and document styles are SMuFL-compliant. While it would have been better to see this from the first v27 release, we’ll take better late than never, here.

A related addition to the v27.2 release is a new Finale Ash font default document and Document Style. The Finale Ash font is a SMuFL-compliant, modern update to the legendary, long-unavailable handwritten Ash font, which MakeMusic says is “artfully crafted to represent the classic AshMusic font developed in 1996 for Express Music Services, Inc. by Ashley Wells.”

There’s also a new Document Style that uses the Finale Engraver font.

Universal to Apple silicon and Intel

The future of Mac is Apple silicon, and while you won’t gain anything immediately if you’re a Finale user on an Intel Mac (or a Windows computer, for that matter), you’ll still want to know that Finale is looking ahead to the next generation of computing. To that end, Finale v27.2 is the first Finale release to be natively supported on the Macs that have an Apple silicon chip

This means that you won’t need to run Finale via the Rosetta 2 translation layer and you can take advantage of faster processing speed that the Apple silicon architecture provides. This goes for the Garritan instruments that are installed with Finale as well.

Do be aware, though, if you’re using any third-party audio plug-ins that aren’t supported on Apple silicon, you will need to run Finale via Rosetta 2, using the Open using Rosetta option.

Other improvements, fixes, and availability

There are a handful of other improvements and fixes in this release. For anyone still rocking macOS11, you’ll be very happy to learn that various score markings no longer detach from their handles and “jump” vertically. This was a particularly annoying bug and we are  very glad to see it fixed even though it didn’t occur in macOS 12 Monterey.

Here are a highlights of a few others:

  • The Symbol Selection and Document Options dialog boxes now are alphabetized based on language.
  • Finale’s Sharing user flow has been updated to reflect the mixed share state that can occur due to playlist sharing on the web.
  • The Finale Mac installer no longer creates a duplicate plug-ins folder and the SmartMusic SoftSynth component no longer appears as a folder in Finder.
  • Multimeasure rest symbols are now correctly aligned when using handwritten SMuFL-compliant music fonts.
  • Several problems with stem connections have been resolved.
  • Margins are no longer incorrect when printing on Windows or exporting a PDF on Mac.
  • A number of minor user interface problems have been resolved in both the Spanish and English language applications.

Finale v27.2 is a free update for anyone who has already purchased Finale v27, and can be downloaded from your MakeMusic account, or directly through Finale, if Check for Update is selected.

For the latest information about compatibility for Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, and MuseScore, as well as links to the latest news and reviews about product releases, please see the Scoring Notes Product Guide.


  1. Jon Burr

    I would suggest to those who depend on Keyboard Maestro and are heavy users of scripting to wait on this upgrade.
    At preset, it appears (at least on my machine) that this version of Finale does not accept text input from Keyboard Maestro.

    1. Jon Burr

      Scripting issue resolved… as usual, Finale has to be removed in System Prefs>Security and Privacy>Accessibilty and added back, via the -+ signs in the lower left of the window.
      Somehow the permissions for Keyboard Maestro also got broken, but the same tactic restored those as well.

  2. João Luiz

    Unfortunately Philip and Jason, the bug with wrong margins that happens when you save as PDF from the File menu on Mac still exists. The margins are placed wrong. I don’t know how they let this happen for so long. Maybe they don’t want people saving a document as PDF using the File menu.
    Besides this, I appreciate all the improvements!
    Thank you all for the review.

    1. Jason Loffredo

      Hey João, I don’t have much of an explanation for you. I can tell you that I don’t experience this problem (actually, I never had). So, I’m not sure what’s going on? Does this happen if you start a brand new file from scratch in 27.2? And, how are you saving the PDF? From File>Print>PDF>Save as PDF? What OS? Monterrey?

      1. João Luiz

        Hi Jason! Thank you for the review and replying to me. I’ve tested with a new document from scratch and the problem still happens.
        I am using Mac OS X Mojave 10.14.6. And I am creating the PDF using File>Print>PDF>Save as PDF.
        I don’t have this problem with Finale 26. This problem happens since the first version of Finale 27.

        1. Dave Cusick

          Hi João, in this update we did address an issue with PDF margins on macOS. I can’t say for certain if this is the same issue that you are referring to though. If you would like to take a look at this more closely to find what could be happening, I am be happy to help.

          Please feel free to submit a ticket to customer support here ( and we can look into this directly with you.

          1. João Luiz

            Thank you Dave. I’ve just opened a ticket with customer support as you suggested here.

        2. Jason Loffredo

          João, I believe that v26 was the last version that is officially compatible with Mojave. I think the oldest OS that 27 is officially compatible with is Catalina, which is the OS right after Mojave. Sooo… this may just be an issue of compatibility between a new version of Finale running on an old Mac OS. I can’t say for certain that upgrading your OS will solve your problem, but… it’s likely that it will solve your problem… but don’t quote me on that!

          1. João Luiz

            Jason, I’ve just checked on the Finale web site and Mojave is supported. So I don’t think this is the problem. I also have Dorico 4 and use it with Mojave and I don’t get this kind of problem with saving PDFs.
            Something was changed in Finale 27 that broke this function – if you see in the community forums this is happening since the first version of Finale 27.
            I know I can save PDFs via the graphics utility but I prefer to save PDFs via the File Menu. I hope Dave can clarify and solve this problem.
            Thank you again Jason.

        3. Doug Bakkum

          João, I’m wondering why you are using the “print to PDF” method on a Mac – instead of the graphics tool and exporting to a PDF…?

          If you are using this method along with Keyboard Maestro to speed up exporting parts… I can send you a KM macro that does this using the graphics tool – AND – it will add the part name to the file name – AND – will number the files in score order. The files exported using the graphics tool are a true black – best for laser printers and offset press printing. Plus the file sizes are slightly smaller.

          I’m able to export 30+ parts (300+ measures) in about 90 seconds. All with custom file names and in score order in the Finder. When done – the macro beeps and opens a window to the folder containing the new files. Let me know if you would like to try the macro – maybe you can even improve it!

          1. Philip Rothman

            Ooh! I’m interested in this one, Doug!

          2. João Luiz

            Thank you Doug! Please send me the macro. I’ll try your advice.
            I received an e-mail from the Finale support team and it appears that the problem it is related to printers not being physical selected in the print drop-down menu. I have 3 printers in my system (a Laser mono Brother, and two color Deskjet HP printers but I am not using any of them – when I need to print I go to print shop near my home). When I change the HP to the Brother the problem with the margins gets fixed. When I change to any of the HPs the problem happens again. So maybe it is a print driver that is causing the errors with the margins in the PDF.
            I’ll make more tests to try to solve this mystery bug or error.

          3. Philip Rothman

            For the benefit of all, I’ve created a separate blog post about this, with a link to download the Keyboard Maestro macro.

  3. Dejan Badnjar

    Hi everyone,
    It seems like they haven’t fixed the tuplet bug in Monterey with 27.2. I am still not being able to adjust tuplets with the mouse. Is that the case with everyone?

  4. Kevin Eland

    So in the extensive chord suffix library why can’t I type a 7(b5) chord when I try to add it I get 7(?5). I’ve tried to manually duplicate the m7(b5) but then I get 7( b) with a space!

    1. Jon Burr

      There’s a neat trick to select chord extensions – that one is probably already in Finale’s chord library. Type the root, then “:” (a colon), then 0 (zero), then the spacebar, and the extension selector opens. You’ll notice they’re all numbered… next time, instead of the zero, type the ID number for the symbol.

      1. Kevin Eland

        Yes I used to do the “;” in F26 but I thought in 27.2 with all the hype about how the whole chord suffix has been revamped so you can just type in any chord you require, why do I still have to jump through hoops to input a basic chord?

        1. Jason Loffredo

          Hey Kevin, a few days ago Philip did a podcast interview with Darcy James Argue about this new Jazz Font document. Darcy built the document and the Suffix Library. Darcy actually talks about the lack of the (b5) suffixes in the new library. He said it was a conscious choice because in his opinion, he believes that in Jazz it’s more appropriate to use the #11 alteration instead of b5 in all extended major chords. The b5 exists for minor chords though, so that’s why you’ll get Cm7(b5) but only C7(#11). You’ll have to ask him for the full justification of the omission of the (b5) suffix, but, all this to say, it was an intentional omission.

          However, if you want to add that 7(b5) suffix back, what I would recommend is to duplicate the 7(#5) suffix and just change the # to a flat in the Suffix editor.

          1. Philip Rothman

            Yep. Darcy did say he knew people would mention it :-) He did say reasonable people could come to different conclusions but he also explained it well. Kevin, listen from about 20:00 to 23:30 if you don’t have time for the whole thing.

  5. Kevin Eland

    Thanks for the info I’ll listen to the podcast. It just happened to be the first chord I tried to input after downloading 27.2 and thought oh no here we go again.

  6. Michael Mathew

    I would like consideration to be made to aging eyes in developing a less lighter mode of notation, please. Thank you. (Specifically, Darcy James Argue.) When you get older you’ll ‘see’ what we mean! You all are AWESOME and thanks for your sharing, caring, words of wisdom and encouragement!

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