This video series is part of Conquering Finale, a regular feature on Scoring Notes, with new installments released periodically.
Lesson 1 (basic)
In Finale-speak, an “articulation” is any character from a font set (or a shape) that gets attached to a note or rest. An articulation in the musical sense is just one of many types of characters that can be used in Finale’s Articulation Tool.
Learn how to enter an articulation including how to use and program Metatools. Rolls and tremolos, which have special characteristics, are covered here as well as a discussion about using articulations when multiple layers are present.
Lesson 2 (intermediate)
This video covers stacked articulations (multiple articulations on the same note or rest), and making fine adjustments to an individual articulation’s positioning. There’s also a discussion about flipping articulations from one side of the note to the other.
Lesson 3A (advanced): Articulation Designer, part 1
This is an introduction to the Articulation Designer. Learn how to get there and generally what it does. I’ll show you how to change symbols for new, custom articulations and discuss what the Symbol Options are.
Lesson 3B (advanced): Articulation Designer, part 2
This video is dedicated entirely to the playback effects of articulations. Articulations can only effect the playback of attack, duration or key velocity. I’ll show you all the tricks of manipulating those parameters to suit your needs.
Lesson 3C (advanced): Articulation Designer, part 3
This video deals with default positioning of articulations. This part of the designer is a bit complex, so make sure you have some time to sit through this 34 minute video. There is a virtual matrix of settings or vertical position settings (1:53) to dictate when an articulation appears above or below a note, there are also settings for how articulations interact with slurs (20:07) and finally there are settings for fine tuning the exact position of each articulation (23:14).
Lesson 4 (advanced): Change Articulations
The Change Articulations function from the Utilities menu is a simple yet powerful tool if you know how to use it. You can swap articulations for other articulations, delete only one type of articulation from a selection, change the positioning of a group of articulations and/or reset all or any selected articulation to their default position.
Lesson 5 (advanced): Articulation libraries
Out of the box, Finale has some useful libraries that can be loaded into your files. You’ll find things like jazz falls, brackets, piano rolls with arrows and guitar TAB specific shapes as well. I’ll show you how to add these and I’ll show you how to import and export your own custom libraries. In addition I’ll show you what happens when you copy and paste material between files that have different articulation libraries and how to manage that. (8:01) There are some handy tips here for anyone that uses their own templates and finds themselves copying and pasting music from other sources.
Lesson 6 (intermediate): SMuFL articulations
The new Finale Maestro SMuFL font provides a LOT of extra characters that can be used as articulations. In this video, you’ll get a thorough tour of what’s now readily available at your fingertips. I will also discuss a shortcoming related to playback and articulations introduced by the SMuFL fonts in version 27.0 (13:06). Hopefully, these playback issues will be resolved in an update soon, but for now, I’ll explain what’s going on and offer an idea for a workaround.
The McClennan Files: WW and Brass Fingering Diagrams
Michael McClennan has created an incredible set of woodwind and brass fingering diagrams for Finale. These articulation libraries are a must-have for any elementary or middle school instrumental teacher who wants to incorporated instrument fingerings into their student’s exercises.
I’ll show you where to get these files, how to load them as Finale Libraries, and how to use them as well. You can even create custom fingerings if you’re adventurous enough to take a dive into the Shape Designer!
Listen to the podcast episode
On the Scoring Notes podcast, David MacDonald and Philip Rothman talk with Jason Loffredo about preparing music for the world of musical theatre and his Conquering Finale video tutorial series, which can help you better master that sophisticated software, whether you’re a new or long-time user. Listen now: