Taming time signatures in Finale


This video series is part of Conquering Finale, a regular feature on Scoring Notes, with new installments released periodically.

Taming time signatures

Lesson 1

The basics of entering and changing Time Signatures in Finale.

Covered in this video – 6/8 vs 6/8 (as 2 dotted quarters vs 6 individual 8th notes), 4/4 and 2/2 vs common time and cut time, and rebar-ing vs not rebar-ing music for a Time Signature Change when there is music present.

Lesson 2

Discover the magic of Finale’s “Show As Another Time Signature” option.

Also covered in this video – The ins and outs of Composite Time Signatures, finding the outer limits of Finale’s Time Signature Tool and creating a cadenza bar.

Lesson 3: Pickup measures

Create pickup measures including ones with odd durations (like 5 8th notes) that are not available as preset options. There’s also a hack for creating a mid-piece pickup measure.

Lesson 4: Customization and large time signatures

Document Options for Time Signatures to customize positioning and fonts.

Also covered in this video – creating larger Time Signatures and creating oversized Time Signatures for scores.

Lesson 5: Alternating time signatures

Learn how to create alternating meters like the 6/8+3/4 in West Side Story’s “America”.

Also covered is a hack for replacing the + sign with parenthesis.

Lesson 6: Independent time signatures

Independent Time Signatures with concurrent barlines. (Finale’s native way and easy to do.)

Independent Time Signatures with staggered barlines. (It’s a complicated hack so get some popcorn!)

Lesson 7: Metatools

Although they’re hidden, Metatools are available for time signatures in Finale. Learn how to use them and program them.

Lesson 8: Taming time signatures

Free Time, or Open Time Signatures, in Finale, is something that requires a lot of knowledge about not only the Time Signature Tool but also Measure Attributes and Staff Styles. Conceptually, Free Time conflicts with Finale’s basic Frame structure, so Finale needs to be tricked into displaying something that looks like Free Time but really isn’t. Fortunately, there is enough flexibility in Finale to manipulate and hide Time Signatures and Barlines; the trick is that you just need to have complete mastery of all of that! Once you do, you can literally create ANY type of Free Time or Open Time Signature scenarios that you can think of. At 31:44​ I’ll even show you how to create the “X” time signature often used for Open Time Signatures.

Download this PDF here if you want to try your hand at recreating the sample that you see me working with in the video.

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:

Scoring Notes
Scoring Notes
Conquering Finale with Jason Loffredo


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