Tricks for lyrics in Finale


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


Tricks for lyrics

Lesson 1 (basic)

Finale’s “Type in Score” sub tool in the Lyrics Tool will be the main way to add lyrics to your scores. This video will demonstrate all you need to know about that and much, much more! Including adding “hard” hyphens and spaces (6:04) and adding lyric elisions (6:44) to basic editing for existing lyrics, the difference between clearing and deleting lyrics (12:57), and the difference between copying and cloning lyrics (15:22). It’s an extensive, yet critical tutorial to watch if you really want to get a firm grip on dealing with lyrics in Finale.

Lesson 2 (basic): Verse, Chorus, Section

Verse, Chorus, Section Using different verses, choruses and sections of lyrics in Finale is what allows you to write new lines of lyrics underneath existing lyrics. This video will explore the techniques of using those alternate sections and will discuss some of the oddities related to copying and cloning lyrics in sections. In addition there’s a discussion about a Patterson Plug-In which will allow you to move lyrics from one verse, chorus or section to another.

Lesson 3 (intermediate): Baselines

Baselines for lyrics are important enough that they deserved their own dedicated tutorial video. There’s a bit more to them than meets the eye and a good understanding of how they work will be critical to mastering the Lyrics Tool in Finale. Because each verse, section and chorus has its own set of baselines it’s useful to understand how they interact with each other.

Lesson 4 (intermediate): Click Assignment

There is a way to copy and paste lyrics directly into the Lyrics Window and use the Click Assignment tool to attach those lyrics to notes in the score. The process is fraught with booby-traps though so in this video I will show you how to properly prepare the lyrics beforehand so that you’ll have more success. Even with proper preparation, click assigning lyrics is not perfect so you will need to learn how to handle the Shift Lyrics tool which I will show you how to use in this video as well.

Lesson 5 (intermediate): Fonts

Changing fonts for lyrics seems like it should be a simple thing to do, but in Finale it can be easy to do something you didn’t intend. This video will show you how to understand default versus local font changes and there’s a few good tips later in the video about good lyric fonts practices and some examples of when you may want to use alternate fonts or font styles.

Lesson 6 (advanced): Word Extensions and Hyphens

Word Extensions and Hyphens Individual Word Extensions are fairly easy to manipulate in Finale but there are quite a few default options to explore which can help you achieve better general results for your word extensions. Also covered in this video is all you need to know about hyphens (15:28)… which isn’t much. There are only a few settings related to hyphens that will allow you to customize the look of them.

Lesson 7 (advanced): Syllable Positioning

Syllable positioning gets a little complex in Finale because the rules that you set in the Document Options determine when a syllable gets justified or aligned in a certain way. And then there are spacing rules that Finale follows that you just need to be aware of. If you need to get down and dirty with customizing the positions of syllables for lyrics in Finale this exhaustive tutorial is for you. In addition to the default settings I’ll also show you all you need to know about the Adjust Syllable sub Tool in the Lyrics Tool (10:31). This will allow you to locally adjust syllables any which way you need.

Lesson 8 (advanced): Other Uses for the Lyrics Tool

The Lyrics Tool can be used for other things aside from lyrics. This video explores just a few of those options so you can see what may be available to you with the Lyrics Tool. The sky is the limit though and there are probably other uses that I didn’t mention in the video. I encourage you to add a comment in to the video if you have another unique way of using the Lyrics Tool. One common thing that the Lyrics Tool is used for is Figured Bass. There’s a quick introduction to how to use the “Finale Numerics” font to write figured bass (4:02).

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



  1. Mauro

    Finale Lyrics contiene l’elisione… [U+203F], [Inserisce simbolo: 290].

  2. Mauro

    Finale Lyrics contains the elision … [U + 203F], [Insert symbol: 290].

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *