Friday, June 24, 2011

Fermata Friday: Drum Notation in Finale

Putting drum notation into Finale can be a tricky thing to do. You have to deal with stems in different directions, solid and X noteheads, and making sure that the MIDI pitch you play to trigger a particular drum shows on the correct line or space of a staff. If you have tried this on your own, you may have been tempted to just write the notation in yourself, but there is a way.

The first thing to do to help yourself out is to pick drum set as your instrument from the setup wizard. This will load the percussion layout, and display the correct clef.

Next major thing to be aware of are Finale’s layers, which can be changed in the bottom-left of your Finale window (option-command 1-4 to switch between layers). It is easiest to put notes with stems up in layer 1, and stems down in layer 2.

Add your notes (if you are new to note input, sign up for aFinale Level 1: Lead Sheets session), but notice that hihats, cymbals, and other pieces of the drum kit are in odd locations.

To fix this, go to the Staff Tool, and in the Staff menu, choose Edit Staff Attributes…

Choose Select, next to the percussion notation style, then you can edit the drum set percussion layout.

Select your drum sounds from the left, and drag the notes around on the right to make appropriate changes.

When finished, your drum notation should be accurate (it automatically updates).

To save the changes you made to the layout, you must save the percussion layout library, and load this library into new Finale documents, which can be done from the File menu.

Check our Finale Resources page for training sessions on these topics, and links to helpful video and blog resources.


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