What’s different about Finale 2012?

What’s different about FInale 2012?

The biggest thing different about Finale 2012 is the Score Manager. The (Mac) keyboard shortcut Command-K gets you there, to find functions that used to be in File Info, Instrument setup and the Staff too. One tab is FIle Info, moved from the File Menu;  the other tab is Instrument List, with settings to pick instruments for each layer of each staff, as well as another section of settings such as clef, transposition and note style that used to be in the Staff tool.

Something different in Finale 2012

The New Score Manager

Doubles are handled easily now by Utilities/Change Instrument, where all variables such as clef, patch and transposition are handled by the making of a selection and application of the tool.

After using Finale musical instruments for playback even in Finale 2011 (the whole Garritan thing seemed a little learning-curvey for me until now), I’m amazed at how much better Garritan works and sounds in 2012. It’s elevated to the status of a default item now, with some amazing conveniences available, such as switching patches through interpreted text expressions (“Keyswitches”). “Garritan Instruments for Finale” is now the top item in the Score Manager pulldown for selecting your playback machine.

The complex criteria that permit the use of Keyswitches are defaults in the 2012 install, so the mind-paralyzing readme on the subject, although necessary to find out what the heck they are, was unnecessary in its detail. What is a keyswitch? It’s the means by which Finale and Garritan work together to deduce from a score marking of “pizz” to automatically change the sound so that instrument in that staff is playing pizzicato. There’s a whole list of Keyswitch effects and text triggers here. The user requirement for this function is knowing enough to select a Garritan sound with “KS” appended to the patch name. These “KS” (keyswitch) sounds have multiple patches embedded, awaiting a call from the Finale/Garritan text interpreter.

I wanted to have guitar switch from clean electric to distortion in a part. Unfortunately, this isn’t a Keyswitch option for guitar. It used to be you’d have to add a new instrument on a new channel, then create an expression to call it as a patch change. With Finale 2012, forget patch changes. Either use the Utilites/New Instrument, or – this is brutally cool… put your alternate sound on another layer in the same staff – and write the part for that sound on that layer. If you need 2 layers for complex notation, then put the same instrument on 2 layers.

I use plugins a lot, and also FInale Script. I had to copy my old plugins over. FInd where the old plugins folder is located using Program Options/Folders in the Apple Menu in older versions, or Preferences/Folders in FInale 2012. Finale scripts have changed from .rtf file format to .xml, so you have to copy your old scripts from a previous version from the script editor, and paste them into the new script editor, being mindful that the menu structure has changed and may require some modification of your old script.

It’s handy to explode music typing command-shift-option-x after it’s set up as a FInale script with that keyboard shortcut… this is only one example of the many shortcuts I’ve set up, some involving menu items, and some involving plugins. The syntax of Finale Script is very much like English…

menu item “Explode Music”

will do it. Assign the shortcut and you’ve got more functionality.

Here’s another example. I use “Tie Common Notes” alot, because I’m pasting stuff around the score all the time and it’s a pain to go in and edit the ties across the paste break. With the “Tie Common Notes” plugin, you just drag-select and apply the plugin.

Unfortunately, it’s buried rather deep in

Plugins/Scoring and Arranging/Composer’s Assistant/ Tie Common notes

which really puts mileage on the old mouse.

Solution? Finale Script. Make a new one:

Plugins/FInale Script , and hit the ‘add’ icon.

Paste in:

menu item “Plugins/ Scoring and Arranging/ Composer’s Assistant/ Tie Common Notes…”

Then check “use shortcut,” hit “select,” and type shift-option=command-t.

Save it. Henceforth, to tie the common notes, hit the shortcut.

Options Screenshot Finale 2012It helps to check “Don’t Show Palette when calling a script from the menu.” The palette just slows you down.. you gotta mouse up and click to close it.

Jari Williamsson is a plugin author who works for MakeMusic, and has written some incredibly useful plugins. JW Staff Polyphony is like an orchestrator’s Swiss Army Knife. I’ve used Rhythm Copy more times than I can count, and Merge Articulations is indispensable – and his site is scrupulously up to date with Finale versions.

The Garritan sounds do an amazing job at interpreting dynamics and articulations. As a bassist, I’m intimidated at the idea of trying to execute a part I wrote as well as FInale is playing it. Who knows, I might just solo it out and use it as a stripe! As a composer, it’s really nice to hear your stuff played accurately… although, the real craft of the composer is still writing for people, with an understanding of the limitations and challenges that real instruments present. Heck, maybe I’ll rewrite that bass part.

About Jon Burr

Jon Burr is a composer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, bandleader, bassist, and educator from Yonkers, NY.. and a Finale user since 1996. As owner/operator of Arranger for Hire, he serves music arranging and production customers from around the world. A veteran touring bassist, his performance credits include Tony Bennett, Buddy Rich, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Eartha Kitt, Rita Moreno, The Hot Swing Trio, Stephane Grappelli and many others. Arranging customers have included the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Chilean Astronomy Society, The Milpitas Community Concert Band, The Honey Taps, The Montclair Kimberly Academy’s annual musical, and many others. He writes for and leads his own ensembles, including the Jon Burr Quintet. His arrangements for Swedish YouTube artist Kim Andersson have received over 5 million views on Facebook and YouTube.


  1. Mike Hall says:

    That’s a very illuminating and helpful post, Jon. Thanks a lot.

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