Skip to main content

Using Finale Software: Making the Most of Finale

Finale Playback

One of the most interesting features in Finale is playback, which allows you to listen to the music you have just written with the correct instrument timbre. To use it, simply press the "Play" button on the top-left of the screen.

While the makers of Finale has spent considerable effort making their playback sound as close to real life as possible, it is not perfect. Consider playback more a note-checker than a true-to-life recording.

Making your music fit

Finale has many ways of optimizing music spacing. If the defaults are not displaying the music to your satisfaction, here are a few ways to manually adjust:

  • Try the "Redefine pages" option under the Page layout tool menu.
  • To force a measure onto a lower line of music, highlight the measure(s) you want to move with the Selection tool and press the down arrow.
  • To set a consistant number of measures per system (say, 4 measures), try these steps:
  1. Using the Selection tool, Select All by pressing Control + A.
  2. Press Control + M to "Fit Music."
  3. When prompted to "Lock Layout," type 4 in the measure box.

Advanced Tips

Here are some tips for after you understand Finale's basics:

  • Try "Scroll view" under the View tab.
  • To transpose, highlight the desired notes with the Selection tool, and then select "Transpose" under the Utilities menu. You can transpose diatonically or chromatically.
  • If writing for transposing instruments, try clicking on "Display in Concert Pitch" under the Document menu.
  • Add or insert new blank measures in both the Edit menu and the Measure tool.
  • If featuring multiple instruments, Finale can generate individual parts for you (with a little editing on your part). Select "Extract parts" from the File menu.
  • To feature more than one line of music on one staff (with stems going opposite directions, for example), switch layers of music by clicking on the "1 2 3 4" icon on the lower left of the screen.

From the Sleeveface Friday gallery on the UNC Music Library's Facebook page, Sleeveface photo of student using midi keyboard in music library, incorporating vinyl sleeve of The Centuries Live by Frederick Moyer

  • Last Updated: Oct 8, 2020 11:21 AM
  • URL:
Subjects: Music