Human Playback Custom Style dialog box

How to get there

Choose MIDI/Audio > Human Playback > Custom.

What it does

Noteman says: When Human Playback is active, existing MIDI data assigned to the score with the MIDI or Expression Tool is ignored in favor of the Human Playback settings. To use MIDI data applied manually, set Human Playback to None in the Playback Controls.

In this dialog box, you can create custom Human Playback settings.

  • Copy Settings From • Revert Settings. Choose a Human Playback style from this drop-down menu to apply its settings to the parameters in this dialog box. Click Revert Settings to restore all parameters to the last confirmed group of settings.

    Tip: Use FinaleScript to copy Human Playback settings between documents. For a complete tutorial written for beginners through advanced users, see Using FinaleScript.

  • % Rhythmic Feel. Move this slider right to increase or left to decrease subtle rhythmic variations that a musician would give to the notes while performing any type of music, depending on the time signature, tempo, style, and other factors. This parameter does not change the global tempo measure by measure, only subtle variances within the existing tempo.
  • % Rhythmic Accents. Move this slider right to increase or left to decrease the degree to which dynamic accentuation is applied to the performance. Any part of a measure in human performance has a slightly different accentuation, and joint movements, such as scales, are naturally accentuated differently than disjoint ones such as arpeggios. The results of this setting also depend on the time signature. For example, the 3rd 8th note in 4/4 time is played in a different manner than the 3rd 8th note of 6/8 time. Fixed-dynamic instruments, such as organ or cembalo, should have this parameter put to zero.
  • % Rubato. Move this slider right to increase or left to decrease the degree to which the overall tempo can be adjusted during the course of the performance. Tempo rubato means "stolen time." Actually, time is stolen (accelerando) but also given back (decelerando). This is the distinguishing characteristic of rubato style. For creating this rubato effect, Human Playback analyzes the score as a complex stream of notes, dynamics, rhythms, tempos, and calculates a resulting data structure called entropy, which is basically the measurement of the disorder, or chaos, of the music. As an example, the well-known first prelude in C major of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier has an entropy close to zero (except at the end, which leads to some rubato) while about any of Beethoven’s sonatas have a very high degree of entropy.
  • Swing: None…Dotted 8th, 16th. This control allows you to apply a swing feel to the Human Playback style. Click on the Swing Values drop-down menu to select from several levels of swing. Or, choose Current to use the current setting in the Playback Settings. Note that Human Playback recognizes documents created using the Jazz music font and applies Swing playback automatically.
  • Interpret: Human Playback will incorporate items checked here into the performance.
    • Slurs. Suggests to the performer how the music should be articulated and phrased. Human Playback interprets slurs by slightly overlaying one note onto its neighbor.

      The amount of overlap depends on the instrument. For example, overlap for the piano or harpsichord is relatively longer than for a wind instrument. The value of the overlap also depends on the context (as most parameters in Human Playback), and generally speaking, does not depend on the tempo.

      The last note of a slurred passage is relatively shorter.

      Staccato notes within a slur (string spiccato) do not overlap but are relatively longer than normal staccato.

      Repeated notes within slur are taken into account so not to overlap.

      Non slurred notes are given a shorter end time value (so to sound somewhat detached).

      Certain notes are automatically slurred (without requiring an actual slur symbol), such as ornaments, tremolos, and glissandi. For example, piano glissando (on black or white keys) gets a strong overlap because the player's hand actually clusters the keys when glissing.

      Slurs with Garritan instruments have special considerations. For sustaining instruments (winds, brass, strings), controller 64 or 68 is used (see Garritan Instruments for Finale Instrument Details). Value 127 is applied just after the start of the first slurred note. Value 0 is applied back just before the end of the last passage note. An overlap between notes (of 1 EDU) is required to alter the attack. The Garritan Personal Orchestra manual recommends to have a polyphony of 1 for solo winds and brass, although legato effect does work in practice if polyphony > 1 (default in Garritan Instruments for Finale is poly=2 for solo instruments.) For non sustaining instruments (piano, etc), normal overlap is applied.

    • Tempo Changes. When checked, accelerandi and rallentandi are processed. Tempo changes added as text expressions or Smart Shapes are interpreted. When a Smart Shape is used, such as a hairpin, the duration of the effect is dictated by the length of the Smart Shape. When an expression is used, Human Playback uses the following factors to guess the duration of the tempo change: whether it is the end of a movement, near a fermata, near an expression tempo change, near an "a tempo" expression, or near a subsequent rall or accel. When none of these clues is available, Human Playback decides the duration on its own (generally not more than 2 measures). Generally speaking, Human Playback uses linear model for tempo changes. The number of steps depends on the actual time involved.

      The effect depends on the context: slowing down from Presto is not the same thing as from Andante.

      The effect also depends on the Rubato slider.

      See Human Playback Dictionary for a complete list of words Human Playback understands. Note that Some wording is ignored (has no effect) including: poco a poco, peu à peu, nach und nach, little by little, sempre, toujours, always, and immer.

      Other wording intensifies or softens the effect including: molto, moltissimo, moltiss, très, beaucoup, much, più, un poco, poco, pochissimo, poch, un peu, légèrement, etwas, a little.

    • Ornaments &Tremolos. Human Playback interprets nearly all known ornaments (trills, rolls, rare baroque ornaments, etc.) and tremolos. In Finale, these can appear as Smart Shapes, expressions or (symbol-based) articulations. The context is very important: Human Playback finds the right interval (when not specified) and right speed, the right accent and legato. The ornaments recognized range from early music to jazz (more than a hundred symbols). Human Playback also catches Third-party font ornaments such as November and Jazz. Trill notes are created in Voice 2 of the trill note layer.

      Whether an ornament is measured or not depends on the context and on the notation. Unmeasured Human Playback ornaments are not dependent on the tempo, even a fermata. Their speed depends on the Ornament/Tremolo Minimum Speed values specified in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box, as well as the context. For example, if Humanize Rolls and Trills is checked, the trill speed for string and winds slightly depends on the pitch - a lower trill on a bass clarinet is physically slower to produce than a high pitch on a piccolo.

      Tremolos, according to Human Playback, fall into two categories: string diddles and percussion rolls (slashed notes), and piano tremolos (alternate). Whether the tremolo/diddle is measured or not depends on the context. Generally, a diddle counting less than 3 slashes (including beams) is measured, unless they are string tremolos and the tempo is fast (half note > 60). If Play 32nd Note Diddles Exactly is checked, diddles are always measured for percussion rolls or 2-beam string tremolos.

      Trills and tremolos are given some legato feel as if they were slurred.

      For ornaments (trill, gruppetto, etc.) with no accidental specified, Human Playback watches the notes nearby to determine the best guess for the interval. (Adding an articulation accidental will modify the interval accordingly. Accidentals can be parenthesized, small version, or EngraverFontSet trill notes). See Human Playback Dictionary.

      Long trills (multimeasure Smart Shapes) are possible. The trilled notes can change, and some different accidental can be specified along the way, such as an articulation, using available accidentals as well as rarer symbols such as November Extra char # 132 to 136, or Engraver 76, 89, 180, 194, 231, and 241.

      Trills generally start with the lower note, unless otherwise specified: grace note before, or Human Playback option Baroque Ornaments and Grace Notes checked.

      If a trill or ornament is on a chord, Human Playback only processes the upper/lower note only, depending on where the ornament is placed.

      Multiple trills are possible on the same staff - 2 trills going on different layers.

      When a trill is placed on a fermata, it doesn't get slowed down, and it stops a little bit on the last note at the end. A breath can be heard before the music starts again.

      If Humanize Rolls and Trills is set, start of trill (the first 3-4 notes) is a little bit delayed (some Mood factor is used, here, too), using a linear progression to the final trill speed. This delay slightly depends on whether the passage/staff is solo or not.

      Performance of Gruppetti (Music Font char. 84) depends on context, following classical interpretation rules. A gruppetto on a dotted note followed by a half-value note (e.g. dotted quarter+8th) is different than on a plain non-dotted note. If Baroque Ornaments and Grace Notes is checked, gruppetti on relatively short notes start with the upper note. On long plain notes, gruppetti are "packed" at the end.

      Grace notes: Human Playback distinguishes between acciaccatura and appoggiatura. An acciaccatura is a slashed grace note and is performed as fast note somewhere before the beat. An appoggiatura is a non-slashed grace note and must be performed rather slowly, at about (but not quite) half the value of its successive note, starting on the beat.

      Percussion flams: Simple, double and triple flams, written as grace notes, are interpreted as fast repetition; the speed is those of normal trills (real time: doesn't depend on tempo). If the preceding note is too short, then the value is adjusted accordingly (no overlap possible).

      Jazz shake (wavy line Smart Shape): Shakes are interpreted as relatively fast minor-third alternate tremolos. For sustaining instruments, (and if Humanize Rolls and Trills is checked, they are much better performed as pitch bend variation, using a mix of sin-based and linear curves. Jazz char # 148 and 149 can also be used as articulations.

      Other jazz markings: Turn (char#84): The interpretation depends on the melodic context (ascending, descending melody). See Glissandi and Bends below for more information.

      Percussion Rolls (or trills): If Humanize Rolls and Trills is checked in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box, rolls (timpani, snare drum, etc.) are brought special treatment to make them sound more realistic. Rolled notes are generally somewhat softer than the main note, and overall, small, irregular series of dim/cresc are applied. The range and length of these dim/cresc depend on the context, and on a controlled random factor. Also, start times are slightly randomized. These effects are best suited for superior sound libraries such as Garritan Personal Orchestra. Some humanization also applies actual (written) fast repeated percussion notes. There is also a less subtle effect for diddles or trills.

      Trills, Ornaments, Tremolos with Garritan instruments: Some special Garritan controller effects are applied to tremolos and ornaments (Humanize Rolls and Trills must be checked).

      Garritan Instruments for Finale is able to handle piano sustain pedal and sustaining instrument legato effect at the same time, because it uses CC#68 for legato instead of CC#64. Because of this, one can fully take advantage of Human Playback Automatic Pedaling and standard pedal symbol interpretation.

      Strings, Winds and Brass trills or alternate tremolos: CC#21 (length) is increased to 110 (default=64) to get a better "blend". Keyswitch trills are not used by Human Playback.

      Timpani rolls: CC#22 (Intonation) is increased to 105 (default=10), and CC#23 (Timbre) is set to 20 (default=10).

      Bass drum (Basic Orchestral Perc, MIDI note 35/36): CC#22 is set to 45, and CC#23 to 24; For Snare Drum (MIDI note 59/60), CC#22 is 23 and CC#23 is 28; For Side Drum (MIDI note 57/58), CC#22 is 15 and CC#23 is 18. Standard value of 10 for CC#22 and 23 are written back after a roll.

      For Timpani, Bass drum, Snare and side drums, alternate strokes are used (for Timpani, alternate notes are separate by 2 "octaves"). No CC# 22/23 or alternate note changes are given to other percussive instruments.

      String Tremolos: If Support for String, Harp and Brass Techniques is checked, keyswitches are used. Garritan Instruments for Finale uses unified string keyswitches (Use Unified KS is set by default) available for either section or solo strings: MIDI note 0 = arco/ordinario, MIDI note 1=mute, MIDI note 5= pizz, MIDI note 6=tremolo mute, MIDI note 7=tremolo.

    • Fermatas. Includes fermatas added with the Expression and Articulation tools, and also includes breath marks, grand pauses (GP) and commas. The playback effect is highly context dependent (based on the surrounding music). A fermata (and sometimes breath marks) are preceded by an automatic rallentando, which depends on both the Rubato and Mood sliders. A short breath is heard after a fermata, breath mark and comma. Commas or breath marks that are already defined for playback (shorter note length) are taken into account (and overridden). Note fermata playback also depends on the Minimum Duration setting applied in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box.
    • Hairpins and Dynamics. Any type of dynamic marking, graphic or textual, is interpreted by Human Playback. These can be added as text expressions or Smart Shapes. The playback effect used is either Volume (controller 7) or Key Velocity based on whether the instrument is a sustaining (flute) or non-sustaining (piano) instrument. Hairpins (expression or Smart Shape) in the middle of piano staves have effect on both. Effect can depend on the Mood parameter, and also relies heavily on the corresponding Human Playback preferences. See Human Playback Preferences dialog box. For a complete list of words Human Playback understands, see Human Playback Dictionary.

      Human Playback interprets graphic hairpins and text expressions such as "cresc" or "dim". Hairpins apply to playback for their duration unless a dynamic marking is encountered. Several factors are evaluated as Human Playback decides whether the concluding hairpin dynamic should apply to the following notes, including the distance to the next dynamic marking, whether a hairpin follows, and whether it is the end of a passage.

      For percussive instruments and plucked strings (keyboards, mallet instruments, percussion, harp, etc.), Velocity is used for dynamic changes exclusively.

      For sustaining instruments, such as winds, brass, and strings, Human Playback uses a complex combination of Velocity and Volume because MIDI Volume alone is not sufficient to account for timbre changes. A typical difficult case is a single sustained note starting and ending . Human Playback solves this by using a fractional-power equivalence function between Velocity and Volume. Fast passage on sustaining instruments, however, are processed using Velocity, because it generally sounds better. The base staff Volume value is taken into account in the calculation, or whether it is a solo instrument or phrase. Hairpins are processed phrase by phrase examining the context always very carefully.

      A complex case is alternation of pizz and arco passage. Pizz are processed as Velocity, and arco as Volume. Sometimes pizz/arco changes are very close altogether and Human Playback has been designed to handle these changes fluently.

      For a complete list of dynamic text expressions that Human Playback understands, see Human Playback Dictionary.

      Hairpins and Dynamics with Garritan instruments: For percussive instruments and plucked strings Velocity is used for dynamics, as is the GM standard. For sustaining instruments, such as winds, brass and strings, Human Playback takes advantage of Garritan's unique dynamic approach using CC#1 (Modulation). For this to function, Use Contr. #1 for Continuous Dynamic must be checked in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box.

    • Pedal Markings. Pedal markings indicated by Smart Shapes, expressions and articulations are interpreted by Human Playback. CC#64 (Sustain) data is added with value 127 (Ped) or 0 (*). Pedal signs can be used for the piano and mallet instruments (Glockenspiel, Marimba, Celesta, Xylophone).

      The following symbols and expressions are tracked: Ped, con pedale, pedale, ° (#161), * (#42).

      If several "Ped" signs follow each other without "*", Human Playback automatically releases the Ped in between, so not to blend the sound. Also, Pedal Markings do not conflict with Automatic Piano Pedaling function. Near notated pedal markings, Human Playback will not apply the automatic pedal function.

      Pedal Markings with Garritan Instruments: Garritan Instruments for Finale is able to handle piano sustain pedal and sustaining instrument legato effect at the same time, because it uses CC#68 for legato instead of CC#64. Because of this, one can fully take advantage of Human Playback Automatic Pedaling and standard pedal symbol interpretation.

    • Glissandi and Bends. This is complementary to the Trills, Ornament, Tremolo setting. Note-attached Smart Shape Glissandi, guitar bends, tab slides, and wavy lines (custom or not) are interpreted by Human Playback. The type of gliss performed (white key piano, black key piano, harp tone-based, harp with altered scale) is based on the context of the music. Pitch bends are used for relatively short spans under an octave, chromatic for a short piano gliss (theater music gliss).

      Note attached slurs and jazz bends added with the Jazz Font as articulations are recognized and interpreted. A piano or harp gliss (or xylophone, etc.) can be a chord (or gliss of third, 5th, octave, etc). Some additional preferences are available in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box.

      Human Playback is able to perform glissandi and bends in about any type of situation. Basically, there are two types of glissandi and bends: using note scales, or pitch bend.

      Glissandi are written as note-attached Smart Shape (wavy, or straight line), and can be cross-measure, and cross-staff.

      Piano/keyboard gliss: Depending on then start note (black versus white), a keyboard gliss is performed as white note gliss or black note gliss, automatically. The effect doesn't depend on the current key signature. Small (< 5th) chromatic "theater" piano/organ glissandi are also available.

      Harp Gliss: These depend on the current key signature/accidental context. To perform harp glissandi right, Human Playback watches the key signature, as well as the accidentals before. Also, courtesy small notes can be used to indicate which note are being altered (e.g., Debussy's Après-midi d'un Faune). Note that Harp gliss are never chromatic in Human Playback.

      Harp and keyboard glissandi can be performed on multiple notes (glissandi of chords). They both use a square root-based algorithm, making speed somewhat flexible during the gliss.

      Gliss on sustaining instruments: They use pitch bend, and above the max pitch bend range (see Pitch Bend Range in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box), they are performed as chromatic or diatonic glissandi.

      When starting the pitch bend change and restoring the normal pitch bend (=0), Human Playback takes breath and resonance into account, as far as possible. Curve is either cubic or linear, depending on the context.

      Doits/Falls, Prebends. They generally are Jazz Font articulations, but can also be created as Smart Shape (wavy/straight line, slur) attached to a single note, or attached to a note and a rest. Placement and direction are watched to determine the best performance.

      Guitar bends and pre-bends (of any kind: 1/2, 1/4, etc) are also interpreted, written as Smart Shapes. On the guitar, the wavy line is interpreted as a pitch-bend vibrato, using a decay exp/sin-based curve.

      Glissandi and Bends with Garritan instruments: Garritan Instruments for Finale can take full advantage of Human Playback's bends and glissandi. Note that Human Playback does not use portamento.

    • Final Bars. Human Playback creates a unique effect for the end of a piece based on the dynamic, note density, and other musical factors, as well as the Mood and Rubato sliders. This effect applies to several movements in a single document (in that case, a breath is performed between movements). DC al fine and other repeats are taken into account.
  • Advanced Settings: Use these options to apply or remove advanced Human Playback effects to the custom settings.
    • % Mood. Move the Mood slider right to increase, or left to decrease a slight degree of randomness in the performance. Virtually all items interpreted by Human Playback are effected by the position of the mood slider.
    • Automatic Expression. Adds espressivo automatically to held notes from sustaining instruments (such as winds and strings). It creates three types of effects: smooths attacks on long notes with soft dynamics, adds espressivo to long notes, and softens the ending of long notes. This effect is volume based and dependent on the Mood slider.
    • Detection of Solo Instruments. Check Detection of Solo Instrument to tell Human Playback to recognize a solo instrument in a score in order to apply appropriate settings (Such as Soften Accompaniment). Human Playback recognizes not only a soloist instrument (e.g. 1st violin of a string quartet), but also solo passages in, for example, an orchestral score. Note that the balance between the solo and others can be adjusted in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box. This setting uses the Volume controller for balancing, and also effects how the solo part is placed in the orchestral space.
    • Baroque Style for Ornaments. Check Baroque Style for Ornaments to perform mordents, trills and other ornaments in a Baroque style (i.e. trills start on upper note, appoggiaturas are slow, etc.).
    • Short Syncopations/Off Beats. This options makes jazz music sound more realistic by emphasizing off beats and short syncopation. The effect is applied with Key Velocity.
    • Viennese Waltz Feel. When checked, this gives a special feel to 3-based time signatures, with emphasis on the 3rd beat. It influences both Rhythmic and Accent feels.
    • Play 32nd note diddles exactly. This option tells Human Playback to always perform 3-beam diddles exactly as 32nd notes, opposed to unmeasured. It also allows to perform 16th note diddle exactly on fast tempo, long notes (briefly: Mozart's style, opposed to Beethoven's).
    • Adjust Dotted 8th+16th/Triplet • Longer • Shorter. Check Adjust Dotted 8th+16th/Triplet, and then choose Longer to increase the duration of the sixteenth note in dotted eighth-sixteenth figures (relative to a quarter and eighth-note triplet). Choose Shorter to decrease the duration of the sixteenth note in dotted eighth-sixteenth figures (relative to a quarter and eighth-note triplet).
    • Soften Accompaniments. Detects and softens accompaniment figures (such as Alberti basses, arpeggios, etc), to emphasize melodies. Key velocity is used to apply this effect.
    • Auto Piano Pedaling. Complementary to the Pedal Marking feature, this options creates a pedal effect automatically (using MIDI controller 64). It analyzes harmonic progressions for changes and avoids note confusion as much as possible. It is inactive in passages that contain pedal markings that have been added manually.

      As expected, this function will only work on grand piano staff. Human Playback analyzes the evolution of harmony and voicing, and creates CC#64 data automatically. Basically, Human Playback attempts to avoid harmony confusion based on several factors, such as an interval of a major 7th, presence of staccato notes and rests, and so on. Slurred chord progressions (meaning note overlap) are also taken into account. Also, Pedal Markings do not conflict with Automatic Piano Pedaling function. Near pedal markings Human Playback will not apply automatic pedaling.

    • Chord Balance. Check Chord Balance to highlight melodies by balancing notes within chords appropriately by adjusting key velocities. This is especially useful for piano music.
    • Soften Basses. On some sound device, piano basses are generally too loud compared to other notes of the same Velocity. Check Soften Basses to decrease the volume of piano basses.
    • String Harmonics. Creates harmonic effect for strings (violin, etc.) and harp, using standard notation. With this option, Human Playback processes string artificial harmonics and harp harmonics. Artificial string harmonics look like 2-note intervals with the upper note as diamond notehead, sounding between one octave and two octave and a fifth higher, using music font char # 79, 180, 225 and 226. Harp harmonics are note with small circle articulation with char # 76 and 111, sounding one octave up. Both are processed using a transposition MIDI data, on a note-by-note basis.

      String Harmonics with Garritan instruments: If Harp Harmonics is checked in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box, Human Playback automatically uses keyswitches for the best effect. For Unified keyswitches, the Harp Harmonic is MIDI note = 2, standard is MIDI note = 0.

    • Strum Plucked String Chords. Slightly rolls chords automatically. Works for Harp, Guitar (strum and Brush), and harpsichord. For Harp, this setting takes non-arpeggio-like expressions into account. Uses start and stop times.
    • Interpret Harmonic Cadences. Check Interpret Harmonic Cadences to tell Human Playback to analyze the harmonic progression of the score and automatically decrease the tempo slightly for perfect and semi cadences.
  • OK • Cancel. Click Cancel to discard any changes. Click OK (or press enter) to confirm your settings.

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