Slur Contour dialog box

How to get there

  1. Choose the Smart Shape tool . The Smart Shape menu appears.
  2. Choose Smart Shape > Slur Contour.

What it does

Use the Slur Contour dialog box to define the general shape Finale gives to all new slurs when they’re created. Both engraver slurs and regular slurs are affected by these settings. If you want to change the look of individual slurs that are already in the score, use the Smart Shape tool to make your adjustments.

In general, slurs have varying heights, depending on the length of the slur. Settings in the Slur Contour dialog box specify a flexible range of heights that Finale automatically applies as you create a slur. With this feature, most of the slurs you create will require no extra editing. Of course you still have the ability to edit each slur individually for those circumstances that require special consideration.

Slur height settings are arranged according to slur length — short, medium, long and extra long:

Type Length Finale’s default height setting
Short 1/8th inch or less .04861 inch
Medium 1 inch .14583 inch
Long 3 inches .25 inch
Extra Long 4 inches or more .25 inch

As you create a slur, Finale senses the length of the slur and automatically applies an appropriate height from among these settings.

When the length of the slur falls somewhere between short and medium, or between medium and long, Finale finds a proportional height somewhere between the respective settings. When the slur’s length is less than the short or greater than the extra long slur lengths, Finale simply applies the height from the short or extra long setting, respectively.

Noteman says: Remember that whenever you create a slur, Finale uses the current Slur Contour settings. However, the settings are never applied to manually edited slurs already in the score.

The Slur Contour dialog box focuses on slur height, but you can also set an inset value for each slur length to control the amount of "bow" or "hook" at the ends of the slur. The amount of inset you choose for your slurs is a matter of style, and it might even be the same for each of the three slur lengths in the Slur Contour dialog box. As you create a slur, Finale determines the inset value in the same way it determines the height, sensing the length of the slur and automatically applying an appropriate inset based on the settings.

The height and inset values combine to form a control point, which is positioned in relationship to the start of the slur. When a slur is drawn, its arc approaches, but does not actually reach, the height of the control point. So the visual height of the slur itself is actually somewhat less than the height of the control point.

  • Active display area. This area shows a slur that you can edit. Drag the control point handle beside the slur to adjust the default height and inset.
  • Staff display area. This display area simply shows the slur in proportion to other elements in your score.
  • Control Points for: Short Span • Medium Span • Long Span • Extra Long Span. Each slur length (short, medium, long and extra long) has its own height and inset values. Choose the slur length for which you want to change height and inset settings.
  • Height. This is the vertical height of the slur’s arc; see the explanation earlier in this section.
  • Inset. Changing the default inset value affects the look of the ends of the slur. The slur ends are more rounded when the inset is a low number. They take on a flatter look when the inset is a high number. The inset is a percentage of the length of the slur.
  • Units: EVPUs • Inches • Centimeters • Points • Picas • Spaces. The first time you enter the Slur Contour dialog box, the measurement drop-down menu defaults to the current unit selected under Edit > Measurement Units. Choose an alternate measurement unit if you prefer to work in other units.
  • Reset • OK • Cancel. Click Reset to restore the built-in Finale default settings. Click Cancel to cancel any changes you made to the settings, or click OK to save any new settings and return to the score.

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