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Executable Shape Designer dialog box

How to get there

  1. Click the Expression tool  image\Expression_Tool.gif, and double-click a note or measure. (If the note or measure already has an expression attached, double-click.)
  2. Click Create (or click an existing shape in the selection box and click Edit).
  3. Click the Playback tab; then click Execute Shape > Create (or click a shape and click Edit).

What it does

An Executable Shape is a line whose contours Finale "reads" as it plays back your music in order to produce changes over time of some musical aspect: tempo or volume, for example. You draw the Executable Shape itself in the Shape Designer (which you enter from this dialog box by clicking Shape ID, then clicking Create), but you define its characteristics in this dialog box.

For a more complete discussion of Executable Shapes, see Shape Designer.

The Time Scale, a ratio formed by the numbers in the two text boxes, lets you tell Finale to sample the shape more (or less) frequently. If, for example, you have a passage composed of sixteenth notes and you’ve created a rallentando that sounds too jerky, tell Finale to sample it twice as often (once every sixteenth note) by entering a Time Scale of 1:2. You enter 1:2 because Finale "reads" the entire Executable Shape in one-half the time (by sampling the shape twice as often).

For tempo changes, "one degree" means one quarter note per minute (a metronome marking). For velocity, a degree means one MIDI velocity value (where 0 is silent and 127 is loud as possible). For MIDI patch or MIDI channel, each degree corresponds to a switch to the next patch or channel, and for pitch, a degree is a half step.

Suppose, therefore, that you’ve created a rallentando shape in the Shape Designer that looks like the one pictured below. When you enter the word "rall." in the score (for which this Executable Shape is the playback definition), you’ll hardly hear any tempo change at all in the playback. Based on what you now know, you’ll realize that it’s because your sloping line only drops two gridlines over its entire length. That means your rallentando only slows the tempo from 120 to 118 beats per minute!



This is an ideal problem for the Level Scale to solve. Just change the Level Scale to, say, 15:1; in other words, for every grid point your shape rises or falls, the tempo will increase or decrease by 15 beats per minute, not one.

Use List can produce interesting effects if this Executable Shape governs pitch or Restrike Keys. (Restrike Keys is one of the playback definitions you can assign to any expression; the note to which it’s attached is struck over and over again, at a rate specified by its Time Scale setting.) By creating a sample list and entering your values carefully, you can create a Restrike Keys expression that plays a certain rhythm. Suppose, for example, your Restrike Keys shape is applied to a whole note, and has a Time Scale of 1:1 (it restrikes the note every eighth note). If you click Use List and enter 3, 3, and 2 in the first three boxes, the affected whole note would play back with this rhythm:


Tip. Create your shape to be exactly as you want—span the amount of time and offering the exact effect you want. Then set Time and Level Scales to 1:1


See Also:

Expression Tool



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