Figured bass

You can easily enter figured bass with a new font introduced in Finale 2012, Finale Numerics. The Finale Numerics font was specifically designed to offer all the characters required to produce figured bass, including zero-width, stackable characters, musical characters, and more.

To add figured bass

  1. Choose the Lyrics tool .
  2. Choose Lyrics > Auto-Number and ensure Verse, Chorus, and Section are unchecked.
  3. Choose Lyrics > Lyric Options and uncheck Use Smart Hyphens.
  4. Click Word Extensions and uncheck Use Smart Word Extensions. Click OK.
  5. Choose Lyrics > Type Into Score.
  6. Click the first note you would like to add figured bass to. A blinking cursor appears beneath the staff.
  7. Choose Text > Font > Finale Numerics.
  8. Noteman says: The Expression tool also offers other options for entering figured bass. For example, you could define expressions using the Finale Numerics font and assign them to notes using Metatools. See To create an expression and To program an Expression Metatool.

  9. Type the required zero-width character. Type SHIFT-6 for a first inversion (this is one of many zero-width characters that can be stacked three numerals high; SHIFT-6 places the number in the top row). To put a number beneath the 6, simply type the number (e.g. For type "SHIFT+6, 5"). If you need to place a character to the right of the figure, type ` (tilde), then type the character. (e.g. For , you would type "SHIFT+6, ` (tilde), SHIFT+Y"). Refer to the following charts to identify the various figured bass characters and their associated keystrokes. Press SPACEBAR to move to the next entry.

Figured Bass Numbers

Noteman says: The Finale Numerics font is designed for use with U.S. keyboard layouts only. Certain characters in non-U.S. layouts are located on different keys than those listed in this section.

Figured bass often requires stacked numbers beneath the staff to specify the intervals/inversion:

Noteman says: Some of the characters in this font have no equivalent keystrokes. In order to use some characters, you will need to copy them using your system's Character Viewer. See "Character Viewer" in your operating system's documentation for more information.

The Finale Numerics font offers zero-width number characters with convenient keystrokes. Simply type the numbers using the SHIFT or OPTION modifier to specify its vertical position as follows.

To enter the above example, type "SHIFT+6, 4, OPTION+2"


Accidentals and other characters used to modify the pitch can be added using the following keystrokes.

To enter the above example, type "SHIFT+7, X."

To enter the above example, type "SHIFT+6, 5, OPTION+2, ` (tilde), SHIFT+Y, Y."

Plus and minus characters can be added similarly.

To enter the above example, type "SHIFT+4, 2, ` (tilde), SHIFT+L."

Multiple Figures under One Note

Occasionally, two or more figures are required under a single note of an extended duration.

The second figure, entered as a lyric syllable, doesn't have an accompanying note in the staff directly above. Because lyric syllables are always attached to a note in the staff above, this situation must be handled as a special case.

You can accommodate this situation a couple of ways depending on your music spacing requirements. If you do not require exact spacing, after the first figure is entered, type ` (tilde) multiple times until the cursor appears in roughly the desired position and type the second figure. If you do this, and the system is not locked (see Utilities/Lock Systems), subsequent automatic music spacing changes may adjust the positioning of notes, changing the relative positioning of the figured bass within the measure. To affix an orphan figured bass syllable to a measure position that will adjust with Finale's Automatic Music Spacing feature, use hidden notes or rests as anchors.

To anchor an orphan figured bass syllable to a hidden entry for optimal spacing

  1. Enter the first figured bass syllable under the extended note.
  2. Choose the Simple Entry tool .
  3. Select layer 4. (Choose View > Select Layer > Layer 4 or select Layer 4 from the Layer selection popup menu in the lower left corner of your screen).
  4. Enter Layer 4 rests in the measure, and ensure a rest is entered at the beat directly above your desired figured bass syllable position. (For example, if you want to place your figured bass syllable on beat 4, you could enter a dotted half rest and then a quarter rest.)
  5. OPTION+click the rests and press H to hide them.
  6. Choose the Lyrics tool and click the hidden rest to display a cursor below the staff, then type the figured bass figure. Now, your figure will be aligned with the hidden rest after any Automatic Music Spacing changes.
  7. To resume adding lyrics in Layer 1, select Layer 1. (Choose View > Select Layer > Layer 1 or select Layer 1 from the Layer selection popup menu in the lower left corner of your screen).

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