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Human Playback

Simulating a live human performance.

Finale is no substitute for a live, performing musician, but its Human Playback feature allows score playback to closely resemble some of the nuances of a live performance. The proper performance of a piece depends as much on the style as the markings themselves–for example, you wouldn’t expect a jazz piece to be performed in the same way as a classical sonata. To account for these differences, Finale includes several different Human Playback styles.

By the end of this lesson you will know how to:

  1. Select a playback style that suites your music
  2. Turn Human Playback on and off

Before we begin, let's add a tempo change to our piece to help demonstrate Human Playback's capabilities.

To add a ritardando marking

  1. Choose the Expression tool .
  2. Double-click the beginning of measure 12 in any staff.
  3. Choose Tempo Alterations, double-click "rit." The marking appears above the top staff. Markings in this category show above the top staff of the score, and also above the top staff in all parts.
  4. Double-click the first beat of measure 13 in any staff.
  5. Double-click "a tempo." This will allow us to hear Human Playback's interpretation of a ritardando. To position, move through the parts and drag these expressions accordingly to resolve any collisions. Also, note that tempo alterations usually appear below the staff for instrumental parts.

Human Playback styles

Finale includes fifteen predefined Human Playback Styles. If you play the score now, you are already using the Standard Human Playback style. Notice how Human Playback interprets the dynamic markings and the tempo alteration. You can adjust Human Playback's interpretation by choosing another one of Human Playback's styles.

To select a Human Playback sound

  1. Choose MIDI/Audio > Human Playback> Jazz.
  2. Press Play .

With this style selected, Finale interprets the eighth notes in a swing feel.

Noteman says: You can adjust the amount of swing when Jazz is selected as the Human Playback style. To do so, click the expand arrow and select the amount of swing from the Swing Values menu.

  1. Scroll back to the beginning of your music.
  2. Choose MIDI/Audio > Human Playback > Romantic.
  3. Press Play .

Turning Human Playback on and off

Human Playback's interpretation of the score omits any recorded MIDI data or MIDI data applied manually with the MIDI tool. You can include this and adjust details regarding Human Playback's interpretation in the Human Playback Preferences dialog box. If you would like to play the score without Human Playback, choose MIDI/Audio > Human Playback> None.

Noteman says: You can apply Human Playback to portions of your document by setting Human Playback to Off and then using the Apply Human Playback command in the MIDI tool.

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