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Playback devices and Sound Maps

Changing playback sounds

Finale supports two main ways of playing back your music: MIDI playback or Audio Units playback. This allows you to choose the best playback sounds based on the hardware or software that you have available. Using Finale's Score Manager, you can easily select any instrument sound available on your computer.

By the end of this lesson you will know:

  1. The difference between MIDI and Audio Units playback and the best uses for each
  2. How to select a new sound for playback
  3. How to convert files to use a new device for playback


MIDI stands for Musical Instrumental Digital Interface, which is an industry-standard computer language that computers and MIDI devices use to speak to each other. Finale can play back using an external MIDI device, a sound card's synthesizer, or a SoundFont installed on your computer.

To play your file using a MIDI device or SoundFont

  1. From the MIDI/Audio menu, select Play Finale Through MIDI.
  2. Press the Play button .

Finale uses the MIDI device that is specified in your MIDI setup window. To configure your MIDI system, see Setting up your MIDI system.

Audio Units

You probably installed the Garritan Instruments for Finale as well as the Finale program. Finale is designed to take advantage of the best audio plug-in technologies, allowing Finale to load Audio Units instruments (like the Garritan instruments) and effects (like Ambience Reverb) directly and use these instruments and effects to play back any file you create.

“Audio Units” are Apple’s system-level audio plug-in architecture. Audio Units, often abbreviated "AU," are software modules — for instance, virtual instruments or effects — that can be used by any audio application that supports AU plug-ins.

Noteman says: Finale also supports a whole range of additional Audio Units samplers, synths, effects, and instruments — see the Finale website for details. Any of these instruments can be combined with the instruments from Garritan Instruments for Finale.

To play your file using Audio Units instruments:

  1. From the MIDI/Audio menu, select Play Finale Through Audio Units.
  2. Press the Play button .

Right now, this file is using Finale's SoftSynth sounds. You can use the Score Manager to reassign instrument sounds. See Configuring Instrument playback for details.

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