Finale adheres to the standards of music engraving practice that follow. There are many more “rules” or “standards” that govern music notation, and indeed, the standards themselves may vary from publisher to publisher. The ones listed here are automatically supported by Finale; each default value or behavior is accompanied by a link to the corresponding place in Finale where that global setting can be changed.
Finale's method of scaling systems is based on a default ("absolute") staff height of 96 EVPUs (.3333 inches or .8467 cm; see Equivalents). The Maestro Font default document has an automatic staff height of 82 EVPUs, resulting in a system scaling of approximately 85%. While this may suffice in some situations, often your final page layout for any given document should include an evaluation of the system scaling. For example, in situations where the sheet music will be close to the performer (such as piano scores, choral octavos, or flip folders for marching band lyres), your document should be scaled to a smaller percentage. Likewise, sheet music placed further from the performer, such as for jazz band stands/fronts, should be closer to 100% or even larger.
Staff names are centered vertically on each staff, and both full and abbreviated staff names are right-aligned (see To reposition staff names globally).
Chord symbols are placed 1/2 inch above the top line of the staff (see To move chord symbols vertically). If guitar fretboards also appear, the chord symbol appears one inch above the top line of the staff, and the top of the fretboard appears 1/2 inch above the top lines of the staff (see To move fretboard diagrams vertically).
Lyrics appear 1/2 inch below the bottom line of the staff (see To set the baseline (vertical position) for lyrics numerically).
Single notes with single stems are stemmed down when the note is positioned on the middle line of the staff or higher and up when the note is positioned on the second space of the staff or lower (see Stem Reversal in Staff Setup dialog box). Down stems are positioned on the left side of the note, and up stems are positioned on the right side of the note.
Single stems are exactly one octave in length. If there is more than one note on a stem, the stem length is calculated from the note closest to the end of the stem (see To change stem lengths globally). Stems of notes on ledger lines which would not normally reach the middle line of the staff are extended to reach the middle line of the staff.
A beam is three points, the thickness of half a space (see Beam thickness). The normal stem length will accommodate two beams. For each additional beam the stem length is extended one space. The angle up or down of any beam does not exceed one space (see To limit the steepness of beams), and the direction of the slant is determined by the general direction of the movement of the notes (see To set the beam angle style globally).
In an interval of a second on a single stem the lower note is placed on the left of the stem, the upper note on the right. In this configuration the note head on the wrong side of the stem is called a “displaced” note. Chords with opposite stems or on separate staves are aligned according to the properly placed note heads, not the displaced note heads.
When accidentals cannot be aligned, the highest accidental is placed in the normal position and the next lower accidental is placed to the left of it. Accidentals continue to be placed to the left until an accidental can align with the top one, in which case the procedure is repeated until all the accidentals have been placed.
When a note with an accidental is tied across a barline, the accidental is not repeated on the first note of the next measure. However, if the note appears later in the measure, the accidental is repeated (see Cautionary Accidentals Plug-in).
Articulations are placed on the notehead side, opposite the stem. Bowing marks are placed above the staff, regardless of the stem direction (see To design an articulation).
There are no absolute rules governing time spacing, but Finale follows the general principle of spacing notes according to their duration. Longer notes are followed by larger spaces than shorter notes. Rests are treated the same as notes, except for the whole measure rest which is centered in the measure.
Barlines have no rhythmic significance and do not affect the time spacing. Neither do accidentals, except in those situations when the normal time spacing may not allow enough room for the accidental, in which case additional space is allotted for the accidental.
The stem direction is up for grace notes. Slashes appear on flagged grace notes (see To add or remove the slashes from grace notes globally).
Tuplets appear as a number placed within a bracket, or, on the beam side, just a number. The beam of a rhythmic group is extended over any rests within the group. The bracket slope adjusts to the notation, following the slope of beams and stems (see To predefine the appearance of tuplets).
Multimeasure rests are centered on the middle staff line. The thick horizontal line in 3 pts. (1 space) thick (the same thickness as beams), and the thin vertical lines, which extend from the second to the fourth staff line, are 1/2 point thick. The multimeasure rest number appears just above the staff. The width of the measure is 1 1/4 inches to contain the multimeasure rest symbol (see To set up the appearance of multimeasure rests).
Barline, ledger line, staff line, stem line, tuplet bracket, and repeat bracket thickness are half a point (see To change the thickness of barlines in a document; To change the thickness or length of ledger lines; To set the staff line thickness; To change the thickness of stems; To predefine the appearance of tuplets; Document Options - Repeats dialog box).
A certain amount of space appears before and after basic musical elements. One space appears before clefs, key and time signatures, and before the first note or rest in a measure (see To change the horizontal positioning of starting clefs; Document Options - Key Signatures dialog box; Document Options - Time Signatures dialog box; Document Options - Notes and Rests dialog box). An additional half space appears after key and time signatures.
The Maestro Font Default file is what appears when you choose File > New > Default Document. It consists of one treble staff with 31 measures, in common time. Measure numbers appear at the start of each line, above the clef. It contains libraries for music spacing, chord symbols, musical text and shape expressions, articulations, and so on. See Finale Libraries for more information.
The page size is 8.5 by 11 inches with 1/2 inch page margins all around except for the left margin which is 3/4 inch. The first system is indented (from the page margin) 1/2 inch, and is dropped 1 1/2 inches to allow for a title, and other text. A place holder for a title appears centered 1/2 inch below the top margin, and page numbers appear beginning on page 2 in the form “-2-”. Music appears and prints at 100%.