Accidental Order and Amount dialog box

How to get there

  1. Choose the Key Signature tool icon and double-click the measure in which you want the key to change. The Key Signature dialog box appears.
  2. Choose Nonstandard from the drop-down list. The Nonstandard Key Signature dialog box appears.
  3. Select the key format/signature that you want to edit by clicking the Next button.
  4. Click the Acc. Order button.

What it does

Noteman says: For an example-based tutorial, see Nonstandard key signatures.

If you’re creating a linear key format, this dialog box is where you specify the pitches on which accidentals appear as you progress from one key to another. For example, in the traditional key system, you’d use this dialog box to tell Finale that the first sharp to appear should be on F (the F sharp in the key of G). The second to appear should fall on C (the C sharp in the key of D, after the F sharp), and so on.

If you’re creating a nonlinear key signature (a single key signature with any combination of sharps or flats, unrelated to any other key), this dialog box simply lets you specify which accidentals you want to constitute the key signature.

  • Unit (#). A unit is an accidental in the key signature. The Units are numbered in the order in which they appear; thus, in a standard key signature system, the first accidental to appear (the F sharp in the key of G) would be Unit 1; the second (the C sharp in the key of D) would be Unit 2, and so on. Flats are labeled with negative Unit numbers; the first flat to appear (the B flat in the key of F) would be Unit –1 (in the standard key system), the next (E flat) would be Unit –2, and so on.

    (If you’re creating a nonlinear key signature, however, there is no particular pattern or "progression" in the way accidentals are added to the key signature, because a nonlinear key has a single key signature unrelated to any other key. In this case, the Unit numbers simply identify each accidental within the one key signature—thus, the Unit numbers are always positive in a nonlinear key signature.)

    The Unit indicator identifies the Unit, or accidental, you’re placing in a nonstandard key signature. Click the Previous and Next buttons to change the Unit indicator, thus moving from one Unit to another in the key signature.

  • Step Level. The number in this text box controls the pitch placement of the currently selected Unit, as measured in scale degrees from C, which is designated as step zero.

    In the standard key system, for example, the Step Level for Unit 1 (the first sharp to appear) is 3, because it appears on the F line or space—three diatonic steps above C. (Remember, C is considered step zero, not one.) For Unit –4 (the fourth flat to appear), the Step Level is 5, because it appears on the A line or space—five diatonic steps above C.

  • Amount. The number in this text box specifies the "amount" (interval) by which the pitch specified in the Step Level text box is to be altered, in chromatic steps (not necessarily half steps). In the standard key system, for example, the Amount for the first Step Level (the F sharp in the key of G) is 1, because the F is being raised one chromatic step. Enter a negative number to lower the specified pitch.

    However, in nonstandard key systems, "1" may not always represent a half step. For example, in a quarter-tone scale, there are three "black keys" (chromatic steps) between whole steps, not just one. Therefore, the Amount for a "normal" sharp or flat in the key signature is always 2 or negative 2, because a sharp in the key signature (F sharp, for example) represents two chromatic steps above the diatonic step (F, for example).

    Note that if you enter a zero in this text box for any Unit in a nonlinear key signature, no accidental will appear in the key signature for this or any subsequent Units. Enter a zero, therefore, to indicate that you’ve finished assigning accidental placements in a key signature.

  • Previous • Next. Click these buttons to move backward or forward through the Units in your key signature.
  • OK • Cancel. Click OK to confirm, or Cancel to discard, the changes you’ve made to the placements of the various accidentals. You return to the Nonstandard Key Signature dialog box. (If you click OK, Finale first asks you if you want to save your changes.)
  • Reset. Click Reset to revert the accidental placements for all the accidentals to their default "traditional" values.

See also:

Key Signatures

Key Signature Tool