Key Step Map 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 KeyMap button.

What it does

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

In this dialog box, you specify how many notes will constitute an octave in a non-standard key signature (although twelve chromatic notes constitute an octave in most Western music, an "octave" is defined here as an arbitrary amount of half-steps). You also specify how many of these are "diatonic" (seven in the traditional system), and where the "chromatic" steps occur in the scale.

If you’re creating a linear key format, note that your work in this dialog box must follow certain rules in order to meet the definition of a linear key format. The total diatonic steps, for example, must be an odd number. Furthermore, the bottom and top halves of the scale must contain the identical arrangement of diatonic and chromatic steps. These principles ensure that there is a progression of keys, although it may not be a circle of fifths as there is in traditional key structures. (Finale correctly interprets, transcribes, and plays music in a format that hasn’t been constructed according to these rules. The format, however, won’t be technically and musically correct; you may get unexpected results when you transpose or add chord symbols to music in such a key system.)

You may wonder what the relationship is between your MIDI keyboard and the unusual key maps you can construct in this dialog box. The principle is simple: each key on your keyboard always corresponds to a note in your key map. If you’ve established a quarter-tone key system, for example, you’d have to drastically alter your playing style in order to input a simple C scale, because Finale now thinks that the first four notes on your keyboard are C, C-quarter-sharp, C-sharp, and C-three-quarter-sharp. You’d have to play the C, E, and G sharp "keys" on your keyboard to notate the C, D, and E on the screen.

You can, if you want, tell Finale to maintain the one-to-one relationship of your keyboard keys to the "main" scale degrees in your nontraditional scale by editing the Go To Unit number in the Special Key Signature Attributes dialog box. You won’t be able to input quarter steps, for example, from your keyboard, but your diatonic and half-steps will be notated and played correctly.

  • Total Steps. This indicator, which you can increase or decrease by using the scroll bar, keeps track of how many total scale degrees (up to 100) you’ve created in your scale.
  • Diatonic Steps. This indicator keeps track of the number of diatonic steps you’ve created in your scale. You increase or decrease this number by clicking the numbered squares, making more (or fewer) "white keys" (diatonic steps) or "black keys" (chromatic steps).
  • Display Keyboard. Select this option to display the "keyboard" layout you’ve created, displaying chromatic steps as black keys. The white keys on this imaginary keyboard, if it existed, would play the recognizable "diatonic" steps of the scale, just as the white keys on a real keyboard do in the key of C, although you can separate these "white keys" by any number of "black keys" (chromatic steps) you want.
  • New. Click New to remove the highlighting from all of the numbered squares. You are, in effect, creating an all-diatonic scale, so that you can start over in specifying which steps are chromatic.
  • Delete. Click Delete to restore the pattern of chromatic and diatonic steps to that of the standard key system (but retain the number of Total Steps).
  • OK • Cancel. Click OK to confirm, or Cancel to discard, the new key map you’ve created. If you click OK, Finale asks if you want to save changes. You return to the Nonstandard Key Signature dialog box.

See also:

Nonstandard Key Signature