A melisma is a series of notes sung on the same lyric syllable. When Finale assigns lyric syllables to a melody, it has no way of knowing which melody notes are melismatic. Therefore, when you’re creating lyrics (if you plan to have Finale assign them to notes automatically), you can anticipate the melismatic passages by creating an invisible syllable for each note of the melisma.

To create invisible syllables when typing lyrics

  1. Choose the Lyrics tool icon. The Lyrics menu appears.
  2. Choose Lyrics > Lyrics window. The Lyrics window appears. Type the lyrics in the usual way, up to the melisma.
  3. Type the syllable to be sustained, followed by the usual space or hyphen. For each subsequent note of the melisma, type OPTION+SPACEBAR, which inserts a hard space.

    Finale considers each hard space to be a syllable. Therefore, you need to separate it as you would any syllable—with a space or a hyphen. Thus you type a hard space followed by a regular space (or a hyphen) for each subsequent note of the melisma. You can also insert a hard space by choosing Text > Insert Hard Space.

  4. Complete the remaining lyrics with the same method. When you enter these lyrics using the OPTION–click assignment method (see Lyrics), Finale distributes the invisible melismatic syllables you just created to the corresponding notes of the melody.

To shift lyrics to the right or left

If you failed to anticipate the melisma when entering the lyrics in the Lyrics window (by entering a hard space as described above), you can adjust misaligned lyrics by using the Shift Lyrics command. For full instructions, see Lyrics—To correct misaligned lyrics.

Tip: You can add slurs to melismas automatically using the Auto Slur Melismas plug-in.

See also:


To beam according to lyric syllables