Note shapes

A notehead can be any shape in Finale, including X, diamond, square, circle, slash—you can even create invisible noteheads. You can globally define noteheads to be a particular shape on the basis of rhythmic value, position on the staff, or both. You can also change individual noteheads to any shape.

To change the shape of a notehead

  1. Choose the Special Tools tool icon, and click the measure in question.
  2. Choose the Note Shape Tool . A handle appears on each notehead.
  3. Double-click the handle of the notehead you want to change. The Symbol Selection dialog box appears, displaying every character in the music font.
  4. Double-click the desired replacement notehead shape.

    To restore the notehead to its original shape, click its handle and press DELETE.

To copy individual notehead changes to other measures

If you require a more global note shape configuration that can’t be addressed by changing all notes of a specified pitch and duration to a specified shape (see To change all notehead shapes of a specified duration and pitch, below), you can create the changes manually and then paste only the note shape information onto other measures.

  1. Change the notehead shapes manually in the first measure or measures.
  2. Choose the Selection tool icon, and select the modified measure or measures. See Selecting music for some region-selecting shortcuts.
  3. Choose Edit > Edit Filter. The Edit Filter dialog box appears, listing elements of the music that you can copy individually.
  4. Select Notehead, Accidental and Tablature String Alterations. Click OK.
  5. Drag the first highlighted measure so that it’s superimposed on the first target measure. If the target measure isn’t visible on the screen, scroll until it’s visible, then COMMAND+ALT-click it to display the Paste Multiple dialog box.
  6. Enter the number of times you want the notehead shape information copied. Click OK (or press RETURN).

    To restore the noteheads to their original shapes, select the region and choose Edit > Clear Selected Items. Click None and select Notehead, Accidental and Tablature String Alterations. Click OK (or press RETURN).

To change all notehead shapes of a specified duration and pitch

This technique is especially useful for Shape Note Music, where the shape of a note indicates its pitch, and for drum parts, where you might want all notes on the spaces of the staff to have X noteheads (cymbals and hi-hat), but all notes on lines of the staff to have normal noteheads (tom-toms and bass drum). You can assign a different notehead shape to each step of the scale.

  1. Choose the Staff tool icon and double-click the staff in question. The Staff Attributes dialog box appears for the staff you clicked.
  2. Under Independent Elements, select Notehead font and click Select. The Font dialog box appears.
  3. Select the font, and size of the notehead you want to use and click OK.

    For Shape Note music or percussion noteheads, use Maestro Percussion or JazzPerc.

  4. Select Use Note Shapes and click Settings. The Note Shapes dialog box appears.
  5. From the Replace pop-up menu, choose the first notehead shape you want to change.

    The four basic note shapes in Finale are the quarter notehead (also used by eighth, sixteenth, and smaller note values), the half notehead , the whole notehead , and the double whole note. For each note of the scale, you can specify an alternate notehead shape (X, diamond, and so on) for each of these four basic shapes. For example, you could specify that every half note occurring on the third scale degree will appear as an X notehead. See Shape Note music for a chart of note shapes and scale degrees.

  6. In the On Scale Degree text box, enter the scale degree for which you want to modify the selected notehead, or click the arrows until the scale degree number is the one you want.
  7. Click Select. The Symbol Selection dialog box appears, displaying every character in the music font from step 3 above.
  8. Double-click the symbol you want for the notehead shape.
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 8 for each notehead type and scale degree you want to change.
  10. Click OK twice to return to the score. You return to the document, where the noteheads of the type and scale degree you specified have automatically changed to the alternate note shapes you selected.

    If you anticipate creating other scores with the same configuration, save this piece as a template (a blank document without any notes in it), so that you won’t have to repeat the process the next time you need to create alternate note shapes.