An ossia passage is an alternative phrase, often placed in a reduced-size measure above the primary measure in the score. (Ossia means “or else.”) An ossia measure often provides an explication of a trill, proposes a cadenza, or suggests an easier alternative to the real measure. In Finale, such an annotative measure can be created with the Ossia tool.
There are two kinds of ossia measures. A measure-assigned ossia measure remains attached to its measure in the score, even if that measure’s position in the score changes. A page-assigned ossia measure, which you create in Page View, remains fixed to a given spot on the page, regardless of any repositioning of the music around it.
Measure-attached ossia measures are recommended in documents with Linked Parts. If you are adding page-attached ossia measures to a document containing Linked Parts, see Ossia measures in linked parts.
A floating measure must be based on a “real” measure. For most purposes, then, you’ll need to create a “scratch staff” on which to notate the actual contents of the ossia measure. You then choose “hide staff” in the Staff Attributes dialog box (see Hiding staves for full instructions).
- Choose View > Page View.
- In a scratch staff, enter the music you want to appear in the floating ossia measure.
- Choose the Ossia tool .
- Double-click the spot on the page (in Page View) or double-click the measure to which you want to attach the floating measure (do not double-click a measure on your scratch staff). The Ossia Measure Designer dialog box appears.
- Select whether you want a measure or page-attached ossia.
- Select the Source Staff and Source Measure. The Source Staff is the scratch staff, and the Source Measure is the measure in which you entered the music.
If the source staff is not named and you don’t know the staff’s number, choose the Staff tool and select the staff’s handle. Choose Staff > Staff Usage. The Staff Number appears in the Staff Usage List dialog box.)
- If you want to specify a clef other than the default treble clef, click Clef: Select; to set a key or time signature, click Key Signature or Time Signature. You can change the ending barline, too, by clicking one of the barline types.
- Specify the reduction value by entering a number in the Scale To box. Generally, 50% to 85% (of full size) looks good. If there are elements of the scratch staff you don’t want to include in the floating measure, deselect the appropriate boxes under Items to Display. You can also specify various positioning aspects of the floating measure, such as the Top or Left Margin.
- Click OK (or press
RETURN). The Page Assignment dialog box or Measure Assignment dialog box appears. If you wish, specify horizontal and vertical coordinates for the measure (in the currently-selected measurement units). If you’re entering a page-attached ossia, you can also specify the barline-to-barline width of the floating measure.
- Click OK (or press
RETURN). You return to the document, where the floating measure is in place. If you’re in Page View, you can drag the measure’s handle immediately to position the measure. In Scroll View, you have to click the “real” measure to which you attached it; a handle appears, allowing you to drag the measure into position.
To edit the musical contents of the floating measure, simply edit the measure on the “scratch staff” from which it was created.
- Choose View > Page View.
- Choose the Ossia tool . A handle appears on the floating measure.
- Double-click the handle to change the Ossia Measure Designer settings (clef, percentage reduction, and so on). SHIFT+double-click the handle to change the Assignment variables (H and V position and measure width).
- Drag the handle to move the floating measure. Click the handle, and then press DELETE to remove it.
To create an ossia passage that consists of multiple measures, use the Staff tool to hide unused measures and the Resize tool to adjust the size of the ossia passage.
- Choose Window > ScoreManager.
- Click Add Instrument and choose Blank Staff > Blank Staff.
- Drag the icon for the Blank Staff above the primary staff.
- Close the ScoreManager.
- Enter the notes for the ossia passage in the blank staff, using your preferred method.
- Select the Staff tool and highlight the measures before the ossia passage.
/CONTROL-click the selection and choose Hide Staff (and Collapse). Use the same steps to hide the measures after the ossia passage. See Staff Styles.
- Choose the Resize tool . Click within the ossia passage. The Resize Staff dialog box appears.
If a note is clicked instead of the staff, the Resize Note dialog box appears.
- In Resize Staff To, enter a new percentage for the ossia passage. Generally, 50% to 85% (of full size) is recommended.
- To adjust the distance of the staff directly below the ossia passage, choose the Staff tool and drag the handle for that staff. See Staves.