Swing

The most common convention is to notate “swung” eighth notes as standard eighth notes, with the word Swing above the score (usually on the first page, with the tempo marking). Finale follows this convention in transcribing real-time performances. Note the Jazz Human Playback style applies a swing feel to your score. See Playback Controls.

Defining swing playback

Making your score play back with eighth notes in swing style is quick work with the Playback Controls, but what if you want more control over when and how to swing?

In a pure triplet swing feel, the second eighth note of every pair (the backbeat) is played as though it’s the last note of a triplet, as shown here. In other words, it’s delayed (and the first eighth note is held longer). Delaying or rushing the playback of notes with respect to their written rhythms is precisely the function of the swing playback type in the Expression tool: you can use it to delay the attack of every eighth note backbeat. All you need to do is decide how much to delay them.

Finale uses a swing value of 100 for true triplet swing in playback. Needless to say, you can change this number, depending on the amount of swing you want; at a fast tempo, you may want to decrease this number (so the notes sound more like even eighths). At a slow tempo, you might want to increase the number for an even more pronounced swing effect.

Tip: Do not use both MIDI tool swing and swing in the Playback Controls, as these effects are additive.