Enter music without a time signature as in chant and other meterless music.
Finale’s ability to space notes and lyrics within measures can be used to great advantage in creating ‘measureless’ or ‘non-mensural’ notation. All of the rhythmic and spacing values that you will use to manage the creation of a measureless score can be displayed and made available for reference until the notation is finished. At that time note stems, barlines, time signatures, etc. can all be hidden. This process can be applied to a recitative, a cadenza, a melismatic phrase, a modern approximation of chant, or any other episodic occurrence of ‘free’ notation. Click through the options below to get started.
In this lesson, you will learn how to
- Set up a document for chant notation
- Add the music and details
- Hide staves and measure items
Step 1: Setting up the document.
Before entering your music into Finale, the first step in creating a non-mensural score is to create a map or scheme. Locate and mark the natural divisions of the text and music (phrases, stanzas, melismatic extensions, etc.). The text will be the primary factor in organizing and managing the spacing and layout of the score. Some passages may need to be split into two or more sections if they do not fit across a single system; some systems may accommodate two phrases.
- Open an appropriate template or use the Setup Wizard to create a document.
- Choose Utilities > Fit Measures.
- Set the score to 1 measure per system.
- If a custom page size or different page orientation is required, choose Page Layout > Page Size. Adjust the page size settings as needed and click OK.
If the passage or score is to be displayed with stemless noteheads, the simplest scheme is to use quarter-notes for closed noteheads and half-notes for open noteheads (the common denominator will then be a quarter-note). If standard rhythmic values will be used, the common denominator will be the smallest value used. In either case, the first task is to calculate the total number of rhythmic units in each phrase. If tuplets are used, calculate accordingly. In the case of a held note which will contain multiple syllables or words, assign a value for each of the words or syllables.
Assume, for the purpose of demonstration, that the rhythmic unit total for a phrase is 19 eighth-notes.
- Choose the Time Signature tool .
- Double-click a measure.
- Set the Number of Beats to 19.
- Set the Beat Duration to 8.
- Click OK.
Step 2: Adding music and details.
If standard notation (notes with stems) is used:
- Enter notes and, if necessary, use the forward slash key ( / ) to separate or attach beams. If note stems are to be removed, use the closed-notehead and open-notehead rhythmic values that were used as the basis for calculating the phrase.
If a single note carries multiple syllables:
- Switch to Layer 4.
- If necessary, fill the space previous to the multi-syllable note with rests.
- Hide the rests by hitting the H key on your keyboard after entering the rest.
- Enter and hide the ‘ghost’ notes of the multi-syllable phrase.
To hide the ‘ghost’ notes in playback:
- Choose Window > ScoreManager.
- Click the triangle to the left of the staff name you wish to mute.
- Click in the column labeled M next to Layer 4 to mute its playback.
If you do not see the M column, add it to the ScoreManager by clicking the Customize View button and choosing Mute & Solo.
Text entered with the Lyrics tool will center under the note to which it is attached. Therefore, note spacing can become awkward if the number of characters on a single note becomes too large. However, short words or syllables can be contained without resorting to ‘ghost’ notes. If a single note carries two or three syllables and ‘ghost’ notes are not necessary:
- Enter the first syllable or word.
- Enter a hard space (
- Enter the next word or syllable.
Step 3: Hiding staves and measure items.
- Choose the Staff tool .
- Double-click the staff.
- Uncheck Time Signatures, Barlines, and/or Stems under Items to Display.
- Click OK.
- Choose the Measure tool .
- Choose Edit > Select All.
- Choose Measure > Hide Measure Numbers.
- Choose the Measure tool .
- Select a measure or group of measures. The barline on the right side of a selected measure is the one that will be hidden.
- Double-click in the selected measure or region.
- In the row of available Barline types, click Invisible.
You may also want to use the Tick barline for certain types of chant notation.
- Click OK.
- Once the music is entered, you can use either the beat charts of the measure tool or the note position special tool to precisely position the notes within each "measure".
- If you do not want stems, choose Document > Document Options. Click the Stems category from the list on the left, and set the Normal and Shortened Stem Lengths to zero.
- If you are transcribing early music, such as Gregorian square notation or Italian mixed notation, you may want to find an alternative third-party music font, such as one containing neumes.