Expression Designer - Main dialog box

How to get there

  1. Choose the Expression tool icon and double-click a note or measure. The Expression Selection dialog box appears.
  2. Click Create, or click an expression, and click Edit.

What it does

There are two kinds of expressions: Text Expressions, composed of words or symbols you can type (Allegro, ritard, dynamic markings, and so on), and Shape Expressions, composed of shapes you’ve created in the Shape Designer. Either can be defined for playback.

In this dialog box, you can create a new Expression or edit an existing one. This dialog box is separated into three tabs, each responsible for different attributes of the expression. Use options under the Main tab to edit the spelling, font, or description, options under the Playback tab to edit how the expression affects playback, such as volume or tempo, and options under the Positioning tab to specify precise positioning of the expression relative to its corresponding note or measure.

To apply playback settings to the expression, click the Playback tab. See Expression Designer-Playback. To set the default positioning, click the Positioning tab. See Expression Designer-Positioning.

  • Description. You can use this text box to label each expression for reference later. The description entered here displays near the bottom of the expression in the Expression Selection dialog box. The description can be particularly helpful if you have a number of expressions that do not contain any text, such as expressions defined only to modify the playback.
  • Text • Shape. Choose Text to define or edit a Text Expression, or Shape to define or edit a Shape Expression.

    Note that slurs, phrase markings, and hairpin crescendos should be entered with the Smart Shape tool.

  • [Text box]. Use this text box to type the expression text that appears in the document.
  • Use _ Category Fonts. Check this box to use the font, size, and style defined for this category. Fonts for each category can be defined in the Category Designer dialog box. Uncheck this box to display additional font, size, and style options that allow you to define these settings for this specific expression only (see Expression Designer-Positioning).
  • Insert Note. Click this button to add a note character for a metronome marking. The note character is added in the Music Font. Note that you can automatically assign metronome markings for playback by checking Match playback to metronome marking text under the Expression Designer-Playback tab.
  • Font. Use this dropdown menu to switch between entering text and musical symbols. The text and/or music font for a category can be changed in the Category Designer dialog box. Uncheck Use _ Category Fonts to display additional font options that you can use to apply to this particular expression (independent from the category).
  • Hidden. This option appears when Use _ Category Fonts is deselected. Select this checkbox before entering text in the text field, or select this option after highlighting the text in the text field, to prevent the text expression from printing. Hidden expressions continue to display on-screen at the Hidden Object Shading percentage specified in Preferences-View.
  • Enclosure Shape: Shape • Edit. Use this dropdown menu to choose the geometric shape of the enclosure that surrounds the expression. Click Edit to display the Enclosure Designer dialog box, where you can edit the settings of the currently selected shape like line thickness, corners, height, and width. You might use this feature, for example, when creating rehearsal marks—you can enclose each letter in a neat rectangle.
  • Use Auto-Sequencing Style • A, B, C… Measure Number. [Available for rehearsal marks only]. Check this box and choose a rehearsal mark style, from the adjacent dropdown menu, to use this expression for a series of automatically incrementing rehearsal marks. These rehearsal marks retain their consecutive sequence whether added, reordered, or deleted in the score. See Rehearsal marks. Choose Measure Number to use the style defined in the Measure Number dialog box. If there is no measure number region defined, Finale uses the “real” measure numbers for rehearsal marks and uses the defined measure number style. If there is more than 1 measure region present, Finale uses the measure numbers as defined by the first measure number region.

    If auto-sequenced rehearsal marks are already in the score and this option is unchecked, Finale leaves the existing rehearsal mark expressions intact, but removes each auto-sequenced number or letter, leaving empty placeholders. If you wish to remove auto-sequenced rehearsal mark expressions you can delete them individually in the score (see To erase expressions from a region), or delete the definition directly from the Expression Designer dialog box (by selecting the expression's box, clicking Delete, and choosing "Delete element from both selection palette and score" from the Delete Element dialog box).

  • Hide Measure Numbers. [Available for rehearsal marks only]. With this box checked, measure numbers are hidden in favor of rehearsal marks assigned. If the rehearsal mark is subsequently deleted or moved to a different measure, the measure number reappears automatically (if assigned to show in the Measure Number dialog box).
  • Edit • Create • Select. Click Edit or Create to open the Shape Designer where you can edit the selected shape expression or create a new one. Click Select to choose an existing Shape Expression.
  • Allow Horizontal Stretching. When Finale creates the image of a page of your score in Page View, it tends to stretch each measure by a small amount in order to justify each system neatly to the page margins. In many cases you’ll want any Shape Expressions to stretch along with the measures in which they occur. In such cases, select this item. Deselect this checkbox if you don’t want to permit a shape to be stretched horizontally—for example, you might prefer that a harp pedaling diagram retain its original dimensions.
  • Hidden. Select this checkbox to prevent the shape expression from printing. Hidden expressions continue to display on-screen.

Tip: Set an opaque enclosure to have the Text Expression cut away other items underneath it in the score.

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