Percussion

Noteman says: See Tutorial 9: Percussion for a step-by-step tutorial on creating percussion in Finale.

Whether you are creating music for drum set, orchestral percussion, or a drum line, you can easily create, notate, and play percussion parts in Finale.

For most percussion instruments, Finale automatically configures staves with all the necessary settings for both notation and playback when added with the Setup Wizard or the ScoreManager. These percussion staves automatically ignore key signatures and transpositions, and are configured for intuitive entry whether you are using a mouse, computer keyboard, or MIDI keyboard.

However, Finale also gives you the flexibility to configure your own custom percussion staves. Included in this topic is a discussion on how to customize percussion notation and playback to fit your needs.

A note about MIDI channel 10

To accommodate older MIDI devices that require channel 10 for percussion, the first non-pitched percussion instrument added with either the Setup Wizard or the ScoreManager is set to channel 10, bank 1. Additional percussion instruments added are assigned to the next available channel (1-9, then 11-16, and then 1-16 on the next bank, and so forth.) Channel 10 on banks 2-8 are not reserved for percussion. If the percussion instrument set to channel 10 is deleted, Finale does not change any other percussion instruments to channel 10 or otherwise shuffle channel assignments. Choosing MIDI/Audio > Reassign Playback Sounds, however, does reserve channel 10 of bank 1 for percussion.

Percussion note entry

Configuring custom percussion staves

Percussion notation and playback in Finale relies on the cooperation of three things: percussion layouts, percussion MIDI maps, and playback devices/patches. These items are interrelated: the proper functioning of a single percussion staff requires agreement between settings in all three. For example, in order for a note to represent a snare drum hit…

  • the playback device must include a patch containing that sound;
  • the percussion MIDI map must identify the correct MIDI note in that patch and assign it to a percussion Note Type;
  • the percussion layout must include that Note Type and assign it to a position on the staff.

Additionally, as noted above, if you wish to use a MIDI keyboard to enter the percussion notes, the percussion MIDI map used for input in Finale for that MIDI channel must correspond to the percussion MIDI map for output.

Percussion layouts

Noteman says: Percussion layouts have no direct impact on playback; that is, there are no settings in the Percussion Layout Designer dialog box that control how percussion plays through the staff's assigned playback device.

Finale’s percussion notation offers a great deal of flexibility and control through the use of percussion layoutsA percussion layout is a list of percussion instrument variables available for use in a staff. These variables include staff position, notehead style, and Note Type (snare drum, cymbals, etc.). Percussion Layouts are defined in the Percussion Layout Designer dialog box.. A percussion layout is a chart that details how each type of percussion instrument sound appears on a staff. The definition of each percussion sound (which in Finale is called a Note Type) includes the staff position and the styles for various noteheads.

A percussion layout is assigned to a staff in the ScoreManager's Instrument List. If a selected staff's Notation Style is set to Percussion, you can click Settings to display the Percussion Layout Selection dialog box. You can then review the definition for a selected percussion layout by clicking Edit, which displays the Percussion Layout Designer dialog box.

When you start a new score with the Document Setup Wizard or add a percussion staff in the ScoreManager, Finale automatically loads the appropriate percussion layout for that staff. While the layouts are already available in your document, Finale also includes a library that contains the preset percussion layouts. This library can be loaded into any document; once loaded, you can also edit the percussion layouts as needed. Finale's percussion layout library is based on the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) standard as defined in Guide to Standardized Drumset Notation.

However, because no single standard exists for all percussion notation, Finale gives you the ability to edit or create your own percussion layouts. You can even save a library that contains your percussion layout(s) so that you can use them in multiple documents.

Orange noteheads on a percussion staff indicate that those notes are not listed in the assigned percussion layout. This may occur, for example, if you have imported a file created in an older version of Finale. These notes will look and playback correctly, but do not conform to the percussion layout paradigm introduced in Finale 2011. To assign these notes to Note Types, see To assign Note Types for regions of percussion notation (orange noteheads).

Percussion MIDI maps

Noteman says: Percussion MIDI maps have no direct impact on the display of notation; that is, there are no settings in the Percussion MIDI Map Editor dialog box that control how percussion notes appear on the staff.

A playback device may include one or more patches that have percussion sounds. In a percussion patch, each percussion sound is assigned to a particular MIDI note number (this differs from regular patches in which each MIDI note number corresponds to a single pitch). A percussion MIDI mapA Percussion MIDI Map is simply a list that matches each percussion instrument in a sound library with a particular MIDI note number (e.g. bass drum = 36, snare drum = 38, etc.). These maps are required to properly assign the same percussion notation to various playback devices, and are also used to accommodate the many different percussion sound banks that can be used for input with an external MIDI device. is a list that tells Finale how each MIDI note number assignment corresponds to a particular percussion sound (which in Finale is called a Note Type). An individual percussion MIDI map is specific to a certain playback device because not all devices map percussion sounds to the same MIDI note numbers.

For example, if one of the patches from a playback device plays a snare drum hit when you press middle C, then the percussion MIDI map for that patch should list the Note Type "Snare Drum" on MIDI note 60 (see MIDI note to pitch table).

A percussion MIDI map is assigned to a staff in the ScoreManager's Instrument List. If a selected staff's Notation Style is set to Percussion, the Perc. MIDI Map column appears, listing the assigned map for that staff. This field is a dropdown menu; you can click it to select a different map for the staff. Remember, however, that the map must match the playback device for that staff so that the correct sounds occur during playback.

When you start a new score with the Document Setup Wizard or add a percussion staff in the ScoreManager, Finale automatically loads the appropriate percussion MIDI map for that staff based on the playback device. For information on the preset percussion MIDI maps included with Finale, see Percussion MIDI Maps: SmartMusic SoftSynth, Percussion MIDI Maps: Garritan Instruments for Finale, or Percussion MIDI Maps: Tapspace Virtual Drumline.

Noteman says: When you install a new version of Finale on your computer, percussion MIDI maps are not copied from the previous version. To migrate these files, see To migrate settings and support files from one version of Finale to another.

However, because there are a wide variety of possible playback devices that you can use, Finale gives you the ability to edit or create your own percussion MIDI maps. It is important to note that all percussion MIDI maps are stored on your computer separately from individual documents (in the MIDI Device Annotation folder), so once you edit or create one, it is available in any document. In other words, edits made to an existing map—including deleting it—apply globally across Finale; that is, because map settings are not stored in the document, any changes affect all documents using that map, and any new document that uses it includes the changes as well.

If you converted your document from an older version of Finale, and you find that the Note Types assigned to a converted percussion layout do not represent your desired sounds, use the Reconvert Percussion Note Types dialog box to reconvert Note Types based on a different mapping.

Other percussion tasks

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