Music Notation With Finale

Speedy Entry Tool – Article and Video

Finale’s Speedy Entry Tool

Why I Prefer The Speedy Entry Tool

(Scroll down to find the video)

The Speedy Entry tool is still my favorite tool when it comes to writing music in Finale. Yes, you can play music into Finale in real time with the , or you could use the Simple Entry tool. To me, the Speedy Entry tool is still the easiest and fastest way to enter more complex music in conjunction with a musical keyboard, especially when you are composing and arranging straight into Finale.

Playing music into Finale may be ok for very simple music. However, when the music is more complex you probably will spend more time cleaning up the mess than you would have spent entering it with the Speedy Entry tool in the first place.

The Speedy Entry tool has also one huge advantage over the Simple Entry tool. When you click a staff with the Speedy Entry tool you get to hear the instrument that’s associated with that staff. That’s really important when you are composing or arranging right in Finale.

This said, I think the Simple Entry tool is great when you don’t use an external midi keyboard, which is unthinkable for me. The Simple entry tool may also be fine for music copy work on the go.

Important thinks to check out when working with the Speedy Entry Tool

Check out all the Speedy Entry menu entries. There is a lot of stuff you can check and uncheck to make it behave the way you prefer. Be sure you also open the Speedy Entry Options dialog box where you can further customize it.

What to do when the midi keyboard doesn’t respond

Besides making sure your keyboard is physically connected to your computer, there are two places you need to check in Finale in case that your keyboard doesn’t work:

A. In your Midi/Internal Speaker Setup settings where you can select your keyboard (you find it in the Midi/Audio menu),

B. in the Speedy Entry Menu where “Use Midi Device For Input” needs to be checked.

How to input music with the Speedy Entry Tool

Click on the play button in the image below to play the video tutorial. It shows you how to input music with the Speedy Entry Tool and a midi keyboard. This video is all about how to input rests and notes. I will create more videos with more advanced music examples soon.


Finale And Logic working together Music Notation With Finale

Exporting Parts as Audio files in Finale

This video tutorial on exporting parts I speciffically created for my Fundamentals of Arranging class at Columbia College Chicago.

At the time, some of my students had problems when they transferred their Finale file from the lab computer to their own computer. What happened was that they couldn’t hear the tracks play anymore. Possibly because their version of Finale’s playback sample library was different from that on the lab computers.

Anyway, in this video tutorial I show how they can get those parts to play back again, by creating new staves and then simply copying the music into those new staves.

In the video I also show who you can export the individual staves as audio files.

See, Finale has a great playback engine that incorporates all the dynamics, many of the text expressions, phrase marks, tempo markings, and much more. I use this for example to create nice sounding demos of my score by exporting each part for further processing it Protools or Logic.

Make sure you spend some time exploring this workflow. It’s well worth your time.


Music Notation With Finale

Selecting Tools in Finale

Selecting tools in Finale and switching quickly back and forth between them is one of the most important tasks when working in Finale. There are many ways of doing that, some faster then others.

This article and the included video tutorial is all about that.

The Finale enginiers offer many ways of selecting tools, but the most important one they missed, which is to give us users the freedom to program a key command of our choice for all the tool. This said, they give us 8 specific keys we can use for that, but that’s very limited, and on top of that, they are stored with the document, instead in the program preferences.

Simply put, when it comes to key commands, Finale lives still in the stone age. For 25 years now! How much longer will we have to wait?


Creating music with Logic Pro X

Screensets In Logic Pro X


Note: This aricle is designed to complement my video tutorial <Screensets in Logic Pro X> that you can find below. Be sure you read the article at least up to the video before watching it, because it includes information not included in the video.


Screensets is arguably one of the coolest features of Logic Pro X. I have to admit that the way screensets are managed in Logic can be confusing at first, but it all makes a lot of sense once you get it.

Bottom line, Screensets can speed up your workflow tremendously. I simply can’t imagine working without them anymore.

What are Screensets in Logic Pro X

Screensets are snapshots of your screen. A Screenset stores the layout of various windows, including their display size, zoom levels, position, and other settings. Logic can store up to 99 screensets.

Transcript from the video tutorial

Creating and saving screensets

That’s where the confusion comes in. It’s important to grasp the concept that we don’t have to save screensets with an explicit command because it happens automatically in the background. This means that every change you make to your layout will be saved to the active screenset, thus altering that screenset, unless the active screenset is in locked mode, as explained later.

Because of that, it can easily happen that you override your favorite screenset by closing, moving, or zooming windows. That’s why it is so important to lock your favorite screensets. Always remember that once a screen set is locked, any changes you make to it will be gone the second you recall that screenset. If you want to keep those changes you made to a locked screenset you first have to unlock and then re-lock the active screen set.

Here is an example for creating a screenset

When you first open a new project, the active screenset is screenset 1. You can tell because in the screenset menu, which you find just to the left of the help menu, you see the number 1.

For this example I picked a song for which I have already finished recording all my tracks and regions. Now I want to create a screenset that shows all the regions of my song at an optimized zoom level.

I only need the main window for that, which is also the only window that is open by default when you start a new project.

First we need to close all those edit Windows and inspectors I don’t want to see in my screenset 1 anymore.

Let’s use those handy default key commands:

Typing “f” closes the list window,

typing “I” closes the channel strip inspector,

and typing “e” closes the piano roll editor.

Now all that’s left is the main window’s trackheader and the workspace area.

To see all the regions of the project, press command + A to first select all regions, and then the letter Z to make Logic automatically set the zoom level that shows all the regions. Make sure you immediately deselect all regions with the key command shift + option + D, otherwise you may accidentally move or delete them.

Now we want to lock the screenset to prevent Logic from overwriting it, because Logic saves any changes you make to a screenset, unless it is in locked mode.

That’s it. I can now quickly recall this layout for this particular song by selecting screenset one.

Let’s now create a second screenset that shows several midi editors.

Modifying Screenset 2

About Logic’s Window Management

It’s important to understand that we can open a window inside the main window (embedded window), or as a separate second window which we can move around freely, and which will remain even when we close the main window.

The Window menu shows us all the independent windows and their respective key commands.

As you can see their are a lot of windows we can open, position and size however we please. We can even open several instances of the same window. As they say “The sky is the limit”.

This allows us to customize our screensets to fit our workflow perfectly.

Creating the new layout for screenset 2.

In our previous example we only used the Main Window. For screenset 2 though, I don’t want to include the main window because I have that already in screenset 1. Instead, I want to create a collection of several midi editors and the marker list.
The first step to customizing a screenset is to select that screenset. That’s what trips most users. In my case this means I press 2 to select screenset 2 before I do anything else.

Before we start making changes to a screenset’s layout we want to make sure it isn’t in lock mode. To do so we go to the screenset menu to find out which lock mode option is available. If we see “lock” as an option it means the screenset is unlocked, and if it says unlock it obviously means the set is currently in lock mode.

Now I’m ready to create the layout for screenset 2.

I don’t need the Main window for the layout I’m about to create for screen set 2. Instead I want to open  a few independent windows that I can place and size however I like.

Closing the Main window

A screenset has to have at least one open window, because if we attempt to close the last window Logic thinks we actually want to close the project, as we can see by the closing dialog that pops up.

Hence, we need to first open a second window before we can close the main window.

Important Key Commands for Midi editors

Let’s now pick a few midi editing related windows from the Window menu.

By the way, this might be a good time to memorize the key commands for those windows.

  • Command 4 for the Piano Roll Editor window
  • Command 5 for the Score Editor window
  • Command 7 for the Event List Editor window

The Marker List window is actually not part of the Window menu. Instead, it lives in the Navigation Window. It does not have a key command assigned to it by default. I assigned the key F19 to it because I use it a lot.

Opening and positioning the windows

First I type Command 4 to open the Piano Roll Editor window. As explained above, now that I have two windows open, I can now close the main window.

Lets position and size it right away.

Next I type Command 5 to open the Score Editor window and position and size it underneath the Piano Roll Editor window.

Now I open the Navigation List window that we find in the Navigation menu. Lets place it in the lower right corner.

And last but not least I type Command 7 for the Event List Editor and position and size it to the right of the Piano Roll Editor window.

Screenset 2 has now a great Midi Editing layout.

Lets make sure it stays like that by selecting LOCK from the screenset menu. Now is also a good time to name it. I call it Midi Editors.
I just created two very useful screensets for my song which I can instantly access by typing the number 1 for screenset 1, and  2 for screenset 2.

Using a Logic screenset as a template for other screensets

You might want to  use an existing screenset as a template for a new screenset. You can easily do so by using the duplicate screenset command from the screenset menu. In the duplicate screenset dialog you can determine the new screenset number and a new name.



Creating music with Logic Pro X

How to explode individual drum parts to separate tracks for processing in Logic X

In this article you will learn how to explode the individual drum parts from a region onto separate tracks in Logic X for individual processing. This article is mostly a transcription of the training video posted below.

Let me explain why you would want to do this. Let’s say you just created a great drum track. All those midi events do now show up in one region on one track. This means you can only process all the drum sounds together. Most engineers however like to have control over each individual drum sound, in the same way they have control over each track of a multi track recording of a real drum set.

To be able to process the kick, snare, hi-hat and other drum sounds individually we need to put each drum sound on a separate region on a track that has it’s own channel strip.

With the “separate by note pitch” command we can make logic do this for us in one simple step. The best way to get to the command is by doing a right-click on the drum region you want to process. This will open the contextual menu. Scroll down to “midi” and select the “separate by note pitch” command from the midi sub menu.

Logic will then create new regions for each individual drum sound along with new tracks for those regions. However, those tracks use the same channel strip as you can see in the mixer where you will find only one channel strip for all those newly created tracks.

That’s why we have to create new tracks with individual channel strips and then move each region to it’s corresponding track.

To create new tracks with each having it’s unique channel strip assigned to it click on the duplicate track button here after selecting the drum track. With each click you create a new track with a new channel strip that has the same settings then the parent track.

All you have to do now is move each region to it’s corresponding track.

Let’s solo some of the individual drum part to make sure it worked. As you can see and hear it did work. You can process each drum sound to your liking.

Please get back to me with any questions or suggestions. Also, if you know of a faster way to achier the same goal please let me know.