With the release of Finale v27, many issues related to drum playback in Finale were resolved. The workarounds described here are still helpful in previous versions, and can also provide you with more methods or controlling percussion playback volume within the overall balance of your score.


In Finale, you may find that the volume of Percussion staves is too quiet when playing back your Finale document.


This is due to the default key velocity that is sent to the ARIA Player (this can vary depending on Human Playback's interpretation of your score). There are a few different ways to mitigate this problem. You can put your percussion staves on their own bank and raise that bank's volume fader, alter the overall key velocity of a percussion staff,  or you can use SmartMusic SoftSynth instead of Garritan sounds for these staves.


Using an independent bank for percussion volume

Another method that works to help with volume while you are working on your score is to put the Percussion/Drum staves on their own bank and raise the volume in the VST/AU Banks & Effects dialog box.

  1. Open the Score Manager (Window > Score Manager); choose the Instrument List tab.
  2. If you do not see a Bank column, choose Customize View > Bank & Channel.
  3. Click in the Bank column for your Percussion/Drum instrument row and choose Next Available.
  4. Choose the same bank number as the new bank number from step 3 for the Bank column for any additional Percussion/Drum staves.
  5. Take note of this new bank number and close the Score Manager.
  6. Choose MIDI/Audio > VST Banks & Effects (Windows) or MIDI/Audio > Audio Units Banks & Effects (Mac).
  7. Raise the fader corresponding to the bank number for your Percussion instruments to raise the volume overall for just those staves.


Manually editing key velocity

To alter key velocity it is best that you first complete your piece and then alter the key velocity values for the whole staff using the MIDI tool.


You may wish to save another version of your file on which to try this change (File > Save As). To set a region of notes to a higher key velocity manually, you must first apply Human Playback. To do so, choose the MIDI tool (Tools > MIDI [Mac] or Tools > Advanced Tools > MIDI [Windows]), choose MIDI Tool > Apply Human Playback and Apply the Standard style (or whatever style you choose). You can then close the Apply Human Playback window and follow the steps below to manually edit key velocity...

  1. Choose the MIDI tool(Tools > MIDI [Mac] or Tools > Advanced Tools > MIDI [Windows]).
  2. Highlight a region of music by clicking a measure, holding down the SHIFT key on your computer keyboard and clicking the last measure of a region in the drum/percussion staff.
  3. Choose MIDI Tool > Key Velocities.
  4. Choose MIDI Tool > Set To.
  5. Type "100" (you can adjust this value according to what works best for you) into the Set Key Velocities To field that appears
  6. Click OK.


Using SmartMusic SoftSynth instead

You can also change the sound device for your Percussion/Drum staves to SmartMusic SoftSynth and avoid the issue altogether. You can change the audio device used for each staff in the Device column of the Score Manager's Instrument List (Window > Score Manager > Instrument List [tab]). You may wish to save another version of your file (File > Save As) on which to try this change; it could affect your score.