Typically, Swing applies to one note value smaller than the original time signature. This means, for example, that in 4/4 time Finale will swing eighth notes.


To get 16th notes to swing in Finale, you’ll need to create a time signature with an eighth note as the base.


To maintain the traditional eighth-note swing in cut time, you will need to set the playback time signature to 8/8, then change the displayed time signature to 4/4:

  1. With the Time Signature tool selected, double-click on the measure you want the swing to start in. The Time Signature dialog box appears.
  2. Change the Number of Beats to 8 and the Beat Duration to an eighth note.



  1. Click More Options in the upper right corner of the dialog box.
  2. Select Use a Different Time Signature for Display.
  3. Set the Number of Beats in the bottom portion of the dialog box to 4 and the Note Duration to a quarter note.
  4. Click OK to confirm the time signature change.



Because the eighth notes are beamed individually in the 8/8 time signature, the 16th notes will not automatically beam together as four 16th notes, as would be expected for a 4/4 time signature.


To fix this, you’ll need to reset the beaming to a 4/4 time signature:

  1. Select the desired region of measures.
  2. Go to Utilities > Rebeam > Rebeam to Time Signature. The Rebeam To Time Signature dialog box appears.
  3. Set the Number of Beats to 4 and the Beat Duration to a quarter note.
  4. Click OK to apply the changes.




To enable Swing playback, create a miscellaneous expression with a manually-defined playback effect by following these steps:

  1. First, choose the Expression Tool Capture.PNG and double-click the first swing measure to open the Expression Selection dialog box. You will need to choose a category that allows assignment of expressions to all staves, like the Miscellaneous category.
  2. Once in the selected category, choose Create Misc. Expression… to open the Expression Designer dialog box. In the Text field, label this first expression “Swing” or “Moderate Swing” or whatever terminology works best for your piece.
  3. Select the Playback tab and choose Swing in the Type drop-down box.
  4. In the Effect section, choose Set to Value. Insert any value between 25 and 50.



  1. Click OK, then Assign.


Once these changes have been applied, the sixteenth notes will swing with the 4/4 time signature displayed and with proper beaming.

For more information on enabling swing playback via Expressions, see Alternating Between Swing Rhythms and Straight Rhythms.