You can create your own SmartMusic accompaniments using the Finale music notation software. The files are exported from Finale into the .smp (SmartMusic Performance) or .smpx format. Recent versions of Finale allow you to display notation on-screen in SmartMusic and assess performance of the instruments available in SmartMusic.
After exporting your Finale file, we recommend that you test the .smp file in SmartMusic before distributing it to students or others. It is possible to create files that are not fully compatible; while exporting from Finale, you may also see some warnings about this. MakeMusic cannot assume responsibility for errors in the creation or use of .smp files - if you encounter problems with a particular file, contact the creator of that file directly.
Types of .smp files
There are three kinds of .smp files. Certain features are available depending on which type you export from Finale.
Solos with "Following" (formerly Intelligent Accompaniment™)
- SmartMusic can follow spontaneous tempo changes (such as rubato or accelerando)
- All of the Customization options can be used (such as "Skip over rests," or "Set breath mark")
- Transpose your piece into any key or available instrument in SmartMusic
- Practice a particular section repeatedly with the Practice Loop option
- Use any of Finale's general MIDI instruments for accompaniment
- Grade your performance, showing red and green notes on-screen
- Assess MIDI keyboard
- Use several Customize options (Set Cuts, Set Tempo Mark and Remember Tempos)
- Play back the solo line to help learn your part
- Beginning with Finale 2014, assessment files will provide an option to Include Audio (Requires "Play Finale through VST"). Select this option to include an embedded MP3 of the music in the exported file. This will allow the file to play back in SmartMusic using Finale's Garritan instruments, or any third-party instrument libraries.
- Learn individual parts by selecting or muting them in playback
- Useful for learning choral music
- No music is displayed on-screen, so performers will need printed music
Limitations of .smp files
- Scrolling during playback is designed to only move when a repeat spans more than a single screen. It is designed to give you ample time to look ahead in the music. Certain combinations of repeat structures may not scroll properly. You may need to resize the page in such cases in the Notation menu, by selecting Zoom Control.
- Ensemble file types cannot display on-screen notation.
- If an .smp file displays notation using music or text fonts not available on a computer, a default font is substituted. You cannot embed fonts or graphics in .smp files.
- Only one staff is supported for on-screen display, except for MIDI keyboard which can show the grand staff.
- Regardless of instrumentation, fingering charts are only shown for the solo instrument.
- Using multiple staves on-screen may cause problems with playback, transposition, scrolling and other features.
- Customizing .smp files may result in notation collisions within a staff, between staves or on a particular system. Particularly when changing instruments, octaves or transposition.
- You cannot create an .smp file with a pickup measure that also repeats back to the beginning. SmartMusic will add rests to playback, and the measure numbers may not match your Finale file.