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Nyc notation express has an ios app that works with the elgato streaming deck.  It works with Dorico and Sibelius but not Finale due to the lack of a global shortcut structure in Finale.  What are the chances of Finale improving this structure?  

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It looks cool. But I don’t see where it would speed up my workflow (which is, I admit, pretty basic.)

 

And I have to apply the same comment as I do to many feature requests: Please fix long-standing problems like the Lyrics and Chords, before spending time and resources on flashy new features that don’t do much.

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The Elgato Streamdeck relies on shortcuts. It is a well known fact that many menu commands in Finale lack a keyboard shortcut.

You can add some (System Preferences on the Mac, for instance), and I think I have read somewhere that the Elgato Streamdeck works with shortcuts created with Keyboard Maestro (Mac). But you would have to create the whole configuration yourself. Philip Rothman will not do it for you.

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Actually, it's not dependent on shortcuts. It can send a series of keystroke that would allow you to choose anything available in the menu system.

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When you press the Alt key, you see underlines in the main menu, Say E for Edit, so first action is Alt-E

When the Edit menu opens, you'll see underlines under a letter in each item, which is what you'd use for the next action.

Etc

Or course, you could also use multiple down arrows :)

 

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As mentioned in my signature, I use a Mac. The alt key trick is a Windows feature which does not exist on the Mac. On the Mac, one can add keyboard shortcuts to the menus in the System Preferences (not always 100 % reliable) or with a third party application such as Keyboard Maestro.

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Ah, sorry. I assumed there was a MAC equivalent to the Alt key

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We have an Alt key, but it doesn't show any keyboard shortcuts in the menus. The existing shortcuts (when they exist) appear next to the menu commands.

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Interesting discussion.

 

I have been able to get the Stream Deck working with Finale on Mac very nicely using Keyboard Maestro - still very much a work in progress.  You could do the same thing on PC with a similar type of third party macro program that accepts the key shortcuts or shortcut sequences that can be output by Stream Deck. And as William refers to, on PC, you also have the option of tool and menu selection using Multi-Actions.

 

Stream Deck is an ideal way to organize tasks for music notation because each button on the device is a graphic (which can change depending on the task). Each button can have one or more icons representing a particular task. For instance, for tool selection, you can show the familiar icons of Finale's tool palette - it's obvious at a glance where everything is without having to have a set of buttons with less obvious text identifiers like "Lyrics" or "Expressions".

 

In addition to the "multi-action" button type, there is also a button type on Stream Deck called a "HotKey Switch". I have one of these assigned to two shortcuts COMMAND-OPTION-1 and COMMAND-OPTION-2, which corresponds on Mac to switch between layers 1 and two. When I switch the button state, the graphic on the button changes to show me the currently active layer, so I know which layer is active without even looking up at the screen.

 

I have a number of buttons wired up with existing Finale shortcuts (lock systems, unlock systems, go to bar, mixer, edit filter switch layers etc, Stream Deck also can assign a button to a web page, so I have links to things like the Finale reference manual. Anything that already has a keyboard shortcut in Finale is super easy to hook up without any third party program. Where something like opening the edit filter (COMMAND-OPTION-SHIFT F on Mac) is a two handed shortcut, it is just a button push with Stream Deck. And you can assign it a memorable icon so you know what it is at a glance without having to read anything.

 

I use both the hardware peripheral and the iOS app in my setup currently. I can have the hardware unit set to one set of tasks, and my iPad or iPhone set to another, companion set of tasks (like plugins) and everything is right there in front of me.

 

In terns of alternatives to KM or an equivalent PC macro program, another option is Finalescript, which allows you to assign a user key shortcut to trigger a Finalescript, which can perform more complicated actions, and could be useful for some types of operations.

 

I've done a few of these and they work pretty well, but being a long time KM user, and able to get good results quickly there, I haven't done very many shortcuts that way. Stream Deck & KM allow a larger selection of keyboard shortcuts than Finalescript allows (including F-keys with modifiers etc), but it would certainly be possible. One caveat with Finalescript is that any item you shortcut will also appear in the Finalescript menu, so if you have a few dozen shortcuts you could end up with a long list in the Finalescript menu.

 

What would be really nice would be to not have to use the third party macro program at all. I agree, it's a shame that Finale doesn't offer user defined keyboard shortcuts internally. They would be very useful, even without a workflow option like Notation Express for such things as tool and menu selection.

 

Out of curiosity, what kind of actions besides menu and tool selection would you want to automate? 

 

 

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Before I started putting together my favorite shortcuts in Stream Deck, I built an interface with Keyboard Maestro for Finale using Lemur.  (So, full disclosure, I was able to make use of the macros I had already created in KM again for StreamDeck)

 

A really cool thing about Lemur and Keyboard Maestro is, rather than typing key commands you can send out MIDI controller commands from Lemur and have those interpreted by KM as an instruction to do something like open the tuplet dialog and change some settings or whatever. 

 

With a number of midi channels available, and 128 midi continuous controllers and 128 possible discreet values for each, there is practically no end to the amount of shortcuts you can create which would never get in the way of any regular keystrokes or midi input you might want to use with Finale.

 

But Lemur lacks the cool graphics UI that Stream Deck has, e.g. the ability to see at a glance graphically what tools / tasks are available.

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Thank you, Robert, for these very interesting posts. Just to clarify things, I'm not familiar with the use of the midi triggers. How does that work ? Pressing a key on a midi keyboard ? Or an action within Lemur on a tablet, with what kind of interface ?

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I mentioned the Lemur interface because ideally, you don't want to have to remember anything for a peripheral interface to work.

MIDI notes on a keyboard are an effective trigger (musicians can remember the mnemonic arrangement of the keyboard and octaves, and associate this with specific tasks, for instance).


But there is an inherent problem with MIDI note data as macro triggers in Finale or any other music program which is, you are likely also doing MIDI entry of some kind with the same keyboard. Composers have historically dealt with this in DAW software by mapping functions to very low or very high notes out of the range of normal music.


But ideally, you really don't want note entry potentially comingled with your music on the staff. The ability to output a specific MIDI CC Value on an unused midi channel to access a menu or function in Finale is possible using Lemur sand Keyboard Maestro in Tandem. No MIDI keyboard is involved with this exchange of data, and Finale only gets the final instruction - to perform a given function.


For instance, Lemur sends a command like MIDI CHANNEL 16, CONTROLLER 37, VALUE 29 directly to Keyboard Maestro, which has this controller and controller value on a specific midi channel mapped to a macro to "open the Edit Filter".


Finale may see the obscure MIDI data but does nothing with it, and  Keyboard Maestro then opens the Edit Filter dialog because it has system level access. "Open Edit Filter" is probably not a good example because Finale already has a keyboard shortcut for this, but you get the idea.


Stream Deck does not output MIDI data, but it is basically the same idea - you map specific keyboard shortcuts to Stream Deck and have those keyboard shortcuts trigger macros in Keyboard Maestro for Finale.

For any keyboard shortcuts that already agree with Finale's own existing shortcuts, you don't need Keyboard Maestro at all.


The real holy grail here, though is not to have to use a third party Macro program like Keyboard Maestro at all. Because as cool as the interaction between Lemur and Keyboard Maestro or Stream Deck and Keyboard Maestro is, it is not a direct connection to Finale; it's a game of telephone. Ideally, you should be able to push a button in Stream Deck to performs a specific action in Finale directly without having any other program involved.

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Thank you for the insight. Very interesting again.

I wished that Finale would let us program all the shortcuts we need (or at least the missing ones), so that we could program them directly in StreamDeck (or other remote controllers, such as apps for the iPad, like Metagrid or Quadro, which also require keyboard shortcuts).

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I agree that user defined keyboard shortcuts in Finale would be nice to have. Both Sibelius and Dorico offer this feature. I haven't tried Quadro, but did use Metagrid briefly. Initially it seemed to have a great deal of promise with all of the music related icons available, but I fell out of love with it since I couldn't create my own icons. StreamDeck allows the user to create a Finale controller interface that really looks like a music notation tool - e.g. looks like it was designed to work with Finale.

 

One of the most promising things about Stream Deck in terms of extensibility / direct connectivity with Finale is their recently published SDK for third party developers who want to write their own plugins for Stream Deck .

 

…meaning, for someone with some coding skills, it should be quite possible to create a controller for Finale that doesn't require any keyboard shortcuts at all... To me, that would be the best of both worlds.

 

It's also worth mentioning that the Stream Deck software allows you to rearrange tasks in any way at all suitable to your workflow - it's completely customizable in terms of layout. You can even duplicate buttons to create task sets for certain types of things so you have buttons grouped together for specific task groups like parts layout if you need them.

 

What kind of tasks do you find take the more work to do in Finale?

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For Mac users, Keyboard Maestro has been updated to version 9.0. There is a plug-in which facilitates the use of macros with the Stream Deck.

Several new actions have been added to Keyboard Maestro, a.o. the possibility to add text and images to the keys of the Stream Deck.

Interesting integration.

Not tested. I assume Keyboard Maestro communicates with the Stream Deck software.

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