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I am writing a trio, and for the beginning section I want to have the three instruments play in different tempi, with different time signatures. Is there a way to get Finale to do this? If not possible, is there a way to notate one of the instruments as normal, say quarter = 48 with varying measure lengths, and have the other two instruments notated "freely" as if improvising and fitting them spatially with the traditionally notated staff?

Thanks,

John Newell

Finale 25, Mac OSX 10.13 High Sierra

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… to have the three instruments play in different tempi, with different time signatures. Is there a way to get Finale to do this? …

Yes, it can be done.

The attached example (which probably goes way beyond your needs) was done in Finale.

… If not possible, is there a way to notate one of the instruments as normal, say quarter = 48 with varying measure lengths, and have the other two instruments notated "freely" as if improvising and fitting them spatially with the traditionally notated staff?…

This is also possible.

 

But:

The best solution for you depends on the actual music.

Before we continue, we need you to be more specific - what tempi? what time signatures?

The better we understand, the better we can help.

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Peter, this is exactly what I want to do. I have written out the first 30 seconds or so of each line separately (on paper). Here are the details:

Flute. quarter = 80; time signatures change every measure or two, eg. 3/4, 4/4, 2/4, 3/4, 3/4, 2/4, 2/4, etc

Viola. quarter = 60; time signatures change frequently, e.g. 3/4, 3/4, 4/4, 3/4, etc.

'Cello. quarter = 48; time signatures change frequently, e.g. 7/4, 6/4, 5/4, 5/4, etc.

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this is exactly what I want to do …

No, it is not; my example goes beyond your needs, since you do not have any accelerandi.

Hence there is no need for the (very complicated) solution I used in my example.

 

 

Instead I suggest a simpler solution.

 

If I understand you correctly, you have

- no accelerandi (nor rallentandi),

- in all time signatures a denominator of 4 (and not e. g. 9/8)

 

* Are you an experienced Finale user?

I am not sure how detailed instructions you need.

 

1) Let each system be one (giant) measure with a (real) time signature of 20/4, and a (display) time signature of (e. g.) 5/4 (assuming that the first measure in the Flute staff is a 5/4 measure).

 

2) Now you can enter the Flute staff, note by note (but without barlines).

Depending on the sum of the first system’s time signatures (= 20 quarters or not) you may have to end the first system (= the first real measure) with an invisible barline.

 

3) For the Viola staff, in the Staff Attributes, make the Time Signature an Independent Element. This step may not be necessary - if the first measure in the Viola staff has the same time signature as the first measure in the Flute staff.

In this example let us say that the Viola staff begins with a different time signature, say 4/4. Hence the Time Signature must be an Independent Element in the Viola staff.

Use the Time Signature Tool to change the Viola staff’s time signature to a (real) time signature of 20/4 (= no change!), and a (display) time signature of 4/4 (= change!).

Now you can enter the first system in the Viola staff, note by note (without barlines) as a (giant) hidden tuplet of {15 Quarters in the space of 20 Quarters}.

 

4) Similarly you can make the Violoncello staff begin with a (display) time signature of e. g. 3/4.

Enter the first system in the Violoncello staff, note by note (without barlines) as a (giant) hidden tuplet of {12 Quarters in the space of 20 Quarters}.

 

5) Use the Expression Tool to add false barlines where needed. Look in the Document Options to see the actual thickness of barlines (e. g. 1pt), and create a shape expression with a vertical line of the same line thickness (= 1 pt). The line’s vertical Height should be 24pt, to fit the staff height.

 

6) Beware the note accidentals since Finale does not see the false barlines as real barlines. You may have to “force-freeze” the display (or “not-display”) of some note accidentals.

 

7) You can add false time signatures, too, but the many changing time signatures in the staves are a layout problem, since they do not occur simultaneously. Making horizontal space for the (false) time signatures may obscure the horizontal spacing in the other two staves (since simultaneous notes in different staves should be vertically below/above each other), thus giving the score an ugly horizontal spacing.

Two ideas:

A. Do not display any time signatures. You could evt. begin the part with a “legend” of all the occurring time signatures. This solution works best with professional performers (students may need to see all time signatures).

B. Display the time signatures above the staff. In that way you do not need to make horizontal space for the time signatures, and the score can have a beautiful horizontal spacing everywhere.

 

8) In a dense region, with many small note values, a system of 20 quarters may get too crowded (depending on the page width, and the scaling percentage). Two systems of 10 quarters may work better, but beware that the Viola part may have to split one of its quarters across a system break, into two tied eighths.

You can use the plug-in Beam Over Barlines, to connect the two eighths across the system break.

 

If you have any questions to this, let me know.

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Thank you, Peter. I am an experienced Finale user. This is very helpful; I was beginning to work my way to the one-measure per system approach, and your suggestions help tremendously. I am writing for professional players, and I imagine that you are correct that they wouldn't need time signatures. I'm not quite sure why having an accelerando would create the need for a more complicated solution, unless playback is involved. I will let you know if I have further question.

John

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… I'm not quite sure why having an accelerando would create the need for a more complicated solution …

In the example I posted, one staff has a (sempre) accelerando while the other staves have a constant tempo.

A such layout requires truly independent staves/barlines.

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