Steel Trappings

Software for Creating Steel Guitar Arrangements

Software for Creating Steel Guitar Arrangements - Part 3: Aesthetics

January 22, 2017 • Mark PruchaEducation

In Part 2, we set up a document to create a steel guitar arrangement. At this point, the document is fully functional for arranging music in the C6th tuning. In this part, we will focus on making our document more aesthetically pleasing. We will also add more text information for clarity.

Below is a picture of what your document should look like up to this point

Finale Document

Adding Text Inserts

Currently, at the top of the document's first page, you'll notice that there are text fields for "Title", "Composer", and "Score". These are called text inserts. By filling them in we alter the file info.

(Note: the file info can be obtained by selecting "Window" => "Score Manager" and then clicking on "File Info".)

The "Score" insert is not necessary for us, so let's remove it. To do this, simply click on "Score" near the top of the document and press DELETE on your keyboard. It is now gone.

Now, let's add "Subtitle" and "Arranger" text inserts. Click on the Text Tool, located in the Main Tool Palette window. Having highlighted the Text Tool, double-click directly below where it says "Title" on the document. On the menu bar at the top of the screen, click "Text" => "Inserts" => "Subtitle". (See picture below.)

Finale Document with Text Inserts

In the "Subtitle" field, type in "Steel Guitar in C6th".

Now we can add a text insert for "Arranger". To do this, we follow the same steps as we did before. Highlight the Text Tool. Double-click directly below "Composer". On the menu bar at the top of the screen, select "Text" => "Inserts" => "Arranger". You now have "Arranger" information on your document. (See picture below.)

Finale Document with Text Inserts Completed

Finally, we can further improve aesthetics by making certain text fields bold. In this case we will make the "Title" and "Composer" fields bold. To do this, highlight the Selection Tool in the Main Tools Palette. Double-click on "Title" at the top of the document. This should highlight the text where it says "Title".

If you are using a Windows PC, on the keyboard hold down CONTROL + SHIFT + B.

If you are using a Mac, hold down COMMAND + SHIFT + B.

The "Title" field should now be bold. Simply follow the same steps for the "Composer" field to make it bold as well. Now your document should look like the picture below.

Finale Document with Text Inserts Completed

Adding a staff name

To display the tuning next to the tablature staff, we must add a staff name. To do this, we must first select a font. Depending on the computer you are using, the default font is different.

To change the font, on the menu bar select "Window" => "Score Manager". In the Score Manager Dialog Box, highlight the tablature staff and select "Settings" to the right of the "Color Noteheads" check box. (See picture below.)

Finale Document with Staff Inserts

In the Document Options Dialog, highlight "Fonts" on the left side of the screen. Change "Text Repeat" to "Staff Names Full". Now click "Set Font".

Set the font to whichever you prefer. If you are using the Mac version, you'll have the ability to select Myriad Pro. I use this font with a size of 11. (See picture below.)

Finale Document with Staff Inserts

After you select the font and size, click "OK" until you get back the Score Manager Dialog Box.

Finally, on the Score Manager Dialog Box, under "Staff Settings for Selected Instrument", uncheck the "Auto-Number Style:" check box and click "Full Name…". Type in the tuning:

E
C
A
G
E
C

(See picture below.)

Finale Document with Instrument Information

Click "OK". The tuning should now appear next to the tablature staff. (See picture below.)

Finale Document with Instrument Information

Changing the distance between staff lines

Depending on the font and size you selected, the tablature staff lines may not line up perfectly with the tuning displayed on the left. To solve this problem, we can change the distance between tablature staff lines. To do this, select "Window" => "Score Manager". Next to "Staff:", click "Other". This will bring up a Staff Setup dialog box.

Change the line spacing value to whatever works for you. You may need to change it multiple times to get the tablature lines to line up properly with the displayed tuning. I use the value, "0.17361". (See picture below.)

Finale Document - Changing Staff Line Distance

Your staff lines should now line up with the displayed tuning.

Display "TAB" on the first measure of every system.

You'll notice that "TAB" only appears on the first measure. To make it appear at the start of each system, simply select "Window" => "Score Manager". Highlight the tablature staff and select "Settings…", located at the right of "Notation: Style". In the Staff Attributes Dialog Box, uncheck "Show Clef Only On First Measure". "TAB" should now appear at the start of each system. (See picture below.)

Finale Document - TAB Notation at beginning of each system

Finale can be purchased via disc format or downloaded at www.finalemusic.com.

In part 4, we will begin simple note entry.

Ed. note: The Mac OSX version of Finale was used for this article. A Windows version of Finale is also available for the PC with identical functionality. Finale files are completely compatible and transferrable between versions, and the current version of Finale is backwards-compatible with previous versions. Finale installs its own fonts that are required for Finale manuscripts so all font references apply to both versions.

FINALE

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