| Writing Music with Finale is an online course aimed
at helping musicians of all levels to use Finale to create clear notation
very quickly. In twelve weeks, it covers the tools necessary for most types
of notation, from lead sheets to rhythm-section and orchestral arrangements.
If youve ever had another musician perform your music, you have likely been reminded of the great distance between the printed page and human musical expression. The simple dots and lines of notation are put to the extraordinary service of communicating our subtlest and most sublime ideas. The way that notation is executed has a direct effect on the magic that ensues: whether a sound is a consonance or a dissonance, whether the crescendo begins before or after a downbeat, and even the general impression of whether a piece seems technically easy or complex.
The ability to create clear music notation quickly is essential for any musician who prepares music to be performed by others. Increasingly, musicians are turning to high-end notation software such as Finale to prepare their notation. They are often surprised to discover that such programs are among the most difficult to learn of any software that they have ever encountered.
The reason for this is that music notation is such an extremely sophisticated form of communication. Those of us who grew up reading notation may lose sight of this, but it is a deceptively complex language, where hundreds of symbols, standards, and direction are used to communicate subtlearguably mysticalideas. Beyond communicating standard notes and rhythms, in music notation, we can tell our readers to play lightly or quickly, to put their second finger on the third stringeven when to breathe. The world of articulations is vast, with special symbols for each instrument. Roadmap directionssegnos, codas, repeat endingsare so common in published music, but so vaguely understood by so many practicing musicians.
To support this depth of vocabulary, notation software must be similarly
deep. And this means that learning to use these software tools takes time,
and training beyond what the best software manuals can provide. Every
musicians notation needs are different. A choral director will use
different symbols than does a hip-hop bassist. Finale supports all such
symbols, but learning how to use them effectively isnt always easily
Beyond the beauty and clarity of the notation that Finale can produce, Writing Music with Finale shows how to leverage Finales incredible tools for speed. Twenty years ago, when we were using pencils, transposing a lead sheet meant rewriting it from scratch. Preparing parts for an orchestral score could mean weeks of painstaking copying. Finale lets you accomplish either of these tasks with a few mouse clicks.
The course covers these topics and many more. Each week culminates in an assignment focusing on notation from each students personal work, so that they can put the techniques in service to support the music of their own lives. Guidance from the instructor further helps the students personalize their experience and learn about the types of notation that are most relevant to their own work.
Students come from a variety of backgrounds, and with a variety of needs. Composers, teachers, choir directors, and musicians of all types have found this course to be helpful. Some students arrive accustomed to only reading a small subsection of notation, such as vocal music or guitar tablature. Others hold post-doctoral degrees in music, and are learning Finale as part of their career path towards becoming professional engravers. This diversity of level and focus greatly enhances the group learning experience, and students of all levels have found the materials to be relevant and helpful.
The online environment is perfect for learning Finale. In addition to explanatory text, screen shots, and hands-on practice exercises, screen videos show you exactly how to perform tasks. And the various communication mechanisms facilitate conversations with other students and with the instructor.
Beyond the technique of navigating the software, Writing Music with Finale addresses seldom discussed topics of how to prepare a professional looking score. It is a musicians approach to using the software, considering how the exact placement of symbols will affect how they are interpreted. It is a complete look at the process of preparing professional quality notation, and its many students have found it a uniquely effective way to leverage Finale in their music making.
Ready to Enroll?
Online Winter Term Starts January 13th
|Duration: 12 weeks|
|Catalog #: BMW-101a|
|Total credits: 24|
|Duration: 8 courses|
|Registration fee: $175|
|What is a certificate?|
|Jonathan Feist Editor in chief of Berklee Press|