Finale Tips – Those Pesky Grace Notes

So I’ve talked about philosphy.  Now how about a nugget of real practical knowledge?  If you’ve ever written or copied something with grace notes, chances are likely that you’ve come across this: (click image for larger view)

When I copy or write, I like to do it with as little “farting around” as possible; I try to avoid moving every tiny little thing in the most minute way possible as much as I can.  As I said before, any time you can save on little things gets you to the finish line that much faster.  These grace notes are the biggest pain in the behind.  You’ll spend an hour fixing them on your flute parts, then you redraw the screen or extract parts, and BAM, right back to where you started.  Plus, no matter how anal-retentive you get, there’s always 1 or 2 that are doin’ their own thing, and that looks sloppy.

SO what to do?  Here it is:  In Finale 2010 (or anything after 2009), under “Document”, then “Document Options…” on the left hand side, select “Music Spacing”.  When you do, un-check the box that says Avoid Collision Of “Ledger Lines”.  Make sure under “Grace Note Spacing” (middle of the same page) it’s set to “Automatic”, and set the “Minimum Distance Between” to at least 12.  Re-draw or update layout.  That’s it.

A couple of caveats…  I posted this on the Codamusic forum and actually got alot of flak over it.  The argument was that ledger lines colliding was potentially disatrous, and given the choice of a quick fix and adjusting manually, the forum member(s) would have rather adjusted every single one manually and not had any ledger line collisions.  Okay, fine, but if that were the case, maybe your notes are a little crowded anyway; the notes CAN be too close together without the ledger lines touching, and I think that looks far worse.

As long as your notes aren’t cramped to begin with, you shouldn’t have any problems.  And again, time is money; I just can’t see the wisdom in wasting that time when there’s an easy fix available to you.  Enjoy!

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