A Different Approach to Finale Part Extraction

A Different Approach to 

Finale Part Extraction

Excerpt from the "Lizard's Guide to Music Copying" 

by Lee Monroe

As professional music copyists, we are always trying to find ways to improve our performance.  Our performance is mostly indicated by two major features - Accuracy & Speed!  Express Music has developed an extraction process that works very well for both.  

This process was originally developed for use with Finale 97 and even though Finale has improved its automated extraction process in Finale 2000 & 2001, we still use ours.  I have remarked in past articles that you just can't quantify a good layout, there are just too many variables, and if you can't quantify then you can't program.  Too much of a good layout depends on a copyist eye combined with the constraints of what you are copying for.  How I lay something out for a recording session can be greatly different than how I would lay out something for a publisher.

Ashley Wells initiated this process within our group, I have no idea where he got it from.  He is constantly visiting Finale sites and is a member of several list-serves so perhaps he got a hint of it there and then put in his own modifications.  I do it slightly different but the principle is still the same.

The process that I will describe below is the bare bones basic process.  You can use this as long as the part doesn't have any peculiar anomalies, such as clef changes or if you have checked any of the independent boxes in your staff attributes (key signature, time signature, independent note font).

In addition, it is critical how you enter the information into the score prior to extraction.  The most important thing is that you understand the logic behind Staff Expressions (note attached expressions and Score Expressions (measure attached expressions).  You must also understand when you should and should not use the Text tool.

Score Expressions

You should only use Score expressions when you are entering something that applies to every part in the score (hence the name).  Tempo changes, style information, anything relative to meter, etc...

You should NOT use it for dynamics!  This is very important.  It is very tempting when you are creating a score to just use the score expression to deliver the dynamics to a whole group (Finale even has its fancy little group assignment programming) but the problem with this is that you will not then be able to adjust the impressions individually (important for cleaning up the score) nor will you be able to paste them using the Control C, Control V ( <ctrl+c> <ctrl+v> ) method.

A note about the Text Tool - you should avoid using it for anything but page title information.  If you use it in page view it is attached to the page, regardless of how you adjust your layout and if you use it in scroll view it attaches to the measure but it can't be adjusted in page view - therefore you have to constantly go back and forth between page & scroll views to tweak the placement of the text in page view.

Staff Expressions

Staff Expressions should be used for everything particular to a part - dynamics, text notes (instrument changes, solo or soli indications, etc...).  It is important to know that to do a paste using the Control C, Control V ( <ctrl+c> <ctrl+v> ) method that only information contained in the measure goes to the clipboard.  This is critical to understand for our extraction process.

Dynamics can easily be assigned a quick key (macro) which will give you the application speed you need.


Once you have set up your score properly you are ready to use our process.  Once you have extracted the first part it is basically a 10 step process that you must follow exactly every time you do it.  


Express Music Extraction Process

You must initially extract a part with the normal Finale extraction process; Flute 1 as an example.  Bring this file up and set it up exactly the way you want it.  Title information, page margins, system spacing, etc...  

A note about page margins, Express uses the margins strictly to contain the music, all of the title information should actually be outside the page margins.  That way the title information (text tool)  will always move relative to the page margins and you can then adjust the music systems to the edge of the margins (make sure that you have "avoid margin collision" checked in the page layout drop down menu) without being concerned that it will interfere with the page title information (this applies to every page). If you can master this, you will go a long way in avoiding clashes between the music and title information.

Once you have extracted the first part and set it up exactly the way you want, then you are ready to begin the process.  You should have two files open 1) the original full score and 2) the original extracted part (Flute 1 in this example).  I like to have both windows visible with the score file on the right one third of my screen vertically, the part file shows vertically on the remaining two thirds of the screen - mind you I have 21" screens at work & at home so this works out great.  Another method to go back and forth between the files is to use control "W" <ctrl+w>, the drop down "Window" menu will appear and you then choose the number of the file you want to see (Ashley is a true master of this).

You will be pasting from the score to the parts and then saving them as the new instrument, but you must be careful to follow this procedure exactly or there is great potential for problems.




Here goes.

  1. From the file menu, do a <save as> and save your part under the new file name (let's say Flute 2)

  2. Go to Scroll View

  3. With the Mass Mover Tool - highlight the extracted part (target) and backspace, or Clear key of you are on a Mac (if you are in 2000 or higher, you will also need to use the Staff Tool - highlight all and backspace as well).  This will eliminate all the information relative to that instrument but preserve global information (score expressions, page text tool entries)

  4. Go to the Edit Menu and uncheck Special Part Extraction (in 2000 and later this is not used in the Finale extraction process)

  5. With the Mass Mover Tool - highlight the appropriate line in the score file (source) and copy to the clipboard by using the Control C copy command <ctrl+c>

  6. With the Mass Mover Tool - highlight the target file (Flute 2 file as an example) and use the Control V paste command <ctrl+v>.  This will paste the information (notes, staff, expressions, lyrics, etc...) from the source file to the target file.  This DOES NOT transfer Score Expressions (measure attached expressions) or Page attached text block information.  A note when pasting Lyrics, you must eliminate any lyrics from the target file before pasting lyrics from another file because these lyrics will stack on to the existing lyrics as new additional verses and will probably have their baselines altered.

  7. With the Staff Tool (treble clef) - double click on the target file to bring up the Staff Attributes menu.  Change any appropriate information (Clef, transposition, independent elements, notation choices, etc...).

  8. With the Staff Tool - highlight the target staff and then click on the Edit Menu.  Check the Special Part Extraction.  A Window will pop up - hit return.

  9. Use the Page Layout Tool to make any adjustments necessary to your target file.  Make sure to change the Instrument title on the front page as well as all subsequent pages.

  10. Lastly, you need to save, use the <ctrl+s> command.  Repeat this process for all the remaining parts.

This is a brief overview of our extraction method, there are still cases where it is easier to use the Finale extraction process because of special conditions for a part (lots of clef changes, or independent elements, etc...).  You probably will need to have some experience with Finale to get around using this method.  

It is so second nature to us, that we can crank out a tremendous amount of material in a very short period of time.  In some cases, we have also set up voice commands to handle some of the work.  I like this method because it also gives me the chance to continually look over the work as I extract each part.  If I see something glaring I can go change it globally in the original score file and then all subsequent extractions will have the corrections.


I hope this is helpful, please feel free to email me if you have any questions.



Take care! Lee Monroe

Lee Monroe is the owner of Express Music Services.  He has been a fulltime copyist for 19 years and was strictly a hand copyist for the first 15.  You can check out his hand music font by following this link - LeeMusic.

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