In my last post, I described using Robert Gatliff’s program for transposing music. It worked well and was fairly easy to learn. However, I chose to switch to Finale for its ability to export the music for use in the textbook I was preparing.
Finale is a powerful music notation system, but because it does so many things, it takes time to learn. For example, there are three different ways music can be entered into the program.
The first thing I needed to do was learn to make the program work for my specific needs. There are still portions of the program I am learning as I need specific features. I had to learn to enter the notes, change time signatures, work with adding lyrics, and add the fonts for the fingering diagrams. In the beginning, I wasn’t even sure I could enter both words and fingerings. Each song I had previously done needed to be totally re-entered.
At first, I concentrated on entering the notes. I created a column on the website for TAB only – music without fingering diagrams. As I got more comfortable with the whole process, I found that for new songs, I could enter the notes as written in the reference book and let Finale transpose them for me. However, it wasn’t as simple as it sounds. Instead of saying I wanted to transpose up a half-step, I was faced with choices like transpose diatonically or chromatically. Up or down an augmented unison, diminished second, minor second etc. All terms I was not familiar with using. At times transposing up a third meant that the accidentals needed to be checked. Did I really want that note to be a “d” or a “d#”? Again I was checking and correcting each step of the way.
Once I felt more comfortable with entering the notes, I needed to learn to enter the fingerings. Clint Goss’ fonts are easy to use once I discovered his system. I had been accustomed to typing in the name of the note and expected something similar from Clint. He actually came up with a much easier way to do it by using numerals. Once I became comfortable with the system, I began adding fingerings to the TAB only songs. I wanted them to be available to everyone.
Then, I decided I wanted a uniform look to the music on my website. Every song I had done using flutetree.com now needed to be re-done in Finale. As I had more and more songs in different stages of the process, it became necessary to track which songs still needed work, which songs had been completed, uploaded and linked. Some files were for personal use in the textbook and not to be used on the website at all. I separated songs into folders and created a document with tables to enter necessary information.
Finally, I felt it was time for the music page overhaul. Practically all of the music had been re-worked. Byron and I then discussed the new design for the page. Should we have the songs in categories or only alphabetically? Byron began the coding, I began checking through the 80+ songs that had been uploaded and were ready to be linked to the re-designed page. That was when I discovered that half of my Christmas songs still had not been re-done. Since it was after Christmas, I decided to let the page be put up without them. Over the next few months, I worked on classroom materials. My friend, Nancy was gracious enough to proof read over them for me. Byron formatted them into a book. Now I’ve finally gotten the “last” of the Christmas songs completed. Of course, I continue to work on more songs for the website – now over 100 songs are available for your use – and probably will be adding more Christmas as well.
I realize that this post has been long and rather technical. If you have any questions about the process, I would be happy to help. Otherwise, just know I am constantly working to bring you the best selection of tunes available for your playing pleasure.