Technology (Day 313/365)

You would be forgiven for expecting that I would accomplish nothing today, what with ramping up the LotPDM, but such is my foresight, my planaheaditude, that I actually had free time during the afternoon.

And so I got to an item on my TTD list: extract orchestral parts for Milky Way. Of course this is not actually difficult; Finale does it for you. But I still have not done it in a very long time (and even then I wasn’t extracting a whole orchestra).

I dimly recalled that one of the improvements to Finale 2007 was better part extraction, so I was bold and opened the piece in that version. (You may recall that I stuck to the 2006 version because the plug-in that plays the orchestra doesn’t really work in the 2007 version.) Indeed, the management of part extraction is pretty incredible.

For example, the glockenspiel plays pretty heavily, but the timpani plays once, the bass drum once, the cymbals once. Actually I had forgotten I had put the cymbals in there, because I had used the wrong note and so they weren’t playing, it’s complicated, I tell you, and I may take them out, but there they were. It seemed to me that I didn’t need to print three different parts for those instruments when clearly it would take only one bored percussionist to handle them.

Finale allows you to combine those kinds of parts into one sheet, and it was quite intuitive as to how to accomplish that.

What wasn’t intuitive, after I had exported the parts, was how to make the parts show up on 9×12 paper rather than the 11×17 of the score. I could go through each of the nineteen parts and change the size of the paper, but that goes against my rule of repeating an action more than three times without technological assistance. My presumption is that a task like that is embedded somewhere in the software. It should do it for me.

Back to Finale, looking around the Extract Parts bit. It wasn’t there, but it was in the Page Layout area. You can actually set the size of paper for the score and the parts within the score. Apparently Finale 2007 manages parts as an extension of the score, which is cool if I ever have to make changes to the score. Not that that would ever happen.

So I exported them again. Then I noticed that nowhere on the parts did it say what part it was. Shouldn’t that have been automatic? Rooting around in menus and options gave me no clue, so I was forced to resort to reading the manual. I know, but sometimes it it’s necessary.

It appears that Finale 2007 will put the part name on the part automatically, but Finale 2006 did not, so if you’ve converted a file there were extra steps to take. That’s when I found out that you can actually pull up parts within the score file and edit them before you export them. Cool!

So I exported them again.

We’ll see whether that’s good enough. What I probably need to do is to go through all the parts and move all the little bits around (pizzicato markings sitting on top of measure numbers, that kind of thing) and then export them. Again.

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