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  • Tips & Tricks for Finale/VSL

    I have made a new set of Finale HP prefs for some of the download instruments from VSL.

    In addition to the Vienna SE package these prefs also work with the following instruments:
    - SE Strings +
    - Download instruments:
    - Flute
    - Oboe
    - Clarinet in Bb
    - Bassoon
    - Triple Horn
    - Trumpet in C

    I hope these may be useful for anyone else.


  • There are also certain tips and tricks that may be useful when using Finale and VSL.

    1. Making a new HP technique
    To add a new technique in the HP prefs:
    - Click on the HP preferences button on the Playback window.
    - Click ”Show Details” and then ”New Technique”
    - Give the new technique a new name, for example ”Strings: trill halftone”
    - Choose the appropriate technique, in this case ”1/2 tone trill (sampled)”
    - Select Action 1 = Keyswitch G0 (31)
    N.B. Vienna and Finale uses different standards for naming A=440 Hz. This is why C1 in Vienna = C0 in Finale. And C6 (vienna) = C5 (finale)
    - Click ”Save and Close”

    - If you want to choose a patch in vertical row 2,3 etc you need to also select Action 2
    - For Artificial harmonics sustained:
    - Action 1 = Keyswitch D0 (26)
    - Action 2 = CC#1 = 127

    2. Trigger a VI patch that is not supported by Finale’s HP
    If you want to trigger a VI patch that is not supported by Finale’s HP (”senza vibrato” in the flute for instance) you can do this by using the ”custom text”-option as a technique
    - Choose ”Apply only” -> ”for text expressions containing” and write what text you want to trigger the patch with, in this case ”senza vibrato” (or whatever you prefer)
    - Then do as described earlier: Action 1 -> KS C#0 (25), Action 2 -> CC#1 = 50
    - To go back to normal vibrato simply create a new technique:
    - Custom text = ”normale” (for instance)
    - Action 1 = KS C#0 (25)
    - Action 2 = CC#1 = 0

    3. Stuck notes when using CC#1 to change articulation
    I have occasionally encountered stuck notes when using CC#1 to change articulation (ie going between the different vertical rows in the VI matrix). It is probably due to Finale and HP reverting back to CC#1=0 a little to early sometimes. What I did to solve this problem was to copy the problematic patch (in my case ”art. harm sustained” in the SE Strings+) and place it somewhere in the first vertical row and replacing a patch I didn’t use. In this case I copied the ”art. harm sustained” patch into KS=A1 (A0 in Finale) and vertical row 1. I also had to change the Actions in the HP prefs for this technique.

    4. Stop the Legato patches from cutting off
    When using the Legato patches with Finale, long notes can cut off because the Legato patches in the wind instruments are not looped. This can be avoided in two ways:
    A. Uncheck this technique in the HP preferences window for all wind instruments. This way Finale will use the sustained patch instead.
    B. Replace all legato patches in the VI window for all wind instruments with the legato-sus patch.

    5. Using a CC-controller for turning on/off velocity xfade
    There are some CC-controllers that are not used by VI or Finale that you can use for this. I have used CC#3.

    - Go to Perform -> Map Control in the VI window
    - For ”Vel. xfade On/Off” -> choose CC#3
    - For ”Velocity Crossfader” -> choose CC#11

    - In Finale -> Choose the Expression Tool
    - Make one expression with the text ”xfade on” (you can also choose hidden text). Playback options -> Controller CC#3=127
    - Make another expression with the text ”xfade off”. Playback options -> Controller CC#3=0

    By assigning one of these expresssions in your score you can now turn on/off vel. xfade for that specific instrument. I mainly use this for cresc/dim on long notes in the brass.

    6. Unwanted rhythmic accents make the instrument ”jump” between vel layers
    The default settings in HP is that small accents are made on the downbeats in a measure to make playback more alive. Unfortunately this can also cause VSL instruments to ”jump” between different velocity layers if you are unlucky. This can be avoided by doing:
    - In the Playback window -> Human Playback Style -> Choose ”Custom”.
    - A new window appears. Move the ”Rhythmic accents”-slider to 1% (default is 25%)
    - Click OK

    7. Making new expression that trigger KS with MIDI Data Dump
    There is another way to trigger Keyswitches in Finale beside using the HP preferences. This is done by using the MIDI Dump function in the playback options for expressions.

    For instance: We want to trigger Legato with an expression directly in the score
    - Make a new expression with the text ”legato” (you may hide this if you like)
    - In the Playback options choose -> ”Dump…”
    - A new window appears:
    Number of Units: 3
    Data : $90
    $1B (Hexadecimal for 27 -> KS D#0)
    $7F (Hexadecimal for 127 -> Velocity)

    By replacing the second Data number you can (for instance) trigger a sfz patch ($1A = (26))

    These are the first numbers in each hexadecimal row that VSL uses:
    C0 (24) = $18
    C#0 (25) = $19
    D0 (26) = $1A
    D#0 (27) = $1B

    bass instruments:
    C5 (84) = $54
    C#5 (85) = $55

    You can also type the ordinary decimal number and Finale will translate this to hexadecimal.

    By making another expression that sends a CC#1 value and combining this with a ”MID data dump”-expression you can trigger all possible articulations directly from the score. Unfortunately there is no way of sending both MIDI data dump value and a CC#-controller with the same expression.

  • Thanks for that, Albert.



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