Chant notation in Finale
  • rvisser
    Posts: 26
    What music software do people use for notating chant? I am most interested in ways that this can be done with finale. I thought I had heard of some sort of add-on you could do for finale that has chant notation, but I haven't looked into it.
  • LauraKaz
    Posts: 41
    Are you trying to notate the square notes or a modern-notation version? I know you can use stemless notes in Musescore, but I think you'll need another tool to write square notes.
  • CGM
    Posts: 608
    The Finale plug-in you're thinking of is called Medieval. It is almost as expensive as the Finale software itself. I haven't used it, so I can't speak to its efficacy or its learning curve.

    What I think most people here use for chant engraving is one of the Gregorio interfaces, either Adam Bartlett's (at Source and Summit), or Richard Chonak's. With these editors you can notate a chant and export it as a graphical file, then import that graphic into Finale. Both of these editors are free to use; you just have to learn the principals of using GABC (there's a helpful cheat-sheet at Chonak's website), and a long and thorough tutorial here (by Adam Wood, I believe).
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • PaxTecum
    Posts: 287
    I much prefer using the meinrad fonts and Adobe Indesign for chant engraving as you have much more flexibility over where things go (specifically how vowels line up with notes). It’s not the easiest or best use of time - I’ve used Gregorio editors when in a rush.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • rvisser
    Posts: 26
    @ LauraKaz - I am looking for four line notation and square notes. I do use Finale with stemless notes for modern notation.
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • rvisser
    Posts: 26
    @CGM - I think I will try Medieval. My husband is interested in this for notating Renaissance music as well, so it looks like this will do more than the Gregorio interfaces. I have spent so many years becoming proficient at Finale that I'm reluctant to try and figure out GABC, although I probably should ..
    @PaxTecum - if only Adobe InDesign didn't charge a monthly subscription!
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,481
    I am using Apple Pages and the Caeciliae font, the GABC is good for quick things where you do not care too much about presentation and good use of the page.
  • CGM
    Posts: 608
    @rvisser — You note,

    I have spent so many years becoming proficient at Finale

    and as the kids would say, I feel ya. I've been working with Finale for over thirty years, and sometimes I have altered my own compositional choices when a musical idea would be too difficult to notate. I occasionally tell people that I think in Finale.

    Let me know how Medieval goes for you. If you and your husband like it, maybe I'll take it for a spin as well. I've done lots of little things with GABC, but I don't use it regularly, and so every time I do something with the Source & Summit or Chonak interface, I feel like I have to learn the system all over again. If Medieval works in a manner similar to standard Finale usage, that might be a better fit for my brain. (Or maybe I should just buy $250 of chant books instead.)
    Thanked by 1rvisser
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,254
    I’ve heard the learning curve is *quite* high for medieval. That said, I’ve also petitioned the développer to port it to Dorico, and he’s apparently open to the idea, but Dorico needs some more support for scripting apparently.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 505
    For me the deciding factor for using Gregorio is the existence of Gregobase. So many things I need are already on Gregobase, and if I don’t like their graphic or PDF, or want to mark in a bunch of carryovers or what have you to save time in rehearsal, or make oddly-sized scores, the GABC code is right there for each file, and then it’s just a very simple, quick job to make it exactly how I want in Gregorio, rather than having to start from scratch one more time with, say, Kyrie VIII….
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,254
    Gamba, that’s one of the reasons I’ve bothered to have a go at GABC. It’s not terrible once you get the hang of it, and, as you said, there’s such a huge pool of data ready for the taking. My main pet peeve with GABC is the lack of control over the automatically inserted hyphenation. It’s very erratic.
  • rvisser
    Posts: 26
    @CGM - I guess I'm not old yet...only 15 years of Finale usage, but that IS almost half my life ;) I'll report back when we've tested it out. My husband is teaching a high school music course for a homeschool co-op in our area. He takes orchestral scores and simplifies them to help the students analyze music while they're listening, and he's also going to be doing a little bit with early music, so alternative forms of musical notation will be helpful. He's a classical guitarist and really likes Renaissance lute music, too. I've actually never had a need to do tablature notation in finale. I should look into that too.

    One of these days I'll get around to using GABC...

    I have used stuff from Gregobase for Latin Mass, and there is a lot of helpful music in it. When I need to notate chant, it's simple stuff like psalms for daily Mass (without having to do all the ridiculous work around in finale to make it look nice). Or notating an excerpt of a longer chant to teach kids in youth choir.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,951
    I never got on with Medieval.
    But with the current SMuFL-compliant version of Finale (27.3), it's unnecessary.
    Chant in Finale is always going to be kludgy, and Gregorio produces better results. But for incidental chant (incipits, alternatim) I prefer to have the chant be an actual part of the file, rather than be a graphic imported from another program.

    The general process:
    Create a 4-line staff.
    Create a clef using the glyphs from the SMuFL font set. You'll have to knock out a clef from the 18 available clefs, but it will only obtain for this piece unless you create a template (advised), and you probably won't be using guitar tab in this project.
    Enter pitches for your first phrase, as quarters, planning how many you will need and giving the phrase the corresponding time sig, which you will hide. Note that you can create some neumes (torculus) by entering as chords and then use the Special Tools to move the noteheads around. Or just use the SMuFL multiple not forms.
    Use Staff Styles to remove stems, except for virgas etc.
    Utilities/change/notehead and select one of the SMuFL noteheads (Medieval and Renaissance planchant single-note forms)
    An early and imperfect example may be found here:
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