Instrument Changes in Finale 2011, or "Why I want to put a gun to my head"

Just when I had finally got a good handle on changing staff styles in older versions of Finale, they went and (from my limited perspective) screwed it up, and while I’ve tried to get my head around the process now, things are just not working out.  I know this has been discussed in other posts, but from those I am still not able to get things to reconcile.

First, the vitals.  Just upgraded to Finale 2011 from 2010b (for the express purpose of trying to resolve staff style change issues).  I have purchased and am currently using the libraries from the VDL 2010b Templates.  The .xml files are correctly placed (in both 2010b and 2011). VDL 2.5.2, Kontakt Player 2.

I am NOT using one of the VDL Finale templates.  I started by current project from scratch.

The project is written for twelve players, and in each (particularly the auxiliary parts), the patches required are numerous – one player has chimes, crotales, doumbek, bass drum, tam-tam, suspended cymbal, etc. – not available on a single combo rack.

I have not problem getting the score I am working on to play back as I want – using text expressions to trigger patch changes is not a problem.  But trying to get it to notate properly…ahh, fail.

So I have a couple of questions:

1.) The use of the Instrument List seems really cumbersome to me so far – actually because I just don’t get how to use it in the way I have sounds configured in Kontakt Player.  I have configured my Audio Units in Kontakt Player such that there are twelve empty banks, each corresponding to one of the twelve staves, and in each bank I am loading the patches into individual slots (001, 002) etc.  This is the method actually suggested here by the guru when I started using VDL and it continues to work great with respect to playback in 2011.  But it seems the necessity now to fuss so much with the instrument list makes this scenario makes this less workable.  Yes?  Should I now just be loading each instrument sound separately and configuring the maps in the Instrument List for each sound?  I know that sounds very confusing, but it makes sense in my head, so….

2.) In previous threads concerning VDL and Finale 2011, a lot has been made of the instrument list and also now having to include two text expressions (one for changing the patch and another hidden expression for changing the map [which seems maddening to me], but is the Staff Style (Define and Apply) also still have a function here? 

3.) I have previously entered notes for specific sounds, if I then apply the staff style to that measure after the fact, shouldn’t those pre-entered notes convert to their correct notated positions for that staff style?

4.) Now a really perplexing issue for me – let me be very specific about the situation.  My score includes BONGOS MANUAL.  When I originally input, the passage when I have used this sample, I entered the notes for Bongos–Sticks for both high and low drums, which are the F and G below middle C.  Since I was doing this in short score and hadn’t assigned the bongos to a particular player, I didn’t mess at the time with using.  The problem is, the specific sound I am using – the sounds that are actually playing back, don’t seem to have a corresponding notation in the BONGOS MANUAL map.  Even if I now apply the BONGOS MANUAL staff style and then try to input new notes, those notes show up in their “input” staff position (F and G below middle C), and the noteheads turn orange.  If I go all the way into the “Select Percussion Map” window and select “BONGOS MANUAL” and then edit, each drum appears only to have four options notated, none of which are identified “with sticks.”

So what am I missing here?

Thanks for the detailed description of your work and the steps you have taken thus far in attempting to resolve the notation issue. IT really helps when looking for a solution.

To clarify things in my mind, do the notation issues begin with the first instance of an instrument change or are they there from the start? If the former, then I would ask if you loaded the layout maps into this score document? Because you are not using a template, but have created your score from a new file the percussion layout library must be loaded in to the new file. A new file from scratch is based on Finale's default document which does not include this library. If the later, and the notation issues arise with an instrument change then I would suspect the problem is in how you have set up the staff style change.

I'll post steps for setting up the staff style change to include the layout map change later this morning.

Ted, thank you for your quick response.  Yes, I have loaded the VDL 2.5.2 layout for Finale 2010b both into the file.  The were added when I was working in Finale 2010b, so they are saved with the file even though I am working in 2011 now. 

I have tried a little experiment, so this may help in diagnosing what I am doing wrong:

As stated I am currently using twelve empty banks ��� each for a separate staff/player, and have loaded into each bank the various instruments that player will use.  This has always worked out for me in terms of playback, and of course in 2006/2008 it wasn't a problem to use staff styles to get the notation match.

As a departure, I tried the following:
1.) In Kontakt Player 2, I load BONGOS MANUAL as its own channel 13 (not into an empty bank).
2. In the INSTRUMENT LIST, I created a new instrument ��� BONGOS, set it to channel 13, set GM to ";No GM equivalent,"; and set ";Percussion MIDI Map"; to ";BONGOS MANUAL";
3.) Using the staff tool, I created a new staff style named BONGOS, and in the ATTRIBUTES box selected ";Percussion"; for Notation Style, clicked the SELECT button and chose VDL2.5 BONGOS MANUAL.  I also clicked percussion clef and set Notation Font to MAESTRO PERCUSSION.
4.) I created two text expressions:  BONGOS, for which in the playback dialog box I selected CHANNEL and set value to 13; and a hidden BONGOS, for which in playback I set to PERCUSSION MAP and selected BONGOS MANUAL.
5. I selected a measure, applied BONGOS MANUAL staff style; inserted both the text expressions I designed.
6.) Then I started entering notes on the Oxygen 8.  I entered every pitch identified in the various documentation for the BONGOS MANUAL keymap.  Only two pitches did not turn orange.  However, everyone of them played back correctly.

In order to see if it was just some sort of aberration with the BONGOS MANUAL, I tried it also with DJEMBE BIG.  When I entered notes, everyone of them was orange, although the playback was fine.


By the way, this brings up a second question.  It appears the percussion layout are intended to use Maestro Percussion, but this something that has to be changed in the layouts by the end user.  Why are these not already configured as such?

Thanks again!

Ok, so the fact that you have the library loaded into the file eliminates that as a possible problem/solution. And thanks again for the detailed response.

In reviewing the steps you've taken with the test staff I think we're good good for playback. Especially since you state that it plays back correctly. I'm looking at the 3rd through 6th steps though as to why the notation is not functioning as it should.

When you state that you are creating a new staff style, do you mean you are selecting ";Define Staff Styles"; from this menu or are you selecting ";Edit Staff Attributes";? You should be setting the Staff Attributes first and it would be here that you first define the staff style as you have described in step 3. Step 4 should not be needed in this specific case because you are not changing anything from the original staff attributes.

I would suggest doing the following with your score:

1. Using the Staff Tool define the STAFF ATTRIBUTES for the primary (or first) instrument.

2. In the INSTRUMENT LIST match your initial staff names so that staff 1 has the same instrument in both locations. Likewise these should match the set up you have in the Kontakt Player. for those staffs which require banks the first slot or channel should be that first instrument from the Instrument List.

3. Create Staff Styles for each instrument in each bank. You don't need to do this for staves which do not change instruments, those that are not part of an instrument bank.

4. Use the EXPRESSION TOOL to create a SINGLE text expression for the instrument change (what the player reads) and the patch change to handle the playback. Using two expressions is not necessary because 1 expression is capable of handling multiple changes.

5. When creating the text expression, the Playback tab should look as follows:

Type: Patch
GM: No GM Equivalent
Patch: Bank 0, Program Change
Effect: Set to Value
Bank Select 0 = 0, Bank Select 32 = 0, Program Change = (the slot number for this specific instrument in its Bank)

6. Just as you need to create a Staff Style for each instrument, because you are changing layout maps, you will need to create Text Expressions for the player to read and the Kontakt Player to handle the playback.

7. It is important to remember that you include every instrument in both the Staff Styles and Text Expressions because you will presumably be changing to different instruments AND back to the original at some point within the score.

This is the best way that I'm aware of, when one wishes to deal with multiple instruments like this. That said, if a staff has only for instruments it is possible to accomplish this using the various Layers within a staff. Each layer would have its own instrument and each instrument would need its own MIDI channel assignment. This is set up with the Instrument List. You would still need to use the Staff Styles to handle the layout library changes whether it is from non-pitched percussion to non-pitched or pitched to non-pitched.

I hope this is clear and that it helps resolve the notation issue.
Thanks again, Ted.

Addressing each of your points outlined below (my numbers correspond with your own):

1.) STAFF ATTRIBUTES ��� I think this is already done, although the staff names are ";Player 1,"; etc.  For the example of the bongos, they are assigned to the staff which has GLOCK as its primary instrument.  In the staff attributes, I suppose I can change the name of the staff, but the attributes will be the same - that is, the notation type is STANDARD as there is no VDL map for keyboards.  How is what I have done need to be different?

2.) Okay, I have changed the staff name, and changed it in the INSTRUMENT LIST.  There is nothing in the Percussion MIDI Map column as I am using standard notation for the default staff attribute.

3.) Done, as described above.

4.-7.) DONE

Okay, now I apply the staff style, no change.  Same result.  Hmmm....
I'll post steps for setting up the Staff Style change to accommodate the change from pitched to non-pitched this evening. This can be done and the FIN11 templates will have some basic style changes available.

Also, would you post or email me a copy of the file. It might help in resolving the issue.
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