Using Program changes to switch sounds (in Finale 2011)

I believe I've been doing this the wrong way. I've always just switched channels to get different sounds. Trouble is, when one marimba player switches to a new sound, all 3 marimbas switch to the new sound, unless I have all 3 assigned to different channels with marimbas loaded to begin with.

Is that the correct way to handle this (load 3 separate marimba channels), or is there a way to use program changes? I only ask because I see in the mallet expressions the entries such as (To glock) using this, but it doesn't seem to work for me.

I'm using the newest templates and version of VDL.
mcp - this is a good question, and I don't think there's necessarily a ";right"; or ";wrong"; way of doing it. Some of it may depend on how you prefer to signal your channel/program changes.

If you're using text attributes to change instruments, it's likely these attributes be easier to use on any staff rather than having text that's specific to each staff (i.e ";Tambourine"; may be an attribute you want available to more than one player). In this case, using channel changes makes sense since each instrument would be assigned to a unique channel. And yes, having three separate marimbas on three separate channels would be a good way to go. I'd recommend using a varied collection of Marimbas (not all the same patch) for a better sense of realism. Perhaps a Rosewood MED, a Synthetic MED, and a Rosewood SOFT.

Program Changes are also a handy way to go, but would be a different process. If you're using this method, ideally you'd start by loading an ";Empty Bank"; (from VDL) into that instrument's channel, then loading whichever VDL patches into the various ";slots"; within that bank. These bank slots would correspond to program changes on each given channel. This can be more customizable, but may also cause you to load the same instrument (i.e. Marimba Rosewood MED) into three separate banks (since each marimba staff would theoretically have its own bank). This won't necessarily increase memory usage, but it's just more dragging to setup. Also, since the patches loaded will be unique and specific to each bank, text attributes may be less universal here, and instead you'd just use the MIDI Tool to send a program change message when desired.

Sorry if that's a little long-winded and open-ended. It's one aspect to Finale that makes it powerful - options to work the way that works best for you. If I were to guess, the first method (using channel changes) may be the way to lean, but you can experiment with what you prefer.

Good luck!
Thanks for the replies.
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