Finale Slur Settings

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John Ruggero
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Finale Slur Settings

Post by John Ruggero » 18 Feb 2016, 00:14

(Repost: I found errors in the settings in the attached files and in the body of this post immediately after posting last night, so please use the settings in this post and attached files:)

After many years of adjusting Finale slurs, I decided recently to try to find settings that would give me good results most of the time without hand adjustment.

First, Smart Shapes>Smart Slur Options needed attention. This represented difficulty because I had little understanding of most of the settings. Online “research” snagged a post at the MM Forum by our own OCTO. I plugged in his first two settings, which immediately gave promising results. Another post by Peter Thomsen humorously recommended “lifted rather than stretched,” which also gave good results. I modified other settings by trial and error. Here is the result:
Smart Slur Options.jpg
Smart Slur Options.jpg (32.89 KiB) Viewed 3176 times
Next there was Slur Contour. This was easier, because I knew that while I like the general shape of the Finale defaults, they are too bowed for my taste. Eyeballing gave the following settings:

Smart Shapes>Slur Contour>Short Span>Height: .7 spaces, Inset 30%
Smart Shapes>Slur Contour>Medium Span> Height: 1.7 spaces, Inset 25%
Smart Shapes>Slur Contour>Long Span> Height: 3 spaces, Inset 20%
Smart Shapes>Slur Contour>Extra Long Span> Height: 3.25 spaces, Inset 18%

Finally, Smart Slur Placement. This was more confusing, because not all possibilities were accounted for in the list. The crucial omission was the case of two slurred notes of different stem directions. But I adjusted what was there. Here are my settings for the first 13 items in the list. I never use the items 14 and 15, so they are omitted.

Smart Shapes>Smart Shape Placement>Slur> (in spaces)
1 Start Point H: 0 V: 0.5 End Point H: V: -0.5
2 Start Point H: 0 V: -0.5 End Point H: 0 V: -0.5
3 Start Point H: 0.5 V: -1 End Point H: -.5 V: -1
4 Start Point H: 0.5 V: -1 End Point H: -.5 V: -1
5 Start Point H: 0.5 V: 1 End Point H: -0.5 V: 1
6 Start Point H: 1 V: -1
7 Start Point H: 1 V: -1
8 Start Point H: 1 V: 1
9 Start Point H: 0 V: 0.5 End Point H: 0 V: 0.5
10 Start Point H: 0 V: - 0.5 End Point H: 0 V: -0.5
11 Start Point H: 0 V: - 0.125 End Point H: -1 V: -0.125
12 Start Point H: .25 V: - 0.16667 End Point H: -0.5 V: -2
13 Start Point H: .3333 V: 0 End Point H: -.25 V: 2

I tested my settings in the attached file and in some current projects. I found that most slurs were acceptable! But there were cases, shown by comments in the file, that would still need hand adjustment. It did not seem possible to take care of all possibilities with the settings.

My conclusions:

1. Finale has difficulty with slurs placed on the note head side of wide intervals, even with just two notes. It has particular difficulty when a single note juts out in the middle of a pattern over a wide interval.

2. Because of the omission of the case of two slurred notes of opposite stem direction in the Slur Placement settings, one must hand adjust many such cases.

3. Medium slurs of shallow arc conflict with ties. Because I had compromise to avoid such collisions, I feel that my medium slurs are still too bowed. I may yet reduce the bow and hand adjust the collisions, depending on what seems more efficient. This conflict seems irreconcilable.

I am posting this as a follow up to the Line Settings thread. I am hoping that members might experiment with the file and make comments and suggestions that will give better results. Perhaps we could collectively come up with settings that save time for many engravers. I am also including a MusXML file for those who wish to experiment with other notation software.
Slur Experiments.musx
(106.67 KiB) Downloaded 117 times
Slur Experiments.xml
(155.07 KiB) Downloaded 67 times
Last edited by John Ruggero on 18 Feb 2016, 13:39, edited 1 time in total.
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OCTO
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by OCTO » 18 Feb 2016, 07:19

Hmmm.. I have discussed this with Wess, who will probably come with his settings.
The problem is that the slurs are to many to have ONE setting. This is the biggest fault of the softwares' designers.

I stopped using "Engraver Slurs" - this is the most ridiculous setting out there. You can't get it work properly.
As long as there is no multiple slurs' settings (grouped by: length, angle, notehead/accidental collision at the ending points) and without allowing flat-slurs, the slurs in Finale (and also all other software - ....Daniel?) must ALWAYS be MANUALLY edited.
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Knut
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by Knut » 18 Feb 2016, 11:29

Thanks for sharing your settings, John.

These are very good allround settings. They are pretty similar to my own, although my medium slurs have a somewhat higher curve, and all slurs are placed higher on the stems. Those differences are mostly a matter of taste, though. In some cases your settings are definitely better, so I'll take them into consideration when improving my own.
OCTO wrote:Hmmm.. I have discussed this with Wess, who will probably come with his settings.
The problem is that the slurs are to many to have ONE setting. This is the biggest fault of the softwares' designers.

I stopped using "Engraver Slurs" - this is the most ridiculous setting out there. You can't get it work properly.
As long as there is no multiple slurs' settings (grouped by: length, angle, notehead/accidental collision at the ending points) and without allowing flat-slurs, the slurs in Finale (and also all other software - ....Daniel?) must ALWAYS be MANUALLY edited.
Personally, I find Finale's engraver slurs to work very well as a basis in most situations, mind you, with the right settings. Much more manual tweaking would be needed if I were to turn them off completely. In cases were the entire curve (and placement) needs to be redone, I simply turn them off individually, or on a region by region basis with the JW Cange plug-in. Those cases, while pretty common, is definitely in the minority, and I would find it much harder to achieve consistency if I were to manually edit every single one.

That said, there is definitely room for a lot of improvement in Finale's handling of slurs.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by John Ruggero » 18 Feb 2016, 14:39

OCTO., It would be wonderful if Wess gave his input. As you say, many slurs have to be adjusted by hand. If only this software were more sophisticated and had the categories that you mentioned. At least it needs to cover all the simple cases like two notes of opposite stem direction.

Knut, you are very welcome. I am amazed that my settings are similar to yours, which gives me great encouragement. I think I like slurs higher on the stems as well; but I was unsure about that. Why is it necessary to turn off the Engraver Slurs to adjust individual slurs?
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by Knut » 18 Feb 2016, 15:18

John Ruggero wrote:
Knut, you are very welcome. I am amazed that my settings are similar to yours, which gives me great encouragement. I think I like slurs higher on the stems as well; but I was unsure about that. Why is it necessary to turn off the Engraver Slurs to adjust individual slurs?
When there aren't any obstacles or lack of vertical space, slurs on the stem side are usually placed more or less 0,5 spaces lower than the length of the stem.

I turn of Engraver Slurs for the same reason as OCTO, I suspect; to cancel any automatic calculations, and to have a clean starting point for shaping and placement.

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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by Knut » 18 Feb 2016, 20:36

To keep this thread software independent and more as a general discussion about appropriate slur shapes/placement, maybe some Lilypond/MuseScore users would post a test sheet similar to John's? I for one would find it interesting to see how other software preforms in this regard, and I think a general discussion is more appropriate for this forum.

Edit: On second thought, since this thread is titled Finale Slur Settings, a more general discussion is probably for another thread.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by John Ruggero » 19 Feb 2016, 04:01

Thanks, Knut. I will do some more experimentation with those specs tomorrow. It hasn't bothered me to start with the Finale Engraver Slur default, probably because that is all I've ever done. I tend to prefer starting from something preexisting and then modifying it. For example, I use scanning as much as possible for note input, even though I could probably go as fast with a MIDI keyboard.

I called it Finale Slur Settings because I have so little experience with other software; and I put it in this section because it relates to the previous thread on Line Settings. But I could always change the title or move it as seems best. I did try out the MusXML file in Sibelius to see what resulted, but I was not familiar enough with the program to draw anything meaningful from that.
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by Knut » 19 Feb 2016, 09:52

John Ruggero wrote: I called it Finale Slur Settings because I have so little experience with other software; and I put it in this section because it relates to the previous thread on Line Settings. But I could always change the title or move it as seems best. I did try out the MusXML file in Sibelius to see what resulted, but I was not familiar enough with the program to draw anything meaningful from that.
That's OK. I didn't consider that the thread title had the name Finale in it when I wrote the last comment.

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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by John Ruggero » 23 Feb 2016, 21:49

Knut, what do you think of these changes?

Smart Shapes>Smart Shape Placement>Slur> (in spaces)

3 Start Point H: 0.5 V: -.5 End Point H: -.5 V: -.5
4 Start Point H: 0.5 V: -.5 End Point H: -.5 V: -.5
5 Start Point H: 0.5 V: .5 End Point H: -0.5 V: .5
6 Start Point H: .5 V: -.5
7 Start Point H: .5 V: -.5
8 Start Point H: .5 V: .5

All the V = .5 or -.5 could also be .4 or -.4.
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by Knut » 23 Feb 2016, 23:21

John Ruggero wrote:Knut, what do you think of these changes?

Smart Shapes>Smart Shape Placement>Slur> (in spaces)

3 Start Point H: 0.5 V: -.5 End Point H: -.5 V: -.5
4 Start Point H: 0.5 V: -.5 End Point H: -.5 V: -.5
5 Start Point H: 0.5 V: .5 End Point H: -0.5 V: .5
6 Start Point H: .5 V: -.5
7 Start Point H: .5 V: -.5
8 Start Point H: .5 V: .5

All the V = .5 or -.5 could also be .4 or -.4.
That looks much better to me. Your vertical settings for slurs on grace notes is also a bit too tight for my taste. I'd use about 3–4 EVPUs distance form the notehead/stem.

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