Large Time Signatures

If you've ever conducted an ensemble, you've probably messed up a meter change. You know how frustrating that can be and how it can easily bring the best rehearsals to a screeching halt.

Luckily, as a Finale user, you can prevent this from ever happening. Because with large time signatures, it's easier to conduct and rehearse your music. That means:

• Better sight-reads
• Better rehearsals
• Better recordings
• Better performances

Who wouldn't want that?

Since large time signatures are simple to create in Finale, it's a no-brainer to add them. Best of all, the part time signatures will remain unaffected. That way, you can still use linked parts.

So let's get started!


Option 1: The Standard Way

As with many things in Finale, there are multiple ways to create these large time signatures. So we're going to start with the manual way so you understand what's happening, then go over a way that takes less than a second.


Step 1: Remove Excess Time Signatures

Our large time signature is going to span 3 full staves, and we only need it to show on the top of the three staves. Typically, large time signatures appear on the first staff of an instrument section (e.g., Flute 1 for woodwinds, Horn 1 for brass, Timpani for percussion, and Violin 1 for strings).

1. Go to Plugins > Scoring and Arranging > Global Staff Attributes...
2. Select all the staves you do not want a large time signature.
        • Command (Mac) or Control (Window) click to select multiple staves
3. Unselect Time Signature in Score
4. Press Apply then OK

You should now only see time signatures on just a few staves!



Step 2: Change the Time Signature Settings

Now, we need to make the time signature large.

1. Open up Document Options (Document > Document Options)
2. Go to Fonts
3. Under Notation, select Time Signature (Score) and then press Set Font…
4. Set the font to Engraver Time, font size 40
5. Press OK then Apply


Great! The time signatures are large! Now just one more setting to fix the positioning.

1. Still in Document Options, go to the Time Signature settings
2. For the Top Symbol, type in "-15e"
3. For the Bottom Symbol, type in "-295e"
4. Click Apply and Done

That's fantastic. Everything should look perfect now.


Option 2: Using JW Lua (takes 1 second)

In case you don't know what JW Lua is, it's a plugin that allows people like you and me to write and run scripts in Finale. These scripts can do almost anything we want! It's really cool.

That allowed me to create a script to add large time signatures as part of my 80 Free Scripts That Could 10x Your Workflow.

This script is called Create Conductor Score because it also does other things to optimize your music for conductors. Here's how it works.

1. Run the script Plugins > JW Lua > Create Conductor Score
2. Make sure Large time signature is selected and press Ok
3. The script will automatically detect the best staves for the time signatures, but you can now change the settings or hit OK.
4. Tada! You now have large time signatures!


This is great for automating the process and ensuring you don't need to memorize trivial details. Also, if you add it to a larger macro in Keyboard Maestro, you can make sure you never miss this detail again.

So, if you want to get this script and over 80 more, just go to this page to find out more.

As always, if you found this post helpful, make sure to share it with at least one colleague to help them as well. Every bit helps.

~ Nick

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