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[Finale] “Cue Notes” shows you when you should get ready to perform

Some people, especially those who have experience playing in wind bands or orchestras, may have written something like this on their part scores.

It’s called “cue notes”, and some music notation software has a function to add them.

For example, with Finale, you can easily add them using the Add Cue Notes plug-in.

As an example of how this plug-in can be applied, let's take the beginning of P. Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Flowers" (from "The Nutcracker"). Please pay attention to the part where the clarinet comes in from measure 45, following the 8-measure French horn from measure 38.

This time, let's add this French horn melody as cue notes to the 8 bars just before the clarinet starts playing.

First, select the range you want to use as cue notes, and then select "Plug-ins Menu > Scoring and Arranging > Add Cue Notes" to display the Add Cue Notes dialog box.

The cue notes are not actually played, so it is enough to just see the shape of the melody. Displaying lyrics may be useful in some cases, but usually you can simply uncheck everything in "Include: ".

There is no need to make any other changes, so select “Clarinet in Bb 1” in the left window and click the "OK" button.

Immediately after clicking the "OK" button, it will look like this. You can see how the French horn melody is added as cue notes eight bars before the clarinet starts playing. (The notes are in blue, indicating that the cue notes were added to layer 4.)

All this plug-in does is to paste the original melody at 75% size on layer 4, so if you want to change something to make it easier to read, you can edit it just like other notes. Here I selected a range of cue notes and made them octave higher.

The difference between before and after applying cue notes for a clarinet part is as follows.

The basic functions are as above mentioned, but in Finale, you can also make additional special settings, such as displaying cue notes only in the part score and hide them in the full score, or unifying different clefs like when you use trombone phrases as cue notes for the flute, or muting cue notes during playback.

Since these are realized by combining Finale's various functions in an applied manner, so the User Manual does not explain everything in detail, but some basic settings can be found on the following pages. 

▼Cue Notes (Finale User Manual)


When I was working at Finale's sole distributor in Japan, I planned and wrote a series of articles introducing the know-how for creating orchestral scores with Finale.

《Three techniques for orchestral scores》

3. How to set cue notes that indicate the starting point of each part

The third article is still unpublished, but this article is pretty much what I wanted to write at that time. I believe this is the end of the series, so I hope you will utilize this know-how in the future.

Articles 1 and 2 are reproductions of the film scoring settings that I learned using Finale 2006 at the Berklee College of Music, for the current version of Finale. You can download the template .musx file in the article below.

▼Introducing professional Finale templates

Case 1: Mr. Hayato Matsuo (composer/arranger/orchestrator)

Specifically, it’s something like this. I would be happy if you could take advantage of this as well.



The finale intensive course is being held in parallel on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. Click on the banner below for details. (Lecture is given in Japanese. ) 

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