Muting Playback in Finale

There are a number of effective ways to mute playback in Finale.

Which technique is right for a given situation? That depends on a bunch of things:

How many notes do you need to mute? Just one? A few measures?

Do you need an on-screen marker to indicate what is muted?

Will you need to be able easily edit the mutes or the muted notes later?

Here are a few muting techniques to try


Muting with Expressions

To mute a section of music in a single staff try creating an expression that changes the key velocity to zero.

note — Key Velocity is the speed at which a MIDI key is pressed (represented as a number 0-127). The harder/faster you press you MIDI keyboard, the higher the Key Velocity value.


The Dynamic Expressions you use everyday in Finale simply change the Key Velocity of the notes.

Setting the Key Velocity to zero is a bit like not pressing a key at all, except that it still appears on the score.

  1. In the Expression Selection window, duplicate a Dynamic Expression (eg. mf or mp)
  2. Press “Edit”
  3. Uncheck “Use Dynamics Category Fonts”
  4. Change the font to a standard Text Font
  5. Type a description for your new expression ex. Vel=0
  6. Check “Hidden” – the expression will now appear on the screen, but won’t print.
  7. Press the “Playback” Button at the top of the Expression Designer window
  8. Change the text field “Set to Value” to 1(setting to zero doesn’t always work, depending on your sound settings. )
  9. Press “OK” then “Assign”


Muting with Articulations

Maybe there’s a spoken lyric or a sound effect that shouldn’t be heard in playback.

When you have just a single note to mute, try attaching an articulation with a Key Velocity change.

  1. In the Articulation Selection window, press “Create”
  2. Press “Set Font” and choose a standard Text Font with a font size around 10-12
  3. Press “Main” and select a character for your Muted Articulation.

note — some letters/characters will have a function if Human Playback is turned on, and are not available for our Mute Articulation. I use the asterisk(*)

  1. Select the following options:
    Vertical Positioning>Above Note
    Always Place Outside Staff
    Display on Screen Only
  2. In the Playback Effect section:
    Select “Values as Percentages”
    Select “Change Key Velocity”
    Set the Top and Bottom Note Values to 1% (0% doesn’t have any effect.)
    Select “Change Attack”
    Set the Top and Bottom Note Values to 1%
  3. Attach this new articulation to any note or chord you need to mute. Notes to the right will playback normally.


Muting with Layers

In cases where there are cued notes, a muted layer is a nice option.

  1. Input the cue notes into a layer that you aren’t using for anything else (Usually Layer 3 or 4)
  2. Open the “Score Manager>Instrument List” and find the instrument you need to mute
  3. Open the disclosure triangle, and select “Mute” in the cue note layer

if you don’t see the M and S in the top row of the Score Manager, find the “Customize View” popup and select “Mute & Solo”

There are some advanced methods to automate these type of mutes, but if you aren’t using layer 3 or 4 for anything else in your score the method above will get you through.



Muting with JW Change Plug-in

If you have the JW Change Plug-in, you’ll find a simple option to mute playback from there.

  1. Open JW Change
  2. Note Entries>Playback
  3. Select “Mute”
    If you’d like, there are options to filter layers, or different note types(Resized Entries will mute cue note size music)
  4. Press “Apply”


Muting with the MIDI Tool

The MIDI Tool can be daunting but worth learning if you are hoping to get Finale to create more musical playback.
While not be the simplest method to mute notes this can be a gateway into learning the MIDI Tool itself.

  1. Select the MIDI Tool and double click a measure of music
  2. Select MIDI Tool>Key Velocities (or click the downwards arrow button at the top of the window)
  3. Double click on the handle of a note to bring up the “Edit MIDI Note” window
  4. Set the Key Velocity to 0(zero)
  5. To mute several notes at once, select the notes and then MIDI Tool>Set To…
  6. Set the Key Velocities to 0(zero)


Muting with the Edit Frame(advanced)

If you know how to use the Edit Frame window, it contains options to deselect playback for individual notes.
If you are unfamiliar with the Edit Frame window, perhaps skip this option…



The techniques listed above should cover most situations, but there are other options:

JW Lua Scripts
Human Playback settings
Automating instrument changes and settings
Automating mutes via the mixer

Let me know in the comments what muting techniques you use!

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