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Just Because You’re Resting, Doesn’t Mean You’re Lazy…

Placing Rests for Use in Slash Notation

They say “rest is good for the soul.” Well, The Finale Guru says that “rests are good for the rhythm chart.”

Let’s face it, most rhythm charts have a lot of measures with slashes in them (slash notation). Sometimes there’s only one chord, or maybe two, in any given measure. So often, I see rhythm charts where people have simply thrown in a whole note, or whole rest and applied the slash notation style to the measure. Or, even worse, I’ve seen charts where people have copied over the right-hand of a piano part and then applied the slash notation. “Why is that so bad?” you ask. I’ll tell you why. It all has to do with spacing.

Scenario 1: With only a whole note (or rest) in a measure, Finale doesn’t really have any way to accurately gauge the spacing for that measure, even with the slashes. Finale seems to space the music more around the information in the measure, not the slashes. The end result, you might get narrow measures with slashes crammed against each other.

Scenario 2: By copying the right-hand of a piano part, you are likely to get all sorts of unnecessary information in your measures. Ever had a slash bar that spaces out as half of a line? You take a peek in the music to find that you’ve copied a piano part that is full of 16th note arpeggios. Yeah, kind of a waste, huh?

Both scenarios are undesirable because of what you don’t see “hidden” behind the slashes.

Solution: Do you remember what The Finale Guru said earlier? Go ahead, peek up at the top. No really, go ahead. That’s right! Good guess – rests! All you have to do for a very clean and well-spaced measure of slash notation is fill the bar with quarter rests (assuming you’re in 4/4). This gives Finale something on every beat with which to use as a guide for spacing. It’s easy to create a measure or two with rests and simply copy the measures as needed throughout your chart.

See, rests are good for the soul and for Finale. You know what else is good for the soul? Chocolate…

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