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Top Tip #3 – Aligning Hairpins

#3 – When adding hairpins in multiple staves, right-click to align vertically.

First off, let’s all be clear on what a hairpin is. No, I’m not talking about those little clips that you find in your grandmother’s bathroom or in your sister’s bedroom on all of her Barbies.  If that’s what you’re envisioning right now, then my references to staves, aligning and editing really make no sense, do they?  No, in music, a hairpin is when you have a crescendo marking ( < ) immediately following by a decrescendo marking ( > ). The result: < >  See? It looks like a hairpin.  Nowadays, most guys seem to use the term “hairpin” to refer to either the < or >, or both together.

With Finale’s right-click contextual menu concept, all you have to do is select any group of hairpins (click and drag) and right click on the one that you feel is most properly placed. In the contextual menu, you have two options: “Align Vertically” and “Align Horizontally”. Choose which option you desire and Finale aligns them instantly. “Align Vertically” is great for an entire score up and down the page, while “Align Horizontally” works to ensure that hairpins sit the same distance under any given number of staves. Both are useful and quickly allow you to clean up your score.

One last thing I’ll mention – Do it as you go – makes editing easier later!  One way that I’ve become so fast in my Finale work is by learning to meld the creative aspect of Finale (note entry, writing in the music, etc…) with the non-creative (editing, cleanup, etc…). Both processes have to take place in order to create great music that also looks great on the page.  If you can find a way to incorporate portions of both phases into one workflow, you will likely save time and energy as you write. Okay, now you know my secret…

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