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Author Topic: Staccato placement on stem side  (Read 644 times)

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Staccato placement on stem side
« on: January 19, 2021, 12:10:55 AM »

What is this about?

This is a topic about how to position staccatos on the stem side of a note when there are multiple layers on one staff. There are two ways to do this - to center them around the notehead or center them around the stem.

In the following image, the staccatos on beat 2 and 3 of the measure are centered around the stem, while the ones on beat 4 (aside the accents) are centered around the noteheads.



It seems that in older versions of Finale the default was notehead, while in v26 the setting was changed to stem. As such, this is causing inconsistency in the setting in submissions from users on different versions of Finale.

What do I want?

According to Gould's Behind Bars, either is acceptable for a staccato (except when placed with an accent or other articulation - then it should center around the notehead). But, some things to consider...
  • Other articulations (except the wedge/staccatissimo) all center around the notehead, so having only the staccatos moved to the stem would cause inconsistency in the spacing (as in the image above)
  • Putting them directly atop/below the stem makes them potentially easier to miss when reading (could look like an extension of the stem or a printing error)
  • Aligning the staccatos if you have them on both the upper and lower layer vs. having them horizontally offset
  • Consistency with existing sheets on site
As such, I recommend that in general, staccatos be centered around the notehead. This is not a mandate, but an attempt to guide an informed decision, especially for those who aren't familiar with the setting.

How do I change this setting?

If you're on Finale v26 or above, here are the official docs. You can change this setting by going to the Articulation Designer (Edit button for staccato under the Articulation Selection menu) and toggle this box:

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If you're on an older version of Finale (like 2014), the articulation designer dialog box doesn't have that option and staccatos will default to center around the notehead.
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