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PlayMusic is a thiard-party plug-in for the Finale software program by MakeMusic, Inc. This plug-in provides the so-called playmusic mode of playing scores. Unlike the playback, it allows you to really play music on the MIDI keyboard. In a sense, the playback and playmusic modes complement each other.

PlayMusic has as its main purpose to make performing music available to more people. Using PlayMusic you can play by pressing any keys on your keyboard, e.g., all time the same key. Practice shows that even someone, who never played the piano or any other musical instruments, now will easily be able to perform the favorite piano pieces. In particular, PlayMusic can contribute to introducing children to music. But PlayMusic is intended not only for non-musicians. For instance, it allows performing compositions that are physically impossible to play the usual way.


What PlayMusic does:

1.  After you click PlayMusic in the Finale's Plug-ins menu or one of its submenus, the vertical cursor (similar to the Finale’s playback cursor) will appear at the beginning of the score (or of the first fully visible measure).

While PlayMusic is running, the cursor will indicate a current position on the musical score, i.e. the notes of the score you should play now. If you press a key or keys on your MIDI keyboard to play them, the cursor moves to the next note or notes and so on.

If you wish, at any time you can change the position of the cursor using appropriate keys of your computer's keyboard or the computer mouse. Also you can scroll the score or switch pages by the appropriate means of Finale. If the current measure remains visible on the screen, the cursor will be set at the beginning of that measure. Otherwise, it will be placed in the first of the fully visible measures.


2.  To play the notes indicated by the cursor, you can press any key or keys on the MIDI keyboard (which are just more comfortable). PlayMusic establishes a correspondence between the pressed keys and those notes in the natural order: from the left to the right for the keys and from the bass to the treble for the notes, i.e. the most left from the keys will correspond to the lowest of those notes, the next from the keys – to the next higher note, and so on. The sound of each note will be caused by pressing the corresponding key, i.e. this pressed key will determine the beginning sound, its volume and stopping (the last not always, but on that later).

If the number of the pressed keys is equal to the number of those notes, then each key will correspond to only one of the notes and vice versa. But if it is not equal, either some of the pressed keys are ignored, or some keys will cause the sound of the several corresponding notes. To establish the correspondence in such cases, PlayMusic tries to recognize which hand: right or left presses one or another key, takes into account on which staves the notes are placed, whether the notes are in any chord, and so on. It should be added that if you press only one key to play all notes indicated by the cursor, PlayMusic may reduce the volume of notes of the accompaniment.


3.  If necessary, PlayMusic controls the correct duration of the sounds relative to other sounds. That can be illustrated by the several examples. Let us suppose that you press a key to play the quarter and eighth notes indicated by the cursor.

When you release the key, the eighth note stops sounding, but the quarter note will continue to sound until you press a key to play the next eighth note and then release it to stop sounding. The quarter note will stop sounding at the same time.

Let, for instance, you press a key to play the half and quarter notes indicated by the cursor.

When you release the key, the quarter note will stop sounding, but the half note will continue to sound twice as long, and only then PlayMusic will stop the sound.


4.  You should play musical scores ignoring the symbols of grace notes and other ornaments, because PlayMusic plays them automatically. The same applies to arpeggios. If, as shown below, there is the grace note before the eighth note, you should press any key on your MIDI keyboard as if you play the eighth note indicated by the cursor.

To play the trill, shown below, you have to press a key in such a way, as if you are playing the quarter note without any ornaments. Similarly you should play mordenti and gruppetto.

To play the arpeggios, you should press a key or keys on your MIDI keyboard as if you play the notes of the chord all at once.



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