Finale users tremolo short cut

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Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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Ken Thompson

Finale users tremolo short cut

Post by Ken Thompson » Sun Jun 18, 2006 3:35 am

On some of my old sheet music, before computers, there is a short cut for tremolos. Instead of all those 32nd notes, there is just a quarter note with 3 slashes to represent the a,m,i part of the tremolo. Last winter I bought Finale Print Music, and after several frustrating attempts, I've finally recreated that short cut.
First put in the base lines (thumb parts) in the 1st and 2nd voices. Then in the 3rd voice, put in a 32nd rest, then a quarter note with the stem pointing up. Go to the tuplet menu, then center the cursor over the notehead and click to open the dialog box. In the dialog box, make it "1 quarter note in the space of 3 32nd notes". Unclick the number and bracket boxes, and when you click okay it will set the value of the quarter note to be the 3 32nd notes. Then go to the articulation tool, center the cursor over the notehead, and click. Highlight box 31 which is the 3 slashes. When you click select, it will put the 3 slashes on the notehead. Then center the cursor over the little box (they call it a handle) and you can move the 3 slashes up a little to look correct.
You have to go through the entire process with each note. Obviously it's going to take a lot more time to input the notes this way. The end result is a tremolo that is not cluttered. You can get 3 or maybe 4 measures to a staff, so that something like Sueno en la floresta could be cut down to 6 pages instead of 10.
I think it's easier to look at and easier to read. There's no need to have all those extra notes cluttering up the page when you can shorten the notation and shorten the number of pages necessary.
Maybe those of you using Lilypond or Adobe can do some experimenting to get it to work in those systems.

How many of you have seen tremolos done this way in sheet music?

I'm interested in knowing if any of you can get it to work in Adobe or Lilypond.

Ken Thompson
1970 R3 Ramirez

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Post by pogmoor » Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:41 am

Very clever, but laborious, not sure it counts as a 'short' cut
It's almost worth paying for the full product that does it automatically, though I think Sibelius does it better.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).


Post by Fingernail » Sun Jun 18, 2006 8:32 am

Tremolo for orchestral string players is ALWAYS written as a long note with dashes across the beam.

I have no idea why guitarists have this horrible hemi-demi-semiquaver nonsense to put up with. It really doesn't help you to visualise the melody usefully, it just looks like a stream of notes.

Also it suggests that the tremolo is not consistent because there are often little gaps when you play the first bass note (like Recuerdos), but a good tremolo should be constant and smooth.

It's almost like aiming too low - don't think of it just as a series of fast notes, think of it as one shimmering line, and that may help, in your mind, to play it better.

I still find tremolo on the inner strings difficult to compete in terms of volume with first string tremolo where you can afford to move your fingers more without hitting other strings below it.

Slightly off topic I'm currently developing a technique where I can use my thumb backwards and forwards to play a semiquaver bassline and play semiquavers of the same speed with i and m on other strings.... could be useful.


Post by franki » Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:12 pm

Hey Fingernail, sounds interesting, let us know how the two-way thumb works out. I tried it but it feels very odd. :)


Post by paule » Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:23 pm


Could we see a video of this technique?


Post by Fingernail » Sun Jun 18, 2006 5:07 pm

You could if I had a camera!

It's not perfect yet, sometimes the synconisation fails, and switching strings is hard.

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