I'm trying to transpose a PDF Piano Sheet to Finale Notepad so I can hear and practice together.

I'm having trouble writing this:


So, this looks really weird. Because the upper one (sorry, I don't know the names in english) have two half notes (finger 5) and 8 eight notes at the same time.

Is this notation correct? I don't think so.

I think whoever wrote it wanted the finger 5 from right hand to keep the key pressed while doing the other notes with the other fingers, i don't know.

  • 1
    I am a bit confused as to what you're trying to say. If you meant how to play this, the common practice is to hold the half notes while playing the eighth notes if possible. If you are referring to writing finger numbers, this is fine, but you don't need to write finger numbers for this simple passage. If you meant how to write this in Finale, use two different layers. Hope this helped! Apr 29, 2017 at 3:32
  • 4
    The notation is correct, except the stem of the E should be up, not down.
    – user19146
    Apr 29, 2017 at 3:36
  • @AnselChang Thanks! Layers is what I was looking for. And yes, I could imagine the way to play it by looking but could not write on finale without using layers. Apr 29, 2017 at 16:44
  • @alephzero I've never seen it before, but then again, I'm very new to this. I was able to write it on Finale using layers but it displays the rest notes above the half notes. And both stems are now down. I'm not sure how to configure that to be up but I guess it is enough for what I want for now. Thanks. Apr 29, 2017 at 16:49
  • 1
    Yes. Make sure the half notes (E and D) are in layer one, and the eighth notes in layer two. Then I think you will find the rests in the right place. The half notes' stems will automatically go up.
    – Jomiddnz
    Feb 22, 2018 at 4:30

3 Answers 3


The notation is correct (although it might be more usual to have the first half-note with its stem up).

There are two 'voices' to be played in the RH. In this case - a simple sustained melody with broken chords underneath - it's very easily achieved using the fingering indicated.

Keyboard players are often presented with much more complex problems. Work this one out!

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That technique of combining melodies/harmonies on the same line is called counterpoint. Here's a good reference: https://www.britannica.com/art/counterpoint-music.

I used to occasionally see it in piano music, but once I started playing organ I encountered it all over the place, mainly because of two reasons:

  1. notes don't decay naturally like they do on piano, they are at 100% volume until you release it
  2. organs don't have a sustain pedal, so whereas using all 8th notes in the right hand of your example on piano might result in a very similar sound to using counterpoint, on organ it would make a big difference.

That all being said, I have notated counterpoint frequently in Finale, and it's done using Layers as previous commenters have identified. In the course of notating counterpoint I've often put notes on the wrong layer as it can be confusing and annoying to correct, so I suggest using Layer 2 for the simplest of the two counterpoint pieces so you don't have to switch back and forth as much.

  • Hardly counterpoint. Just a polyphonic texture. Counterpoint implies independent melodies in multiple voices. This is just filler.
    – Laurence
    Jan 13, 2019 at 2:46

You've got already the correct answers above and in the comments!

In Finale you can change the layer of single notes by selecting them and use alt - shift and 1, 2 or another number. (Maybe this function is the same in notepad.) This will evoke a half note rest leaving in this measure which must hide. And then you have just to change the stem up (L). The better option is to change also the second half note to layer 2, then you don't have to hide the rest. But you will surely finish the entire piece in the same way with less trouble.

So the most simple solution will be to play the two right hand voices ( of the Pachelbel Canon - isn't it) separately in two different staffs, the upper voice with layer 1 and the second voice with layer 2) and merge them (implode) when you have finished the whole song.

The problem will be that all stems are in the same direction. Using the "repitch" tool and key L it will be easy to change this.

If this is the Pachelbel Canon you can import the midi file and save a lot of time.

  • The most simple solution will be to enter the notes directly into appropriate voices (I think Finale calls them 'layers'). Attempting to capture a performance is rarely the most effecient method of getting notes onto the page.
    – Laurence
    Jan 13, 2019 at 13:36
  • exactly, enter the notes directly as you describe it is the fastest way, espacially when they have always the same length as in the example above. I didn't talk about capture a performance, ( this would be is a possibility too, but you have to slow down the tempo quite a lot. Jan 13, 2019 at 14:54

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