Multipart exercises

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This page is about creating a specific type of exercise. If you are preparing your own exercise, we recommend you read Setup basics first.

More than one staff can be shown on screen by using the “solo” type of file, available in Classic SmartMusic only. Assessment is not possible for this type of file. Common uses of this setup in undergraduate training include sing & play, two-part rhythm, improvisation, and keyboard exercises without assessment. For keyboard exercises with assessment, please see MIDI keyboard.

240 1a image.png
A sing and play assignment from the beginning of the third semester, Schulich School of Music, McGill University. This type of assignment does not use computer assessment.


The setup described here uses the solo type of file, which is originally intended for recording single-line parts. [1] The procedure described below involves a few tricks in order to display more than one staff.

Entering your music

The first step is to create a score in Finale notation software. The score must not contain any single-line linked parts, or any staves with names. You want the full score to appear in SmartMusic, but if there are any single-line parts or named staves, SmartMusic will display one of these instead. To set up a score with no parts or staff names, use the Setup Wizard and select a keyboard instrument or several blank staves. You may also use an existing template.

The Select Solo Staff dialogue with correct vs. incorrect file setup.

Exporting to SmartMusic

  1. Choose File > Export > SmartMusic.
  2. Select “Solo.” The box “Display solo notation” should be checked. Click Next >.
  3. In the Select Solo Staff dialogue box, you should get a warning message saying “Only single-staff parts can be used as Solo Parts.” If you do not see this message, it means Finale has identified something in your score as a single-line part, and will not allow you to show the full score (review #Entering your music above).
  4. Under “Corresponding instrument (or closest match in SmartMusic),” choose any instrument. It doesn’t matter which instrument you choose, but you cannot leave it set to “none.” Click Next >.
  5. In the Select Accompaniment Staves dialogue box, leave the staves selected if you want students to be able to hear the music in those staves, otherwise deselect them. Click Next >.
  6. The remaining dialogue boxes are standard, asking you to name your exercise, to choose where to save it, and showing warnings that you can ignore.


Instrumental configurations

Multipart exercises can be set up for just about any instrumental configuration, since assessment is not used. Some of the most common configurations in university courses are

  • keyboard,
  • sing & play,
  • sing & tap, and
  • two-part rhythm.

More than two staves can also be used.

What the software plays

Exercises can be set up to allow students to practice either part of a two-part exercise while SmartMusic plays the other part. This capability is sometimes used to help students practice parts separately in keyboard exercises. [2] Students turn the parts on and off using the “My Part” and “Accompaniment” buttons. When using the setup method described in this article, playback of the top staff is activated by “My Part.” The “Accompaniment” button plays whatever staff was set as accompaniment when exporting the file from Finale; this would typically be the bottom staff of a two-part example.

Hiding music

(main articles: Open-ended exercises and Hidden answers)

The scope of multipart exercises can be extended by leaving some of the notation blank, either by using hidden rests or by hiding notes with Staff Styles in Finale’s Staff Tool. These techniques form the basis of many types of exercises, including improvisation, aural learning, and fill-in-the-blanks.

Additional examples

241 11b image.png
A sing and play assignment from the end of the fourth semester, Schulich School of Music, McGill University.

Please share your examples here.