Using WAV files in Notion


Several weeks ago, Paul Shimmons ( and I talked to Micah Blouin from PreSonus about the new version of Notion 6 and other offerings from PreSonus for music education on the ME&T Podcast.  Check it out if you haven’t already done so!

One of the things Micah discussed was “pinning” a WAV file audio track to a Notion score, and using their feature called N-Tempo, where you can “tap” a tempo into a score to sync it to the WAV file.  He mentioned that this feature was great for transcriptions.

I recently contacted an artist about the possibility of transcribing a song of theirs so my 8th grade students could sing it in our spring concert.  I received permission today, and since I am still recovering from a bad cold that hit two days ago, I began working on the song.

In Notion, I suggest creating a separate instrument to “pin” the WAV file to, and if you don’t have a WAV file, there are plenty of web-based sites that will convert existing audio to a WAV format.  Just keep in mind that WAV is an uncompressed file format–so a audio recording is easily ten times larger than other popular formats (mp3 or Apple’s m4a).  Then you make a N-Tempo instrument track, and you plan the rhythm you want to tap to.  If you are working with an artist that shifts tempo freely, it can be better to make the N-Tempo track the same as the melody part.  Then you enter Notion’s N-Tempo recording tool (it looks like a joystick) and tap the tempo using any key on the “A” row of your keyboard.  To stop recording, hit space or ESC.

Side note: I have used “tap tempo” in Finale, which requires the space bar.  It took a look in the manual to realize that the space bar was NOT the entry method for Notion.

It helps if your WAV file starts with the downbeat…so use an editor to trim your audio before importing it.

At any rate, using this method made the transcription easy and fast, and I would definitely recommend it to any one.  I will certainly be using it again!

P.S.  “O Hanukkah, O Hanukkah” was NOT the score I was entering today.  I just used it as an example as it is in the Public Domain.

Presentations in Wisconsin next week…Chromebook question for blog followers.

Next week, I am presenting sessions at the Wisconsin State Music Conference.  One is on S-Cubed, Dale Duncan’s fantastic sight-reading method for middle school; the other is on Chromebooks in music education.

I have a pretty good grasp on Chromebooks in music education…but are there any recent developments that you have seen that I might not know about?  I am fully aware of the “big” programs, such as SmartMusic, Noteflight,, SoundTrap, the MusicFirst products, and all the “general” websites such as Quizziz, Kahoot, and so on.

I also know about the WIDI Bud and the Chromecast, as well as Chome mirroring to Reflector and Air Server.

That said, there might be something good out there that I don’t know, or new hardware that I might not know.  If you know of anything, please send me an e-mail and let me know about it so I can share it with others.

Copies of the presentations will be up in the “Past Presentations” area by Thursday.


Non-linear Finale Work

Some time ago, Mark Adler (now the Notation Product Manager) from MakeMusic posted a re-creation of William Billing’s Connections on the Finale Blog.  I have never needed to create such as score, so I filed the information in the back of my mind.

This summer, I ran into Pete Mai, who runs Bonanza Ukuleles.  His wife fell in love with the ukulele, and he was a cabinet maker, so he thought: I can make my wife ukuleles!  So he did, and they realized that they could actually make their own ukuleles out of laminate countertops.  This summer, they started making hardwood ukuleles.  When I saw them at the Silver Creek International Ukulele Festival in August (near Two Harbors, Minnesota), they had the new ukuleles on hand, and it turns out that they can laser etch logos into the ukuleles.  This includes engaging a rosette.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I would like to commission a ukulele for our choir’s program–which would have the choir logo as well as the school song around the sound hole.

And at that moment, Mark Adler’s post from 2012 came to mind.  I haven’t had time to work with the idea until today.  We are off school, and following Murphy’s law, I am fighting a cold that settled in on Wednesday after school (how wonderful to spend vacation days laying low because you’re sick).  Today I opened up Mark’s existing file and got to work.

Basically, the entire song utilizes the custom line tool in smart shapes, and was generally pretty easy to do.  Two things threw me for a “loop” (pun intended).  First, the text had to be edited within the custom line tool.  Second, there were a few shops and lyrics that just wouldn’t line up very easily.  I did send Mark a few e-mails during the course of the day, which helped me along the path.  One other tip…to align words, add another circle as an expression as an alignment line.  A special thank you to Mark for his help today!

The end result was our school song (tune is the Minnesota Rouser) in two formats: one with words, the other without.  I am going to use the one without words on the custom ukulele; I am going to use the one with words as a large poster and perhaps on concert programs, with the choir logo in the middle.

I would guess that 99% of Finale users will never attempt to make a circular score…but it is great to know that Finale can handle it!


After our recent podcast interview, Aron Nelson (developer of unrealBook) created a forum for PDF music readers at  While unrealBook will be a topic, discussion of all apps and aspects of the music reading process are welcome, and I believe discussion of musicXML readers like Newzik, Gustaf, SuperScore, and SeeScore would also be welcome.

Please spread the word!

The Latest Music Education & Technology Podcast with Aron Nelson, developer of unrealBook


The latest episode of the Music Education & Technology Podcast is now available for your enjoyment!  For this episode, we were joined by Aron Nelson, developer of unrealBook.

Show notes: