miker wrote:It would help if we could see the file in question. As Peter said, it's VERY rare to need more than four layers. I have trouble visualizing a piece of music where this might be the case.
I would never have more than four layers visible in any given measure
, but removing the four-layer limit would be a major usability win from my perspective. In fact, I could easily see situations where I would use a dozen or more layers. Why? Because I often have to use layers as workarounds for missing features, such as first-class support for cue notes (rather than just tiny notes created by a plug-in). It is quite possible that the original score author did something similar, for similar reasons.
Note that when I say "cue notes" here, I'm not talking about the use of cue notes as hints for where to come in, but rather the fairly modern use of cue notes as a way of covering critical portions of certain parts when you don't have specific instruments in your ensemble for whatever reason, e.g. adding cues for the entire oboe solo in the first clarinet part.
Consider, for example, a piano part that contains two layers and has cues from a handbell part that also has two layers. During normal playback, you don't want those cues to play, so you put them in their own layers (3 and 4) and mute the layers. But what happens if you need to do something unusual like use a third playing layer for any reason? You have a problem.
It gets even more miserable when you have a part that includes cues from more than one instrument (as is often the case when you're composing music for real-world ensembles, where the instrumental parts need to be optional). In an ideal world, those cues would be strongly tied to the original line. The cues would be automatically muted when original instrument's track is playing, but if you muted the original instrument line (or played from a part that didn't contain the original instrument line), the cues would play. (*)
But as long as Finale lacks that level of support for cue notes, I'd settle for unlimited layers so I can toss each instrument's cues into a separate layer, allowing me to selectively mute the trumpet cues but not the handbell cues (for example). Unfortunately, with a four-layer limit and limited support for cue notes, there's no good way for me to even approximate that behavior in Finale right now.
(*) This is, of course, not the only thing I would change in terms of cue handling. In an ideal world, all changes to the original line would be reflected in the cues, but changes to the cues (including note changes) would not affect the original line, and if you edit both lines, Finale would highlight any cue notes that don't match the edited original line to make them easy to spot. But that's all secondary to my main point, hence the footnote.