Find Plugins & Information about Finale and Sibelius QUICKLY

Have you noticed that a typical internet search doesn’t always produce relevant results for music notation? For instance, if you do a Yahoo, Bing or Google search for  “articulation”, you’ll get dozens of results, with none of them related to Finale or Sibelius, and only a handful related to music . . .

‘NET SEARCH (see sidebar) is a useful resource that can help.

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Finale Quick Tip : Fix Frozen Ties in Managed Voices

Sometimes in Finale, particularly in older scores which have been updated , ties on notes in secondary layers can get “frozen”. The ties in both Layers look normal in the score:


..but in Managed Parts (which use Finale’s Voicing feature), these same ties appear upside down:


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Finale Quick Tip : Fix Incorrect Tied-to Pitches w/ Hidden Accidentals

Say you have a B-flat in one bar, tied to another B-flat in the next bar. In Finale, it is possible to (ahem, accidentally) enter the second B-flat as either a B-natural or a B-flat and it will look the same:


Even thought there’s no visual indication that it’s wrong, it won’t play back correctly. And in a score with a number of staves, they are a nightmare to aurally locate for proofreading.

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Finale Quick Tip : Note-Attached Custom Smart Lines

To make Custom Smart Lines note-attach like the preset ones in Finale, Option-Click (Mac) or Alt-Click (Win) the Tab Slide Tool:

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Create Parenthesized or Bracketed Hairpins in Finale

Finale has a lot of flexibility when it comes to creating Custom Smart Shapes. You can create a line shape of any thickness, make it solid, dotted, dashed or even invisible, control its start and end locations and add hooks, arrows or text to either end of the line and / or to the center.

Hairpin crescendo and decrescendo are sometimes bracketed (parenthesized) by publishers to show that they were added later by the editor – e.g. not in the original composer’s manuscript:


These types of brackets can also be used for other reasons; for instance to show that the marking is optional or implied.

In Finale, crescendo and decrescendo smart shapes have controls for line thickness and opening width, found in Smart Shapes > Smart Shape Options, but unlike the shapes available in the Smart Line Selection dialog, there is no obvious way to add a parenthesis to the start and end of these defined hairpin Smart Shapes.

So, how would we create this type of Smart Shape in Finale?

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Sibelius Rhythmic & Slash Notation tweaks

Q: IMO, Sibelius’ slash noteheads (type 4, ‘beat with stem’) are too long (2 spaces high vs.1 space in Finale’s), and too thick, making rhythms difficult to read. Hard to believe that Sibelius lacks something as simple as a short slash notehead. Do these smaller noteheads exist in Sibelius, or is there a way to create them? And if so, how?

A: Excellent question. Slashes and Rhythmic Notation are commonly used for comping guitar, bass and drums in jazz charts.

  • Stemless slashes are frequently used to indicate improvised chording or comping where no specificity is required. These slashes simply indicate “time” in the current meter (In 4/4 time, 4 slashes in a measure, for example).
  • Rhythmic Notation is used to indicate a specific rhythmic figure. Regular pitches are replaced with slash note heads attached to note stems in the center of the staff

There are several ways you can change the look of the default slash and rhythmic notation in Sibelius. Let’s take a look:

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Sibelius MIDI File Import / Export (Braced Grand Staff)

Q: I am trying to convert my piano vocal score to an original musical from Logic Pro 9.1 to Sibelius 7.5. Having a monstrously diffucult time exporting and importing as MIDI files. Would you be able to help with this?

A: I’m not a Logic user, so I wouldn’t be able to help with that side, but hopefully I can offer some help on the Sibelius side. (These are very general tips which can work with Finale or any notation program)

As I’m sure you are aware from your experience, accurate transcription of piano music is a difficult assignment for notation programs such as Sibelius or Finale because of the general complexity of the music, multiple voices / layers, and other factors.  In addition to the usual requirement for your recorded performance to be metronomic with the click, with piano music, you need to take into account inside and outside voices for each hand which aren’t necessarily homophonic.

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If 6 was 9 : Measured Tremolo & Tuplet Rhythms in Sibelius

Measured tremolo is a specific repetition of notes per beat measured exactly in a given tempo. It’s a type of notation shorthand which takes up less space than writing all the notes out, commonly found in published classical works.

It’s common practice to write out the full notation of the first beat or bar of a measured tremolo passage to avoid confusion:


In her book “Behind Bars”, Elaine Gould also recommends adding the label “non trem.” to the first note value of the abbreviation.

You can apply these in either duple or triple meter, with the added benefit that Sibelius plays these back as if they were written out in long form, (which will help you to check your work).

One case where the “how to” is not quite as obvious, however, are tuplets that are represented by measured tremolo. For instance, in 2/4 time, how would you create:


Let’s take a look…

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