Controlling Staff Visibility of Tacet Bars in Finale

Q: I have been trying to figure out how, or if it’s possible to add a staff (for an instrumental solo, etc.) later within a score, as opposed to having that staff appear at the beginning of a piece. I can’t find a thing regarding this issue in the Finale tutorials or other help options. If you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it!

A: Good question. A common convention for score layout is to show all staves for all performers on the first score page. This establishes the instrumentation, and also provides a head’s up to the conductor about custom instrument ordering etc.

After the first page of music, in published music, a convention is to show only staves of the musicians who are actually playing, with tacet staves being hidden. It’s worth noting that for commercial scores such as film or video game recordings, pops concerts, etc, any resting staves continue to be shown. This helps the conductor stay oriented, as rehearsal time is typically very limited.

However, there are situations where there is no need to show every staff on the first page of score, and in fact, it would serve no purpose to show these staves until the performer is playing. For instance, the strings are notated on single staves at the top of the piece, but at some later point, break out into additional staves of divisi. Another example is where one player within the section is given a solo passage which is written into the regular ensemble part.

Finale allows you to control staff visibility globally or on a per system basis, so whether you are showing the first staff and then hiding resting staves or hiding an instrument until its entrance, the following technique will work.

Let’s take a look at how we might show a short solo string passage in an ensemble score.

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Faking special stems in Sibelius

While working on a recent project I was faced with the challenge of recreating two varieties of custom stems. While Sibelius does offer a set of custom stems as symbols, the fact that these can not be attached to notes makes it difficult to work with them in practice. If there a lot of them in use, each one needs to be manually placed and, should anything change in the formatting, they easily slide around and need to constantly be checked. Plus the particular symbols I needed for this piece were not available.

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The first type of stem basically has an “s” through it to signify a kind of exaggerated pitch fluctuation/vibrato. Here is a sample from the original manuscript:

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Curated Plug-in sets: Installing the first plug-in

A Curated Plug-in Set is a collection of Sibelius plug-ins that can be installed at one time and run from a single location. These sets are described in the Of Note post Working sets, My Plugins, and Curated plug-ins in Sibelius.

In order to install a curated plug-in set, you will first need to install the downloadable plug-in Install New Plugin, which will be used to install other plugins.

Here are step-by-step instructions for installing Install New Plugin. There are different instructions for Sibelius 6 and for Sibelius 7 or later.

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Recording Key Switches & CC Data into Sibelius

Q: How do I record Key Switches and Continuous Controller data into Sibelius?

I built a “Frankenstein”; using a fixedIP address I hooked a PC (slave) to a Mac which works very nicely. I use VEPro 5 server but mainly using EW Symphonic Orchestra Gold.

I saw a video on YouTube where the composer added staves to play those key switch notes and hid them, but it was not very clear. Can you explain what was done?

itzhak Yaron

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Working sets, My Plugins, and Curated plug-ins in Sibelius

There are about 650 published Sibelius plug-ins, of which 150 ship with Sibelius. A lot of people never use plug-ins. They can’t find them, or can’t install downloadable plug-ins, or can’t figure out which plug-in does what. This is unfortunate, because plug-ins could save them a lot of work.

A Working Set of Plug-ins

In Sibelius, plug-ins are organized by category and you run them by finding their names on a menu or by using a keyboard shortcut.

As an alternative, you can create a set of favorite plug-ins that you identify by name and find in the same place. I call this a working set. The plug-ins in the working set should be ones you use often and will be easily available when you need them.

A curated plug-in set is a working set of plug-ins chosen for certain groups of users. It can be based on instruments, such as harp or guitar, or it can be created for a specific project or a school class. A set consists of a zip file containing a text file of plug-in names that make up the set and a folder of downloaded plug-in files which will be installed on your machine.

The files needed to create a curated plugin set can be provided by a plug-in curator, who is an experienced Sibelius user who selects a set of plug-ins that would be useful. This could be a teacher, or a co-worker, or anyone else you trust who is comfortable choosing plug-ins.

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Plug-ins that run other plug-ins in Sibelius

Since Sibelius version 1, plug-ins have been able to run other plug-ins. For example, the Proof-read plug-in is just a container that lets you call the main Run() method of the plug-ins Check Pizzicatos, Check Clefs,… so you can do all your proofreading at once. These plug-ins were designed to be called by other plug-ins, and typically do not display a dialog when they run.

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This document will discuss plug-ins that call the top-level Run() method of other plug-ins, which is equivalent to running the plugin from the plug-in menu.

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Eliminating Duplicate Plugins in Sibelius

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If you have multiple copies of a plugin in different locations (typically a downloadable plugin you have forgotten about installing, and so you installed it again to a different location), you may not be running the copy of the plugin you expect. This is true even if you explicitly run it from one of the plugin menus (or in Sibelius 6 and earlier, from the single plugin menu).

If the plugin files are identical it doesn’t matter which copy is run, but you may have installed an update which has different code, and you will find that you are not seeing the effects of the change.

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