Deconstructing the Rhythm Dot – The Mathematics of Dotted Notes

Updated on  August 9, 2018 to add an addendum on tupletting pairs of tied notes.

I recently needed to figure out ways to represent dotted notes so they would appear without a dot, and in the process, I found a number of ways to break down dotted notes into smaller notes. You may never need to do what I had to do, but someday one of these techniques may turn out to be useful.

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Quick Tip: Inserting blank pages in Sibelius

Empty”placeholder” pages are sometimes useful to define the start of a new event, scene or movement in a score, or to facilitate good page turns.

To insert one or more blank pages, select the barline which precedes where you would like one or more blank pages to be inserted.

Now, choose the “Special Page Break” option from the Breaks group on the Layout tab:

(Prior to Sibelius 7 use Layout > Break > Special Page Breaks…)

Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut CMND-SHIFT-RETURN (Mac) or CNTRL-SHIFT-RETURN (Windows).

This opens up to the Special Page Break dialog, where you can specify how many pages you wish to insert.

Special Page Breaks apply specifically to the current part (or score) view. If you have blank pages that you would like to appear globally in the score and parts, create the break in the score, and check “Keep Other Special Page Breaks” in Multi Part Appearance.

Note: Special Page Breaks are only available in the Full version of Sibelius (now called Sibelius Ultimate).

A German version of this post („Leere Seiten einfügen in Sibelius”) is available here.


Karin Vadon is a classically trained musician, singer-songwriter and music copyist from Vienna, Austria who authors a german-language music notation blog for Sibelius and Dorico users.

Positioning of page numbers, headers and footers in Sibelius

Q: In my Sibelius score, the page numbers always alternate between top right and top left corner. And I can only choose between “inside edge“ and “outside edge“ for a footer, which has the similar effect of alternating positions. How can I change this so that page numbers are always aligned top right to the page and footers are always in the bottom right corner?

A: From the Text tab, Click the “Edit Text Styles“ arrow-button in the Styles group. When the dialog opens, choose Page Numbers and click Edit…

Now the System Text Style dialog opens, where you can set the page numbers to align “Right“ in the Horizontal Position tab.

You can reposition a “Footer (outside edge)” in the same way.

A German version of this post („Position von Seitenzahlen und Kopf- und Fußzeilen in Sibelius”) is available here.


Karin Vadon is a classically trained musician, singer-songwriter and music copyist from Vienna, Austria who authors a german-language music notation blog for Sibelius and Dorico users.

Quick Tip : Arpeggios in Sibelius

Q: I always create arpeggios by using the Line Gallery of the Notation tab in Sibelius.

Manually adjusting their length and the positioning is time-consuming and sometimes has to be redone after layout changes are made  in the score or parts. Is there an easier way?

A: Yes, there are also arpeggios on the fifth keypad layout of Sibelius (Jazz articulations), which can be added to chords either directly during note input or afterwards (similar to accidentals).

Arpeggios which are created in this way automatically have the correct length and maintain their horizontal alignment with the chord even when specific note positions shift within it.

A German version of this post („Arpeggien”) is available here.


Karin Vadon is a classically trained musician, singer-songwriter and music copyist from Vienna, Austria who authors a german-language music notation blog for Sibelius and Dorico users.

Create your own keyboard shortcuts in Sibelius

Keyboard shortcuts can greatly increase your productivity in Sibelius. Shortcuts allow you to quickly invoke Plugins or other functions with a single keystroke. Keyboard Shortcuts are totally customizable in Sibelius.

Keyboard Shortcuts are located in Sibelius Preferences.  Choose Preferences… from the Sibelius menu

or navigate to the File Tab and choose Preferences in the left pane:

You can also open the Preferences dialog directly using the pre-defined keyboard shortcut CMND-Comma (Mac) or CNTRL-Comma (Windows).

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