Adding ties to chords of different durations in Sibelius

Q: When I input a chord (say, C-E-G) and then hit enter to tie it to the next chord, it USUALLY works fine. The big exception is when I enter the C-E-G chord, then press the dot to add dotted rhythm, and THEN hit enter to add a tie. In that case it ONLY adds a tie to the bottom note of the chord. Is this a feature or a bug, or am I doing the workflow wrong?

A: It’s a great question. In this particular situation, you are getting caught by the Escape key feature in Sibelius which normally allows you to “walk back“ out of any type of edit.

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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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Lead / Top Line Chord Notation for Rock, Jazz & Pop Charts in Finale & Sibelius

Lead Line Chord Notation, also referred to as Topline Notation is a shorthand notation convention that is sometimes used for rock, jazz and pop guitar or keyboard charts.

Lead Line / Topline notation is a good way to get the chord voicings you are looking for as a composer or arranger, particularly if you don’t actually play guitar (or piano); it allows you to specify melodic motion of the chords without having to supply details of voicings you may or may not know are practical (or possible) on that instrument.

To create this type of notation, visually, the stems are extended past the noteheads to show that the chords are voiced below (or above) the written lead notes. Here is an example:

Let’s take a look at how to create this type of notation in Finale and Sibelius.

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Create a Divisi or Chorded Instrument from Two Separate Staves

In my postKeep it Together in Finale or Sibelius : Score & Parts in the same file“, we looked at methods of exploding chorded or divisi parts in the score into individual lines that, would be hidden in the page view of the score, while still available as single line parts.

Often, just the opposite workflow is required: the score already contains individual instrument staves that need to be combined for the score. That is, rather than allocating the contents of a divisi or chorded staff into individual instrument staves,  the requirement is to merge data from two or more independent staves into a single combined staff.

Let’s break it down.

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