Instrument Group Names in Sibelius

…a tutorial for creating custom instrument group names in Finale is here.

There are some situations where you might need to show an additional label for a group of instruments in a score; to distinguish between different ensembles of like instruments or on stage or antiphonal instruments, for example:


One can achieve this in Sibelius by manually adding and placing text on each page of the score. However, this approach gets pretty tedious for large scores. The following technique is another method to help you achieve this look quickly and consistently.

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Use Slurs to Create Straight, Note-attached Lines in Sibelius

One of the features lacking even in the latest version of Sibelius are straight lines which snap-to notes. All of the straight lines, including the gliss lines, attach to the staff, and actually don’t snap to noteheads. The gliss lines and other straight lines do play back in Sibelius, but they are fussy to position correctly between notes.

Bob Zawalich’s excellent and highly recommendedLines Between Notes” plugin for Sibelius takes a great deal of the work out of positioning lines between notes accurately; indispensable if you write a lot of music with gliss lines, for instance.

The “Lines Between Notes” plugin is an amazing productivity tool, but it’s not a “dynamic” solution. If you apply the plugin in a concert score you’ll most likely have to make a second adjustment in the part if it transposes. If you change the start or ending note pitch after the fact, you’ll have the run the plugin again. A way to create a real, honest-to-goodness straight, note-attached lines would be a useful feature.

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Some thoughts on Default Lines and Symbols in Sibelius

Since early versions of Sibelius, there have been Default Symbols and Lines. In the case of both Symbols and Lines, some of these are hard wired to specific functions in the program, and in the case of Lines in particular, these attributes are inherited by any “New” version you might create of that Default line.

For instance, the Default 8va line has an effect on playback. If you make a copy of this line by selecting it and clicking the “New” button, the New copy will inherit the same playback attributes. In the same way, if you change the visible attributes of the default 8va line, say, to different preceding text or change the line thickness, it will still maintain those playback characteristics.

But the ability to edit the defaults directly has some ramifications.

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L.V. Symbols in Sibelius (Laissez vibrer) – Several Solutions

Laissez vibrer [Fr.] allow to sound, do not damp.


from Ned Rorem’s Flute Trio

Laissez vibrer, or L.V. indications such as the one pictured above, are common notation practice. Instead of writing out a series of notes or chords together for what might be a long duration, the player is simply instructed, via a tie and the abbreviated ‘l.v.’ text, to let the note(s) ring out for as long as they would sound.

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