Sibelius : Vertical Alignment of Tempo Indications With Rehearsal Marks

Q: In Sibelius, is it possible to have boxed Rehearsal marks which are automatically vertically aligned with coincident changes of tempo? For example, I have entered the boxed rehearsal letter “A” followed by a tempo marking; “a tempo”. By default, Sibelius aligns the tempo text with the bottom of the enclosure, but I want the tempo text to be centered with the whole height of the boxed rehearsal mark.

A: You’ve touched on two interesting topics related to vertical text alignment here. The first relates to general settings and positioning, and the second, as it concerns Sibelius, relates to collision avoidance. Let’s take a look…

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Sibelius Gap Before Bar & Brackets Appearing in Middle of Page

Q: I’m having some technical problems with a Sibelius score. I’m trying to reformat the score layout at the oboe section (pages 53-55). There is a weird thing where system brackets appear in middle of score instead of just at the left edge.

A: The brackets are caused by changing the amount of space before one or more bars. Sibelius calls this distance (normally zero) “Gap Before Bar” and it is useful to indent a the first system of a piece or movement or to create a space for a Coda in the middle of a system. Unfortunately, it is possible to add these gaps without realizing it.

In your example file, these Gaps Before Bar were a very, very small amount (.72 spaces), and if I had to guess, were very likely previously at system starts where they would be extremely hard to notice.

However, when you attempted to reformat the page layout, the “extra” brackets became visible since these bars were no longer at the starts of systems.

To correct this, select the individual bar following the mid-system bracket, then use the Inspector (Properties in Sibelius versions before v7) to reset the positioning for GAP BEFORE BAR to zero.

sib-inspector

gap-before-bar-v6

The bracket should disappear and now you can reformat the score without the mid-system brackets.

That’s all there is to it!

~robert

Note Spacing in Finale & Sibelius : Matching Music In Print

Q: While I was reading your article about note spacing in Sibelius and Finale, an interesting idea came to mind: Do you think it is possible to recreate the exact note spacing of a certain publisher from a printed page or pdf file in Sibelius?

A: Great question! I assume you are referring to punctuation (the word used to describe the horizontal spacing between music characters).

Note spacing, or punctuation,  works in tandem with the physical layout of measures on the systems / pages, which is historically referred to as “Casting Off”.

For starters, it’s worth noting that duplicating a publisher’s *exact* horizontal music spacing (punctuation) involves more than consistent numerical settings. This is partly because there have been so many different types of processes for engraving music over the years:

  1. Punched on plate
  2. Lithograph
  3. Autographed (drawn)
  4. Stamping
  5. Photomechanical
  6. Music Typewriter
  7. Acetate and Rub-off sheets
  8. Computer

…and partly because punctuation, as it turns out, isn’t necessarily an exact science, and can fall into three basic categories:

  1. Mathematically perfect
  2. Mathematically imperfect
  3. Lyrical

In addition, other factors besides notes can affect note spacing. For instance, accidentals, note flags, articulations, material in other voices etc …

However, in spite of the variations which are inherent in all of the above  processes and categories, it should be possible to closely approximate the punctuation (horizontal spacing) of a particular published piece in either Sibelius or Finale by taking some measurements and setting up your software to duplicate these.

Note that you can  even apply different rules to different sections of a score to increase or decrease spacing widths, or approximate the “mathematically imperfect” and “lyrical” punctuation categories above, or address a specific concern where some circumstance requires a special consideration. More on that in a moment…

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Sibelius Quick Tip : Change the Number of Staves Per Page

In every score, Sibelius allows a specific number of staves to show on each page. Sibelius formats page one with the first stave lower than all subsequent pages by default, to allow for the title and composer credit. There are two places to overrule defaults, to allow you to fit more systems on the first page as well as subsequent pages.

If your title and composer text placement and size will allow it, the one method to allow more staves on the first page only is to change the margin of the top staff on page one. In Sibelius 6, choose Layout>Document Setup. In Sibelius 7.x, choose Document Setup… from the Document Setup Group of the Layout tab.

When the dialog comes up, reduce the distance in the Top Staff margin box for the first page:

sib-staff-margins

If you want to generally have more staves on every page, you can reduce the distance between *all* systems (and / or staves).

In Sibelius 6, go to House Style > Engraving Rules > Staves. In Sibelius 7.x or later, choose Staves Engraving Rules from the Staff Spacing Group of the Layout Tab.

In the Layout section, for a part, look for “spaces between systems” (you would start here for a single staff part, for instance). Lower the value to make the systems appear closer together so more will fit per page. For a score, you might want to reduce the value of “spaces between staves”.

sib-staff-spacing

Note also that there are settings here for allowing extra space based on certain criteria, such as whether or not a staff has lyrics under it, or tempo markings (system objects) above it.

The measurements in these fields are in spaces.