Beyond Defaults : Create ½, whole-tone, flat, natural & sharp trill lines in Sibelius

There are a couple of common approaches for indicating trills with specific trill-to pitches in your music score. One way is to indicate the trill-to pitch as a stemless, cue sized note in a parenthesis.


This is an extremely clear and elegant way to present the trill-to information. However, for “commercial” scores, this method is somewhat labor-intensive to create in the current software, and furthermore, isn’t completely bulletproof in terms of the trill-to pitch maintaining its horizontal positioning after music spacing .

Trills containing an intervalic jump larger than a whole step are commonly referred to as “fingered tremolo”, and displayed as pairs of notes with tremolo slashes.

Another method of displaying trills, which is very common in popular and commercial orchestral music as well as film and video game scores, largely because it is so efficient for entry, is to include a flat, natural or sharp symbol above, or just to the right of the “tr” symbol. For commercial scores, you also frequently see the trill-to note indicated as an intervalic distance, like a ½ step or a whole-tone (wt).

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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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Legni Woodwind Fingering Font for Finale & Sibelius

Good music engravers are always on the lookout for inventive and elegant solutions to make their work easier. To me, one of the more interesting niche areas of typeset music notation are graphical fingering diagrams for musical instruments.

Fonts are the optimal solution for creating fingering diagrams in Finale or Sibelius. Since font characters are essentially vector graphics (as opposed to bitmapped graphics), they will look great when printed at any size, and remain clear and legible on screen.

There are several shareware and freeware fingering diagram fonts currently available for both woodwind and brass instruments from enterprising font designers. I covered a few of these in a previous post.

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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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How to create an AMBITUS in Sibelius 7 (part 1)

An Ambitus (sometimes anglicized to ambit) is mostly found in vocal and some instrumental scores from the Medieval/Renaissance period and it is a notational representation placed just before the clef in the modern multiple-staves system, indicating the note range for a given voice or the pitch range that a musical instrument is capable of playing (See score extract below).

Ambitus 01-1

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Grand Pause ( G.P. ) Text in Sibelius – Symbols Method

Q: I’m trying to figure out a better mousetrap for dealing with Grand Pauses (GP) in Sibelius. When I use tempo text to create a grand pause in the score, it doesn’t center over bar rests in the score or the parts, so it requires a whole lot of tweaking in both places. I’m hoping there is a smarter, less laborious way to deal with this?

A: Good question. There is actually more than one approach we can take to address this question, in the absence of a true Sibelius feature to center text within a bar. In this tutorial, let’s take a look at the Symbols method:

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