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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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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Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius

Q: Is it possible to make title text appear more “expanded” (as I might do in a Word doc?) My client has a specific font request, but his letter spacing looks wider than the same font on my computer, which is more “tight”: title-text-w-tracking A: This difference is due to letter-spacing, referred to as “Tracking” in typography. Tracking refers to a consistent degree of increase (or sometimes decrease) of space between letters to affect density in a line or block of text. more >> “Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius”

Sibelius Quick Tip : Text Wildcards List

A wildcard is a special kind of text object that can insert text from somewhere else. For instance, Sibelius has a number of useful wildcards for various page text elements (title, subtitle, composer, copyright etc). When you change the information in Score Info, the text on the page will automatically update.

The syntax for text wildcards is a backslash, followed by a dollar sign, then the wildcard label and finally, a closing backslash. Case does not matter; they can be all upper case, all lower case, or mixed case.

Sibelius also has some formatting change wildcards, which work exclusively within the Score Info dialog. The syntax for these is simply the command encased in a pair of backslashes.

Text wildcards are designed to appear on the page; as stated above, formatting wildcards (such as for bold, italic, new line etc) can only be used in Score Info.

Here is a list of the available text wildcards for Sibelius:

\$PARTNAME\ evaluates to a list of the instruments in the part, each instrument separated by a carriage return.
\$HEADERPARTNAME\ evaluates to a list of the instruments in the part, separated by a comma and all on the same line.
\$USER\ – current logged in user
\$DATELONG\ – full date in locale-specific format, e.g. “March 4, 2005”
\$DATESHORT\ – short date in locale-specific format, e.g. “04/03/05”
\$FILEPATH\ – full path to the current file
\$FILENAME\ – filename of the current file
\$FILEDATE\ – full date that the current file was last saved
\$TIME\ – current time (insert this, then zoom in and out every second!)
\$PAGENUM\ – current page number


\$NumPages\ – total number of pages (as of Sib 7.13)

Here are the available formatting wildcards for Score Info:

\n\ New line
\B\ Bold on
\b\ Bold off
\I\ Italic on
\i\ Italic off
\U\ Underline on
\u\ Underline off
\fArial Black\ Font change to Arial Black (for example)
\f_\ Font change to text style’s default font
\s123\ Size change to 123 (units are 1/32nds of a space, not points)

More information about Wildcards is available in the Sibelius Reference, starting on page 260.

Make a New Instrument or Text Style Available to All Your Scores in Sibelius

In Sibelius, new text styles, line styles, symbols, noteheads, and instruments are available only in the score in which they are first defined. This gives you the flexibility to make custom definitions without affecting existing scores.

You may, however, want to have a new style or instrument appear in another score, or even in all your new scores. Sibelius allows you to export a house style from the score containing the definitions you wish to share, and then import that house style into other scores. Those scores will now contain the new definitions.

You can also import a house style into manuscript paper files, which are used as templates for new scores, and any scores you create that use those manuscript papers will inherit the definitions from the house style.

This article explains how to import a house style into one or more manuscript paper files.

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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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Incorporate a time signature into a line of text in Sibelius

Q: My question is about tempo changes. I’m copying handwritten parts to Sibelius so musicians can easily read what’s written, and there is a tempo change that states, among other things, that the music is to have a 12/8 feel, where the 12 is above the 8, no slash, just like you’d see in a time signature. Is there a way to do this in Sibelius or am I stuck writing writing out “12/8” just as you see it here?

A: Yes, absolutely. First of all, Sibelius 6 (and 7) have a text style called “Time Signatures (one staff only)” which allows you to place a regular looking time signature as text anywhere you want, independent of their normal staff location(s). This text style is located here:

  • Sibelius 6 : Create > Text > Other Staff Text > Time Signatures (one staff only)
  • Sibelius 7 : Text Tab > Styles Gallery > Time Signatures (special) > Time Signatures (one staff only)

But you can also create a new text style which will allow you to display a time signature as part of a line of text, like this:

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