Character Styles and Text Styles in Sibelius 7

Q: I’m working on a piece in Sibelius 7 with a number of metronome marks.  I’m not sure what I did, but I now find they all read (e.g.) q. = 52, in my favourite Book Antiqua. That is to say, the dotted quarter symbol has changed to regular text.

How can I get my Metronome Marks to show up with the proper symbols again?

A: If you ever run into a situation where suddenly all of your Metronome Mark symbols have changed to regular text, go to the Text Tab, Select the Edit Text Styles button under Styles, and locate the Music Text style. See if this is set to Opus Text Std.If it isn’t, change it to Opus Text Std. (or Inkpen 2 Text if it is a handwritten look). The Music Text Style controls the look of the music symbols that are used in Sibelius to create Metronome Marks etc. With the Music Text Style set to Opus Text Std., your MM marks should be restored to the correct font and show the dotted quarter and other music text symbols correctly.

Another situation where you might need to reset the font of your Music Text font is if you attempt to apply a quarter note or other note value symbol using the Contextual Menu. If it appears on the page as a “q” then it means that the Music Text Style somehow got set to a regular text font.

(One way that the default font for the Music Text Style could have been changed accidentally is if you imported a house style, particularly from an older version of Sibelius.) 

The main thing is to be aware that the Music Text Style acts as a central hub for the basic music symbols you are likely to use with Text, and this text style is reserved for this use.

Sibelius 7 now gives the user better control of the two different types of Styles – Text Styles and Character Styles. 

When you went into the Edit Text Styles dialog, you might have noticed two new icons next to the Text Styles in the list. These icons identify whether the Text Style is a Text Style or a Character Style. The Text Style icon looks like this:

The Character Style icon looks like this:

These icons also appear on the Text> Format Group on the Ribbon, showing you Text Style, Character Style, Font and font style:

If you are an adventurous Sibelius user, I encourage you to take a look at the updates to the Edit Text Styles dialog. Sibelius 7 has a number of new advanced formatting features in the Edit Text Style dialog, including: Baseline • Line spacing • Gap after paragraph • Tracking • Horizontal scale • Vertical scale • Angle • Text color • First Line Indent, and more.

And something you may have missed unless you were paying close attention. For the Text Styles only (e.g. this option does not appear in the Character Style dialogs), there is a “Based On” popup menu.

This is a very powerful companion feature to the Edit All Fonts feature of Sibelius 6 (and Sibelius 7). Sibelius maps its Text Styles in the new Manuscript Papers to be “Based on” the Plain Text style. What this means is if you have the font unchecking in a particular text style, and instead, have “Based On” set to a parent style, whenever you change the font for the Plain Text Style to something else , all of the other Text fonts in that file will instantly update to that family. More power to you.