Create a Tuplet of Any Ratio in Sibelius

Q: How can I get Sibelius to create 16th septuplets in a bar of  6/8 without the duration dots?

sib-tuplet-default-w-dots

A: It’s a great question. By default, if you select a 16th note or rest on the downbeat in 6/8 time and create a default septuplet (CNTRL-7 Windows or CMND-7 Mac), you end up with an extra 8th rest:

sib-regular-tuplet

This is because Sibelius is interpreting the default septuplet request as 7 sixteenths in the space of 4 sixteenths (2 eighths). However, for the above case, it should actually be 7 sixteenths in the space of 6 sixteenths.

Fortunately, a simple solution can be found in Sibelius’ Tuplet dialog. Here, you are given the flexibility to enter the tuplet value as a specific ratio.

To open the tuplet dialog in Sibelius 7.x, select Other from the Tuplets group popup in the Note Input Tab:

sib7-tuplet-tooltip

In Sibelius 6, select Tuplet… from the Create Menu.

Enter the tuplet ratio, in this case, 7:6. The Format section of the dialog allows you to display the tuplet value as a number, a ratio, or hidden:

sib-tuplet-dialog

The end result is a tuplet that correctly  spans the full beat duration without requiring duration dots:

sib-tuplet-applied-w-ratio

That’s all there is to it.

~robert

for my friend and colleague Lior Rosner.

4 Replies to “Create a Tuplet of Any Ratio in Sibelius”

  1. Any idea why you can’t do 6.8 (six eighth notes over three beats)? It wants to write them as 16ths, which isn’t really correct.


    1. Hi Patrick – There might be a use case I’m not aware of, but to create six 8ths in the space of eight 8ths in 4/4 time, I create an eighth rest or note, open the tuplet dialog while that note or rest is selected and type 6:8 as a ratio in the Tuplet dialog entry field as shown above. The appropriate tuplet grouping fills the bar.

      I imagine you are referring to a use case where the total number of available beats is less than that.

      To fill the duration of a half note with six 8th notes, use the ratio “6:4” (four 8ths equal a half note); to fill the duration of a quarter note with six 8th notes, use “6:2” (two 8ths equal a quarter note) and so on.

      Does that work for you?

      ~robert

  2. Great article Robert. Takes the mystery out of n-tuples in Cubase. Even the reference manual doesn’t dig into an explanation. A lot more examples could be given to further explain the concept, but there probably isn’t the demand by many composers. This is probably the most lucid example so far on the internet or in existence. It gives you a basis for applying n-tuples in a variety of situations. I used it to create a Sibelius score for Ravel’s Mother Goose, the fifth fairy garden variation for 7 and 14 tuples. I’m curious as to how you came upon your knowledge of n-tuples. Did you figure it out by trial and error or is there a source that sheds additional light on the topic out there?

    Thanks for your effort,

    Bill McFadden

    1. Thank you for the good words, Bill! Glad the article was of interest and use. This type of “hidden feature” is actually not too common in Sibelius; most capabilities in Sibelius are instantly clear.

      Finale has a tuplets dialog that allows the user to define any number of tuplet ratios, which is why I was familiar with the concept in the Sibelius tuplets dialog. It’s worth mentioning that Finale *also* includes the ability to fit a group of x notes of one duration into a group of x notes of another duration, which makes for even more possibilities.

      Thank you again for your comment.

      ~robert

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