Mapping Pitches in Sibelius

Sometimes you want to change the pitches in a score without doing a normal transposition. There are a number of Sibelius plugins that can change a pitch to any other pitch.

Pitch Mapping

This shipping plugin (Note Input > Transformations > More>Pitch Mapping) was one of the very early plugins in Sibelius.

The default dialog lets you map all the spellings of a given pitch to a single spelling. In this example, C, B#, and Dbb will be respelled as C (or any other name you choose from the list). This mapping will apply to all selected notes with the same pitch name, in any octave.

For respelling, you can choose natural notes, single or double sharps or flats, or leave some notes unchanged, so you can respell some but not all the selected notes.  The plugin will ignore quartertones, and it cannot respell to quartertones. Even now, in 2020, plugins are unable to create notes with quartertone accidentals.

New Pitch Higher… gives some options for determining whether the replaced pitches will be higher or lower than the original pitch. The details are explained in the dialog that comes up.

Not only can you respell notes this way, you can also change a note to any other valid pitch. C can be mapped to G# or Fbb if you so desire. As before, all notes with the same pitch name in any octave are mapped to the same new note name, in an appropriate octave.

If you choose More Options…, you get a dialog that lets you map each spelling or a given pitch separately, so you can spell C, B#, and Dbb to different notes if you like.

Transform Scale

The downloadable plugin Transform Scale is a “front end” for the Pitch Mapping plugin. It lets you transform the selected notes to a different scale or mode, and/or change the root of a scale. Changing the root without changing the scale type is the same as transposing.

There are 22 built-in scales, plus you can edit the existing scales or add your own. Scales are all chromatic (12-tones) scales. You can specify fewer than 12 notes, and the plugin will choose pitches for any you leave out. Details are in the Add/Edit scales dialog.

The Percussion Pitch Map plugin

I wrote Percussion Pitch Map to help deal with pitch and notehead mapping for percussion instruments, but it was pointed out to me that you can use it to map any pitches, and, unlike the other plugins, it allows you to choose the octave for both the source and destination notes.

To use it this way, you need to create your own pitch map, which is a simple text file. You can create it in a text editor, and move it to the appropriate folder location, or create and edit a pitch map in the plugin.

There is a lot of detail to deal with, so I suggest you look at this Of Note blog post, and read the PDF file that will be downloaded with the plugin, and which can also be found here.

One detail to note: if you are using Percussion Pitch Map strictly as a pitch map, the first line in your custom pitch map file should be:

// Strict pitch, C4

Thanks to Robert Puff, who came up with the concept of the Percussion Pitch Map plugin and wrote the built-in percussion pitch maps, and to James Batty, who came up with the idea of using it as an octave-changing pitch mapper (and pointed out a nasty bug, which has been fixed).

Map away!

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