Correctly defining an Instrument’s Glissando Playback Defaults in Sibelius

Q: How do I get glisses in Sibelius 7 to automatically respond correctly by instrument type? Even though the Inspector is set to the default ‘auto’, for wind instruments, it still plays a mod wheel-type slide instead of a chromatic run, which must be set manually.

A: Strangely, a number of the woodwind instrument definitions in Sibelius 7 have their default glissando type set to “Continuous” while others are set to “Chromatic”. This is not unique to Sibelius 7 – these instruments are defined this way in Sibelius 6 as well. The Instrument Families that are affected are Clarinets, Saxophones and Recorders.

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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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Printing Two Separate Parts Side By Side As Matched Pairs of Pages

Q: I’m preparing a score in Finale 2011 for a piano ensemble, i.e. for two pianists playing simultaneously at one piano. How can I print the score so that the 1st and 2nd parts are printed on even and odd pages correspondingly?

A: Finale doesn’t have a specific feature to do this. However, it is possible to print individual pages in such a way that everything is sequential, as well as in matched pairs. There are just a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Match the layouts in two separate parts so that the starting and ending bar numbering for each pair of pages will be consistent between the two parts.
  2. Hide the page numbers in the Finale file, since these will not be correct when you line the pages up side by side. Right click the page numbers, and uncheck “Show”.
  3. Print the individual parts and tape the pages together in pairs so that Piano 1 and Piano 2 pages line up correctly. As mentioned above in #1, the bar numbering and layout for each part should match at the start and end of every page.


Using a PDF editing program such as Acrobat Pro, you can combine the pages in proper order after the fact. Save each page of each of the two parts as separate PDF files, then combine the files to assemble them in order: Piano 1, page 1, Piano 2, page 1, Piano 1, page 2, Piano2, page 2 etc.

Once the file is assembled linearly, you can optionally add page numbers to the assembled PDF file, as well as use any of the normal features supported by your printer to create a booklet etc.

Finally, add a title page the front cover, then start the Piano 1 part on a left facing page (even numbered) rather than the standard right facing page (odd numbered) in order that pairs of pages will always be displayed as you open out the printed booklet.


It should be noted that another, perhaps more standard approach would be to create a part which is 4 staves, with piano 1 and piano 2 vertically aligned; essentially a “mini-score”. If your score is 2 pianos only, you can do the layout right in the score. If the two pianos are parts in a larger score, from Managed Parts, create a single part which contains both instruments by selecting the Piano 1 Instrument in the left column of Managed Parts, then selecting Piano 2 in the right column, and selecting “Add to Instrument” so that it shows up in the “Staves and Groups in Part” center column under Piano 1. Finally, select “Edit Part Name” and rename to “Piano 1 & 2”.

That’s it!

related : Piano Music for Four Hands in Sibelius 

Sibelius : Special Barlines, Multirests & Default Double Barlines

Q: I have a Sibelius file which is a series of different Effects for strings. I have separated each of these effects with a double barline. However, in any parts which are resting, the multirests are not showing up, and I would like them to. Can you help me solve the problem?

A: Common practice indicates that typically, wherever there is a double bar, it is indicating a new section, rehearsal mark, key change or some other significant event in the music. In your situation, it does make sense to use double bars as a “divider” between each effect; however, Sibelius is breaking these as if they were new sections.


In Sibelius, barlines other than the Default are called “Special” barlines. Any time you overlay a new barline over an existing one, it creates a new “Special” barline which will break multimeasure rests. Here is the list:

  1. Start Repeat
  2. End Repeat
  3. Double
  4. Dashed
  5. Final
  6. Invisible
  7. Normal
  8. Tick
  9. Short
  10. Between Staves

Where are they located?

  • SIBELIUS 6 : Create Menu > Barline
  • SIBELIUS 7 : Notations Tab > Barline button in the Common Group

Note in particular number 7 on the list which is “Normal”. It is possible to get into a situation where you actually convert the Default barline to a “Special” barline. It’s actually hard to spot, because there is no visual indication that anything is out of the ordinary.

If you overlay a normal barline on a Default “Normal” barline, it will still “look” like a Normal barline, but will, in fact, become a “Special” barline, which will break a multirest.

While other factors may be in play, a likely solution is to “clear” the “Special” barline information, which will return all of the “Normal” barlines to the proper default barline.

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Dolet 6 Music XML Plugins for Finale & Sibelius are now Freeware

Yup, that’s right: Just in time for Christmas, MakeMusic is offering the Dolet 6 Music XML plugin for both Finale and Sibelius on their website as a free download. Here’s the link:

Cool, right? But wait, what is a Sibelius plugin doing on the Finale website?

In case you missed the official announcement, on November 2, 2011, MakeMusic entered into an agreement to acquire selected assets of Recordare® LLC, the Internet music publishing and software company.

Under the terms of the agreement, MakeMusic purchased the MusicXML™ open format and Dolet® software technology, including copyrights, source code, and trademarks. MakeMusic also announced that the founder of Recordare and inventor of MusicXML, Michael Good, would join MakeMusic as the Director of Digital Sheet Music.

In case you want to read the official MakeMusic press releases, here they are:

  1. November 28, 2011
  2. November 2, 2011


Additionally, the Recordare site has more information about the future of Music XML.

  1. Recordare FAQ
  2. More about the MakeMusic Acquisition

Both Finale 2012 and Sibelius 7 already have decent Music XML integration built in, allowing you to import and export Music XML files for collaboration with others, or, in the case of Finale, for back saving to a previous version of Finale.

The Dolet 6 plugins use the latest Music XML 3.0 technology, with support for additional musical symbols and lots of other goodies, so even Finale 2012 and Sibelius 7 users will benefit. And, if you are using and earlier version of your notation software, such as Finale 2010 or Sibelius 6, it’s a huge step up, essentially giving users a comprehensive file exchange feature.


Creating Fractions & Other Symbols in Finale & Sibelius using Unicode

noun /ˈyo͞oniˌkōd/

An international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, by which each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different platforms and programs.

More recent versions of Finale and Sibelius both feature Unicode font support. Among other things, this means a number of new symbols useful for music notation are now readily available in addition to the 256 “regular” characters we’ve always had access to. This cross – application Unicode support represents an important step for digital music preparation, as we not only have access to the comprehensive set of accented and diacritical characters used in Latin based languages, but we can now enter the text and symbols for titles, credits, lyrics and directives in non-Latin based languages such as Russian and Chinese.

One useful type of symbol sometimes used in music scores not built in to the Sibelius Word Menus or the Finale Expressions Selection Dialog in Finale are fractions.  Without Unicode, fractions need to be displayed as two numbers with a slash between them, e.g. “1/2”. Directives such as “½ section trem.” or “Slow ¼ tone bends” or “trill ½” appear frequently in modern scores, for instance, so it is great to finally be able to display these properly and easily in both Finale and Sibelius.

On the PC, you should be able to type the most common fractions directly into either Sibelius 7 or later or Finale 2012 or later using ALT codes. Hold down the ALT key, type 0188 on the numeric keypad, and then release the ALT key to insert the symbol ¼. To insert the symbol ½, use the character code 0189. To insert the symbol ¾, use 0190.

Unfortunately, there are no designated keystrokes for fractions on a Mac, and if you are like me, you may have trouble remembering obscure ALT codes, anyway.

The good news is that with Unicode support, you now can simply copy and paste these characters into your music, and recall them again quickly at any time. It just takes a couple of minutes to set up, and from then on, they’ll always be there when you need them.

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