Easy Automated Arpeggios in Sibelius 6 & 7

In Sibelius 5 and earlier, the way you would indicate an arpeggio or rolled chord was to Type “L” to open the Lines Dialog and select the appropriate wavy line. Once on the page, you dragged the arpeggio line into place. With no collision avoidance or precise placement built in, the results frequently looked like this:

If you’re still creating arpeggios this way in Sibelius 6 or 7, read on. 

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Meter Re-mapping: Merge two measures to create a larger one in Sibelius

Q: I would like to reconfigure some meters which are already in place in Sibelius 7. Rather than having a 2/4 bar followed by a 3/8 bar, I would like to convert these pairs of measures into single bars of 7/8. Is that possible? It happens quite a bit in one Mvt.

A: Absolutely. Sibelius 7 has made this really easy. Let’s say you have a passage that alternates 2/4 and 3/8, like this:


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Take Control of Multirests in Sibelius and Finale

Let’s talk about rests. Multimeasure Rests, that is. You may not have given them much thought, but Multimeasure Rests play a key role in how your parts look. In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to control multirest settings and also, how add a unique touch to your charts in Finale and Sibelius with custom multirests.

In modern charts, the standard type of multimeasure rest is called an “H-bar”. The defaults for Finale and Sibelius are nearly identical. Here are the Engraved Style defaults:

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Collision Avoidance in Finale, Part 1 : The Little Things

Q: What method(s) do you use to avoid collisions in “busy” scores in Finale, i.e: a tutti section with dynamics, hairpins, accents, chord symbols, etc… I have messed with the Avoid Collisions plugin but that doesn’t seem to do the trick for me.

A: For me, regardless of the notation program you are working in, there are a couple of basic “small things” that make a piece of music look “clean”. The first is a consistent amount of white space between any two objects that are close together on the page. The amount of minimum white space between any two objects is usually a matter of personal taste; a “house style” decision.

The second is that wherever possible, the vertical alignment of similar grouped objects such as dynamics, chord symbols or lyrics should remain consistent. Horizontal alignment should also be consistent. For instance, if you decide that techniques like “arco” and “pizz.” should be right aligned with noteheads horizontally or centered over notes, then you should locate these markings consistently in that position as much as is possible.

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Halving or doubling rhythmic values in Sibelius & Finale

Q: A student of mine has created a .MID file and imported it into Finale 2011. However,  all the note values are twice the length she desires. How can she make the notation appear correctly?

A: The musical terms for lengthening and shortening the durations of notes in a musical passage so that the length of the phrase is increased or decreased are “augmentation” and diminution”.

dim·i·nu·tion Noun /ˌdiməˈn(y)o͞oSHən/
The shortening of the time values of notes in a melodic part.

aug·men·ta·tion Noun /ˌôgmenˈtāSHən/
The lengthening of the time values of notes in a melodic part.

With that bit of technical jargon out of the way, let’s take a look at how to do this in Finale and Sibelius:

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Enter and Edit Dynamics as Music text characters in Sibelius

I see a lot of music that has dynamics entered in Times New Roman Italic or Times New Roman Italic Bold:

There is something not quite right about this “engraved” looking bar of music, right? The Opus Text Std Music text font would look more “correct” for the dynamics. However, even though this  font is assigned as the Music Text Font in many of the Sibelius Manuscript Papers, you may find your dynamics look like the above, rather than:

Let’s walk through a couple of different ways to enter these dynamic text symbols, and importantly, let’s take a look at how to fix them after the fact, using the Change Dynamics plugin in Sibelius:

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Increase cursor / mouse pointer visibility on Mac OSX and Windows 7

If you work on multiple monitors, or on a large monitor, you may find this tip for improving the visibility of the cursor to be helpful.

I often have more than one application open on my 30″ monitor, as I move between tasks throughout the day. On my setup, I sometimes lose track of the “Arrow” cursor, particularly when the mouse position drifts outside of the active program window. Additionally, certain applications have special cursors for specific operations which can be hard to see.  For instance, the notation program Finale has a “crosshairs” cursor for Speedy Entry that is easy to lose track of if you have a lot of screen real estate at a high resolution.

Fortunately, recent versions of both the Mac and Windows OS have a mechanism for increasing the mouse pointer / cursor visibility.

Mac: One the Mac, go to System Preferences… in the System row (4th row down), choose Universal Access, then click the Mouse tab at top of the dialog. Locate “For difficulties seeing the cursor” and move the slider to increase the cursor size.

Windows 7: Go to “Control Panel > Ease of Access >Ease of Access Center > Make the mouse easier to use”, and select one of the mouse pointer visibility choices.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Just changing the cursor settings slightly  can make a huge visibility difference. These are global settings, so you’ll be able to take advantage of them even when you are not working in your notation program.