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.

more >> “Sibelius : Special Barlines, Multirests & Default Double Barlines”

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.

more >> “Creating Fractions & Other Symbols in Finale & Sibelius using Unicode”

How to Restore Missing Barlines in One Staff of a Score in Sibelius

Q: I somehow deleted all of the barlines on one of the staves of my Sibelius score, and can’t figure out how to restore them. How did the barlines on only one staff get deleted in the first place, and what can I do to restore the barlines?

A: Sibelius 6 & 7 makes it very easy to create barline groupings between staves (Sibelius calls these “Barline Joins”) simply by carefully clicking on the bottom or top of a normal barline. When the little purple square “handle” shows up, drag the barline up or down the System to extend or contract the barline:

The staves will be grouped together. Simple!

Note that only regular single barlines can be dragged; you won’t be able to extend or contract any “special” barlines such as a repeat or double barline.

However, if you happen to inadvertently press the Delete key while these handles are showing, you will delete the barlines completely from that staff! But don’t worry, the fix is pretty simple. To restore the barlines, select the square staff handle of an adjacent staff, and extend its barline up or down to restore the missing barlines in the staff where they are missing:

Of course, if you don’t need this staff’s barlines to be joined with the other staves, once you restore the barlines, you can separate the staves again by dragging the barline to contract them.

That’s it! That’s all there is to it.



Controlling the Layout when using the Finale Score Merger. . .

Q: I have several short pieces for brass quintet which I have merged together using Finale’s ScoreMerger feature. The pieces are all appended in the correct order, but each short piece is now on a separate page, which is not ideal, particularly for the parts. I would like these to appear like movements of the same piece, with each new piece starting on a new system, but on the same page as the ending of the previous piece, if there is space available. How can I make the pieces look this way?

A: If you have the “Treat as Independent Movements” option checked in File > ScoreMerger. . ., this option automatically inserts page breaks between each merged  / appended piece.

In the main program, if View > Show > Page Layout Icons is checked, you will see the page break icons in the top left margin of each new page. To remove these page breaks, select the Page Layout Tool, then right-click on the little move handle at the left edge of the first system on each page. When the contextual menu comes up, select “Delete Page Break”, which will allow existing music to move to the previous page. If you’ve already merged the pieces, you will need to do this for the start of each new piece.

Note that if the “Treat as Independent Movements” option is *not* checked in ScoreMerger, the next piece will appear consecutively as if it were the next bar in the score or part. If you have merged the pieces *this* way, (and don’t want each piece to begin on a new page, but *would* like each piece to start a new system),  select the Measure Tool, then double click the first bar of each new appended piece and check “Begin A New Staff System”, which will force the music to a new line, but not to a new page.

That’s it! That’s all there is to it.

for Kevin Ball

Controlling Part Name Visibility Using Text Inserts in Finale

Q: I  am having a weird issue with Finale where the part names aren’t showing up in parts (Flute 1 etc.). Any new text I write to create instrument names shows up in each part. How do I make the part names show up correctly?

A: Finale uses a type of “wildcard” text called Inserts for page text which allows the instrument names to show up correctly. Inserts can created for all of the most common text information you would display in your score and parts.

Title, Subtitle, Composer, Arranger, Lyricist, Copyright, etc. each have a corresponding Field in Finale’s Score Manager. These are global text fields that apply throughout the piece. In other words, text items such as the Title and Composer name appear in both the score and the parts. When you type information into the File Info section of the Score Manager (or File>File Info in earlier versions of Finale), the information in these various fields is propagated into the corresponding text Inserts you have placed on the page. Once you exit the dialog, you will see the global score information you entered.

If there is a text Insert on the page, but there is not yet any information filled in for File Info, you will see brackets around the Insert name, such as [Title] or [Composer] or [Copyright]. These brackets tell you that rather than typing directly over this text, you should instead fill in the fields of Score Manager’s File Info (or File>File Info in 2011 and earlier.)

The Instrument Name text Insert is unique in that it doesn’t gather its information from File Info; rather it gets it from the names you assign it (or which have been assigned when new parts are created) in Document > Managed Parts. Unlike the other text inserts above, which are sharing global information across all parts, *this* Insert is placing unique information into each part.

If you happen to delete a text Insert for the title or composer, you might never notice it, because naturally, you’d simply retype the title or composer text on the page. Because this global information is common to all parts, it remains visibly the same in the score and parts whether you use the fields in File Info or type the text directly onto the page.  The information contained in the Title, Subtitle, Composer, Arranger, Lyricist, Copyright and Description fields is common to both the score and parts.

However, if the Insert for the Part / Score Name is removed, anything you type directly on the page in the space where the Insert belongs will now appear in every part! If you see the same Instrument name on every part (or nothing at all), it most likely means that the Part / Score Name Insert was inadvertently deleted. . .

more >> “Controlling Part Name Visibility Using Text Inserts in Finale”

Finale Score Manager & Mid-Score Instrument Changes

Before Finale 2012, setting up a staff to be fully defined as a particular instrument was a tedious process. First of all, playback was completely separated from the visual definition of any given instrument, requiring that you make changes in both the Staff Attributes dialog and in the Playback Window. And everything had to be set up manually, so if you were working with doubling parts, you needed to make changes in several areas of the program just to show the double’s transposition, clef and name correctly, and also play back the correct sounds.

More recent versions of Finale have neatly consolidated all of the parameters required to define an instrument into a single dialog and in the process, also given us an easy and intuitive way to create instrument changes for doubles occurring in the same staff. At the heart of this new feature is the Score Manager.

more >> “Finale Score Manager & Mid-Score Instrument Changes”