It baffles me that there are still a number of commercial Music Copying Houses in LA, New York and elsewhere that are still not taking advantage of the benefits of integrated Dynamic Parts in Sibelius. These copyists are still using an old method from the mid 1990’s, where a master parts template file is created, and each part is pasted into the template one at a time, then saved off as individual, separate files.
REWIND : ADVANCING THE LAYOUT WITH A PHOTOCOPIER
Back before computer notation programs, hand copyists working in commercial genres such as musical theater, film, television and live performance would create a Master Layout for each instrument section by figuring page turns in advance; drawing bar lines, clefs, key and time signatures, then filling in all of the common rests and unison notes into the first stage of the Layout for that group of players.
The copyist would then shoot photocopies of these master pages for each musician in the section, and then fill in any remaining harmony, counterpoint bars or other unique notation for each of the individual parts. This technique was called “Advancing the Layout”. Copyists are historically paid by the page, so this technique which saved a great deal of time for what in essence amounted to much better hourly pay was popularly referred to as a “Swindle”.
When hand copyists started making the transition to computer notation programs, it was natural for them to approach their workflow in a similar way: paste the first instrument into a copy of the template file, do a layout, and then save off a copy. Pasting the second instrument in the section into the same layout is, in effect, a “digital swindle”. Of course, with a computer notation program like Sibelius, you aren’t *required* to do the layout first, and creating layouts is even faster and more efficient now than when separate parts files were required.
From a housekeeping standpoint alone, the difference between managing one master parts file or thirty individual .sib files is a no brainer. Printing is much slower with individual files, as each part must be individually opened before it can be printed. Factor in any sort of edits, particularly changes to the form or transposition / key of the piece, or sections where notes from one staff are to be copied into another, and it quickly becomes obvious that a few minutes to learn a technique which integrates all the parts into a single file would be invaluable.
The following technique for working with Dynamics Parts in Sibelius is especially fast and efficient in situations where the master score and parts do not need to reside in the same file. The technique will also work if the score and parts are in the same file, although you will need to make a few additional adjustments to the score and parts settings for this.
Let’s take a look…