Sibelius – Create Etude Numbers Using Instrument Changes

Etude numbers in published works commonly appear at the left edge of the first staff of each etude:

Since these occur in the same place as Instrument Names might in a score, (and since serendipitously, instrument names aren’t typically displayed at the left edge of systems in an Etude book), we can use the Instrument Name Text Style in Sibelius combined with Instrument Changes to create a series of Etude numbers. Here’s how:

  1. First, Create an Instrument that the Etude will be designed for. I’ll use Trombone to go with the Rochut Etude example above. This way, it will play back with the Trombone sound, even after we modify the name.
  2. Define at which points the instrument name will be displayed:
    1. In Sibelius 6, select House Style>Engraving Rules>Instruments.
    2. In Sibelius 7, locate the Instrument names group in the Appearance tab.
  3. Set Instrument Names to Full At Start, None Subsequently and Full At New Sections:

At this point, you should see the full instrument name before the first bar of music.

4. Double click the Instrument name to highlight it, and type in your Etude number, replacing the original instrument name:

Note that you can optionally change the size and attributes of the Instrument Names Text Style to make the Etude numbers larger and / or bolder.

  • Sibelius 6 : House Style > Edit Text Styles > Instrument Names > Edit
  • Sibelius 7 : Format Group of Text Tab

Now, go to the start of the next Etude, and locate the bar just prior to it. Select the bar and insert a Section End:

  • Sibelius 6 : Properties Palette>Bars>Check Section End
  • Sibelius 7 : Open the Bars panel of the Inspector, and switch on Section end.

Auto Breaks should automatically move the start of the next etude down to the next system, and if you’ve set your Instrument Names as above, you will see the “No.1” name appear at the start of the new system.

Finally, let’s create an Instrument Change at the start of this new section, and rename it to “No.2“:

  • Sibelius 6 : Create>Other>Instrument Change.
  • Sibelius 7 : Change in the Instruments Group of the Home Tab.

Typically, your Instrument Change will be to the same instrument as the previous Etude. In this case, Trombone. Then simply repeat the process from step 4 for each Etude in your Sibelius file.

That’s it! That’s all there is to it.


Rochut Etude example provided by David Ritt.

Ez a bejegyzés magyarul is olvasható (This article has been translated into Hungarian) here.

8 Replies to “Sibelius – Create Etude Numbers Using Instrument Changes”

  1. You know so much about Sibelius and Finale that, after researching to learn about something and then share it with others, I wonder how you ever get any work done! But you do! Congratulations on doing “Underworld: Evolution”, by the way!

    1. Thanks, Jerry!

      Its gratifying to hear that music industry professionals such as yourself are actually making use of the blog. I appreciate you taking time to comment!


  2. Thanks for the tip–the Rochut passage grabbed me as I was looking at the page! ;-)
    I’m subscribing forthwith–fifthwith, even.

  3. Thanks, Robert. This tutorial has helped me to internalize the lessons you gave me on enhancing my Sibelius skills. As you observed, I have a large investment of time on these Rochut Accompaniment duets and trios, and as I do last drafts of the 60 of them in book one (which between duets and trios comprise 180 original parts!), it gives me a warm glow to be able to make them conform to the style of the Rochut etudes as much as possible. This feels like my legacy (with a small “l”) and your help has meant a lot to me.

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