Sibelius : How to Keep Flexi-time From Adding Unwanted Measures to Your Score

Q: I have been unable to solve the problem whereby Sibelius 7 appears to add numerous measures to the end of my score as I am recording (in Flexi-time) when I input notes via MIDI controller. I am not sure what I am doing to cause the score to expand in that way. This is not a major problem, but having to delete needless measures every so often is a bit of irritation. I would be delighted if you could suggest a solution.

A: By default, the Flexi-time feature of Sibelius 6 and 7 is designed for you to be able to  begin recording with no previous sense of the form of the piece – e.g. the idea is that you are simply going to begin recording your recorded ideas into Sibelius, and much the same as you would if you were recording with a tape recorder or DAW, within reason, you will want to be able to record until you make a mistake (or run out of ideas).

To facilitate this, when you first begin recording in Flexitime, Sibelius adds blank bars to form a “container” for the transcription it will create. By default, this is set at 100 bars. The good news is that if you are using Sibelius for a scratchpad to record your ideas, Sibelius will generally capture everything.

But, if your score is past the stage of plunking in thematic ideas on the MIDI keyboard, it’s likely you’ve already determined the  “form” of your piece – perhaps you are trying to record the trumpet lines in an existing orchestral score, or a sax line at rehearsal letter B in your big band chart. The last thing you need in an existing score is an extra 100 bars added every time you turn on Flexi-time to record 8 bars in the middle of the piece!

Fortunately, it’s very simple to keep Sibelius from adding these additional bars.


In Sibelius 7, choose Flexi-time Options from the Flexi-time Group of the Note Input tab:


In Sibelius 6, choose Flexi-time Options from the Notes menu.

When the Flexi-time Options dialog opens, set the “Record up to” field to zero:


With this setting, Flexi-time recording will only record within the score’s existing measures without adding new ones. (e.g. the form of your existing score will not be changed, and Flexi-time recording will stop at the Final Bar Line).

That’s all there is to it.

~ robert

for Philip Adamek



7 Replies to “Sibelius : How to Keep Flexi-time From Adding Unwanted Measures to Your Score”

    1. Thanks, Philip! While it would have been an honor to write the Sibelius Reference, I must admit that I enjoy the freedom of being able to call things as I see them on my own blog ;^)


    1. Hamed – The first thing I would check is to make sure you are using the General MIDI soundset (for fastest response) and aren’t using NotePerformer or another soundset to play back your sounds. NotePerformer sounds are really nice, but they always sounds later than the tempo click because of the way it builds its sound expressions on the fly.

      Secondly, your computer may not be quite fast enough to keep up with Flexi-time input at faster tempos. Try slowing down the tempo to half speed (e.g. 60 BPM for a tempo of 120BPM) when you input the notes, and then you can speed the tempo back up again when you have finished inputting the notes. If it works at a very slow tempo, try speeding up the tempo bit by bit to see how fast you can record accurately before your computer and software can’t keep up accurately.

      Finally, certain sounds even in the Sibelius sound set will “speak” (e.g. sound) later than others because of the instruments they are recreating. Are you able to get better results when inputting music with the piano, guitar or electric bass sounds? These instruments all have a very fast attack envelope on the notes, which will be more accurate on input, so you might be able to record in an instrument as a piano sound and change its sound later to get accurate input.

      I hope that helps. Good luck!


  1. The same problem occurs when entering notes via Step-Time. Is there a way to prevent new bars from being added when using Step-Time? (Editing the Flexi-Time parameters does not help.) Thanks!

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