Starting Glissando Playback Later in Sibelius

Q: Sibelius gliss lines always start playing from the beginning of the note they are attached to.  Using the desired (and typical jazz) notation style, how do I get a gliss to start at the end of a note (without resorting to tied subdivisions)?

A: In the example below, Sibelius’ gliss playback starts right on beat one of bar 2, at the start of the half note, and extends across the full two beats. In order to get the desired gliss playback, which is both later and faster (at least in the jazz interpretation of it), the half note needs to be divided into a dotted quarter tied to an eighth, with the gliss attached to the eighth note per the notation in Ex. 2:

If you are interested in hearing how Sibelius 7 (and 6) plays the two above examples back, click the waveform to download the mp3 files:

audio examples

(if you are writing for saxophone or clarinet, you may want to review this post.)

If you’ve looked in the Inspector of Sibelius 7, or the Properties of Sibelius 6, you may have noticed a popup in the playback related lines labeled Gliss / Rit / Accel:

At first glance, it would appear that this setting would give you control of the playback start point of a selected gliss line, but alas, that’s not the case; at least not for glisses; at least not for any discernible difference in glissando playback.

Even if this popup did produce three different playback results, there is no place to enter any kind of playback numerical offset for *how* late to actually start the glissando playback relative to the start time of its attachment point (in ticks, beats, or milliseconds, for instance). Unfortunately, in the example above, there is no discernible difference in the preset linear, early or late settings at all.

So what’s the answer, then?

While the following solution isn’t quite as intuitive as a true feature to create a Live Start Position playback offset for gliss lines would be, it *will* allow you to create a score with both the look and playback attributes you desire. The process involves creating a notation version and a playback version of the figure and overlaying them on top of each other:

  1. Enter Example 2 above as Voice 2, then hide the notes and the gliss line. Test playback.
  2. Enter Example 1 above as Voice 1 right over the top of the Voice 2 entries.
  3. Convert the Voice 1 noteheads to the Silent Notehead type (Option-Shift-9 on Mac, Alt-Shift-9 on PC)


e.g. simply define the glissando playback start point separately from the visible notation. The playback voice stays hidden, while the visible voice remains silent.

That’s it! Two voices, three steps . . .


Question and notation objective example provided by Frank Kelly. Suggestions for improvements to Sibelius can be made on the support chat page, or by contacting technical support.

2 Replies to “Starting Glissando Playback Later in Sibelius”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *