Faking special stems in Sibelius

While working on a recent project I was faced with the challenge of recreating two varieties of custom stems. While Sibelius does offer a set of custom stems as symbols, the fact that these can not be attached to notes makes it difficult to work with them in practice. If there a lot of them in use, each one needs to be manually placed and, should anything change in the formatting, they easily slide around and need to constantly be checked. Plus the particular symbols I needed for this piece were not available.

sib-custom-stems-image01

The first type of stem basically has an “s” through it to signify a kind of exaggerated pitch fluctuation/vibrato. Here is a sample from the original manuscript:

sib-custom-stems-image02

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Sibelius : Notehead Types & Playback

Hi Robert,

I’m working on a composition of a 17 year old student for their final exams at the end of high school. He has written a drum part which requires samples as well as drum kit.

These samples are notated as diamond noteheads on his score:

Liam-Comp-01

However, when I export the midi file to to Logic, I lose all these diamond headed notes.

So, I created a second version of his score (Liam Comp 2.sib), where I managed to copy these diamond noteheads into a new staff. However, when I try to play these back – nothing (whether the new instrument is drum set or piano).

Are you able to see why these notes on the score do not appear to be registering as midi messages on playback and export?

Please help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.

Thanks very much,
Derek

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Sibelius : Add Ancillary Staves to a Braced Grand Staff Instrument

Hello everybody, Michele Galvagno here with a rather interesting notational matter. I’m currently working on a piece by a living composer scored for 2 percussionists, with harp and piano.

The composer’s original manuscript is set as a system with four piano grand staves, the first two of which are labelled “Vibraphone & percussion” and “Marimba & percussion”:

4_base

Upon looking at the original manuscript more closely, I noticed that the composer had notated all the unpitched percussion onto extra 1-line staves positioned in the middle of each player’s respective braced grand staff:

8_manoscrittop1

 

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Create Parenthesized or Bracketed Hairpins in Finale

Finale has a lot of flexibility when it comes to creating Custom Smart Shapes. You can create a line shape of any thickness, make it solid, dotted, dashed or even invisible, control its start and end locations and add hooks, arrows or text to either end of the line and / or to the center.

Hairpin crescendo and decrescendo are sometimes bracketed (parenthesized) by publishers to show that they were added later by the editor – e.g. not in the original composer’s manuscript:

fin-parenthesized-hairpins

These types of brackets can also be used for other reasons; for instance to show that the marking is optional or implied.

In Finale, crescendo and decrescendo smart shapes have controls for line thickness and opening width, found in Smart Shapes > Smart Shape Options, but unlike the shapes available in the Smart Line Selection dialog, there is no obvious way to add a parenthesis to the start and end of these defined hairpin Smart Shapes.

So, how would we create this type of Smart Shape in Finale?

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Sibelius Rhythmic & Slash Notation tweaks

Q: IMO, Sibelius’ slash noteheads (type 4, ‘beat with stem’) are too long (2 spaces high vs.1 space in Finale’s), and too thick, making rhythms difficult to read. Hard to believe that Sibelius lacks something as simple as a short slash notehead. Do these smaller noteheads exist in Sibelius, or is there a way to create them? And if so, how?

A: Excellent question. Slashes and Rhythmic Notation are commonly used for comping guitar, bass and drums in jazz charts.

  • Stemless slashes are frequently used to indicate improvised chording or comping where no specificity is required. These slashes simply indicate “time” in the current meter (In 4/4 time, 4 slashes in a measure, for example).
  • Rhythmic Notation is used to indicate a specific rhythmic figure. Regular pitches are replaced with slash note heads attached to note stems in the center of the staff

There are several ways you can change the look of the default slash and rhythmic notation in Sibelius. Let’s take a look:

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Sibelius: Use Percussion Pictographs for Staff Names or Instrument Changes

This tutorial is also available for Finale.

I recently typeset a piece of music for children’s choir and percussion. The percussion part, which was on three different instrument lines, needed to be as clear and readable as possible for the kids performing. The publisher requested that we use percussion pictographs instead of abbreviated text for the percussion instrument names after the first system:

01-perc-inst-name-pictographs

I thought this would make an interesting tutorial, useful for worksheets and other specialty applications (like my kid’s choir project). I hope you agree. Let’s take it from the top…

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Finale: Use Percussion Pictographs for Staff Names or Instrument Changes

This tutorial is also available for Sibelius.

I recently typeset a piece of music for children’s choir and percussion. The percussion part, which was on three different instrument lines, needed to be as clear and readable as possible for the kids performing. The publisher requested that we use percussion pictographs instead of abbreviated text for the percussion instrument names after the first system:

01-perc-inst-name-pictographs

I thought this would make an interesting tutorial, useful for worksheets and other specialty applications (like my kid’s choir project). I hope you agree. Let’s take it from the left edge…

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