Use Slurs to Create Straight, Note-attached Lines in Sibelius

One of the features lacking even in the latest version of Sibelius are straight lines which snap-to notes. All of the straight lines, including the gliss lines, attach to the staff, and actually don’t snap to noteheads. The gliss lines and other straight lines do play back in Sibelius, but they are fussy to position correctly between notes.

Bob Zawalich’s excellent and highly recommendedLines Between Notes” plugin for Sibelius takes a great deal of the work out of positioning lines between notes accurately; indispensable if you write a lot of music with gliss lines, for instance.

The “Lines Between Notes” plugin is an amazing productivity tool, but it’s not a “dynamic” solution. If you apply the plugin in a concert score you’ll most likely have to make a second adjustment in the part if it transposes. If you change the start or ending note pitch after the fact, you’ll have the run the plugin again. A way to create a real, honest-to-goodness straight, note-attached lines would be a useful feature.

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On Location : Instrument Changes in Sibelius

Robert: My question is about Instrument Change placement in Sibelius. In a percussion part, at the end of a system, I want to show a five-line staff for the new instrument, along with the preview clef, but Sibelius moves the five line staff to the start of the subsequent system, rather than allowing it to start just before the new clef:



correct / preferred

correct / preferred


I know that I can manually (or with the inspector) move the instrument change to the left a bit. However, when I respace the part, the Instrument change will revert to the end of the system.

I’ve tried several approaches. One is invisible rests in another layer, to which the changes are attached…then the rests are hidden. With creativity, the rests can be arranged visually OK. I also know about the Inspector x-axis.

The question really only comes up at the end of systems. I’m wondering if there is something simple that I’m missing.


Steve Rouse

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Freeze Magnetic Layout in Sibelius to Improve MusicXML Export to Finale

Hi Robert,

I’m much more of a Sibelius user and I’m trying to automate some things to quickly clean up files in Finale after importing MusicXML Files. Specifically, I’d like to see if there is a plug-in or a FinaleScript that cleans up formatting in Finale so there aren’t as many collisions on the page. I use Magnetic Layout in Sibelius, so I’m hoping there is something like that out there for Finale.


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Ideas Building Blocks : Use Sibelius to Create a Database of Thematic Material

I recently had an interesting dialog with a fellow Sibelius user about using the Ideas feature as a productivity tool for managing music for a large project. He writes:

“I´m a film composer who is just starting a TV-series where I need to be very organised with my material. On the face of it, the Ideas feature in Sibelius 7.5 looks as though it might be helpful in that regard. My hope is that I might be able to organise all my themes, moods, rhythmic and harmonic material in a comprehensive database within Ideas for easy access across all the different scenes.

However, Ideas doesn´t seem to sort alphabetically when listing the entries in the Ideas window. It seems it wants to list the latest edited version on top. As I use codes for my material (for example; Th_Selma_strings (means; Selma´s Theme with strings..) it would be great if I could navigate alphabetically.

Do you have any experience with using Ideas in this way?”

All best,

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Sibelius Quick Tip : Adjusting the Bottom Staff of Score or Part

Q: Sometimes in Sibelius the bottom staff on a part page is too low; where there are ledger lines, the dynamics or a low pitch go below the page margins. I have tried the obvious reset above and below and dragging and optimize. When I drag the bottom stave it won’t budge, it just affects the stave above it. What is the solution?

A: You can use Option-Shift-Up Arrow (presumably Alt-Shift-Up Arrow on PC) with the staff selected to move it up and then reset space above staff to reset the distances of the staves above.

You can also create a Special Page Break at the end of the previous page and create a new margin definition for the bottom margin for one page only. Select the last barline on previous page and type CMND-SHIFT-P (presumably CNTRL-SHIFT-P on PC):


That’s all there is to it.


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”:


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:



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Draw the Line : Slur length

A slur, sometimes called a phrase mark, is a curved line used in musical notation which indicates that the notes are to be played smoothly together. String players will typically play the notes in one stroke of the bow, wind players or singers will take the notes in one breath.

Slurs are also used in vocal music to indicate that one syllable is to be sung across several notes, called a “melisma“.

When writing music, it is important that the extent of a phrase be immediately clear to the musicians.

When a phrase ends with a tied note, it’s perhaps natural to want to attach the phrase mark to the start of the tied series, but, except in one specific case we will cover in a moment, this is actually incorrect.

One slur should completely cover the entire phrase, with the end of the slur attached to the final tied note in the series. The following is correct:


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