Q: I can never get the placement of dynamics to align nicely to the middle of the grand staff in piano parts. Because they are connected to the treble or bass clef stave, they tend to move towards that stave. But it would be nice to have them in the middle, centered between the 2 staves. I can’t find an option in to automate this. What’s the best way to center these dynamics?
A: I’ve found that consistently attaching dynamics below the treble clef staff really helps with dynamics text / hairpin positioning on a braced (grand staff) instrument. Both Finale and Sibelius offer a mechanism to center dynamics between grand staves as a group, but in order to move as a group, they have to be attached consistently to the same staff.
Generally, dynamics should be placed as close as possible to the notes they refer to. However, in keyboard music, a convention is to center the dynamics between the staves, as the dynamics most typically refer to both the left and right hand. As with parts on one staff, keep dynamics on the same horizontal plane where possible.
The following techniques can also be helpful when entering music in a dense score for an instrument with ledger lines.
Q: I’m trying to import a graphic onto my score, but whenever I place it where I want it, the multi-measure rest breaks in a way I don’t want it to. How can I place the graphic above the staff and keep the multi-measure rest at the full duration?
A: From version 2 of Sibelius onward, the Properties Palette has provided a good solution for controlling placement while keeping multimeasure rest integrity. In Sibelius 7, the Properties Palette was renamed “The Inspector”, but for all intents and purposes, it is still the same tool.
Suppose you want a graphic to appear in the score and parts at a location prior to the barline, over the multirest:
A solution to this problem would be useful to many music educators, who often present introductory music in fewer than five-line staffs, but want to acquaint students with the conventional symbols like repeat signs.
A: In Finale, moving the repeat dot locations is a simple matter of adjusting the vertical location for available “Top Repeat Dot” and “Bottom Repeat Dot” parameters in Staff Setup. However, while the method to achieve this in Sibelius is somewhat more circuitous, it is indeed quite possible, and in fact, once you’ve created the mechanism once, it is very fast to create in subsequent worksheets or even scores, via Export / Import House Style.
Proofreading is an essential part of music preparation, whether it’s engraving for publication, a recording session, or for performance.
It’s more than merely having an eye for detail. Good proofreading really boils down to having an efficient and methodical / systematic approach which allows every aspect of the music on every page to be examined consistently and thoroughly.
I recommend the method advocated by William Holab and David Fetheroff in “The G. Schirmer/AMP Manual of Style and Usage” as a great starting point. Once you’ve learned how it works, you may modify the process somewhat, as I have, but the gist is, you want to specifically target groups of musical elements one at a time in a methodical manner to produce consistent and accurate results.
In the G. Schirmer system, the proofreader prints out a copy of the score or part and pencils the following letters at the top of the page, crossing each letter off as that task is complete:
Articulations are small symbols which which are normally placed near the notehead to indicate how a note is to be played.
However, when music appears in more than one Voice or Layer, the placement rules change. Earlier versions of Finale required a lot of manual adjustment to make articulations appear in the right place where there were multiple Layers. In current versions of FInale, users can take advantage of a positioning feature for articulations called “Auto Note / Stem Side”:
use for: accent, accent-staccato, accent-tenuto, marcatissimo, marcato accent (rooftop) marcato staccato, staccato and tenuto (sostenuto).
In Finale, sometimes it is desirable to copy only the material from one Layer (e.g. voice) to another location. However, while you can use use the settings in Edit > Edit Filter to control which elements are copied, all Filter settings apply to all visible Layers. But Finale has a very powerful feature hidden in the Document menu : “Show Active Layer Only”.
All you have to remember to use this feature is “If you don’t see it, it won’t get copied”. So, to copy only the music from Layer 2 onto the clipboard, make Layer 2 active, then select “Show Active Layer Only”.
Keep in mind that you can use this in connection with your settings in the Edit Filter to get very precise control of what gets copied to the Clipboard, for instance, copy just articulations attached to Layer 2…