graphics

Finale : Create Dashed & Dotted Cresc. / Dim. Hairpins Via Graphic Overlay

In previous posts, (1) (2), I’ve discussed Finale’s ability to create an opaque mask for text using its Enclosure Designer in order to bring text prominently to the foreground in front of a line such as a hairpin.

An imported graphic can also be used as a background mask. Note how the graphic completely masks the dotted line across its surface area in this example:

fin-graphic-overlay-ex-no-transparency

An imported TIFF graphic in Finale has an important additional ability: to display a mix of opacity and transparency. In this example, the same overlay graphic is transparent in its “white” area. Note how the solid line in the background now appears to be woven between the vertical lines of the graphic:

fin-graphic-overlay-ex-w-transparency

We can use this same ability to create a kind of “picket fence” graphic overlay for crescendo and diminuendo hairpin smart shapes that allows them to show through the graphic at regular intervals, like this:

fin-dashed-hairpin-examples01

Here’s how:

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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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How to create an AMBITUS in Sibelius 7 (part 1)

An Ambitus (sometimes anglicized to ambit) is mostly found in vocal and some instrumental scores from the Medieval/Renaissance period and it is a notational representation placed just before the clef in the modern multiple-staves system, indicating the note range for a given voice or the pitch range that a musical instrument is capable of playing (See score extract below).

Ambitus 01-1

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Improving Tremolo Playback in Sibelius 6 & 7 & Alternate Playback Methods

Q: I would like to use three line tremolos for all unmeasured tremolos, and have them always play back correctly. Properly notated (on printed page) three line tremolos for timpani, drum rolls, and mallet percussion play back (somewhat) correctly at faster tempos, but sound like an M1919 Browning machine gun at slower tempos.

The four line tremolo (called “16 tremolos”) typically sounds best for strings, but I want to use the three line tremolo for unmeasured tremolo, which is visually correct. Is there a workaround to achieve (reasonably) proper playback of both, without co-opting an incorrect looking symbol on the printed page? I don’t want to have to use the alternate 16 tremolos (4-line), or 32 tremolos (5-line) for correct playback.

A: Yes. By default, Sibelius plays back three stroke tremolos as “8 tremolos”, which means that it is simply subdividing the note it is attached to 8 times. At faster tempos, this can sound ok, but this quantized “fast measured” effect sounds patently incorrect at slower tempos. I think the percussive 30 caliber M1919 Browning analogy is a good one.

This is a case where the software has introduced a possible bad habit for young composers and arrangers, because in order to get correct playback by default, one has to resort to using the 4 or 5 stroke tremolos.

Elaine Gould, in her book “Behind Bars” (page 224), states “The standard indication for unmeasured tremolo is three tremolo strokes.”

So, how can we get these three stroke tremolos to play back properly? Let’s take a look.

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Finale : Feathered Beams in Cross-Staff Notation

Feathered Beams in Finale are straightforward to create in a single staff (see this tutorial).

However, creating feathered beams in a grand staff with cross-staff notation is a little more involved, so it seems like an excellent topic.

In this tutorial, we’ll examine several methods for creating cross-staff feathered beaming in Finale. Thanks to Peter Thomsen, Luke Dahn and Zuill for their contributions to this tutorial, and a shout out to Alexander Blank at Indiana University for bringing us all together on the OF NOTE blog!

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Control Multirest Break Points in Sibelius

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:

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