graphics

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…

more >>

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…

more >>

(2) Comments

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

more >>

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.

more >>

(2) Comments

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!

more >>

(5) Comments

Finale 2012b Update Released Today – June 26, 2012

MakeMusic released the update to Finale 2012b today, which includes several new features:

  1. Range Checking. Finale now alerts you when notes are outside of an instrument’s range.
  2. Automatic Transposition while Copying. Music is now pasted into the most appropriate octave when copied between instruments of different registers. Also, music is transposed into the most appropriate register when changing instruments with the ScoreManager.
  3. Accessible Text Inserts. You no longer need to venture into a dialog box to edit text inserts. You can now edit them directly in the score like a regular text box. When you do so, the text insert’s definition is updated respectively.
  4. SVG Graphic Export. You can now export Scaled Vector Graphics from Finale.
  5. EPUB Export. You can now export EPUB files from Finale for viewing on mobile readers.
  6. New Finale Lyrics Font. This font improves lyric spacing, and is the new default for scores created with the Document Setup Wizard.
  7. Automatic Font Annotation. Finale can now automatically generate Font Annotation Files to accommodate files with 3rd-party music fonts.
  8. New Aria Player. Finale includes the latest Aria Player from Garritan.

 

There have been some interface changes since the release of Finale 2012:

  • “Program Options” have been renamed “Preferences.” To access the Preferences, choose Finale 2012 > Preferences.
  • The File menu has been reorganized. Several File menu commands have been moved into new Import and Export submenus, as well as new commands added to 2012b. See “File menu” in the User Manual for details.
  • Undefined text inserts appear gray and do not print. Undefined text inserts, such as those that appear in the first page header after finishing the Setup Wizard, are now gray in color, indicating they will not print. You can update these inserts directly in the score using the Text tool. See “Text Inserts” in the User Manual for details.
  • Staff Styles now (again) support staff transpositions. The ability to include staff transpositions in Staff Styles has been restored (allowing Staff Styles to be an alternative method for creating mid-score instrument changes). See “Staff Styles dialog box” in the User Manual for details.

 

Finale 2012b also includes a number of bug fixes, including:

  • Audio - Audio files saved using Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL) no longer stutter.
  • Fonts – (1) The missing Seville font has been added to MacSymbolfonts.txt. (2) Problems with results from Change Chord Suffix Fonts have been resolved. (3) The Font menu now reports all missing fonts correctly.
  • Inserting - Inserting stacks no longer cause a crash when Automatic Update Layout is unchecked.
  • Keyswitches – (1) Expressions with keyswitches are now correctly chased during playback when Chase from First Measure is selected in the Playback/Record Options dialog box. (2) JABB (Garritan Jazz and Big Band) trumpets and trombones now respect keyswitch commands for all muted sounds.
  • Preferences- Folders - Finale no longer defaults to the MacOS folder if the specified folder is missing.
  • Staves - Problems deleting multiple staves in Scroll View have been resolved.

 

If you have been thinking of purchasing the Finale 2012 update, now might be a good time.
Makemusic’s upgrade sale price of $99 has been extended through July 9th, 2012.

1 Comment

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:

more >>

(2) Comments