There is a visual style preferred by many composers and orchestrators in which instrument group names are shown bracketing two or more staves, with numbers (1., 2. or I., II.) rather than individual instrument names showing for the specific instrument staves:
This is a nice presentation, which clearly shows how the orchestration is organized with a minimum of clutter. The method to create Multi-Stave Groups like the above in Finale, as well as a cool variation for group name display are covered in this post by my colleague Jon Senge.
However, while this works great for the score, it’s quite another thing if you are also creating the parts, because there are no longer unique identifiers for each instrument. When you get to the parts phase, you first have to figure out which staff goes with which instrument, and once you do, you have to manually type in each instrument name in the Linked Parts! Ideally, the instrument names should remain in the template for parts. So, how can we do this?
I was recently asked to create a score layout that evoked some old Hollywood styles. One of the aspects discussed was a different way of formatting instrument families. Vertical instrument labels can be found on some old manuscript papers but are all but forgotten in today’s computer notation.
Creating vertical staff group labels are easy work in Finale. If you already have staff groups established, as in the excerpt below, it’s just a matter of reformatting the label itself. If you don’t, here’s a brief explanation.
Since early versions of Sibelius, there have been Default Symbols and Lines. In the case of both Symbols and Lines, some of these are hard wired to specific functions in the program, and in the case of Lines in particular, these attributes are inherited by any “New” version you might create of that Default line.
For instance, the Default 8va line has an effect on playback. If you make a copy of this line by selecting it and clicking the “New” button, the New copy will inherit the same playback attributes. In the same way, if you change the visible attributes of the default 8va line, say, to different preceding text or change the line thickness, it will still maintain those playback characteristics.
But the ability to edit the defaults directly has some ramifications.
Q: In this screenshot, you’ll notice that the G natural accidental in the third bar is colliding with the previous F sixteenth note between the two layers:
I have tried all sorts of ways to fix it, using the Document Options’ minimum spacing, space between, etc. I have tried Note/Beat/Time Sig. Spacing, all the JW note spacing alternatives and nothing fixes this issue automatically. Is it only fixable manually?
I recently had a discussion about measure number placement with a colleague. For film scores, game scores and other commercial recording sessions, bar numbers are most typically shown on every bar. Although my colleague is a Finale user, this discussion is relevant to both Finale or Sibelius users.
In Sibelius, new text styles, line styles, symbols, noteheads, and instruments are available only in the score in which they are first defined. This gives you the flexibility to make custom definitions without affecting existing scores.
You may, however, want to have a new style or instrument appear in another score, or even in all your new scores. Sibelius allows you to export a house style from the score containing the definitions you wish to share, and then import that house style into other scores. Those scores will now contain the new definitions.
You can also import a house style into manuscript paper files, which are used as templates for new scores, and any scores you create that use those manuscript papers will inherit the definitions from the house style.
This article explains how to import a house style into one or more manuscript paper files.