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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Find Plugins & Information about Finale & Sibelius QUICKLY

Have you noticed that a typical internet search doesn’t always produce relevant results for music notation? For instance, if you do a Yahoo, Bing or Google search for  “articulation”, you’ll get dozens of results, with none of them related to Finale or Sibelius, and only a handful related to music . . .

‘NET SEARCH (see sidebar) is a useful resource that can help.

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Staying Organized with Finale’s Category Designer

Q: I have a Finale template file that I use often for orchestral music, and I have created several new expression categories with the Category Designer tool. However, I created these categories as they were needed, and they are now arranged in the Expression list without order. I would like to rearrange the order of the categories, but I cannot seem to find a way to do so. Do you know of any way that I can rearrange the order of these categories? Or am I coming up against a shortcoming of this software?

A: More recent versions of Finale have the ability to manually reorganize (sort) Text, Shapes, Lines and Articulations via the “Move Down” and “Move Up” buttons in the Expression Selection, Articulation Selection, Shape Selection and Line Selection dialogs. These sorting buttons also appear in the Document Setup Wizard, Reorder Staves, and in Manage Parts, to allow the user to change a particular instrument’s position in the score.

Unfortunately, Finale’s Document  > Category Designer has no such sorting feature. For those that only use the Default Categories, this doesn’t represent a problem, but for those of us who make use of the ability to create custom categories, the ability to sort them would be useful.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can reorganize these expression categories. Let’s take a look…

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Finale : Using Linked Parts, Finalescript & House Styles for Commercial Parts

Back in 2011, I posted Making Efficient Use of Linked Parts In Finale which outlined a few of the advantages of using Linked Parts in Finale vs. the “old school” method of individual part extraction, or pasting parts into a separate template file.

Recently, a conversation with an industry colleague made me realize that even 6 years after the introduction of Linked Parts in Finale, some of the very best veteran professional music copyists working in LA and elsewhere still are not taking advantage of Finale’s Managed Parts feature.

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Increase cursor / mouse pointer visibility on Mac OSX and Windows 7

If you work on multiple monitors, or on a large monitor, you may find this tip for improving the visibility of the cursor to be helpful.

I often have more than one application open on my 30″ monitor, as I move between tasks throughout the day. On my setup, I sometimes lose track of the “Arrow” cursor, particularly when the mouse position drifts outside of the active program window. Additionally, certain applications have special cursors for specific operations which can be hard to see.  For instance, the notation program Finale has a “crosshairs” cursor for Speedy Entry that is easy to lose track of if you have a lot of screen real estate at a high resolution.

Fortunately, recent versions of both the Mac and Windows OS have a mechanism for increasing the mouse pointer / cursor visibility.

Mac: One the Mac, go to System Preferences… in the System row (4th row down), choose Universal Access, then click the Mouse tab at top of the dialog. Locate “For difficulties seeing the cursor” and move the slider to increase the cursor size.

Windows 7: Go to “Control Panel > Ease of Access >Ease of Access Center > Make the mouse easier to use”, and select one of the mouse pointer visibility choices.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Just changing the cursor settings slightly  can make a huge visibility difference. These are global settings, so you’ll be able to take advantage of them even when you are not working in your notation program.