Q: While I was reading your article about note spacing in Sibelius and Finale, an interesting idea came to mind: Do you think it is possible to recreate the exact note spacing of a certain publisher from a printed page or pdf file in Sibelius?
A: Great question! I assume you are referring to punctuation (the word used to describe the horizontal spacing between music characters).
Note spacing, or punctuation, works in tandem with the physical layout of measures on the systems / pages, which is historically referred to as “Casting Off”.
For starters, it’s worth noting that duplicating a publisher’s *exact* horizontal music spacing (punctuation) involves more than consistent numerical settings. This is partly because there have been so many different types of processes for engraving music over the years:
- Punched on plate
- Autographed (drawn)
- Music Typewriter
- Acetate and Rub-off sheets
…and partly because punctuation, as it turns out, isn’t necessarily an exact science, and can fall into three basic categories:
- Mathematically perfect
- Mathematically imperfect
In addition, other factors besides notes can affect note spacing. For instance, accidentals, note flags, articulations, material in other voices etc …
However, in spite of the variations which are inherent in all of the above processes and categories, it should be possible to closely approximate the punctuation (horizontal spacing) of a particular published piece in either Sibelius or Finale by taking some measurements and setting up your software to duplicate these.
Note that you can even apply different rules to different sections of a score to increase or decrease spacing widths, or approximate the “mathematically imperfect” and “lyrical” punctuation categories above, or address a specific concern where some circumstance requires a special consideration. More on that in a moment…
If you are a music educator teaching the fundamentals of rhythm, from time to time, you may find the need to count out beat numbers over the notation to help indicate various rhythms for your students.
Sibelius has a useful plugin called “Number Beats” (found in the plugins Text category) which does this automatically, but until recently, I wasn’t aware of a similar plugin for Finale.
- Select a region
- Choose JW Pattern
- Drop-down the Sequences category
- Choose the “Numbered Steps” task.
- For “Step Method”, choose Beats in measure”
Finally, you can choose one of Finale’s Text Categories from the Category drop down to control the text style and placement of the resulting text.
The JW Pattern plugin is available free of charge on Jari Williamsson’s Finaletips.nu website.
Thanks to my friend and colleague Gary Gibson for contributing this tip.
Say you have a B-flat in one bar, tied to another B-flat in the next bar. In Finale, it is possible to (ahem, accidentally) enter the second B-flat as either a B-natural or a B-flat and it will look the same:
Even thought there’s no visual indication that it’s wrong, it won’t play back correctly. And in a score with a number of staves, they are a nightmare to aurally locate for proofreading.
If you are a Mac user with the full (pro) version of TGTools who recently upgraded to Finale 2014; there is now a Finale 2014 compatible version of TGTools for the Mac OS (2.70).
An update for Windows users is expected soon. While version 2.61 of TGTools for Windows is compatible with Finale 2014, manual installation of the plugin is required. (The Mac OS version was non-functional, so the Mac updater was released first.)
Tobias Geisen quietly announced the update in a recent thread on the Finale forum:
“TGTools for Finale 2014 on Mac are now available on my web site as well as via the easy installation from the about menu of one of the bundled TGTools plug-ins.
A paid upgrade may come a bit later with a more dedicated adaptation.
I am open to suggestions for further improvements (by email), and also whether further development should be for Finale 2014 only or also include Finale 2012.”
tobias at tgtools.de
If you plan to continue to work in Finale 2012 as well as Finale 2014 (one reason might be the version of the operating system you use), note that Tobias is asking for people to weigh in on whether he should make future versions of the plugin compatible with Finale 2012, or only with Finale 2014. So, if you would want the option of using new plugin improvements which also could be used in Finale 2012, you may wish to email Tobias and let him know. Now’s the time.
Laissez vibrer [Fr.] allow to sound, do not damp.
Laissez vibrer, or L.V. indications such as the one pictured above, are common notation practice. Instead of writing out a series of notes or chords together for what might be a long duration, the player is simply instructed, via a tie and the abbreviated ‘l.v.’ text, to let the note(s) ring out for as long as they would sound.
Q: I play Alto Sax in a (small) big band. We’ve purchased Superstition by Stevie Wonder, arranged by Mike Tomaro. It’s a nifty piece of work and quite a challenge. I used Photoscore to enter my Alto Sax part into Sibelius 6, which appeared to go quite smoothly. But, Photoscore apparently didn’t spot the fact that it was a transposed part.
Is there a way that I can correct this in Sibelius and not lose all my sharps and flats? When I play it, I hear the correct notes but not at the right pitch. It would be nice to be able to change them, without having to alter each sharp or flat by hand. I’ve been trying to find an anwser but I have not been successful so far. Can you help me? Thanks very much.
A: Fortunately, this one is pretty easy to set right by (a) first making sure that the score in concert pitch is set to the correct key signature (in this case, your “score” can also be a single part) and (b) transposing the notes to the corresponding concert / transposed pitches. You can do both operations from within the Transpose dialog in Sibelius.
Let’s say you have a chart in three flats concert. The corresponding Alto Sax part is going to appear as C maj / A minor: