Display Instrument Names Differently Between Score & Parts in Finale

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?

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Create Simple Vertical Group Names in Finale

Simple Vertical Group Names


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.

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On Location : Instrument Changes in Sibelius

Robert: My question is about Instrument Change placement in Sibelius. In a percussion part, at the end of a system, I want to show a five-line staff for the new instrument, along with the preview clef, but Sibelius moves the five line staff to the start of the subsequent system, rather than allowing it to start just before the new clef:



correct / preferred

correct / preferred


I know that I can manually (or with the inspector) move the instrument change to the left a bit. However, when I respace the part, the Instrument change will revert to the end of the system.

I’ve tried several approaches. One is invisible rests in another layer, to which the changes are attached…then the rests are hidden. With creativity, the rests can be arranged visually OK. I also know about the Inspector x-axis.

The question really only comes up at the end of systems. I’m wondering if there is something simple that I’m missing.


Steve Rouse

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Sibelius Paste As Cue & Staff Visibility in the Score

I wanted to share this exchange I had today with a colleague on the Sibelius “Paste As Cue” feature as it affects staff visibility in the score. He writes:

“I am adding cues using Paste As Cue, but its messing up my Sibelius score. In other words, parts that were originally hidden in the score are now showing up again after the cue is created.

For instance, when I add cues to my my Bassoon 1 part, it shows up in the score–but only for a few pages. I am doing “show in parts” which sometimes helps but other times, it doesn’t. I am adding the cues from the score to the part.

Since these staves are hidden in Page View of the score, I need to create the cues from Panorama rather than on the score page…  ???”




It sounds like you you may have split out separate staves for parts only (e.g. separate Bassoon 1 and 2 part staves from a combined score staff containing diads). These “parts only” staves are not supposed to be visible in the score.

Since there is already music in the staves, and these were previously hidden, after you apply ALL of your cues, you will need to go in and triple click these problematic parts staves, right-click and invoke “Show In Parts” again.

The reason the staves become visible in the score for these staves is that Paste As Cue creates visible rests in destination staff (along with the cue notes which are visible only in the parts). If the staff is supposed to remain visible in the score, this isn’t an issue, but for “parts only” staves, if your score is “optimized” (e.g. “French Style” formatting), staves which are not supposed to have a visible counterpart in the score will become visible when you add cues via Paste As Cue.

For future reference, the proper workflow is to create all of the cues while in the score, then triple click the staves which are parts only staves and select Show In Parts and hide them in the score at that later stage.

If you create the cues after setting the staves to Show In Part, you make the cue sections visible in the score because of the visible rests.


Score Layout : Vertical Spacing of Staves

I received this email on the topic of the ideal vertical spacing between staves in scores and staff visibility from my friend and colleague John Hinchey, and thought I would share our exchange. John is a sought-after arranger and trombonist in Nashville who is currently on tour with Martina McBride, and also authors the Notes on Notes blog.

Hey Robert,

Here is a score formatting question.  If I have an orchestra score with staves hidden when instruments are not playing, does one set the staves to justify across the entire page or leave them towards the top with extra blank space at the bottom?


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No Frills : Straight & Simple System Brackets in Sibelius

If you’ve spent any time creating bracketed instrument groups in Sibelius, you know that Sibelius only offers only one specific bracket, with standard serifs or “hooks”, which look like this:


In Sibelius, you can choose between the above bracket, a sub-bracket, or a brace, and even combine these, but there are no style options for the bracket itself, as there are in Finale, which sports a couple of additional style options for brackets (only the three options on the right are available in Sibelius):


However, a lot of modern scores use a less ornate bracket, which is just the thick vertical line without the serifs, or “hooks”. For what it’s worth, the popularity of this look is due, in no small part, to its availability in Finale.

Here are a few bars of woodwinds from Pete Anthony’s orchestration of the Opening Montage for “Spiderman 3”, composed by Christopher Young. Mr. Anthony is using Finale here. Note the simplicity of the brackets:

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Octave-Displaced Staves in Concert Scores with Transposed Parts in Finale

Before reading this article, please see: Concert Pitch, Transposing and Octave Displaced Instruments : A Prelude.

Instruments which are not considered “transposed” per se, but written in a different octave than where they sound are referred to as octave-displaced instruments. Examples of octave-displaced instruments are Glockenspiel, Piccolo, Guitar and Contrabass.


The current convention for scores in Concert Pitch specifies that instruments which transpose at the octave-only be displayed at their written pitches, e.g. mostly within the staff, rather than requiring numerous ledger lines.

Reading a full score is complicated enough without forcing the conductor to always count ledger lines!

Additionally, in modern scores, It is understood that instruments such as the piccolo, guitar, contrabassoon and contrabass sound an octave above or below where written, and so the small reminder number 8 (or 15 if two octaves) above or below the treble or bass clef has fallen out of popular use.

If you think about it, the convention of written pitches makes a great deal of sense; The Glockenspiel sounds two octaves (15ma) above where written; the highest written note for Glockenspiel, C above the staff, requires nine (9) ledger lines to display at concert pitch!

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