Custom Articulations

Q: I am studying the commercial template you created for Cinesamples and was wondering how you created those new tuplets in the Articulation part in the Engraving Rules in the Sibelius version of the template?


A: Sibelius has three user definable slots in the Articulations section of Edit Symbols (first two shown):


These correspond to the Custom Articulations 1, 2 and 3 in the fourth keypad in Sibelius, and show up in Engraving Rules > Articulations once defined.

These Custom Articulations can be defined to anything you want them to be. Their positioning relative to the notehead is defined by the placement you specify when you select that articulation slot in Edit Symbols and then click the Edit… button. There are two placement definitions for each; an “above” and “below”, or put another way “when stem is down” or “when stem is up”.

The tuplet symbol you refer to in the Cinescore template is a combination of the “triple staccato” symbol already in Sibelius along with the number “3” in the Opus font, which I added to the User-defined area of Edit Symbols:


This was one of a number of custom symbols that Cinesamples owner Michael Barry had requested be part of both the Finale and Sibelius versions when he commissioned the templates. For consistency, in the Finale version of the template, these were created as Articulations using the Shape Designer:





9 Replies to “Custom Articulations”

  1. Thanks, Robert. It’s not possible to let the staccato tuplet show up in the Keypad, right? Nice job on this template, I find it fascinated to see how a score can be adjusted and personalized on so many levels.

    1. Hi André,

      You are correct that the current Sibelius design does not display the actual Custom Articulations in the Keypad, although I agree this visual feedback would be a helpful touch.

      The Custom Articulations are a nice feature in Sibelius, although admittedly, a bit arcane.


  2. Why F2011 and Sib 6.2? Have you done any testing with Newer editions?

    Quite a few of us have already dropped those and went with F2012d, F2014d, F2014.5 and Sibelius 7.5.1 or 8.1.1

    1. Hi Ralph,

      I believe the reason for this decision by Cinesamples was that Finale 2011 and Sibelius 6.x are still the primary versions currently in common use in Hollywood for film and video game scoring. That is to say, if you were to do work for one of the larger music prep houses, either as an orchestrator or copyist ( and others), you would likely be using either Finale 2011 or Sibelius 6.x.

      During development, I did not do any testing with anything other than those requested versions: Sibelius 6.x and Finale 2011.

      Off the record, I don’t see any reason why the templates wouldn’t work perfectly well in more recent versions of either Finale or Sibelius. The mechanisms for creating and editing the primary elements that make these templates look identical between applications; page sizes, margins, staff sizes, line thickness, fonts etc etc have not changed in newer versions of these programs.

      However, the definitive answer on this would have to come from Cinesamples tech support, as these templates were commissioned by them to their exact specifications, and are the property of Cinesamples.

      I hope that helps.


  3. I’ve noticed you used Engraver Font for the flags.
    Did you create a flag spacing Libraries for this package. Or do you have the flag spacing written out that you can send with the files. sure would save time for people that purchase this package.

  4. On the subject of Articulations – but in Finale – I hack my own kind of realistic playback effects using the Articulation tool. For instance, when doing jazz pieces that have swinging 8th note lines, Finale can swing them with percentages of course, but it doesn’t really affect the *weight* of certain notes the way a real person would.

    So what I do to approximate that a little is to create a custom articulation – I use a diamond meant for harmonics, but whatever – and in “Playback effect” set Change Key Velocity to 50% (checking values as percentages). I place this “reverse accent” over the notes I want ghosted, then set visibility to “hide”. Voila! The swinging is remarkably more life-like.

    This is also nice because I can do it selectively, one note at a time, without having to muck about with human playback.

    1. Thanks for sharing this Finale tip! This flexibility you describe with Articulation definition and visibility is one of the things I really like in Finale. In v8.x and earlier of Sibelius, you can create Custom articulations easily enough, but it is not possible to hide these without also hiding the notes they are attached to. However, in Sibelius 6 and later you can get a similar effect by using the Inspector / Properties to change the note velocity of the ghosted notes. Additionally in v7.5 and later there are improvements to the Rhythmic Feel section of the Sibelius Playback Dictionary which address this requirement in a more comprehensive way.

  5. Dear Robert,

    The article above refers to triple staccato marks.

    Sadly we only have Sibelius 3. It has done all the work we have required over several years.

    Do you know whether double staccato marks are possible in Sibelius 3? We would not need the “2” above them.



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