Keep it Together in Finale or Sibelius : Score & Parts in the same file

In the early days of Finale and Sibelius, individual parts were generated from a master score via a painful and aptly named process referred to as “Extraction”. The programs would dutifully export twenty or thirty cryptically named parts files onto your Desktop which would then need to be cleaned up and individually prepared for printing. Any subsequent changes to the score *also* required edits to one or more (or all) respective parts.

Today, parts are integrated within the score and the content is intelligently married. Sibelius calls its parts integration feature “Dynamic Parts“, while Finale labels their feature “Linked Parts“. In general, having scores and parts linked in one master file has proven to be a godsend, but there are some caveats.

Woodwind and brass instruments aren’t polyphonic.  With some notable quality control exceptions in currently published music, common practice is to have one instrument per staff in the parts. Ideally, woodwind and brass players should not be required to locate their lines from within a divisi part.

At the same time, the better organized an orchestral score is, the more readable it becomes. Generally scores with fewer systems are easier to read. Quite often, the requirement is for pairs of instruments appearing on a single staff wherever possible: Clarinet 1 and 2 on a single staff, Horn 1 and 3 on a single staff and so on. For this tutorial, we’ll start with divisi or chorded staves in the score, and create individual parts from these.

Let’s take a look at how each program currently integrates score and parts, and some ways we can make Finale and Sibelius best work to our advantage despite any limitations.


A chorded or divisi score staff can be divided into two or more parts automatically in Finale using a feature called “Edit Voicing”. The process is straightforward, and is all done from Finale’s “Manage Parts” dialog. We first create (or edit) a list of Linked Parts, and name them (e.g. Clarinet 1, Clarinet 2 etc). We then assign each score instrument (e.g. Clarinet 1&2) to one or more Linked Parts. Finally, we “Specify Voicing” for each linked part. “Specify Voicing” provides the control for which notes will display in each Linked Part. Additionally, the user can specify whether single note passages are to be considered player one only, or if single note passages are unison.

The feature will save you hours of work, but there are some things to be aware of. Note and rest content which is under control of the Voicing feature cannot be edited in the Part View, which means that a majority of Plugins do not work while viewing the Part (you can round-trip back to the score to run most of these plugins). Additionally, there are a few layout quirks that have not yet been addressed even in the most current version of Finale. For instance, grace notes do not space properly with “Specify Voicing” on. Ties don’t always appear in correct orientation to the stem direction (this seems to happen with older Finale files which have been updated.)

Splitting these problem parts out onto individual staves would be a good solution for these occasional issues. Of course, we wouldn’t want any of these additional staves to display in the score. Don’t worry, they won’t…


There is a true one to one correspondence between staves and parts in Sibelius. If the instrument in the score is monophonic, the part will be monophonic. If the instrument in the score is divisi or chorded, the part will also be divisi or chorded.

While there is no voicing feature in Sibelius to specify select notes from a divisi staff in the score for each part, there is a straightforward method for showing combined instrument staves in the Score while creating independent monophonic parts . . .


In Sibelius (and occasionally Finale), we need a solution to split divisi instruments appearing on a single score staff into independent monophonic parts, but we don’t want to add more visible staves to our score, at least when the score is printed.

Let’s start by getting the music organized so we have all the raw materials we need for the parts. We’ll assume that you have your score in a completed form, and are ready to create parts. We’ll use a combined Clarinet 1&2 staff in the score as an example.

  1. Step 1 : Save the Score.
  2. Step 2: Lock the Layout.
  3. Step 3: Recheck Step 2.
  4. Create two new Instrument Staves:
    • In Finale 2012 or later (e.g. Finale 25), use the Score Manager
    • In Finale 2011, 2010 select the Staff tool, then choose New Staves (with Setup Wizard)
    • In Sibelius 6, use the Create > Instruments… menu
    • In Sibelius 7, select Add or Remove in the Instruments Group of the Home tab.
      • Sibelius will sometimes offer to resize your music to make room for new staves. Choose NO.
  5. Add a number after the new instrument names if needed.
  6. Copy the music from the divisi score staff into the two new individual staves you created.

Now, in both programs, we need to discard the unwanted notes from each of these new staves, leaving only the correct notes for the part.


Finale : Using the Mass Edit tool, click to the left of the Clarinet 1 staff, so that it is highlighted from beginning to end.

Go to the plugins menu, and select “Process Extracted Parts” from the TG Tools submenu. Type the instrument’s number into the “Extract voice line number” field. (e.g. “1” for Clarinet 1, “2” for Clarinet 2. If you have more than two instruments in the score staff, or you can also count from the bottom.). Choose whether on not to keep a2 / unison notes in this part.

Tip: In Finale, with more than two notes in the source staff, the JW Polyphony plugin by Jari Williamsson is a good solution.

Sibelius : Triple-click in the Clarinet 1 staff, so that it is highlighted from beginning to end.

In Sibelius 6, choose “Filter > Player 2 (for Deletion)” from the Edit Menu (or Player 1 if you are editing the 2nd part). The resulting selected notes can be deleted. In Sibelius 7, choose “Player n (for Deletion)” from the Filters in the “Select” Group of the Home tab. The resulting selected notes can be deleted. Compare the results from both versions with the original source staff, or run the filter section by section to insure accuracy.

Tip: In Sibelius, with more than two notes in the source staff, I use the “Inverse Select Notes” plugin by Bob Zawalich to quickly cull notes from individual parts.  Also noteworthy for this purpose is the “Select Notes in Chord Position” plugin by Roman Molino Dunn.


Once you’ve gotten each part showing the correct notes in separate staves of the score, you’ll want to hide these part-specific staves in the Page View of your score. Fortunately, this is extremely easy in both programs.

If you are not already in Page View of the score, navigate there now.

Finale : If you are working from a new file created in Finale 2011 or later (e.g. Finale 25), select the Staff Tool. Click to the left of the newly created Clarinet 1 staff so that it is selected throughout the piece. Now, right click. When the Contextual Menu comes up, select “Apply Staff Style to Current Part / Score”. In the selection list that comes up, choose “Force Hide Staff (Collapse)”. When you OK the dialog, the Parts Only instrument will be gone from Page View of your score. Repeat as needed for other instruments you have created.

If you opened a Finale File originally created in an older version, you may not see this particular Staff Style available in later versions of Finale. But don’t worry. Just download this file and save the staff styles from it as a library, available to import into new, updated scores.

Sibelius : Triple-click in the newly created Clarinet 1 staff so that it is highlighted throughout the piece. Right-click and choose “Show In Parts” from the “Hide or Show” contextual menu. At this point, all of the music will be hidden in the score and visible in the parts, but the staves in the score will still be visible. Choose “Hide Empty Staves” from the Layout Menu (Sibelius 6) or the “Hiding Staves” Group of the Layout Tab (Sibelius 7). The Parts Only instrument staff will disappear from the Page View of your score.

Note that in both Finale and Sibelius, these hidden staves will still be visible to you in their respective Linear Views (Scroll View in Finale, Panorama View in Sibelius).

That’s all there is to it!


related: Create A Divisi or Chorded Instrument from Two Separate Staves

for  Ingvar Karkoff

5 Replies to “Keep it Together in Finale or Sibelius : Score & Parts in the same file”

  1. Great tips, Robert! It seems like, in this case, you’re working with two or more parts to begin with in your score, then extracting separate parts.

    Any tips for those of us who prefer to work the other way around? Namely starting with a score with individual lines for each part, and combining the like instruments to make a score that doesn’t take a large (OK, HUGE) format printer to output, nor a microscope to read? (I use Sibelius 7, btw.)

    1. Good point, Walter – thank you! Yes, this is a pretty good sized topic, so this round, I focused on the process starting with divisi / chorded instrument lines in the score, and working outward to create an expanded parts list (which we can then hide in the Page View of the score).

      Approaching the workflow in reverse is a pretty common requirement; e.g. creating a combined divisi / chorded staff from two or more individual staves in an existing score and then hiding the two original staves in the score (but which remain available for parts). As a professional copyist and engraver, I’ve worked on scores where 4 individual horn staves, or two separate soprano clarinet staves were taking up valuable vertical space. The conductor shouldn’t be forced to read the score in 10 point type!

      I agree this would make a great second part to this tutorial, and I will do my best to post additional information soon.


  2. A great walkthrough as always. I would like to second Walter and suggest that is often more useful to go the other way.

    I find that when copying scores (especially from pencil), breaking a divisi part into its component staves first tends to highlight errors that may have gone unnoticed. Missed accidentals, dynamics, a2 vs one only, etc. become much more apparent when you have to make each part stand on its own.

    1. Thanks Matthew! I’ve also found it to be the case for certain hand written original scores – copying the music linearly / horizontally rather than vertically can be a great way to catch every detail.

      I will do my best to post a second part to this one soon.


  3. A question was posted on the Finale Forum about how you can create large Time Signatures in the score while showing the regular sized Time Signatures in each part. Here’s how:

    (1) Go to Document Options>Fonts, and set your time signature (score) to your large font size.
    (2) Then, go to the Time Signatures section and set new vertical offsets for Score so that the numerator and denominator of the large time signatures no longer overlap on another.
    (3) Now, create a Staff Style which has all defaults, but with Time Signatures unchecked.

    In your score, rather than using the Global Staff Attributes plugin to choose the staves on which the large time signatures will display, use the Staff Style, making sure to only apply it to the current score: Right Click, then choose “Apply Staff Style To>Current Part or Score”, then select your new “Hidden Time Signatures” staff style.

    (if you have a number of meter changes, you can apply it to a region of this group of staves, or globally).


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