Laissez (les bon temps) vibrer

by Philip Rothman on August 26, 2015 · 6 comments

in Tips

There are times when you want your notes to ring out, and for those instances we regularly see the marking “l.v.”, the abbreviation for “let vibrate,” or “laissez vibrer” if you like.

Another way to express this is by adding something that resembles a tie to the end of the note that connects to nothing. Sometimes it feels easy to just add actual ties to the affected notes:


Apart from being rather unsightly depending on the length of the note, you might have playback problems if the tie prevents your program from sending a MIDI note-off message.

Fortunately, there are better ways — read on. Read the full article →


Create a centered group name in Sibelius

by Philip Rothman on August 20, 2015 · 6 comments

in Tutorials

groups-rightIn Sibelius it’s technically impossible to center a group name between two staves and also individually name each staff. You can read all about it in the Reference, as well as see various workarounds there that partially address the problem.

But what I’ll show you today is one method not mentioned in the Reference. The idea came to me from composer Dimitris Marinakis. It also comes with its limitations, but depending on your score, you may find it useful.

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We’ll assume we want to transform the Flute staves shown here into a group, with two flutes on the top staff and the third flute on the second staff.

First go to the Home > Instruments > Edit Instruments dialog. We’ll be creating a new instrument specifically for grouped instruments. Do this by selecting No instrument (barline shown). Rename it something logical, like No instrument (for instrument groups).

Then click Edit Staff Type… Switch on the Used for Ossias checkbox. This will prevent the time signature from displaying in our special staff. Switch off Initial clef to prevent the clef from showing.

Close out of the dialog boxes and return to your score. Add the new instrument to your score by typing I and then select the newly created instrument. Position it in between the two flutes, in this case.

Adjust the brackets, sub-brackets and barlines by dragging them. You may need to create a new sub-bracket by selecting the staves and choosing Notations > Bracket or Brace > Sub-bracket. Modify the new “instrument” name by double-clicking in the blank space, and then modify the single-staff names. I didn’t show this here, but you’ll want to do this for both the first system and the second system of your score, so that Full and Short names are properly changed.

Finally, drag your staves into place. The major limitations of this method are that you’ll potentially have lots of extra staves in your score, and you’ll have to do a fair amount of dragging. But if the distance between your staves varies a lot from system to system, and you want fine control over where the group name is positioned, this might be the solution for you.


Hide bar numbers for a region in Sibelius using the tilde

by Philip Rothman on August 17, 2015 · 1 comment

in Tips

Sibelius offers quite a few options for numbering bars, which are found at Appearance > House Style > Engraving Rules > Bar Numbers. If you don’t want bar numbers to appear anywhere in your score, you can select the No bar numbers option.


This, however, affects your entire score; in fact, if you select this option, you’ll notice that most of the other options in this dialog become greyed out and unable to be selected. (After all, if you don’t need bar numbers, you don’t need options to control them.)

But what if you wish to have bar numbers for certain regions of your score but not for others? You might correctly think to go to the Bar Numbering Change at Text > Numbering. Although Sibelius makes it easy to add a new region of bar numbers by choosing New bar number, and it does provide an option to have no bar number for one bar at a time, by selecting No bar number (and don’t count bar), it doesn’t offer a method to hide an entire region of bar numbers.

The solution, then, was deftly provided by expert user Laurence Payne in a recent post on the chat forum. It involved a clever use of the humble tilde or “twiddle” (~) character, which is ordinarily used to hide MIDI controller messages. Read the full article →

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User folders and user-editable files in Sibelius

by Philip Rothman on August 11, 2015 · 1 comment

in Tutorials

zawalich3This blog post is written by Bob Zawalich, composer, guitarist, software designer, and creator of hundreds of useful plug-ins for Sibelius. In this post, Bob covers in methodical detail the inner workings of user folders and user-editable files, what their purposes are, where to find them, and how to modify them, if necessary.

Sibelius refers to files like plug-ins, Manuscript Papers, and House Styles as user-editable files, and the files and their folders are discussed in the Sibelius Reference in the section called User-editable files.

Prior to Sibelius 4, new plug-ins, Manuscript Papers, House Styles, and similar files were stored in the same folders as the shipping versions of these files, at the location where Sibelius was installed. If you edited a shipping plug-in in the Sibelius shipping plug-in editor, the shipping plug-in was changed and you could no longer access the original unless you reinstalled Sibelius. If you made up new plug-ins or exported House styles, those files would mingle with the shipping files.

In Sibelius 4, the concept of user folders was introduced. Edited plug-ins, and exported House Styles, Manuscript papers and other user-editable files would no longer be stored with the shipping files, but would be stored in a separate set of folders.

The advantage of this is that the original files are in less risk of being corrupted, and you can modify a shipping file by making a copy of it, and Sibelius will use that file rather than the shipping version. If you delete the “user copy”, Sibelius will go back to using the shipping file.

Making user copies of shipping user-editable files

If you modify shipping files using the standard Sibelius mechanisms, Sibelius will make a copy of the shipping file and place it in one of the user subfolders.

If you have to manually create new files that are not scores, or edit existing ones, do the work in the user subfolders. Do not modify the files that are shipped with Sibelius.

Changing shipping files increases the chance of something going wrong, and will probably cause problems when you update a Sibelius version. At the very least you are likely to lose your changed and added files in an update; at worst it might mess up the update.

If you have a user subfolder with the same name as a shipping folder, and create a Plug-in, House Style, or Manuscript Paper file with the same name as a shipping file, Sibelius will use your file instead of the shipping file. As an example, you might edit the shipping Respell Sharps As Flats plug-in to modify its behavior:


Read the full article →

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