When preparing an edition where it’s important to show that dynamics are implied, but not present in the composer’s original manuscript, you may need to create a hairpins enclosed in round brackets, or parentheses. I was recently working on such a project in Finale and I worked up a solution that I shared with my colleague Robert Puff, who wrote up a nice post about it on his blog.

Fortunately, Sibelius includes bracketed hairpins by default; you can select them from the Ribbon by going to Notations > Lines and finding them in the Hairpins section.

gallery-hairpins

But there’s a wrinkle. You may notice that Sibelius places those brackets awfully close to the right barline, especially on the crescendo:

bracketed-hairpin-example-2

That’s because the default positions of the bracketed hairpins are the same as their ordinary non-bracketed ancestors. Sure, if you only have a handful of these, you can just manually nudge them into place. But if you have a great many of these, you’ll want to tinker with their default positions. You can find these settings by going to Appearance > Design and Position > Default Positions (click the downwards-pointing arrow), clicking the Lines radio button, and finding Bracketed crescendo and Bracketed diminuendo in the list:

default-positions

Change the “Horizontal position of right hand end” to a greater negative value, like around -1.25 sp for the Bracketed crescendo and -1.00 sp for the Bracketed diminuendo. Newly created bracketed hairpins will have a bit more room between their end and the barline.

Changing settings in Default Positions won’t change the position of objects already created, but you can easily filter these by going to Home > Select > Filters and choosing Hairpins, and then choosing to Appearance > Design and Position > Reset Position. (Or, to specifically operate on bracketed hairpins only, use the Advanced Filter.)

Now that you’ve discovered the Default Positions dialog and know how it works, try experimenting with some of the other settings to your liking. You’ll find it’s quite powerful and customizable.

A final tip: Need square brackets around your hairpins instead of parentheses? Sibelius doesn’t include a set by default, but you can create them. It’s a bit tedious to set them up, but once you do so, you can use them just as easily as the other lines.

First, you’ll need to set up the square brackets as symbols:

  • Go to Notations > Symbols > Edit Symbols (click the downwards-pointing arrow)
  • Click Music Fonts…
  • Select Common symbols and click New Text Style…
  • Click Yes when asked if you are sure that you want to define a new text style
  • Your new text style will be named Common symbols (2). Change it if you like, or not
  • Choose, e.g., Times for your Font, and set both the size in the score and parts to 12.0 pt
  • OK and Close
  • You should be back in the Edit Symbol dialog. Scroll down to the User-defined area
  • Click the first empty box and click Edit…
  • Name your new symbol, e.g., Left bracket
  • For Music font, choose Common symbols (2) or whatever the name of your new text style was
  • Find the left bracket and select it (it’s slot 91)
  • Move it down -0.56 sp so that it’s centered vertically
  • Click OK and repeat a similar process for the right bracket (slot 93)

left-bracket

Now, create your new lines:

  • Go to Notations > Lines > Edit Lines (click the downwards-pointing arrow)
  • Choose the Bracketed crescendo from the dialog
  • Click New… and click Yes when asked if you are sure that you want to define a new line
  • Name your new line, e.g., Square bracketed crescendo
  • In the Start section, where it says Symbol, choose Select…
  • Find your newly-created Left bracket symbol, select it and click OK
  • You may have to set spaces right to around -0.75
  • In the End section, where it says Symbol, choose Select…
  • Find your newly-created Right bracket symbol, select it and click OK
  • Click OK and repeat a similar process for the diminuendo

edit-lines

It seems a little complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you can have custom hairpins behaving and positioned just the way you like.

{ 2 comments }

zawalichThis 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 expands upon a recent blog post by describing in detail how to use font sizes in wildcards in Sibelius.

Philip Rothman recently published an article called Add text formatting changes to Score Info and plug-ins, and it discussed using special formatting wildcards to change text formatting, particularly in the File > Info area, where you do not have access to the bold and italic commands from the Ribbon or menus.

I would like to discuss the font size wildcard, defined as:

\sheight\ – set the font size to height x 1/32nd spaces (e.g. \s64\ to set font height to two spaces)

I will explain how to reset the font size to the default, and how to convert a font size in points into units of spaces, so it can be used with the wildcard. Read the full article →

{ 0 comments }

Add text formatting changes to Score Info and plug-ins

by Philip Rothman on July 22, 2014 · 1 comment

in Tips

If you follow this blog occasionally, you may already know about wildcards: those slightly strange-looking text tokens that are automatically substituted with text from File > Info. We covered them in a video tutorial last year and a post on this blog from a few years ago, and Robert Puff’s got a post about them on his blog “Of Note”.

Check those posts out if that’s new information to you, or if you need a refresher. Here we’ll “kick it up a notch” and add formatting changes to the mix.

At any point within text in the File > Info dialog,  you can force line-breaks, and make font, character and style modifications, if you’re in the know:

  • \B\ – bold on
  • \b\ – bold off
  • \I\ – italic on
  • \i\ – italic off
  • \U\ – underline on
  • \u\ – underline off
  • \n\ – new line
  • \f\ – change to the text style’s default font
  • \ffontname\ – change to given font name (e.g. \fArial\ to switch to Arial)
  • \sheight\ – set the font size to height x 1/32nd spaces (e.g. \s64\ to set font height to two spaces)
  • ^ – use the Music text character style for the next character (e.g. ^b to make a “flat”)

Now, how would you practically use this? Here’s one example. Try typing the following into the Composer field in File > Info (or copy and paste from here):

\B\Jane Doe\b\\n\arr. John Doe\n\\I\(1970)\i\

Next, if you haven’t already, create some composer text in your score by selecting the first bar of your score, go to Text > Styles > Composer, and type:

\$Composer\

You should see:

text-format

It’s worth pointing out, you could have alternatively used three separate different wildcards as well by making use, say, of the Arranger and Year of Composition fields available to you in File > Info.

And yes, you could have changed the text formatting directly in the score, by going to Text > Format in the Ribbon and making any changes there. The important difference, though, is that if you reset your design defaults by going to Appearance > Design and Position > Reset Design:

  • Any changes made via the Ribbon in Text > Format will be lost
  • Any changes applied in File > Info using the modifications described above will be retained

In other words, the formatting changes supersede any defined text styles in Text > Styles > Edit Text Styles.

What’s really nice is that these formatting changes can be used within many other dialogs found in plug-ins, like Find and Replace Text (which is found in Text > Plug-ins > Text). Here’s a rather extreme case:

find-and-replace-2

The text I typed was:

espr. \B\\i\\fHelvetica\\s96\MOLTO

And I got:

espr-molto-2

Let us know how you’re making creative (and perhaps more practical) use of these nifty text techniques!

{ 1 comment }

Upgrade to Sibelius 7.5 for $20 off

by Philip Rothman on July 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in News

If you already own Sibelius 7.5, feel free to move right along, but if you are currently using Sibelius 6 or earlier, we noticed that, in the US, Amazon is currently offering the Sibelius 7.5 “legacy upgrade” — the term for the upgrade from Sibelius 6 or earlier — for $130.

Buying the Sibelius 7.5 upgrade directly from Avid will cost $150, whether as a download or shippable box. (Upgrading to 7.5 from 7 is $50 for a download; $90 for a shippable box.)

A quick check of three US authorized resellers revealed the following pricing:

I didn’t check other countries’ sites to see if similar pricing was available, but if you’re outside the US, feel free to post your findings in the comments.

Disclosure: The links to Amazon.com are affiliated links. To learn more about that, please see our privacy policy, section 4(b).

{ 0 comments }

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