3 helpful plug-ins for working with lyrics

by Philip Rothman on October 2, 2014 · 8 comments

in Tips

Are you using lyrics in your music? If so, you’ll want to know about these helpful tools.

1. Most vocal music these days is beamed according to the time signature, like this:


An older convention, which makes rhythms hard to read but also makes in clearer which syllable goes with which note, called for notes sung to separate syllables to be beamed independently, like so:


Should you need to create music that hews to this older convention, the shipping plug-in Traditional Lyrics Beaming, found in Text > Plug-ins, will automatically do this for you. Just be aware even if you partially select a staff, the entirety of the score will be processed, for that staff:


Finale users will find a similar feature at Utilities > Rebeam > Rebeam to Lyrics.

2. Another convention very much still in use today is to slur melismas, to clarify where syllables start and end. A passage with no slur, like this:


is automatically made into one with slurs…


…by using the Add Slurs to Lyrics plug-in, also found in Text > Plug-ins. Various options allow you to add dashed or dotted slurs, offer to highlight existing slurs if they are incorrectly positioned, or highlight suspect melismas (syllables that don’t have hyphens or lyric lines):


Using Finale? Find this one at Plug-ins > Lyrics > Auto Slur Melismas.

3. Finally, say you’ve entered your first verse of lyrics in line 1 (Text > Lyrics > Lyrics line 1), and then your second verse in line 2 (Text > Lyrics > Lyrics line 2). Sensible enough, but at the last minute you decide you wish to swap the order of the verses.

Bob Zawalich’s Swap or Replace Text Styles will do just that. I covered this very handy plug-in earlier this year, so check out that post for detailed information about how it works and how to get it.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kenneth Gaw October 2, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Thanks for drawing attention to these useful plugins.
I’ll use the slurs one in particular a lot. I wish I had known about them earlier.


Philip Rothman October 3, 2014 at 6:08 AM

Kenneth: I’m pleased that I’m able to repay you in this small way for the many hours I’ve saved by using your plug-ins!


Ron Puente October 3, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Thanks, Phillip

Appreciate all you do.

Ron Puente


Bob Zawalich October 6, 2014 at 2:36 AM

Verse Styles For Lyrics (http://www.sibelius.com/download/plugins/index.html?plugin=290, category Text) is another possibly useful Lyrics plugin. It is for the cases where something like Photoscore has created multiple verses of lyrics but they all have the same style name. The plugin changes the style name based of the vertical offset of the text from the staff, so you end up with each verse having a different text style name. You will appreciate that if you ever do Reset Position!


Philip Rothman October 6, 2014 at 7:29 AM

Great tip, Bob!


Diccon October 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

I have been to the Sibelius plugins page, but can’t find the ‘Add Slurs to Lyrics’ plugin. I am looking under ‘text>plugins.’ All I found was a plugin for adding slurs to melismas for Sibelius 4, but I am running 7.5. Any advice?



Philip Rothman October 18, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Diccon: Add Slurs to Lyrics ships with Sibelius 7.5, so there is no need to download it separately.


Diccon October 18, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Oh dear, now I feel silly :). Thanks for the quick response.


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