This post is written by Ed Hirschman, a composer, arranger and co-founder of Art of Sound Music. Art of Sound Music is a sheet music publisher and retailer based in Princeton, New Jersey, representing the music of over 75 composers and arrangers worldwide. Read on to learn about Ed’s new plug-in, Format Tempo and Metronome Mark Text.
Art of Sound Music publishes music from over 75 arrangers/composers and about half of them are Finale users. Since we are a Sibelius “shop”, we take MusicXML files exported from Finale and import them into Sibelius where we apply our company house style, engraving standards and make general improvements to the engraving. While working with these MusicXML files, I noticed that the font size of the tempo and metronome markings were coming in incredibly small, to the point of being nearly invisible. These tiny items were quite easy to overlook and with numerous tempo changes in a score, became a burden to correct.
To see if other had experienced or fixed the problem, I searched the Sibelius Tech Support Forum and found the thread entitled “Advanced XML import from PWGL (comparison with Finale)“
Here I learned that the issue is related to Sibelius MusicXML import, not Finale MusicXML export. In fact, if you export MusicXML from Sibelius and immediately import it, the problem appears. Former Product Manager Daniel Spreadbury commented on that thread on May 11, 2012 that “I can’t make any specific commitment … but we do certainly hope to improve MusicXML import and export further in future versions.” However, as of writing this post and Sibelius version 7.5.1, this bug still exists.
Here’s the before and after screen shots of how the import bug is addressed:
|As imported||After running plug-in|
|Imported Tempo text appeared as size .8 (nearly invisible)||Tempo text reset to the legible size of 8.5|
|Font set to Times New Roman||Font set to user choice, in this case Opus Text|
I created the Format Tempo and Metronome Mark Text plug-in to do much more than address the import bug. It also allows you to specify the music font for the Beats Per Minute (metronome mark) characters in Tempo text and Metronome mark text (e.g. q = 120), with options to format associated equal signs, dashes and parentheses. Features include the ability to:
- Specify the font for the note and numbers that collectively specify the beats per minute (metronome mark) text, including tempo ranges and “circa” tempos
- Maintain, add or remove spaces next to the equal sign and/or dashes in metronome mark text
- Maintain, add or remove spaces after the left parenthesis and before the right parenthesis in metronome mark text
- Maintain, add or remove parenthesis around metronome mark text. When the “Add Parenthesis” option is selected, parenthesis are only added when there is text before the metronome mark. For example, it will change “Moderato q = 100” to “Moderato (q = 100)”, but doesn’t change q=100 to “(q=100)”.
- Removes leading spaces before the text and lagging spaces after the text
- Option to replace multiple spaces with single space
Here is a screenshot of the plug-in’s dialog box and various options:
Here is an example of what it can do in terms of formatting tempo and metronome mark text:
|Before running plug-in||After running plug-in|
|Extra spaces after “Moderato”||Extra spaces after “Moderato” removed|
|No parenthesis around metronome mark text||Parenthesis added at user request|
|No spaces around equals sign||Spaces added around equals sign at user request|
|Inconsistent spacing around dash||Consistent spacing around dash|
|Metronome mark font is Plantin MT Standard||Metronome mark set to Opus Text|
The plugin supports the music fonts includes with Sibelius for metronome mark text: Opus, Reprise, Inkpen2, and Helsinki. If you require others fonts, the technically inclined can add those choices by modifying the variable “_lstNamedFonts” in the data section of the plug-in IDE.
There is one caution I need to give to those using this plug in. Any custom editing you have done to pieces of tempo text or metronome mark text will be lost (although you can always “undo” if you don’t like the results). If there is demand for the plug-in to handle such cases, I may be able to accommodate that in the future.
Format Tempo and Metronome Mark Text may be downloaded directly through Sibelius 7 or 7.5 at File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins > Text. Users may also install it manually in Sibelius 6, 7 or 7.5 by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure, or by using the Install New Plug-in plug-in.