New Sibelius plug-in: Impose Sketch onto Template

by Philip Rothman on August 23, 2016 · 24 comments

in Tips

curranThis blog post is written by Tom Curran, composer, arranger, orchestrator, and musical director. In this post, Tom describes his new plug-in, Impose Sketch onto Template, a tool to transfer the structure of piano-vocal, MIDI exports, or other sketch scores onto full orchestral scores.

Updated December 21, 2016 for information about version 3.01.

The inspiration for writing this plug-in came out of a conversation with a colleague of mine. We were working on a theatre production and sharing our frustration about the time-consuming process of having to manually copy out the structure of a piano-vocal score into a template file before the contents can be pasted in. From my experience working in theatre, it’s very common for the initial piano vocal score files created by the composer or arranger to be separate from the template file used by the orchestrator from which parts are then generated by the copyist.

The only real way of getting the structural information from one score to another is to manually copy the attributes of every bar, including time signature changes, key signature changes, tempo text, system symbols and lines, changes to the bar numbering etc. Once this information is in the template file, only then can you copy the actual contents of each stave across. There just had to be an easier way of doing this seemingly simple task, so I decided to immerse myself in the ManuScript programming language and try to write a plug-in that could help.

The plug-in is called Impose Sketch onto Template, and it automates the process that I’ve described above. The primary use in mind was for theatre copying, but after sharing a first version of the plug-in with a small group of colleagues, it became clear that it would also be of use to those that need the structure of a MIDI import score on a clean template, or simply for any Sibelius user who wanted to extract the bar structure from one score into another file.

The current version of the plug-in (version 3.01) includes the option to actually import the sketch staves to the bottom of the template file, and also the option to add their contents too.

There is the option to transfer the title and subtitle of the sketch score to the template file so long as those fields are utilized in File > Info. This update also separates the metronome mark and metric modulation text styles from the standard tempo text so that they can be selected independently, and adds the option to select Timecode. Sketch score brackets, braces and barlines will now correctly transfer to the template file if the option to add the staves is enabled. It offers a filename for the Save dialog box, and users are able to specify a filename extension for the template file in order to distinguish it from its sketch counterpart.

More detailed information can be found in the plug-in description, including information about setting up the template file correctly.

I hope that it will be a useful addition to many Sibelius users, especially for those that regularly find themselves having to manually copy large bar structures from one file to another. In case it’s of any use, here is a video showing what the initial version of the plug-in did:


Impose Sketch onto Template
may be downloaded directly through Sibelius 7 and higher at File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins > Other. Users may also install it manually in Sibelius 6 or higher by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure, or by using the Install New Plug-in plug-in.

Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe to this blog

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Keefe August 23, 2016 at 11:42 AM

This is a much needed addition to my work flow. I do this sort of manual copying all the time.

Thanks, Tom

Reply

Tom Curran August 23, 2016 at 1:59 PM

Pleasure, Michael – glad it will be of use.

Reply

André August 23, 2016 at 11:43 AM

But I believe that all the above can be done as well by using copy and paste System Passage. That is how I do this. Or am I missing something?

Reply

Tom Curran August 25, 2016 at 1:30 PM

System copy/paste tends to wipe out system text in the destination file, unless you are clever about how you do it. If you’re looking to copy a structure into a file which has system text already set up, this plug-in makes the process far easier.

Reply

André August 31, 2016 at 3:00 PM

I see, it seems also a much cleaner way to copy the structure to a new score. I am sure I am going to use it.

Reply

Bob Zawalich August 23, 2016 at 12:29 PM

Very cool – thanks, Tom, for contributing this plugin to the Sibelius community.

Reply

Tom Curran August 23, 2016 at 2:03 PM

And thank you, Bob, for all the brilliant plug-ins of yours I find myself using daily.

Reply

Simon Hale August 23, 2016 at 1:16 PM

What a brilliant idea Tom! Just what I need too… Sadly I can’t seem to download/install it. I get the message “The Impose Sketch onto Template plug-in is already up-to-date” but yet it doesn’t appear in the list. I’m running 7.5.1. Has this happened to anyone else?

Reply

Philip Rothman August 23, 2016 at 1:27 PM

Simon, it happened to me, too. I thought it was just a glitch on my end. I’ll mention it to the Sibelius folks. Meanwhile, you should be able to download the plug-in from the web site and install it manually.

Reply

Tom Curran August 23, 2016 at 1:42 PM

Hi Simon, I’ve chased Sibelius about this and just heard back saying they will sort it ASAP. Philip is right, it seems to work if it’s installed manually.

Reply

Simon Hale August 24, 2016 at 5:01 AM

That worked! Thank you Philip & Tom – it’s an excellent addition to all the plug-ins.

Reply

Joe Pearson August 24, 2016 at 6:49 AM

Hi Simon,

I’ve just fixed this issue at our end; it should now be possible to automatically download and install the plug-in from within Sibelius as usual.

Joe

Reply

John Hinchey August 23, 2016 at 3:18 PM

Great idea! Looking forward to trying it. What I always to is reorder staves on my target score to put the vocals and piano at the top, do a system copy of the source part bars 2 to end copy and paste into, target score, this retains all the system text and special barlines. I then copy and paste contents of bar 1. Then reorder the staves in the new score to the traditional score order. But this looks like it will save a few steps! Thanks!

Reply

Tom Curran August 23, 2016 at 4:17 PM

Thanks John – hope it will save you some time.

Reply

Bernie Cossentino August 23, 2016 at 3:49 PM

This is the sort of function that should already be in Sibelius by default.

Great work Tom!
Thank you :)

Reply

Tom Curran August 23, 2016 at 4:19 PM

Thanks Bernie – hope it will be a useful tool for your work.

Reply

Nick Simpson August 24, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Might have got the wrong end of the stick here, but when I have to expand a piano score, for example, for a bigger ensemble or orchestra, I just save it in another name and add extra staves. Takes about two minutes.

Reply

Tom Curran August 25, 2016 at 1:25 PM

Hi Nick – Sure, that’s one way of doing it. But when dealing with lots of piano vocal files/MIDI import scores, it’s far easier to have one template file with the required instruments and all document formatting & page layouts set to then impose information onto. It also makes the copyist’s life easier at the end of the process knowing that the files for score and part extraction will have consistent formatting.

Reply

Bryan Harmsen August 30, 2016 at 9:51 AM

I can only imagine how much time I would have back if this had been available when I first started writing music. Thank you so much for blessing us with this plug-in, Tom!

Reply

Tom Curran September 8, 2016 at 3:44 PM

It’s probably best not to think about it! Hope this will save you time going forward.

Reply

Edward Trybek September 1, 2016 at 6:23 PM

Fantastic plugin! Thank you for creating and sharing this wonderful plugin. I had been doing something similar with a fair amount of Keyboard Maestro trickery, but this is much slicker.
One question, is it possible to change the default save directory? In Sibelius 6 it always seems to aim for the desktop.

Reply

Tom Curran September 5, 2016 at 7:20 AM

Hi Edward, It doesn’t look like the open/save menu paths can be set in Sib 6 in the same way that they can be in Sib 7 and higher. Hope you find the plug-in useful anyhow – I also tried a similar thing with Keyboard Maestro a while back, but found that it just wasn’t reliable enough.

Reply

Pasquale Tassone September 4, 2016 at 12:14 PM

Hi Tom:
Thank you very much for generously sharing the fruits of your expertise. For most of us “older” composers it is nothing short of magic and the fact that you willingly share it is commendable.

Again Bravo and thank you!!

Reply

Tom Curran September 5, 2016 at 7:22 AM

Thanks Pasquale!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: