Does Anyone Here Use Sibelius First?
  • Bobby Bolin
    Posts: 323
    If so, is there a way to write non-metrical plainchant in modern notation? If not, is there any other software (free or very cheap preferred) I could use?
  • R J StoveR J Stove
    Posts: 302
    I wonder if MuseScore (which is available online for free: I downloaded it just a few weeks ago) would be able to help you in this regard. It certainly does a good job for conventional music, and I find it more convenient than Sibelius, which is not just extremely expensive but has umpteen functions I'll never need to use.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,485
    Yes... I was an ambassador for Sibelius back a few years ago and taught the app in workshops, etc. It will work for non-metrical plainchant. First count the number of neumes in a complete line up to a double bar, then enter that number (counting dotted punctums as 2) into the time signature tool. Click it onto the staff and then you can play or input the neumes onto the staff. It is also favorable to hide the time sigs as you go along since they will look awfully obtuse in your chant score.

    I will post a sample if I can find one.
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  • What francis said, especially deleting the time signatures. I don't know if the hotkeys are the same in First as they are in the full package, if you highlight all the measures, the shortcut for toggling stems off is shift+alt+8.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,100

    You can do an almost identical process with musescore.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,521
    And with Finale.
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  • Bobby Bolin
    Posts: 323
    Thanks Francis. It seems a little time-consuming but will get the job done! I know that I can also take the stems off notes so that will work perfectly.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,521
    Here is the job done for my plainchant setting of Kathy Pluth's "The morning star is on the rise" (Office hymn for the Feast of St. Anne). Except for tweaking (since I've never tried to make it as nice as this), it took about 90 minutes from beginning to end. It was done in Finale, with a few nice tricks, but nothing complicated. It took perhaps 30 minutes to set up Finale to make use of the tricks (mostly spacing issues), but I will save the skeleton as a Finale template file to use for future efforts, now that I know how to do this efficiently.
  • If you are writing the vocal line only, you can write it quickly in Microsoft Word, using the "Modern Chant" fonts that Dean Fredrickson made for me. (They work like the Meinrad fonts.) If you want to see chant set with these fonts, look atThe American Gradual, which is accessible on this site.

    I compiled a set of psalms for Church Publishing, where the production department insisted that they be set in Finale. I submitted copy in MS Word, and the publisher paid consultants to set it in Finale. The typesetting took longer than the composing and pointing.

    I'll give these fonts (with a template) to anyone who asks for them. (Write to me at

    Of course, if you are writing an accompaniment, my fonts will be of no use to you.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,925
    Bruce, like Chuck I use Finale via a template I created. What Chuck didn't mention was that note entry is easy, but measure length and text setting is time intensive. Does your MS template simplify that portion of the problem when you're doing things like the oval tristophas?
  • I don't know what you mean by "oval" tristrophas.

    The fonts include open and closed noteheads, quilismas, reciting notes, noteheads enclosed in parentheses, horizontal episemas, ictus marks, and complete treble clef key signatures.

    Measure length is not an issue. As far as MSWord is concerned, you are just typing letters. As for aligning the text with the notes... you simply type the text under the appropriate neumes. If the text runs into the next neume, you add spacing to the staff between the neumes. (Specified key strokes add specified increments of staff space.)

    Have you used the Meinrad fonts? Mine work the same way but print "modern chant notation" instead of "conventional chant notation."

    Play with the fonts and see if you like them.

    I still have a few days' free use of PrintMusic--a scaled-down version of Finale. If your template would work on that, I would like to try it. I am leaning toward Sibelius First, however---not to use for chant but to write out hymn tunes and such like things.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,521
    Bruce, like Chuck I use Finale via a template I created. What Chuck didn't mention was that note entry is easy, but measure length and text setting is time intensive.

    What I didn't mention, Charlie, is that, if you use the right tricks, you have very little measure length fudging to do at all. Hint: set the time signature to 1/4, change the note and music spacings, enter one note at a time, then for multinote neumes use change of time signatures (choose rebar music when you do this), delete the extra empty measures, change right bars on measures to invisible, etc. It's easy to do if you have a preset template. If people are interested, maybe I should write up a little how-to tutorial and provide a Finale template for others to use.