Sibelius Hints and Tips
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    If anyone has any basic questions about Sibelius, feel free to leave a question. If I don't know the answer, I can figure it out easily enough. (Registered users only please.)
  • A very generous offer! I hope you do not rue it!
    I would love to know how to:

    * Set up chant with stemless note-heads (quarter/half) on a 5-line staff (without having junk at the end of each line)
    * Set up a strophic hymn with the verses under the melody (with the ability to justify right and left, so that it looks like a decent hymnbook)

    It's shameful to not have learned this!
    It's like President Benjamin Harrison and his wife, who left the newly-installed electric lighting in the White House on all night because they weren't entirely sure how to turn it off and were scared of getting a shock.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    choose to write the music with a time signature of 'other'

    pick a number that matches the exact number of beats in a measure, e.g., 14/4. (its best to figure out the number before you write the music.)

    enter the notes as usual. then use the key command the eliminates the note stems (by golly, i packed up my sibelius manual to move, so i don't know what it is off hand) you can easily find it in your manual.

    to get rid of unwanted content such as time signatures or anything else, simply use the 'hide' command.

    for strophic hymns, you can literally grab the text with the mouse and move it around like an object on a horizontal axis. if you move the note with the nudge tool, the text will move with it. this allows you to tweak the space between notes to your hearts content.

    here is a sample of the veni sancte i did a while back and an example of one of my strophic comps.

    ps. you can hear the hymn here:

    http://romancatholicsacredmusic.com/seehear/starAbove.html
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    How to:

    (i) Have 4-line staves?
    (ii) Use a neume font?

    Thanks,

    Ian.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    Ian:

    Simply click on the staff you wish to alter. Go to the properties window. You will find about 100 different options in the staff palet from 1, 2, 3 and more lines to tabs for all kinds of instruments.

    I have been told that you can simply purchase a font like Meinrad and you are good to go. If you would like to actually have the score perform the chant, you would score it out in modern notation in a staff below the neumes and then simply hide the performing staff. I have not attempted scoring in neumes, so I cannot give you an answer from experience, although I am very close to purchasing the font to try it myself soon. I will let you know how it goes.
  • Song for Saint Francis, Composer and Notator: Crown Him with Many Crowns!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    Daniel:

    I HATE messing with electrical wiring. I make it a rule always to go to confession before messing with electrical stuff!
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    Thanks for that. I don't want play-back - I find it irritating enough with common practice music, so goodness knows how I'd feel hearing it attempt plainsong! Do let us know how use of Meinrad with Sibelius goes. In the meantime I will experiment with stemless notes on a five-line stave.

    Regards,

    Ian.
  • Francis,

    Forgive the illiteracy of someone who's formal music education predated the advent of computer software, but I must ask the most elementary of questions. I notice there are several versions of Sibelius packages on the market . Which one(s) do you recommend as best meeting the parish music director's needs? Is it possible in the space allowed to give a primer of the different versions?

    Thanks.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,084
    Francis,

    A related question. I have used Print Music for years and there is much about it I don't like. I find the interface, which I understand is close to Finale, to be rather clunky and hard to use. I could upgrade to Finale, but am wondering if Sibelius might be a better choice. Any info or recommendations would be appreciated.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    Randolph:

    Honestly, here is how I approach software upgrades. Don't unless necessary. Run the version that works best on your computer hardware. Unfortunately, if your computer is five years old, I would not recommend the latest version. It will bog down. I don't know how easy it is to get previous versions.

    For the most part, all versions do basically the same thing most of us need for basic composing/arranging. The later versions always look glitzier and have a few more features, but I have never gotten software because the later version had something I absolutely had to have. Upgrading is a racket I never subscribed to in my twenty years of buying software.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    Charles:

    Not familiar with Print Music. Apparently it is a $99 version of Finale... is that so? Sibelius has taken the music industry by storm in the last ten years. I was a finale user when I switched to version 1 of Sib and never looked back. Sib is very intuitive, especially on the Mac with drag and drop, MIDI note entry, printing parts, uploading to websites, etc. I would suggest reading some objective reviews. What will be your main uses? Arranging? Composing? Parts? etc.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,084
    You are right, Print Music is a scaled down version of Finale. It operates the same, but doesn't have the ability to do orchestra scores and some of the large scale music forms that Finale can handle. The screen buttons and appearance are basically the same as Finale. I have used Finale and found it and Print Music required a learning curve and frequent use to remember how to operate it. But as I mentioned earlier, I don't find the Finale/Print Music interface to be very intuitive. It seems that every time I use it I have to drag out the instruction manual for something. I can upgrade to Finale for $199. if I buy the academic/church version. I mostly write organ compositions and create organ accompaniments for choir music. Occasionally I will do something in SATB for my choir. I don't have a Mac, but am a PC person.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    Charles:

    Ya know, software is just like our brains... we use about 8% of its ability. It is capable of so much more than we can imagine.

    I purchased a version for church musicians about 9 years ago. I think it was about $150. I sometimes still compose on paper just because it is very visual and tactile and nothing will ever be as fast, but Sib is a great tool.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,084
    Thanks. I will look into Sibelius.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Anyone know anything about the Gregorian plug-ins for Finale? IIRC, there's a German company that made one.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    Ian:

    How long have you owned Sib? What are your primary uses?
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    ... and I thought you'd let that pass!

    In answer to your question: I've used it on and off for some years. As a singer and sometime choral director (when I'm not earning a living), I've largely used it for arrangements; but I sometimes also use it for my own pleasure, i.e. for stuff that hasn't been asked for, or that isn't for a group I'm working with.

    It's marvellous for type-setting, especially for those of us whose handwriting is unreadable, though I'm not sure of its impact on thought-flow in the process of composition or arrangement, which I find difficult enough anyway. Sometimes I think pencil and paper are still best for the early stages. How do you feel about this?

    Regards,

    Ian.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    Ian:

    I totally agree. Organic creative thinking works best for me through pencil and paper (for years and years I have been using the .7mm mechanicals as they stay sharp and don't break easy. Makes reading later much easier. Pencil and paper is good for the germination of works. Sketchbooks have always been the best. However, some composers are more through thinking like Mozart. I tend to compose more like a constructionist. Oh, and the pencil works all the time no matter where you are (without electricity!). ...and boy, they are extremely affordable too. Once the computer came along I started producing my own manuscript and graph paper too. Toys, toys.