Sibelius 6 lyrics Quick Tip 3: Dynamics.


When working with lyrics in a score, the dynamics (called Expression in Sibelius) go above the staff to avoid problems with the lyrics. For example:


To create dynamics for lyrics, select the note and choose from the menu Create/Text/Expression. On the now flashing cursor, right mouse click to open the context menu and choose the dynamic you need.

A much faster way is to use keyboard shortcuts. Select the note where you want the dynamic to be placed and hit CMD+e on your keyboard and keep the CMD-key down. On the now flashing cursor and while keeping the CMD-key down (otherwise you will get normal text characters), type the dynamic you need.

You can also first hit CMD+e without selecting a note, this will turn the mouse pointer blue. Now while keeping the CMD-key down, click anywhere and create the dynamic. Sometimes it’s not possible to create a dynamic by typing, for example “sfz”. In this case you need to choose it from the mouse menu.

Why does Sibelius place dynamics on a vocal staff above that staff, but on an instrumental staff under the staff? You can find the settings for this behaviour on two different places. It’s good to know where to change this in case things go wrong or to change them to your own liking. First let’s look how this staff is officially called in Create/Instruments:


As you can see the lyric staff is called Voice. Now let’s see where in Sibelius we can adjust the settings.

1. House Style/Edit Instruments. Select the staff you want to edit in the 3rd field and click Edit Instrument:


In the Notation Options field, Vocal staff is selected to tell Sibelius that the staff has to been seen as a vocal staff:


Now the staff is officially a vocal staff, Sibelius needs to know where to place the dynamics (Expression text) on a vocal staff. This is done in the Default Positions settings:

2. Go to House Style/Default Positions.

Be sure Text Styles is selected and select Expression from the left field:


On the right side in the Creating with Keyboard field, the check box for “Different default position on vocal staves” is selected. The values in the Score and Parts fields will be used to put the dynamic on that position above the staff:


Have a look in the video below to see everything described in this blog in action.

For information about engraving, please send me an e-mail.

best regards,

André van Haren

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s