Sibelius 6 lyrics Quick Tip 7: Blocks of lyrics, sharing lyrics, recitativo, elision.

Blocks of lyrics

Extra verses of a song or hymn can be written as blocks of words at the end of the score. From the Create menu choose Text/Other System Text/Block Lyrics:


Now click somewhere at the end of the score and start typing.

You can also add the lyrics that are used in the score as block text. For this you will first need to copy this text which can be done easily with the Export Lyrics plugin. This plugin will export the lyrics as a text file which will be saved in the same place as where your Sibelius score is saved:



After hitting the OK button, open the text file and copy the text. Now you can paste them as block lyrics  in your score. You will have to do some text editing as hitting return after every line, but this is faster than typing everything by hand.

Sharing lyrics: lyrics between two staves:

Another vocal notation that you can find is where the four choir parts are notated on two staves instead of four, and instead of writing the lyrics under each voice, you write them between the two staves.

Whenever there is a slight difference in the rhythm in the voices, use slurs for melismas and hyphens to make this difference in rhythm clear and position the syllables in-between the notes instead of directly under the note:


Sharing lyrics: lyrics in two voices on one staff

Here is another notation that you can find: two vocal parts on a single staff while using only one line of lyrics. Just as in the previous example, the rhythm is pretty much the same in both voices. If however there would be a different rhythm in one of the voices, you can make this clear by notating those lyrics above the staff:


To do this, select the note where the lyrics have to go and choose Create/Text/Lyrics/Lyrics above staff:


The lyrics in the 2nd voice in this example are entered normally with the Lyrics Line 1 or CMD+L shortcut.

Several words per note: recitativo

In operas there is something called recitativo, which means that a dialog is being sung on a single pitch, mostly it is notated as:


However using the normal space bar to create the next word would make the cursor jump to a next note. Instead of the space bar we use ALT+Space bar as we did when creating the verse numbers. Now you can type all the words normally.


Sometimes you need a little character called an elision:

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 14.02.46

This elision is made by typing the underscore symbol.

That’s all! And this was also the last part in working with lyrics in Sibelius 6. If you still have a question about working with lyrics, please let me know.

Have a look at the video below to see everything in action.

To contact me, or for  information about engraving score, use the form below:

best regards,

André van Haren

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