Sibelius 6 lyrics Quick Tip 4: editing lyrics

After having entered the lyrics in your score you probably want to edit them, correcting spelling mistakes or aligning them horizontally or vertically. All these things are easy to do. 

Editing the lyrics
To edit the lyrics, double-click the word you want to edit or select it and hit the Return key. Now you can edit them as you would in a word processor.

Moving the lyrics and hyphen one note forwards or backwards
If you want to move 
a word or syllable one note to the left or right, you can do this by selecting it and hitting the space bar or shift+space bar. To extend or retract a hyphen, first select it and again use the space bar or space bar+shift to do this. 

Moving & aligning horizontally
You can move a syllable or hyphen by selecting it and using the mouse or arrow keys on your keyboard. Remember though that Sibelius follows official engraving rules and it’s therefor better to let Sibelius do this for you. One rule is that a syllable is always centred under the note and a melisma is always left aligned with the note:


The most common reason to change it by hand is when a syllable in a bar hangs over the previous bar line because that word is too long to be centred and should be left aligned instead:


To let Sibelius fix this automatically, go to House-style/Note spacing rule and uncheck Allow first syllable to overhang bar line:


After that reset these bars with Reset Note Position from the Layout menu:


And in case you messed up the horizontal spacing after having dragged the words left and right by hand, all you have to do to get back to the default settings is selecting these lyrics and choose Reset Note Position from the Layout menu.

Moving & aligning vertically
Just as with horizontal moving, you can align lyrics vertically with the mouse and the arrow keys and in case you mess up, just select them and use Layout/Reset Position to bring them back to the default positions.

Another way to get lyrics lined up in a system is by selecting those lyrics and use Layout/Reset Position to get them back to default or you could use Layout/Align in a Row:


The best option however is probably using the Align Lyrics plug-in which you can find in Plug-ins/Text/Align Lyrics, because it only affects the lyrics in the selected bars and leaves the other elements alone:


Stem direction
One last thing to mention is the stem direction of notes on the 3rd staff-line. With lyrics, the middle line note-stem is pointed upwards to avoid collision with the lyrics:


however if you rather have them pointing down, you can change this behaviour in House Style/Edit Instruments/Edit Staff Type:


That’s all! Have a look at the video below to see everything in action.

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

best regards,

André van Haren

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