Finishing up the engraved score, Object Check part 4: fingerings

Sibelius 6 Quick Tip 25: Object Check 4: fingerings 

  • Before starting this tutorial, install the Filter Text plugin (written by Bob Zawalich) from the Sibelius website: Filter Text
  • For help with installing a plugin, go here: Install plugins

Engraving Rules for keyboard fingerings:

  • In keyboard music, fingerings for the right hand go above the staff, for the left hand go below the staff.
  • Whenever there are 2 voices on a single staff, the fingerings for the upper voice go above the notes, for the lower voice go below the notes.
  • Horizontally, the fingerings need to be centred above/under the note head, vertically they follow the flow of the notes.
  • Tuplets should be moved to the other side of the notes if necessary, to avoid collisions.

To work fast when working with fingerings in keyboard music, I use two text styles: one for above the staff (Sibelius-default) and a second one for below the staff. The second one has exactly the same settings as the default fingering text style, but places them below the staff. To create this second text style, go to Text styles/fingering and choose New to create a text style based on the default fingering style:

Here are the text style settings for fingerings that I use for fingerings above the staff, and which are now copied for the fingerings below the staff style:

– Text Styles: times Roman 7 – Bold
Border: erase background. Set right/left of text to 5%
Horizontal position: align to note: centered.

I save the settings as Fingerings below staff:

To get the this new style placed below the staff, go to Default positions:

Here you can see the horizontal and vertical position of the fingerings relative to Note and Staff. My settings are Horizontal position relative to note: 0.69 – Vertical position relative to staff: 1.5. In the lower part of the screenshot you see : Below bottom of Staff. This is how Sibelius know that the fingerings have to be written below the staff.

To re-assign left hand staff fingering text style, triple click on the left hand staff to select the staff in the full score and choose the Filter Text plugin from the plug-in menu, this plugin only shows the text styles that are used in the selection:

Filter text

Choose Fingering and hit select. In the Properties window choose the Fingering Below Staff style that we made earlier.

from the Layout menu, choose Reset Position:

All the Fingerings will now move below the staff.

The Magnetic layout for fingering is by default enabled, which is done in Layout/Magnetic Layout Options. Fingering is part of Misc.Text:

If you want to change the distance between the fingering and the notes (or slurs/other objects) below the fingering, you can do this in the avoid Collisions panel. I changed the default Below value so the fingering can be a little closer to the notes and other objects: 

Magnetic Layout settings

All that is left now is to adjust the position of the text if needed. To move a single fingering text, select it and use the mouse or arrow keys. Use the arrow key to move the selected fingerings one step at the time and use CMD+arrow key to move them over a longer distance.

It’s a good idea to use keyboard shortcuts to work faster. To do this go to Preferences/Menu’s and Shortcuts/plug-ins/Filter Text. Click the Add button and use a keyboard key that is available. I used the F12 key for this and labeled the key on my keyboard to avoid forgetting which plug-in I assigned it to:

Filter text shortcut

The last thing I do is updating my Piano Solo House Style (by exporting it and overwriting my old piano solo house style), so I have these fingerings styles available when working on another piano piece.

Check out the video below to see everything in this newsletter in action (note: the text above is not updated in the video below. The difference is how I select the fingering text style):

I hope you liked this tip and made working in Sibelius 6 again a little easier.

See you in the next tip!

all the best,

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