This step should be done after having paginated and locked the score. The dynamics and slurs were done in the 2 previous steps. The goal of this step is simple: make the notation readable and the way to do this is by moving the notes left and right or widening or narrowing a full bar.
Here is my workflow when doing this note spacing step:
– Lock the full score.
– Reset Note Spacing on the full score.
– Set the zoom level to about 150% and from the start, check every bar on readability, using the CMD+arrow keys to widen or narrowing a full bar, or to move single notes and other objects left and right.
Here are some examples of musical elements that need to be corrected. Most of them are obvious, but it takes some times before you get an eye for what is wrong:
Accidentals touching the previous bar-line:
Accidentals too close to a previous note or rest:
Leger lines touching each other:
Grace notes too far away from their main note:
Sometimes I change the notation itself to correct issues, for example leger line touching can be avoided by simply changing the clef:
Or using an 8va line:
Note Spacing Rules
Let’s have a look at how Sibelius decides how to space the notes in a score.
Open the Note Spacing Rule window in the House Style/Note Spacing Rule menu:
These settings are applied every time you use the command Reset Note Spacing from the Layout menu. In general I leave this alone, but there are two settings that I like to adjust in the Minimum Space section:
And here are my settings:
Making these 2 simple changes avoids us from correcting them as I mentioned in my workflow above! I will for sure keep on adjusting and fine-tuning this window while engraving music, and I always take care to notated the settings in my favourite word processor and update the House Style I created earlier. I suggest to play around with these settings by changing them and doing a Reset Note Spacing on your score to understand what it does.
With all of this said, have a look at the video below to see everything in action.