Finishing up the engraved score step 2: Cue Notes

When there are too many bars in a row with rests, it’s easy for a player to become lost. Therefor as a rule, when there are more than four bars of rests in a part, you should create cue notes.

In our score example, the highest amount of bars with rests that the violin has is 3 which will not be a problem for the violin player. He will be able to keep count during those 3 bars (bars 28-30). However when we look at the soprano part we see that bars 1-11 (11 bars) and bars 28-35 (8 bars) have rests. In this course we are going to create a separate part for the violin and the soprano, so we need to create cue notes in the soprano part. We could also decide not to create a separate soprano part, in that case the singer could follow the other parts in the score. A solo singer part however means fewer pages to print and to turn. 

Cue notes are notes taken from one of the other parts in the main score, mostly the melody. To create cue notes, follow the steps below.

  • Select the full score and choose from the menu Plug-ins/Other menu/ Suggest Cue Locations:

suggest cue locationsThis will open the Suggest Cue Locations window:

suggest cue locations dialogue

  • In the “Suggest cue locations after” field, set the amount of bars to 4. In the “Mark cue locations in:” section, check the Score as Text box. This will place a text in the score after every 4 bars of rests. Hit OK.

Sibelius gives us three suggestions to create cue notes:

cue locations suggestions

1. In the soprano part: bar 11, telling us that there are 10 bars of rest before the singer has to start:

bar 11 cue Suggestion

2. In the violin part: bar 31, telling as that there are 4 bars of rest before the player has to start:

bar 31 cue Suggestion

However, Sibelius is counting bar 31 as well which makes it in fact only 3 bars of rest. We can therefore ignore this suggestion and delete this text.

3. In the soprano part: bar 36, telling us that there are 9 bars of rest before the singer has to start:

bar 36 cue Suggestion

  • In the suggested bars, look for a melody in another part that can be easily recognised by the solo player and make it about 4 bars long, give and take a bar. Try to find a full phrase, which is more musically than the last part of a phrase and copy these notes.

In our example we have a useable phrase from the last note of bar 6 up to bar 10 in the violin part:

first Cue suggestion

However, let’s select the full bar 6 as well so we don’t run into paste problems. We can turn those 2 first notes in bar 6 in rests easily after the paste job.

  • In the soprano part, select bars 6 till 10 and from the Edit menu, choose Paste as Cue:

paste as cue

The result are hidden notes that will only show up in the soprano part which we will create later in this course. Turning on the Hidden Objects in the view menu shows us this:

Hidden cue notes

Above the soprano part is the instrument name from which the Cue is taken, in this case the violin, and Sibelius placed the word “Play” at the moment the soprano has to start singing. You could change this into “solo” or delete it. To get a nice single phrase only, I would suggest to change the first two notes in bar 6 into rests. Don’t forget the delete the Cue suggestion text from the score after you made the Cue.

Now create the cue notes the same way for the other Cue Location suggestion in the soprano part bar 36. Using bar 31- 35 from the violin part looks like a good choice to use for the cue notes.


  • If you make changes in the main score on the notes that were used as cue notes after creating the cues, run the Check Cues plug-in from the Plug-in/Proof-reading menu to find and correct them:

check cue plugin 1 

check cue plugin 2

  • Be careful that you not accidentally overwrite the first notes in the part after the pasted cue-notes, what can easily happen when the part starts with rests or an up-beat note:

note 3

  • Sometimes you will need to make corrections after creating the cue. In the example below you will have to hide the 2nd voice rest:

note 4

  • Another issue is that the bar-rests can be on the wrong staff line and no matter what you try, they will not go on their correct usual place:

note 5

You can fix this by swapping voice 1 and 2:

voice swap

For the final result, see Sibelius score “After work, Late at night”-c which can be found here:

In the next step, we will have a look at paginating where we create good readable pages layout and page turns.

Have a great day!


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