Finishing up the engraved score: House styles part 3

1c: creating the publisher’s template

When working with house styles and templates, it’s good to realise that the house style settings will be included in the template, but the template’s layout is not included in the house style.

The house style will assign the correct fonts to the title, subtitle etc. and put them on the assigned place in the score if these elements are present in the score, but will not do the actual placing itself, that is what the template is for.

On the other hand, if you would import a house style into any kind of template, all the elements that are used inside this template will be changed according to the settings in the house style.

In this course we have the Sibelius engraving ready, so in fact it’s not necessary the create an empty template, all we need is to adjust the text elements and put them on their correct places after which we can export these settings as a house style. However, for the sake of complement, we will make both house style and template, including Score info and wildcards in the template to let Sibelius insert the title, composer etc. automatically in the score. You can choose not to use Score info and wildcards though and write this information directly in the score.

Creating the template

The template we are going to make has the instrumentation as used in “After work, late at night” for soprano, violin and piano which can be found here:

Start a new score and click the Change Instrument button to create a score setup as is used in the engraved score. Be sure the instruments are placed in the correct order:

  • Solo Soprano, Violin (solo) and Piano. Set the violin to Small staff:

small staf

  • Click OK to go to the next screen.
  • Click Next and leave the House Style to Unchanged.
  • Click Next and choose the Time Signature 3/4, write the tempo text Cantabile e affetuosso and Metronome mark quarter note = 62.
  • Click Next and choose as Key Signature D major.
  • Click Finish, which will give us a score with the instruments as used in the engraved score but without any text. See Sibelius score 1.1 for the result which can be found here:

Score info and Wildcards

Instead of typing the title etc. directly into the score, we will use wildcards in combination with the Score info panel. It’s easy to forget something or mistype text, and using wildcards guarantees you that the format of the text in a score will always be the way you or your publisher wants it.

Score Info

Start with filling in the Score info panel: Open File/Score info:

score info

Notice the labels above every field, these are the names of the wildcards which are in fact placeholders that are going to be placed in the score. The text that we type into the above fields will be used to fill these placeholders. So fill these fields with the text you want to see in the score.


The next step is to place the wildcards in the score. As mentioned before, a wildcard is a placeholder that takes the text from the Score Info window. Here are the wildcards for the text used in a score:

Title: \$title\

Part: \$partname\

In the main score, the part name in the Score info window should be “Full score”. In parts, the part name in the score info window is the instrument name of that part, for example “Clarinet in B^b”

Subtitle: \$Subtitle\

The subtitle is be the instrumentation of the score as for example “for violin and piano”: any other subtitles in a score as for example “from the opera Ghandi”, should be written directly into the score in subtitle text format.

Dedication: \$dedication\

Composer: \$composer\

Arranger: \$arranger\

Lyricist: \$lyricist\

Copyist: \$copyist\

Opus number: \$opusnumber\

Composer’s dates: \$composerdates\

Copyright: \$copyright\

You can also combine wildcards, for example:

C.Saint-Saëns (1835-1921):

\$composer\ (\$composerdates\)

Clarinet in B^b – C.Saint-Saëns – Sonata for Clarinet in B^b and piano

\$partname\ – \$composer\ – \$title\ \$subtitle\

Now all you need to do to let Sibelius place the information from the Score Info window in the score, is to copy and past the wildcards into your score, using the correct text style. This is done in two steps. Let’s take the title as an example.


  1. Copy the title wildcard from above (which is \$title\)
  2. In Sibelius, from the Create menu, choose Text/Title, click in the score and paste the wildcard.

The title will show up in the score. The text format and position is not correct yet as shown in the list for the publisher, we will change this after we have placed all the wildcards.

Repeat the above steps for the subtitle, dedication, composer, lyricist and Copyright.

In the next step, we will give all the text their correct format and placement in the score.

have a great day!


Finishing up the engraved score: House styles part 2

1b: installing fonts, templates and house styles

Using a house style speeds up your work immensely, because instead of having to re-assign the fonts size and fonts family for the title, composer name etc, and placing them where the publisher wants to have them manually every time when opening a new score, you simply import this house style into the opened score and you’re ready to go!

Two situations

There are two situations at this point when starting with a new publisher.

  1. They will send you the House Style and Template files you need to create their publishing layout, and the only thing you need to do is to drag them in the correct Sibelius folders.
  1. They will send you a text document with their house style information and an example Sibelius or pdf file so you know how the house style is used. You will have to create the house style from scratch before you can use it in Sibelius. Let’s start with the first situation and install the given files.

Installing the publisher’s fonts

Sometimes, the publisher will even use their own fonts type and it’s possible that you haven’t it installed on your computer. In our case, the publisher uses the Raleigh fonts in all their scores, so we will have to install it first. With the Sibelius program closed, double-click the Raleigh.ttf file. This will open Font Book:


Open Font Book’s Preferences, select Computer as default location and select the two check boxes at the bottom:

fontbook preferences

Close the Preferences window and in the main Font Book window, click the Install Fonts button.

Installing the publisher’s house style files

Copy the House Style files (the ones ending with lib.) in the House Styles folder which can be found in Users/username/Library/Application Support/Sibelius Software/Sibelius 6. If there isn’t a folder with this name, create it and name it appropriately.

For example. here is my House Style folder that contains a lot of different house styles:

house style folder

Installing the publisher’s template files

Copy the Template files (the ones ending with sib.) in the Sibelius Manuscript Paper folder which can be found in Users/username/Library/Application Support/Sibelius Software/Sibelius 6. If there isn’t a folder with this name, create it and name it appropriately.

For example. here is my Manuscript Paper folder that contains a lot of different templates:

manuscript folder

Now all you have to do is opening the Sibelius score that the publisher send you and importing their House Style. More about this later.

In the next post we will have a look at the second situation in which you have to create the house style and template from scratch.

Have a great day!


Finishing up the engraved score: House styles part 1

1a: Installing plugins

After having engraved a score, I follow a step by step outline to make the score publishing/printing ready. The 1st step is creating and importing the publisher’s house style. But before doing anything I recommend to install three very handy plugins:

Filter Text

This plugin presents a list of text, system text, and lyrics that are present in the current selection, and allows you to filter specific styles in the selection.

Split score into Movements

This plugin splits the current score into a number of separate movements scores, based on the location of bars marked as Section Ends.

Disguise Score

This plugin Makes a copy of a score, or of the music contained within a passage selection, deleting previous versions. It then optionally randomized the pitches and text of the score and all the parts, effectively hiding the music while retaining its general structure. It could be useful for posting a score on a web page so that someone can debug problems.

For help with installing, please visit this page: how to install plugins.

In the next post we will have a look at templates.

Have a great day!


Finishing up the engraved main score. Course overview


Finishing up an engraved score in Sibelius 6

Starting today, I will create regular posts, explaining how I take an engraved score and it parts and make it publishing/printer ready. I will explain how to prepare and export a midi file from the main score that can be used in your Digital Audio Workstation. We will take a look under the hood to see how and why Sibelius does what it does and how we can adjust these settings to your own wishes.

This course is developed on a Mac, therefore the screenshots and video’s you will see are showing a Mac environment. The workflow however will be exactly the same when working under Windows.

The course is split up into three parts:

Part one: in which we make the main score print/publishing ready.

  1. Creating the publisher’s house style.
  2. Importing the publisher’s House Style.
  3. Using wildcards.
  4. Text: Naming and positioning the title, subtitle, instrument name, lyricist name, composer name, footer and header according to the publisher’s wishes.
  5. Cue notes: give the solo player some visual hints.
  6. Paginating: creating the pages layout and page turns.
  7. Adjusting the top & bottom staff margins.
  8. Object Check: reposition incorrect placed and colliding objects.
  9. Staff spacing: create an equal distance between the staves.
  10. Proof reading: compare the engraving note by note with the source score to be sure that the engraving is done correctly.
  11. Final Check, making the last and mostly subtle adjustments.
  • Part two: in which we make sure that the main score is playing back correctly and exporting it as a midi file which you can open in your DAW.
  • Part three: in which we extract the instrument parts from the main score and make them print/publishing ready.

We will work on a score from a fictional publisher named “Publishing Anonymous”. If you want to follow along with the files used in this course, you can download them here:

Finishing up the engraved score, Object Check part 5: tuplets

Sibelius 6 Tip: Object Check part 5 – tuplets

Working with tuplets in Sibelius looks very complicated and although I will give a lot of information about them in this chapter, creating them is very easy and Sibelius will take care of everything!

Creating tuplets
To create a tuplet, first create the first note in a value that you want to see the tuplet written in and use CMD+ (2 till 9) to create the tuplet you need. For example to create this tuplet:

Create the first c as normal 8th note, then use the key combination CMD+3 and notate the b and c. To create tuplets higher than a nonuplet (because your keyboard only has the number-keys 1 till 9), select the first note and from the menu choose Create/Tuplet:

Fill in the amount of notes in the tuplet you want and hit OK. There are some choices in this dialog window, but you can leave them as they are. To delete a tuplet, select the number and hit delete. As with most other objects, you can flip a tuplet to the other side of the staff with the Edit/Flip command, move them around and stretch or narrow the brackets by mouse-dragging and with the arrow keys.

The above information is all you need to work with tuplets in Sibelius, but if you want to know more about settings and giving the tuplets your own look, read on…

Engraving Rules
Sibelius positions tuplets according to the settings in /House Style/Engraving Rules/Tuplets:

The 1st option “Position tuplets as if all notes are beamed together”,  is Sibelius’ default setting and will place the tuplets according to traditional engraving rules. This setting is recommended by the Sibelius Reference.

The 2nd option, “Position tuplets relative to first note” gives you the freedom to adjust the way Sibelius displays the tuplets:

Position with bracket



Head End: 

Stem End: 


Position without bracket



Head End: 

Stem End: 

Vertical Distance from Notes
Here you can find the option “Avoid Staff”, and will place the tuplets inside or outside the staff:

Outside staff:

Inside staff:

Always above on vocal staves
This checkbox  should always be checked to avoid clashing tuplets with the lyrics under the staff:

Number Angle
Rotate single digits is better left unchecked, otherwise the number could be difficult to read:

Checked:     Unchecked: 

Auto bracket

When this option is checked AND when in the Properties window the tuplet in the score is defined as Auto Bracket…

any tuplet that is connected by a secondary beam will get a hidden bracket.

Auto bracket checked: 

Auto bracket un-checked:  

Vertical distance from Notes

Here you can set the distance between the tuplet and the stem or note head.  Experiment around with the values if you like and see what the results are.

Personally I like my tuplets a little closer, so to avoid dragging them, I decrease the value to 0.3 in the first two fields:

In the next field, Horizontal Distance from the Note, you can set the distance between the left and right bracket sides and the notes:

All the values are set to 0 to create a very tight placements, but if you want you can change them to your own liking:

will result in this:

(mmm, maybe it’s better to stick with the defaults here…)

Adjust to publisher’s wishes
Every publisher has their own House Style, and they could ask you for example to have tuplets with all notes (or with a rest in the middle) to be notated without a bracket and with the number on the Stem-End:

Also, when a tuplet is incomplete they would like it always to have a bracket at the Head-End:

Plus, the bracket and number should never be placed on the staff, but alway able or below it. To let Sibelius do this, choose these settings:

“Ah, yes, and one more thing. Would it be possible to notate the bracket line in the same angle as the beam of the note group?”

Luckily, this is the default setting in Sibelius 6. However, you can also have the line placed horizontally. To do this, go to House style/Edit Lines/Staff Lines/:

Now the bracket will always placed horizontally:

This can however give problems with the magnetic layout options for the bracket, so it’s actually better to give the bracket the same angle as the beam.

Properties window: Notes/Tuplet
When you open the Properties Window and go to the Note panel at the bottom, there is a section titled Tuplet:

Here you can choose how the tuplet should be displayed. In the left menu you can choose how the value should be displayed:

In the right menu you can choose how the bracket should be displayed:

Auto Bracket works in combination with the Auto Bracket setting in Engraving Rules/Tuplets. See above for more information.

To avoid cluttering, when a pattern of tuplets is made clear, hide them and write simile:

And always try to place the tuplet and fingerings on opposite side of the staff to avoid confusing:

That’s the story about tuplets, to see everything in action have a look at the video below:

best wishes,


my homepage:

Finishing up the engraved score, Object Check part 3: note spacing

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:

Here are Sibelius’ default settings:

Around leger lines

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.

warm wishes

Finishing up the engraved score, object check part 2 – slurs

In Sibelius select View/Handles so you can see the elements I am going to talk about in this newsletter.

Different instruments, different slur-meanings
In music for wood and brass, a slur mostly indicates breathing.
In music for strings, a slur indicates bowing.
In piano music, a slur indicates legato playing.
In vocal music, a slur indicates singing a melisma.

Difference between a tie and a slur
There is a big difference between the slur and the tieA tie is used to connect two notes on the same pitch and adding up their values. A slur is used to create a legato way of playing of the notes under the slur.

Here is how a slur looks in Sibelius:

And here is a tie:

If you look closely you can see that there are little dots connected by a line around the slur and the tie. These are used to adjust the way they look. It’s most of the time not necessary to adjust a tie, but it’s good to know how to do this for the slur.

The slur has 6 handles where you can adjust it the shape: the left end of the slur, the left-hand curve point, the bottom middle of the slur, the top middle of the slur, the right-hand curve point, and the right end of the slur. To adjust the slur handles and thereby its form,  select a handle and drag or use the arrow keys.

Creating a slur
To create a slur, select a note and type s. You can expand the slur over more notes by hitting space or contract it over lesser notes with Shift+Space.

Some engraving rules…
Sibelius places the slur according to engraving rules, which means it will always try to put the slur on the note-head side, there are some practical exceptions though.

Sometimes you end up with a notation like this:

I rather keep the slur on the note-head side though, so I select the 1st note and use the Edit/flip command (shortcut x) that will flip the note. Now the slur is placed for both notes on the note-head side:

Long direction mixed legato passage
When there is a long passage that should be played legato and the note-heads are notated in both directions, the slur should always placed over:

Slur- start/end on tied notes
When a slur starts on a tied note, the slur should start at the first of the notes that are tied together. Similarly, if a slur ends on a tied note, the slur should end on the last of the tied notes:

Mid-stem connections
When the slur connects to a stem, connect it mid-stem:

Not  but 

Shared staff voices
With more voices on a single staff, every voice gets their own slur:

Grand Staff
On a grand staff when there is not enough space between the staves, the slur can be placed outside the staff:

Grace-note slurs
To create grace-notes, select the place where you want to enter them and hit the “period” (.) key, choose the duration and enter the grace notes. To switch back to normal note, hit the period key again.

Grace notes are always stemmed up unless there are 2 voices, and the slur should be placed on the usual note-head side. Sibelius however, will place automatically the slur above the grace-note group and the result will look like this:

To get the corrected version above, select the lower slur, Flip it with theEdit/flip command (shortcut x) and turn off magnetic layout. After that correct the slur position by dragging the handles.

Direction of grace-note slurs
If a grace note precedes an interval or chord, the slur should follow the direction of resolution (up or down):

This is pretty much all you need to know when creating slurs according to the traditional engraving rules in Sibelius. But if you want to make some extra adjustments still, have a look at…

Engraving Rules
Go to menu House Stye/Engraving Rules and open the Slurs panel. Here you can change the slurs’ direction, the distance to note-head and stems and the distance to articulations, plus you can adjust the shape of the slurs to your own liking.

Default Positions
Go to menu House Stye/Default Positions. On the left side of this panel choose Lines. In the panel below choose Slur. On the right side you find a lot of options to fine tune the slurs’ position and give a different default position when working with vocal staves.

With all of this said, have a look at the video below to see everything in action:

I hope you liked this tip and that it makes working in Sibelius 6 a little easier. Please let me know if you have any questions.

See you in the next tip!

all the best,