In this tutorial I’ll show the workflow I use to create a four hands piano score, and optionally, how to export a midi/audio reference.

Piano music for four hands has in general the lower part (Secondo) notated on the left hand pages, and the higher part (Primo) notated on the right hand pages. This way, the two players can easily read their own parts while following the other player’s part.

Notation template

In this example I will create a basic template with  4 pages having 5 systems each, in which every system has 4 bars, what would be 20 bars on a page and a total of 80 bars on 4 pages. Later when you to enter the music, you can always add or delete bars on a page.

  • Start by creating a normal piano solo score.
  • Add enough bars to get a total of 80 bars from the Create/Bar/other menu:


  • Create a system break after every 4 bars.
  • Select bars 1-20 on page one and lock it with the Lock Format command from the Layout/Format menu:


Do the same for bars 21-40 on page two, bars 41-60 on page three and bars 61-80 on page four. Or to do all the above steps at once, choose the Make Layout Uniform plugin from the Plug-in menu…


… and fill in the amount of bars and systems:


Title pages

The Secondo and Primo parts need both a title page with the same staff margin settings. This can be done the regular way in the Layout/Document Setup window. In the screenshot below, both 1st page and After first page have the same top and bottom staff margin values (shown in mm):


Special Page Break

To set the staff margins for the pages after the 2nd title page, select the right bar-line from the last bar on page 2 and open Special Page Break from the Layout/Break menu:



Select the New Margins check-box to open the Margins window. In the Staff Margins panel for this score I choose 18 mm for the top and bottom staff margins for the rest of the score:


You can see where a special page-break is used by turning on the Layout Marks in the view menu:

A normal page break:  avh_08  A special page break: avh_09

Gap before bar

The 1st bar in a score doesn’t snap again the left page margin, but has some distance from it. This can be set by selecting the 1st bar and from the Properties window/Bars, set the distance you like (this distance is set in spaces). Do this on the title page for the Secondo and the Primo part:


Bar numbers

The bar numbers in the Primo part (right hand pages) must always reflect the bar numbers in the Secondo part (left hand pages), you can change them by double clicking on a bar number which will bring up the Bar Number Change dialogue:


It’s custom that the 1st bar number is always hidden, which you can do by right clicking the bar number and choosing Hide, from the Hide or Show menu:


Time signature

When creating the time signature for Piano Primo, keep “Allow cautionary” unchecked so it doesn’t show up on the previous page:


Title, subtitle etc…

Copy and paste the title text etc. from the Secondo to the Primo part:


Part names

To show the part name at the start of the score for the Secondo part, go to the House Styles menu/Engraving Rules/Instruments, and in the Instrument Names tab, choose Full to be displayed At start.

To show the part name at the start of the score for the Primo part, choose Full from the At new Section menu and after that, create a section break in the last bar on page 1:


Select the last bar on page 1 and in the properties/Bar window, check the Section End box:


Right now, both parts are named Piano Secondo, however the second part must be named Piano Primo. Renaming the text will not help; both part names will stay the same because it’s the same Instrument. The solution here is to create an instrument change in the first bar of the Piano Primo part.

From the Create menu, choose Other/Instrument Change…


…choose piano as instrument and click in bar 1 in the Piano Primo part:

Instrument change

Hide the newly created instrument name above the staff and rename the parts:


The part names (primo and secondo) at the top of the pages are created with a normal Header Text style. From the Create menu, choose Text/Other System Text/Header:



Because the Secondo part plays mostly in the lower register and the Primo part in the higher, let’s give them their correct clefs:


Final result…


Save as template

Saving the score as a template is done under the File/Export/Manuscript Paper menu:

save as template

To use this template when starting a new score, choose New from the file menu and choose the template in the Manuscript Paper menu:

open ,anuscripts

Engraving the score…

While engraving the music in the score, avoid that the template layout changes and accidentally deletes the special page breaks. Instead, add and delete bars somewhere in the middle of the pages and leave the 1st and last bar on every page as they are.

  • To add bars, choose Other from the menu Create/bar:


  • To delete bars, hold down the CMD key, select a bar, add the SHIFT key, click the last bar. Hit delete.

After the music is engraved…

Aligning the staves on left- and right-hand pages

It’s very important that the staves on the left- and righthand pages are aligned vertically, this will make it easier for the players to follow each other’s parts:

  • Select a left-hand and a righthand page and from the Layout menu choose Align Staves:


  • Make the selections as show in the screenshot below and hit OK:


To align text and other kind of objects on the left- and right pages, select these object and use the Align in a Row command from the Layout menu.

Midi/audio export template

Exporting this score as midi or audio is a problem because the parts are not notated above each other but on two separate pages, making the two piano parts being played after each other instead of at the same time.

The workaround for this is to create a second score for midi/audio export only where the two piano parts are notated on the same page, and copy/paste the music from the notation layout into this second score.  After that it’s easy to export the midi/audio files.

Creating this midi/audio export template is very simple, because how it looks on the page doesn’t matter that much:

  • Start a new piano solo score and from the Create/Instrument menu, add a second piano:


  • To avoid making mistakes while copying and pasting the music, make sure Instrument Names is turned on in House Style/Engraving Rules/Instruments:


  • Change the clefs so that the Primo part has treble clefs for both staves and the Secondo part has bass clefs for both staves. Also, give the parts their correct part names so the exported midi file will show them after importing the midi file in your DAW:

rename parts for midi

  • Copy and paste the music from the Notation version into this template. Be careful not to forget special bar-lines, key- and time signatures.
  • Final step: exporting the score. In the file/export menu choose audio or midi:


  • The imported midi file in your DAW:


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!


Sibelius 6 Quick Tip: Page Numbers

Sibelius 6 Quick Tip 19: Page Numbers

In this video about Page Numbers, I talk about the traditional way page numbers are being used in printed scores and how you can change these defaults to your own liking. Before making this video, I never looked at how Sibelius was creating and defining the Page Number layout, but now I am actually happy I did. It’s interesting to see that there is a system that has been used since the beginning of music score printing and still is used today by the major publishers.

When I went through my collection of music scores I realised that placing Page Numbers at the Top Page and always Outside Edge the common way is and I found only 2 other publishers who put them at the Bottom Page center. There is a good reason for putting them always Outside Edge (meaning at the outside of the pages), and that is when you flip through the book, you can easily see where you are. Imagine that they would have been printed in the middle; now try to find that single page!

There is an exception though and that is when the pages are only printed on one side, page numbers are always printed at the Top Page right and for the same reason: flipping through them and always seeing the page numbers while doing this. This is especially important when you print the music on your home printer and mostly will not print on both sides of the page.

A last rule is that in books (not in the single side printed pages), the right hand pages are always numbered odd and the left hand pages alway numbered even. I am not sure why this is but everybody seems to do this and why change what apparently has worked for centuries!

If you have any questions, please use the form below and I will answer as soon as possible.

best regards,


best regards,

André van Haren

Quick Tip 10: Splitting a Score into Movements

Quick Tip 10: Splitting a Score into Movements

Sometimes it’s necessary to split a single score up into parts, for example with a sonata or a concert piece which mostly have 3 parts. Or maybe you have engraved 10 songs into one Sibelius file but now decided that you rather have ten separate files. This can be done easily with the Section End and Split Score into Movements plug-in. Have a look at the video below:

For more information about engraving, please contact me.

best regards,

André van Haren

Sibelius 6 Quick Tip: Instrument Change and Create Instrument

Quick Tip 11: Instrument Change & Create Instrument 

In this video tip I will explain how to change a piano score into an organ score by using Create Instrument Change to change the piano keyboard into organ manuals and Create Instrument to add the organ pedals. Have a look at the video below:

For more information about engraving, please contact me.

best regards,

André van Haren

Sibelius 6 Quick Tip: fingering

In this tip I show you how to create fingering and the possibilities Sibelius has to reposition text and create fingering for brass and string instruments. Because I was working on a piano piece while making this video, I used fingering for piano scores as an example, but Sibelius can add brass and string fingering automatically with the plugin Text/add brass/string fingering:


Because I am not a brass or string player, I cannot check if this is being done correctly but the option is there.

There is also a plugin called Reposition Text that you can find in plugins Text/reposition Text. This plugin can help you in avoiding notes to collide with other objects. During the years though I have developed my own workflow and use a combination of keyboard shortcuts which I created myself, mouse dragging and arrow keys to do my fingering position. In short, the engraving rules for keyboard fingering are (taken from the Sibelius reference book):

  • Fingerings for the right hand go above the staff and for the left hand below the staff, away from all the musical elements.
  • Fingerings are centred horizontally above or below the notes and if possible, outside the beam.
  • With chords, fingerings are stacked above or below the chord. Hit Return (on the main keyboard) to stack them after each number. Hitting space advances to the next note.
  • If a fingering changes on a held note, a hyphen or dash separates the two fingerings. The first fingering is centred on the note.
  • Tuplets should be moved to the other side of the notes if necessary, to avoid collisions with the fingerings.
  • When both hands play on one staff, the right hand fingering is notated above the staff, the left hand is below.
  • Keep fingering to a minimum and notate only what is necessary to establish the hand positions.
  • Successive fingerings don’t need to line up in a row – they should go up and down following the pitch of the notes, so that they are fairly near each note.

Check out the video below to see all this in action:

I hope you like this quick tip, please let me know if you have questions or ideas for other tips. To contact me or for  information about engraving scores, use the form below:

best regards,

André van Haren