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Arranging for the Pageantry Arts: The Writing Process

Welcome back to my Sibelius blog for composers and arrangers in the world of the pageantry arts! In my previous blog, I discussed creating a customized template, and assigning sounds within it. For this entry, I’d like to share some of my thoughts during the early part of the writing process.

One of the first things that needs to be done when you’re writing for marching band, is inputting the material you’ll be “molding” into your arrangement. Some of the music you may write will be original, or in some instances there won’t be a score available so you’ll need to transcribe it off the recording, but most of the music will be arranged from a score or sheet music of some kind.

Before I begin inputting, I find myself following a process similar to this:

 

  • Go through the score while listening to the source recording and add time markings at every major rehearsal mark (this helps as you study the score and later reference dynamics/articulations/voicings).
  • Identify the specific sections you will need to input (you don’t want to input material you won’t use).
  • Within the sections you will be inputting, identify doublings, so you aren’t inputting unison lines multiple times.
  • Within the sections you will be inputting, identify chords when you can, so you can input chords at one time, versus one line, then another line, etc.

 

Once you’re ready to start inputting, I highly suggest the first thing you do is go through and indicate the different meters throughout your template. This will save you tons of time versus adding them WHILE you input the music. As I mentioned in my last blog, make sure you utilize the custom beaming as you indicate the time signatures, so as you input (and then arrange), your beaming will be as you want it.

Now that your meters are in, and your score is marked up, it’s time to get to work! I like to have the score in a place I don’t need to hold it, but can easily see the music. I prefer to have my hands free so I can 1) manipulate the computer keyboard and utilize all of my shortcuts, and 2) work on the midi input keyboard. By simultaneously doing both, you can really cutdown on the inputting time, and improve your workflow. If you simply input on the computer keyboard, you will definitely add time to your project.

One technique I use throughout my arranging process, especially after inputting, is the “explode” feature. Say you inputted a low brass section chorded in triads. You COULD then copy and paste to each staff, and then delete the individual notes you don’t want (click by click, or through the delete filter), but that would take forever. With the explode feature, simply copy the line as you would (command-c), select the segment on all 3 staves (picture 1), and then instead of using command-v to paste, utilize shift-command-v. This will bring up the “Arrange Styles” box, where you’ll select “explode” from the top of the options (picture 2). Click OK, and there you go (picture 3), an orchestrated section from a block chorded section on one staff.

A few notes about the “explode” feature… Invert the chords the way you want them before you explode, this really cuts down on work time. Also, if you are pasting to 3 staves, and there are a few chords with 4 or 5 notes, you may get some voice 1 and voice 2 sections once you explode.

As I get older, I have found my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, and catching meter changes isn’t as easy as it once was. SO, if you’d like to incorporate big time signatures into your scores, here’s a quick rundown on how to do so:

BIG Time Signatures:

It’ll take some work on your own to get these to look exactly how YOU want, but here are the basic steps:

 

  • In the ribbon, go to “Appearance”, and click on “Engraving Rules” (the shortcut for this is shift-command-e). From there, select “Time Signatures”, then select “Time Signatures (huge)”. Now select “edit text style”, and change the font to “Opus Big Time Std”, and the line spacing to 100%. You can also toy around with the “size in score” number, I like it around 30. Click OK and OK…
  • Still in “Appearance” go to “Design and Position” and click on the arrow near the bottom right (default positions). Make sure “Text Styles” is selected, then scroll down (or press “t” to skip down) and select “Time Signatures (huge)”. Here, try different numbers in the “vertical position relative to staff” boxes (make sure both of them are the same), I like it around 2 (negative numbers also work). Click OK…
  • Lastly, still in “Appearance”, select “System Object Positions”. Here, you can select WHICH staves you’d like the meter changes anchored to. I typically select Flute, A Sax, Trumpet, and my top low brass instrument. You can obviously find the combination that works best for you and your instrumentation (up to 5 total).

 

I hope you’ve found something in this entry useful that will help as you plug away through your writing season, and I’ll talk to you again soon. Now get back to work (more talking to myself)!

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Sibelius Users — Sell Your Music Today to Millions Worldwide with SMP Press

Sibelius users, did you know that you can publish and sell the sheet music you have worked so hard to create with SMP Press from Sheet Music Plus? SMP Press is a digital self-publishing platform that allows composers and arrangers to sell their music on sheetmusicplus.com.  As a Sibelius user, you are already creating compositions and arrangements with high-quality engraving and with SMP Press, you can put your music to work for you! In this post you will learn about the advantages to joining SMP Press and how to export your Sibelius files to PDFs and MP3s, which are the file formats compatible with SMP Press.

SMP Press is free to join and there are no annual fees. You earn a 45% commission on sales of all original compositions and public domain arrangements! Your sheet music will have worldwide exposure to 3 million monthly visitors from over 200 countries. SMP Press is non-exclusive and you maintain all rights to your original compositions and public domain arrangements, meaning you are welcome to sell your music on your own personal website or through other publishers or on other platforms. There’s nothing to lose! Dust off those sheet music files taking up hard drive space and upload them to SMP Press today.

As an SMP Press member, you also have exclusive access to our groundbreaking program, ArrangeMe. ArrangeMe allows you to legally arrange over 1900 copyrighted songs and sell them exclusively on Sheet Music Plus! There are no fees to participate in the program and Sheet Music Plus handles payments to copyright holders on your behalf so you have more time to create. The song list includes music by current pop artists, Broadway favorites and even video game music. View the full list here. 

It is very easy to upload your music. All you need is a PDF, which is very easy to export from the Sibelius program. Take a look at our instructional video below.

You can also upload sound clips to accompany your product. No professional recording? No problem! We encourage you to export your Sibelius sound files as mp3s and use them to provide an audio clip for your product. Customers like to be able to listen to music before they purchase it. Sheet music with an audio sample sells much better than no audio sample, even if the recording is computer-generated. Here’s how you can export to mp3 with Sibelius:

Since you use Sibelius, you clearly have a need to create sheet music, whether you’re a student completing an assignment, a teacher who needs to rewrite a part, or a professional composer. We have found that if you have a need to create music, then someone will have a need to play it. That’s why the mission of Sheet Music Plus and SMP Press is to make the world’s music playable. Even though we have the world’s largest selection of sheet music, with over 1,000,000 titles in our online catalog, everyday customers request sheet music we simply don’t have. We would love for you to join our community of independent music creators.

What current SMP Press Members are saying:

“I’ve always dreamed of composing and arranging for a living (as opposed to just a hobby or sideline) and now my dream is coming true!”

John Dempsey; Inez, KY

“Joining SMP Press was one of the most significant and beneficial decisions I’ve made in my musical career.”

Jim Colman; Adrian, MI

“There’s no risk and SMP is terrific to work with.”

Phyllis Avidan Louke; Portland, OR

“I have been impressed with the sales and even with SMP’s percentage taken out I have done at least as well financially as I did with my own web site…and have been having good growth as well.”

John Gibson; Vancouver, WA

“I love the fact that my works are available to sell around the world and that they will sell with little marketing effort on my part.”

Samuel Stokes; Natchitoches, LA

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Sibelius Comes to the Avid Artist Community

Welcome to the Avid Artist Community!

We warmly welcome all Sibelius users to join the Avid Artist Community, a place for artists and media professionals around the world to connect, share work, collaborate and expand creative opportunities.

Established in 2016, the Avid Artist Community is an online community designed to foster creative connections and professional opportunities. Since then, it has grown from strength to strength by introducing new ways to create groups, chat and even hire pro musicians.

We’ve introduced the ability for Sibelius users to upload their scores directly from Sibelius to the Artist Community, from which they can make them public to showcase their compositions, engraving prowess, or even educational worksheets.

 

Getting started

First of all, open your score in Sibelius and click the Share button from File > Cloud Sharing:

This will upload your score to the Avid Media Central platform for processing, and shortly afterwards will display this message:

Once that’s done, you can head over to the Artist Community page, at https://ac.avid.com. If it’s the first time you’re doing this, you’ll be asked to create an account and Portfolio page. It’s on your Portfolio page that that your scores will be showcased. Once you’re through that setup, you’ll find your Portfolio here:

https://ac.avid.com/artistcommunity/ACEPortfolio

To see your scores, click the Scores tab in your Portfolio:

From here, you get a Dashboard similar to the one in Sibelius that lists all of your shared scores. It’s here that you can choose which scores you want to publicly display on the Artist Community (or not). To make a score public, simply click the ‘Public’ button. Once that’s done, anyone in the world can then view your score here. To see the scores in the account I set up for this, visit this portfolio:

https://ac.avid.com/artistcommunity/profiles/AvidBlogs_com

Once a score is public, anyone can view your scores by clicking on their titles. This will open the score in a new browser tab and even play back—it even works on your phone!

Best of all, it’s free. Check it out for yourself and we hope to see your scores on the Avid Artist Community soon!

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Sibelius Premium Cloud Storage Plans Now Available

I’m happy to share that you’ll now be able to expand your Sibelius | Cloud Sharing capabilities with Avid Premium Cloud Plans to add further storage to share files online with Sibelius.

With any Sibelius subscription or current software update plan, you already get the ability to share music online, directly from within Sibelius—1GB of free cloud storage (20 scores with Sibelius | First). However, if you need more space, you can now buy an Avid Premium Cloud Plan that will unlock more online storage. Note that these plans can be used across both Sibelius and Pro Tools (for Cloud Collaboration).

The majority of Sibelius users will likely only need the Standard Cloud Plan or the Artist Cloud plan levels. The Producer and Studio Cloud Plans are aimed at Pro Tools users who are collaborating with large files and need much greater capacity.

Feature

Standard Cloud plan

Artist Cloud plan

Producer Cloud plan

Studio Cloud plan

Price

Included

$4.99/month

$9.99/month

$24.99/month

Storage

1 GB

10 GB

30 GB

80 GB

Sibelius

Number of scores

Sibelius | First

Number of scores

20

To see how far you are through your online storage, we’ve added a new side-bar to the Sibelius Cloud Sharing dashboard, which you can access from within Sibelius by going to Home > Cloud Sharing > Dashboard:

On the left, you see the name of the Cloud Plan, the number of scores that you have shared, and the percentage of your storage that these scores are currently using. Below this is an Upgrade button that takes you off to your account where you can buy one of the Cloud Plans should you need it.

The Cloud Plans are applied to your account, so if you have more than one license of Sibelius, the storage is shared across all these copies. Remember that the Cloud Plan also applies to Pro Tools, and not just Sibelius. So if you own Pro Tools as well, you’ll find that you get more storage and other cloud-based features when using Pro Tools Cloud Collaboration.

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Sibelius 2018 Now Available—What’s New

Avid is introducing some pretty groundbreaking enhancements to the way people use and interact with Sibelius at the Winter NAMM 2018 show. First off, the new Sibelius 2018 delivers a host of new features that will revolutionize the way you mark up your score. Secondly, we are offering you a way to expand your cloud storage to enhance your Sibelius | Cloud Sharing workflows. We’re also inviting you to join and participate in the Avid Artist Community to share and promote your music. Finally, we are announcing the new Avid Marketplace and Artist Portal, allowing you to buy and manage your music software.

Let’s dig in…

 

Supercharge your workflows in Sibelius

Marking up your score with slurs, ties and other lines in Sibelius has always been a repetitive task, until now.

 

Lines

It’s now possible to enter any type of staff line across multiple staves. Adding slurs (S) or hairpins (H or Shift+H) to a whole section at a time is now a breeze, saving you multiple steps in the process and valuable time! Sibelius is aware of the music when you add them, so it even starts and ends these lines on the first and last notes under the selection so not to run over and end on rests:

We have also changed the way lines are entered for individual staves when you have a passage selection. Now, the lines will attach themselves to the first and last note under the selection, allowing you to enter phrase markings really quickly:

After entering a line, the selection now changes to select the last handle of the line, allowing you to use Space or Shift+Space to length or shorten it. This allows for quick selection and manipulation of lines that works for all types of staff lines.

Alternatively, Cmd+Click or Ctrl+Click the notes where you’d like to start a line, then add the line to the score. You can then extend this as needed:

Of course, pressing Space or Shift+Space will advance or contract the line for all selected lines. This is incredibly useful for adding hairpins or even phrase marks to multiple instruments. This doesn’t have to be done when inserting the line and can be done at any time.

 

Adding slurs across multiple voices

Adding slurs to passages of music that span across multiple voices is now also done with only a few steps. In this example, it used to take no fewer than nine steps to complete. With the new Sibelius, it’s just three (select, Shift+Click to expand the selection, S to add all four slurs):

Sibelius is even aware of the rests, so you can quickly add slurs across passages like this one:

Again, this took just three steps—it would have been up to 16 steps before, as adding slurs to voice 2 always had to be done by changing voice on the keypad.

If you have a repeated pattern to add slurs to, using the new feature in conjunction with the Advanced Filter, allows you to add slurs across long passages really easily.

Ties

Adding ties between notes in chords that only had a few notes in common has always been cumbersome without a special plug-in. You had to specifically choose the notes each chord had in common and hit Enter on the keypad. Now you simply use a passage selection across both chords and the ties are only added to the notes that appear in each chord. This works with selections that span across several chords, even over systems, with tuplets and so on. Ties continue to toggle too as you press Enter on the keypad.

Here’s a simple case:

Adding ties across multiple staves that include triplets is handled nicely too, so here’s a more unusual example:

You can still create dangling ties, as required, by selecting just the note you’d like to let ring and adding the tie:

Barlines

It’s now possible to select more than one barline and change their type. You can change the type to Double, Dashed, Final, Invisible, Normal, Tick, Short or Between Staves. You can also add in System or Page Breaks to these barlines, making quick layout changes or the creation of educational worksheets a breeze.

This example shows the barlines getting individually selected using Cmd+Click (Mac) Ctrl+Click (Win), then changed to ‘Dashed’ then system breaks being added to them all using the Return key:

This works for all types of barlines, but Repeat barlines are now improved too…

 

Repeat lines

Adding Start and End Repeats is now simpler than ever. When you have a passage or system selection, adding either an End or Start repeat barline will now add them at either end of the selection. This saves you the step of creating the other repeat barline for every repeat structure you need:

Note Editing

Editing notes in Sibelius has been changed in this version too. Extending the rhythm of a note no longer entirely erases the next note, but erodes just the rhythm you needed. Up until now, you had to manually put the next note back in. This only happens though when extending the length of a note’s duration and will create a rest when shortening a note’s value. This works well with more than one note selected, and even in tuplets or with a passage selection—try it out!

The way Sibelius processes these notes, it allows for note durations to be changed with passage selections, like this:

This, when used in conjunction with moving notes that we introduced in Sibelius 8.1, makes editing notes and whole passages incredibly quick.

For now, this has replaced the old method in which Sibelius would erase the next note when lengthening a note value; however, we’re aware of your muscle memory and have added a new preference that you can toggle on—if you so wish—called “Replace subsequent notes with rests when extending duration”.

 

Find in Ribbon

Along the same theme of speeding up your workflow, we have made several improvements to the “Find in Ribbon” search box. We’ve refined the layout of the search results to make it easier to see what you’re looking for, as well as made it faster to execute the commands you need. In most cases, you now only need to remember one keyboard shortcut, and you can access everything in the program.

The shortcut for accessing the Find in Ribbon box has been made to happen immediately. Instead of doing Ctrl (on Mac) or Alt (on Win) and then separately pressing 0, you can now type Ctrl+0 or Alt+0 simultaneously. You can now also change this shortcut in Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts to anything you like, so if you’d prefer a single key press, for example “,” then you can set this up.

Searching and executing—these are now one and the same thing. Previously, you had to know about the Shift+Return shortcut to find and then perform the feature you were asking it to do, but only after you waited for an animation to play. We’ve now simplified this and, where possible, the feature is executed immediately—e.g., type Reset Design and press Return (or in fact you only need to type “Re” and press Return as it’s at the top of the search results). When doing this, you’ll find that the design gets reset right away rather than having to wait for the glowing animation to finish.

This works for anything in the Ribbon, allowing you to type “12/4” to create a new 12/4 Time Signature, “Trill” for a trill etc. If you prefer, you can even hide the Ribbon and simply use this as a command pallet for Sibelius.

The layout of the search results is also clearer.

SIBELIUS 7 - 8.7

SIBELIUS 2018

The name of the feature is now in bold, with the location of the feature in the Ribbon below it, followed by the description. To help you memorize your shortcuts, we’ve added this to the right hand side of the results as well.

 

Other general improvements

  • Grace notes are now accessible once more via the arrow keys.
  • File > Print: The page orientation is now only changed by changes in Document Setup if printing Normal pages. This no longer happens with Spreads, Booklet or 2 Pages Per Sheet and avoids the problems where these would get reset to portrait paper rather than remain landscape, as is correct for these printing arrangements.
  • The space after a Key Signature and Start Repeat barline is now slightly wider and won’t collide with each other.
  • It’s now possible to add a Dashed slur to a grace-note.
  • The “Combine Tied Notes and Rests” plugin is nice and fast when processing music in large scores.

 

The new Sibelius version number

This is the first release of Sibelius that uses a new common versioning scheme across all of our products. Sibelius, like Media Composer and Pro Tools, has moved towards more regular releases, and before long, the old version number scheme would get out of hand. From now, the version number behind the scenes will reflect when the release was made, for example this release is v2018.1.0.

The 2018 being the year and the .1 being the month. It’ll be .2 for February, and so on. If we need to make two releases in the same month, it’ll be year.month.1 etc.. The product is still called Sibelius, and is not called Sibelius 2018. The version number is simply a reflection of the current version of Sibelius. These days, with current upgrade plans, you simply get the latest version of the product and you’re away. You don’t need to pay much attention to the version number.

For those concerned about versions of files etc., we will address this in a future update to Sibelius. As the major version number of the file isn’t changing in this release (and hasn’t since 8.6), you’ll be able to open any Sibelius file from any previous version.

 

We are extremely excited to offer our customers so many new features and capabilities on Sibelius 2018 and hope that they will positively impact your work and boost your productivity. I’d like to thank the Sibelius community for all the feedback and suggestions that we’ve received and incorporated into this release and look forward to continuing to deliver the tools that help you deliver your best work!

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Arranging for the Pageantry Arts: An Introduction

Welcome to a Sibelius blog for composers and arrangers in the world of the pageantry arts, like marching band, drum corps, and indoor winds/percussion. While I am a wind arranger, and most of my topics and information will be geared for the non-percussionists out there, I feel some of the tips can be borrowed by anyone.

My name is John Meehan, and I am the brass arranger for The Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps, as well as many other marching bands, drum corps, and other groups around the U.S.A. and world. My hope with this blog will be share info and tips I have learned using Sibelius within my composing and arranging projects for the past 16 years. Before Sibelius, I used the programs Professional Composer and Mosaic (both no longer available), and before that, paper and pencil!

There is NO BETTER resource for blog topics than YOU! If you have a question, or possible topic idea, please contact me.

 

Master Templates

With it being the beginning of drum corps and indoor winds writing season, I wanted to focus my first Sibelius blog entry on setting up a template, and assigning sounds within it. For me, while it’s a bit daunting initially, creating a master template, then making minor adjustments during each project, saves me tons of time throughout the year. In the past, I would create a new template for each project, but found I was duplicating the same workflow each time. Now, working off of a master template, then simply deleting the instruments I don’t need and changing the title and such, gets me to writing much faster.

So what do I consider to be a “master template”? Basically, a score with EVERY instrument I might come across needing to write for that season. Maybe go back and see what woodwind instruments you wrote for last year, and how many parts per. What brass instruments, and so on. Include specialty instruments (Oboe, French Horn), as well as staves for your percussion cues. Now, when you start a project, you just need to delete the instruments not needed for that group, and viola, ready to go!

 

Customizing your templates

The default 4/4 for Sibelius beams four 8th notes together. I prefer my 8th notes beamed in groups of 2, so I always make sure to go into the time signature dialog box, select other, customize to 4/4 (even though the default is already there), then click “Beam and Rest Groups…”. There, change the “group 8th as” to 2,2,2,2. This comes in handy as well when you’re writing in 7/8 and other meters where you want to customize the beaming.

Get to know all of the options within TEXT in the ribbon. You can add headers (first page only, or after the first page), and lots of other useful styles.

To move between your score and parts, simply type “option-command-~” to move forward, or “command-w” to move backward.

Wildcards and Keyboard Shortcuts

Customizing your scores and parts, as well as overall Sibelius experience, can go to the next level with wildcards and keyboard shortcuts. Do you like to have a current date on your score without YOU having to update it? Well, using a wildcard, you can! The text entry for that would be \$DateShort – OR – $DateLong (with a backslash at the beginning and end of the wildcard). You can use other wildcards to customize your headers and other text options with things like $PageNum – OR – $Arranger – OR – $Copyright – and many others. Update the specific in formation in File-Info, and voilà, there it is!

Are there certain functions you use a lot, and wish there was a keyboard shortcut for them? Well, there may not be (or it’s a bit awkward), but you can make them yourself! By going to… Sibelius-Preferences-Keyboard Shortcuts, you can find pretty much every function, then assign a keyboard function to it (or learn the one Sibelius already had assigned to it).

Assigning voices

Depending on if you’re using the included Sibelius Sounds, or if you’ve purchased different sound libraries (such as Fanfare which uses Kontakt or Garritan’s “Concert & Marching Band 2” which uses Aria), this will vary.

Select PLAY in the ribbon, then playback devices. Here, make sure your “active devices” are correct. If you only use Sibelius Sounds, then Sibelius Player should be active. If you have sound libraries that use a different player (such as Kontakt, Aria, or Play), those should be selected. If you use a Mac, I suggest AU over VST.

Once the players are in your active devices, make sure the sound set option is correct. If you have a sound set, it should be selected. If you don’t, it should say “none”. To change this, click on “manual sound sets”, then select the device, change the sound set to none (or the sound set you want to use). If none, then make sure to select the box next to “use manual sound set”, and increase the number of channels to 16. Click apply, and repeat for all of your players.

Let’s say you need more voices. Simply select a 2nd instance of that player from the available devices. If you selected Kontakt (AU), under active devices, you should now see a second instance of that player. You now have 32 channels available to you.

Once all of your playback devices are selected, open up your mixer and assign voices to each instrument. First assign the playback device you want to each instrument. If you have a sound set running for that playback device, you would select the instrument right there in the mixer. If you are using a manual sound set for that playback device, you would click on the “plug-in interface”, which will open up your player (e.g., Kontakt), and there you would assign the instrument you want. Make sure the midi channels align mixer to player.

You can obviously pan and move the faders around for each instrument within the mixer, but you also have control for the master fader, as well as individual playback device pan and faders to the far right of the mixer.

 

Sound libraries

So what do I use within my writing? I have several sound libraries I have purchased over the years, but the main ones I use are…

  • Virtual Ensemble Trilogy – I use these sounds for my sectional brass (Trumpets, Mellophones, Low Brass, Tubas). V.E.T. comes with a Sibelius sound set.
  • Fanfare – I use this for most of my solo brass instruments. Works within Kontakt.
  • Garritan’s “Concert & Marching Band 2”  – I use this for all of my sectional woodwinds. This is a solid library as it includes Bass Clarinets, and the entire saxophone family. Works within their own player called Aria.
  • Symphony Series Collection – I use this library for a lot of my specialty wind instruments (Oboe, Bassoon, French Horn) as well as percussion and other solo voices. Works within Kontakt.
  • Impact – I use this for a lot of my front ensemble instruments. Works within Kontakt.

I have many other libraries I will use, but those are the basics. You can find libraries for as inexpensive as $49, or as high as $5,000, it just depends on what you’re looking for, and of course your budget. EastWest Sounds even has an option called ComposerCloud which allows you to pay monthly for thousands of dollars worth of virtual instruments. These sounds work within their Play engine (not Kontakt), and are very high quality.

I’m sure you still have questions, but I hope this gives you some tips, ideas, and a bit of informational motivation as you begin your next pageantry writing project.

Now get back to work!

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Tristan Noon Scoring Templates for Sibelius

By Tristan Noon

 

I am a composer, orchestrator and music copyist from the South of England, just outside of London, and have worked on an array of high profile jobs including orchestration for Endeavour (ITV 1), string arrangements for the acclaimed Indietronica band ‘Hot Chip’ (Nike: Unlimited You event), and have written music which was used in the ‘Save The Day’ Campaign, directed by Joss Whedon (Toy Story, The Avengers).

Working in multiple positions across the music department has given me an invaluable edge which enables me to see what is efficient and what is not. I often tidy the parts when I am orchestrating music, which allows me to fully check through the parts and make sure that no dynamics or other markings have been missed.

Having been to many scoring sessions as a composer, orchestrator and copyist, I thought that it would be interesting to put together a series of templates that other musicians could benefit from. The idea being that instead of having to worry about setting up a template themselves requiring lots of different steps to make immediately usable, that I could provide them at a reasonable cost and in flexible formats, such as multiple different versions and with different instrumentation—but all stylistically the same.

I’ve worked on plenty of scores in the past where a template hasn’t been set up properly. It can waste hours of time if the procedure of making a template for the project isn’t carefully taken care of at the start of the job. Using wild cards mean that information such as the composer name, orchestrator name, cue name and number, ensure that when you first input the information in the file menu at the start of every cue, it updates on the first page, and subsequent pages at the top which makes it look professional. The best part about the templates are the way they look straight out of the box. You can change the amount of bars per page depending on the amount of notation on the page, but it is set as default as eight per page on the conductors score, and four bars in the parts.

Scoring Templates include:

  • Fonts that are prettier on the eye, and exactly the same in each template, for a seamless design when using different sized ensembles.
  • Big time signatures in the full score that are easily spotted by conductors when sight-reading (which is the majority of the time).
  • Bigger time signatures for the player in the parts which means there is little to no chance of them missing changing time signatures in more complex cues.
  • Incredible flexibility, spanning across most of the recent versions of Sibelius (6, 7 and 8).
  • Staves which are aligned and perfectly spaced, leaving you to import midi or write directly into the template without worrying about formatting.
  • Text wildcards which update across the whole score when changed in one place, for example, a title/sub title.
  • Thicker stave sizes and final bar line for easier sight-reading.
  • Bar numbers above every bar in the score and under every bar in the parts for easy referencing.
  • A flexible starting point for further personal customization if you wish – the score and parts already look beautiful, but you may want to customize it to your specific needs.

All of the above are certain to lead to a better/quicker performance which always impresses the client. In an ever-evolving world in which composers and orchestrators are forced to work at lightning speed, it would be a mistake to miss out on these perfectly customized templates, aimed at anyone in the film, tv and games industry. It ensures that once the score has been finished by the orchestrator, the parts already look great before the copyist has even done any work to them. Time saving is ensured across the whole project and the chances of any mistakes are reduced.

 

I’ve spent many hours perfecting the font sizes, font types, stave sizes and other formatting for the templates. These kinds of changes, which seem small, can actually play a major part in a scoring session. If fonts are too small to read, players will not be able to read them quickly at sight and could potentially miss them. On the other hand, if they are too big, they will take up page space, and upset the formatting of the page. Ultimately, the key is to include the most amount of information on the page, but conveyed in the simplest and minimalistic manner. The templates require minimal effort from the user upon first opening the file. All you need to do is fill in the information such as the title, etc. from the file menu (not by double clicking the title, etc. on the first page or this will make the wildcards redundant). In the parts, you will also need to tell Sibelius how many parts need to be printed. I left this up to the user, because every session will be different.

 

I have created scoring templates for:

  • Full Orchestra
  • Full Orchestra (no percussion)
  • Strings
  • Strings & Brass
  • Strings & Piano
  • Strings & Harp
  • Dramedy
  • And a bundle that includes all seven templates

 

 

SPECIAL OFFER

Take advantage of a 25% off sale when you spend £20 or more, until 23:59 GMT on Wednesday 20th December, 2017—just use the promo code “AVIDBLOGS“.

In addition to your Scoring Template Sibelius file, inside the download folder you’ll receive a short PDF document instruction manual to demonstrate how to get started with these templates. Don’t miss this great deal, and I hope you find the templates useful.

Check out what’s available

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Sibelius 8.7.2 Now Available—What’s New

We’re pleased to announce the availability of Sibelius 8.7.2, a maintenance update to Sibelius 8 that brings improvements to several areas of the program, including fixes to some very old problems, as well as enhancements to the recently released Sibelius | Cloud Sharing Dashboard and Viewer.

In total, Sibelius 8.7.2 includes over 70 improvements to both Sibelius application and Sibelius | Cloud Sharing, including:

Key Signatures and Instrument Changes

This is an area we spent a lot of time on getting right. We’d like to thank our tireless beta testers for their feedback while we worked on improving this area of the program. Many of you will know that entering Instrument Changes would always come with a level of cleanup. Any change in key signature would be too close to the barline, and on the wrong side too. In the part, they would split the multirest and it would take a number of steps to get this right. In addition to this, if a Key Signature change would happen at the same time, you’d get two key signatures appearing at the same time. With Sibelius 8.7.2, this is now all handled for you.

Before - 8.7.1 and earlier

After - 8.7.2

When comparing the above images, you’ll see several improvements:

Before:

  • Key signature changes in bars 3 and 10, which are needed when changing from Flute to Alto Flute, are too close to the bar lines. They also split the multirests in the part so you have a 1+2 rather than a 3 bar multirest.
  • Bar 16 changes to D Major in the score, and the instrument changes to Alto Flute at the same time. Sibelius 8.7.1 and earlier would show the key signature change for D Major as well as a single sharp (the key signature for the Alto Flute) after it in the part, whilst also splitting the multirest.

After:

  • Key Signature changes are appropriately spaced after the barlines in bars 3 and 101.
  • Multirests are all complete and aren’t split by the instrument changes.
  • Left hand side of multirests are given space for the change in key signatures.
  • The change to Alto Flue in bar 16, combined with the Key Signature change to D Major now correctly shows only a single sharp2.

1 If any spacing adjustments are needed, simply select the passage and reset the note spacing, by going to Appearance > Reset Notes > Reset Note Spacing.

2 Best results are accomplished when entering the Key Signature first, then the Instrument Change.

What happens when opening old scores?

Old scores opened in 8.7.2 will look exactly the same with regard to these key signature changes. This means that if the key signature on an Instrument Change appeared on or before the barline, these will continue to appear before the barline. To fix these up, the easiest thing to do is remove the Instrument Change and create a new one.

Barlines

Special barlines, which are accessed from Notations > Common > Barline, each have special properties. In previous versions, they would all split multirests, which was OK if you knew that was going to happen. However, many a Sibelius user has been confused to see a multirest split and not known why. In Sibelius 8.7.2 we have changed the behavior of some of these barlines:

Start repeat – split barlines
End Repeat – split barlines
Double – split barlines
Dashed – split barlines
Final – split barlines

Invisible – do not split barlines
Normal – do not split barlines
Tick – do not split barlines
Short – do not split barlines
Between Staves – do not split barlines

When opening older scores

Opening older scores in 8.7.2 that contain any of the barlines in the second list above now open with a ‘Split multirest’ above them in each part. This retains the layout of the score, and also gives you a useful visual indicator to show why the multirest is splitting. To snap this back into a single multirest, simply select the split multirest and tap delete:

Sibelius | Cloud Sharing

  • Accepting the Terms and Conditions for the first time now knows if you’ve just opened the Dashboard or clicked ‘Share’—if the latter, it no longer just opens the Dashboard but continues to share the score.
  • When sharing an unsaved score, the “Uploading Score” message only appears after you’ve saved the score.
  • When extracting parts, the files are now given their own FileID, allowing you to share these independently from the full score.
  • The Push button is now enabled and disabled more reliably.

Improvements to the Dashboard and Viewer are coming soon…

General improvements in Sibelius

Workflow

  • Non-magnetic gliss and port lines are now red when they are selected—this matches the colour of non-magnetic slurs.
  • Text along lines is now horizontal once more. It can still follow the angle of the line when you specify a value to move the text up by a number of spaces (found in Edit Lines > Centered Text).
  • A long-standing issue, where you’d lose title pages and other blank pages when changing time signature at the beginning of the score, has been fixed.
  • Using the left/right arrow keys to navigate through the selection no longer causes the selection to skip into another voice when you pass an object in all voices, like a chord symbol, or staff-attached symbol.
  • In some cases, entering notes into a bar directly after an Instrument Change would add them in the next bar instead. This dates back a really long time but you’ll now find notes go into the bar that you intend them go into.
  • Adding Split Multirests are now added to the undo queue.
  • Sibelius would sometimes move the score when performing an undo action. This no longer happens.

UI and Documentation

  • When exporting a PDF, the wildcards are now correct in French and German languages.
  • The Lines section of the Inspector is now localized.
  • Text is no longer cut off in the Quick Start > Learn tab for all languages except Japanese and Chinese (Mac only).
  • When importing Ideas, the import button was sometimes cut off—the dialog has been extended to show this button.
  • Several improvements to the Manuscript plug-in language documentation have been made.

General reliability

  • When pasting Lyrics, the Undo/Redo queue no longer gets out of sync. Previously, it was possible to repeat a lyric rather than paste the next one in the clipboard.
  • Sibelius no longer crashes if you quit while still inputting text (Mac only).
  • A score that containing $NumPages wildcard, if exported and opened in Sibelius 7.5 will crash—we’ve found this happens due to a bug in Sibelius 7.5-8.5. We fixed this back in March as part of the Sibelius 8.6 and Cloud Publishing engine development (where we found the Cloud Publishing engine would hang on some scores).
  • Sibelius no longer starts up slowly when “Avid Application Manager Helper” is not running.
  • As part of our regular monitoring of crash reports that come in, we’ve found several reports where RoboForm would cause a crash due the way Sibelius handles text. We will address this in a future update but the advice for now is to disable RoboForm.

Music XML

  • In response to any “Tempo Scale” effect, Sibelius now removes the metronome metric modulation but keeps the text indications. The XML output from Sibelius is now valid, and we’ll look into adding the tempo scale in the future.
  • Sibelius now opens the newer MusicXML 3.1 files with the .musicxml file extension.

Sibelius on High Sierra

  • Sibelius and Sibelius First 8.7.2 is now supported on macOS High Sierra. Although I’m sure earlier versions of Sibelius 8 will likely work, we haven’t tested anything other than the latest versions.

Note on compatibility: Sibelius will only run when the hard drive is formatted in non-case-sensitive formatting. This is the default, so in general everyone will be safe. If you have purposely reformatted your hard drive to be case sensitive, which you need to have tried quite hard to do, then Sibelius’ playback and other features won’t work well at all.

 

We hope you enjoy the broad range of improvements in Sibelius 8.7.2. If you follow the various Facebook support groups and other forums and social media, you may recognize a number of these issues having been brought to our attention. The frequent updates we are now releasing enable us to respond to these quicker than ever before, so thank you for all the feedback you’re giving us—please keep it coming!

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Sibelius | Cloud Sharing Now Available with Sibelius 8.7

We are excited to announce that Sibelius | Cloud Sharing is now available with the new Version 8.7 Sibelius and Sibelius | First software update. Leveraging the power of Sibelius | Cloud Publishing and running on the Avid MediaCentral Platform, this groundbreaking technology enables you to send Sibelius scores to the cloud for rendering that can be displayed in any web browser, posted on social media, and embedded in webpages and blogs, to be viewed by anyone, on any device.

Let’s take a closer look at how Sibelius | Cloud Sharing works:

Sharing Scores: New UI and workflow in Sibelius

Sibelius 8.7 introduces a set of new buttons in the Ribbon interface that provides you with integrated controls for sharing and managing your scores. When you click Share, your score is sent to the cloud for processing and a link to your score is automatically copied to your clipboard—and that’s it! No more exporting separate .html and .sib files, installing a plug-in, restarting your browser or even finding a computer with a browser that’ll work. Scores shared using Sibelius | Cloud Sharing will work in any browser, on any device.

Sharing a score online

How does it work? When you press Share, Sibelius sends the score to your cloud account on Avid’s MediaCentral Platform (running on Microsoft Azure), which then starts processing it. The first thing that comes back is the URL to be shared. By the time you go to that URL, there’ll be little or no wait until the score has been rendered by our Cloud Publishing engine. The larger and longer your score is, the longer you’ll have to wait for it to be processed.

Clicking the dropdown below the Share button reveals more options:

As you can see, the dropdown presents additional options to embed code into web pages and blogs (more on this later), and the option to quickly stop sharing the score. Clicking Stop sharing stops scores from being viewed online immediately. You can share the score again, but clicking Share again will generate a new sharing URL.

Updating changes to the score

What if you want to make changes to the score and share those? No problem! Pushing changes is simple. Once you’re ready to update a score that has already been shared, simply make the edits and click the Push button. You will be asked if you want to save changes to the score and push up the latest version. There’s no need to re-share the score, as the existing URL will continue to be used for that score. To see the changes reflected in the Viewer, simply refresh the page in your browser and it will automatically display the updated score. This eliminates the cumbersome workflow of exporting new pdf’s and mp3’s every time you edit your score, and significantly streamlines essential reviewing and collaboration workflows that are the lifeblood of most composers and arrangers.

Managing your shared scores

Sibelius | Cloud Sharing also includes a new Dashboard for managing your shared scores. The Dashboard lists all the scores you’ve previously shared, allowing you to sort, search for, and manage whether a score is shared or not. It’s also extremely useful for getting a score’s shared URL without having to open it again in Sibelius.

Options for sorting, searching, and organizing the list of scores

Clicking the Share button in the Dashboard displays the following pop-up:

From here, you can find the shared URL again, and embed code, used for embedding your scores online.

 

Here’s the URL for the score that I shared earlier:

https://sibl.pub/SJqLTkDqb

You can click the link or paste into a web browser to view and play back.

 

Viewing and using shared scores

The URLs are a link to your scores in your cloud account. You can freely share these with your friends, colleagues, students, teachers—anyone. How people view your shared scores on different platforms and devices will vary:

In a web browser

The Cloud Publishing engine renders the scores using modern web technology (JavaScript and HTML5). Anyone you send the URL to (via email, text, etc.) can easily view and play your your score using any web browser. Here’s a sample score in Chrome:

Via social media and chat apps

To share a score on a social media site, you simply paste in the sharing URL you are given by Sibelius. When posting into Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and other media sites and chat apps, you’ll see a nice preview of the music embedded directly in the post. This is drawn from the metadata from the Score Info dialog in Sibelius which we’ve made available as part of the Viewer. Here are some examples of how a shared score shows up in social media and chat apps:

Facebook

Twitter

WhatsApp

Skype

Embedded into web pages

Sharing URL’s is obviously a great way to share your music, but for those of you who’d like to showcase your music on websites, or even build interactive learning resources, Sibelius helps you do this as well. Either from the Dashboard or from the Share dropdown, Sibelius provides you with embed code that you can use to easily add your score for these applications. It looks something like this:

<iframe src=”https://sibl.pub/SHfG7-D” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Simply insert this code into your html page and the music appears when the page is rendered. We’ve tested several sites including WordPress, Canvas, and Atlassian, and they all work as expected.

To give you an example of what this looks like, here’s a shared Sibelius score embedded into this article using WordPress:

The Sibelius Viewer

The Viewer, which you may have seen before if you frequent the many sheet music publisher websites that use Sibelius | Cloud Publishing (including greatscores.commusichorizon.comvirtualsheetmusic.commusicroom.com, and others), is made up of individual SVGs for the pages of music, plus an MP3 for playback and a lot of metadata to tell the viewer where to place the playback line etc. All this, combined with some clever Javascript gives you an elegant Viewer that allows you to view, play back, and paginate through the score.

The sound

The sounds you hear are an MP3 we generate in the cloud when processing the score. Our Cloud Publishing engine is a “headless” version of Sibelius that processes and renders the score, much like the one you have in Sibelius, along with an optimized version of the Sibelius Sounds library. As we need to quickly load this library in the cloud, these are the exact same sounds that are used in Sibelius, but with stripped down velocity layers and samples spread across multiple notes. The good news it that this optimized sound library retains nearly all the instruments and playing articulations, resulting in a very close rendition of what you’d hear with the full Sibelius Sounds library in Sibelius. This is a significant improvement over the Scorch plug-in, which relied on local onboard MIDI sounds.

The look

What you’ll also notice is that your shared scores look just like they do in Sibelius thanks again to the Cloud Publishing engine. This means that anyone reviewing your score will see it just as you intended, with superior resolution as you zoom in and out.

 

How do I get Sibelius | Cloud Sharing?

Sibelius | Cloud Sharing is part of the Version 8.7 software update and available at no charge to anyone with a current Sibelius or Sibelius | First subscription or upgrade plan (as well as all new customers) .

Note that Sibelius and Sibelius | First have slightly different sharing entitlements. Sibelius | First enables you to share up to 20 scores at any one time, while Sibelius allows you to share an unlimited number of scores up to 1GB of storage on our cloud platform. All the assets we store are compressed, so you’ll need to share a good number of large scores before reaching this limit.

If your subscription or upgrade plan lapses, the scores that you’ve shared will remain available online where they have been posted, but you will not be able to share any new scores until you renew your support contract or subscription. The Dashboard will be available regardless, so you would still be able to share your URLs and retrieve embed code. As soon as the subscription or upgrade plan is renewed, you will again be able to share new scores.

Other updates included in Sibelius 8.7

In addition to the new Sibelius | Cloud Sharing features, the Sibelius 8.7 software update also includes a good set of useful improvements, including:

Finding and filtering

  • When filtering for articulations in Advanced Filter, the filter now applies to just those you had intended to be selected or deselected
  • When using Find/Find Next, the notehead type search works correctly
  • Color function now works when noteheads are selected by pitch using Advanced Filter

Gliss lines and slides

  • Slides now work properly in all non-English localizations
  • The Lines section of the Inspector is now correctly localized
  • When exporting to previous versions of Sibelius, gliss lines are now positioned in the same place vertically—Magnetic Layout for these lines is switched off to allow them to stay close to notes and not get moved further away

General bug fixes and performance improvements

  • Legato passages play back correctly once more
  • Score redraw is no longer slow to respond with jpegs at the start of a score
  • Making a change in one bar no longer resets the spacing in a bar on another system
  • Space after key sig warning is no longer too wide compared to Sibelius 8.3 and earlier
  • Sibelius no longer crashes after using user batch plug-ins from Edit Plug-ins window
  • When Sibelius starts for the first time, the Activate button now opens the Account page in Application Manager—this will prompt the user to log in, which will trigger an auto-activation of Sibelius, therefore removing the steps of finding license numbers and entering them in manually—it also ensures that you are logged in already to make the sharing of music go smoothly
  • In some cases, Sibelius would crash when using sample rates of 96kHz or 192kHz after exporting audio—this no longer happens
  • The borders around buttons in the Inspector are now easier on the eye
  • Checking the “Use on single notes” checkbox in Engraving Rules > Ties 2 now persists after closing the Engraving Rules dialog
  • “Change instrument names at start of system after instrument changes” in Engraving Rules > Instruments now has the correct German translation
  • Sibelius is now generally more snappy

Last of all—but not least—thank you!

I want to thank the amazing Sibelius users around the world for their valuable input and patience in helping us to bring this landmark technology to market. This is an important step in the long-term vision we have for sheet music online, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it!

– Sam and the Sibelius team

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




Sibelius | First 8.6.1 Now Available—What’s New

Sibelius | First

Sibelius | First is the little brother to Sibelius, packed full of features to help students and amateur musicians make a start writing and composing music. The features are aligned with high school student and teachers in mind, with additional features to help those in small instrumental groups prepare parts for performance. In Sibelius 8.6.1, we’ve of course kept Sibelius | First in line with Sibelius, inheriting improvements to note spacing and the new Magnetic Lines introduced in 8.6 (see below for details). In addition to this, Sibelius | First 8.6.1 now includes MP3 Export, allowing you to easily share you music with others and take your music on the go.

If you are new to Sibelius | First, you can get started in a number of ways:

Trial

Subscribe

Buy

Upgrade

Find a reseller

Download for free

from $4.99/month

$119

$79

www.avid.com/find-a-reseller

What’s new in v8.6.1 for Sibelius

This small update follows the recent 8.6 release, where we introduced Magnetic Glissandi lines, allowing you to quickly and easily draw gliss lines and slides that attach themselves to notes. If you often use these lines in your compositions or orchestrations, this feature alone will save you precious time. 8.6 also included a number of improvements ranging from settings in the Inspector to Music XML improvements to now being more than 10% faster at starting up!

Sibelius 8.6.1 builds on all these, fixing a good handful of bugs along the way. In summary:

 

Playback

  • Guitar slides from the Keypad now respond to changes in playback, which are set in the Inspector and the Edit Instruments dialog. The choices are Chromatic, White Notes, Black Keys, Continuous or None.
  • Trills that trigger soundID changes of +trill.half and +trill.whole now play back more reliably
  • The option to enable MP3 surround encoding has been removed from the Audio Export options

 

Exporting scores to previous versions of Sibelius

  • When exporting to previous versions of Sibelius, gliss lines are, in most cases, now positioned in the same place vertically. Sibelius does this best when exporting to 8.1-8.5 but some shift may occur when exporting to 8.0 and earlier.

 

Engraving improvements

  • Sibelius now positions accidentals correctly when engraving rules set to “prefer top accidental at right”.
  • Spacing between clef and the first note has been improved. It’s worth noting that scores created in Sibelius 8.4 to 8.6.0 will have had a small amount of extra space allocated to key signatures in some cases. This has now fixed in 8.6.1 but if you’ve manually adjusted the spacing in scores using 8.4-8.6.0, you’ll need to check this spacing for any adverse affects. The change is so small that we expect this has largely gone unnoticed.
  • The gap after a double barline in an unpitched instrument part can now be reset once more—there’s no need to delete the hidden key signature marking as a workaround.
  • The positions of Glissandi lines and Slides (LX, RX, LY) are now retained when opening an old score in 8.6. This means scores with Slides that had their ends manually adjusted in a previous version of Sibelius, now appear exactly the same when opened in 8.6.1. However, if old scores have been saved in 8.6, their Slides will continue to be offset. To fix this up, you can filter out all regular ‘Lines’, being careful to deselect any lines in the score that aren’t slides, and reset their position.

 

General stability

  • Sibelius no longer crashes when rapidly creating a new score from the Quick Start.
  • Revoice Chord Diagram now works as expected once more.
  • It’s possible once again to be able to delete a user-created Guitar Scale Diagram.
  • When in note input mode, the color of the mouse pointer is now the same as on keypad.
  • Sibelius no longer crashes when recording Live Tempo if the playback line is at the end of the score.
  • Staff size change of a system is no longer lost after deletion and undo action, if it’s not the first system.

 

Avid Scorch

In addition to these two releases, we have a new version of our Avid Scorch iOS app that includes compatibility with files created in Sibelius and Sibelius | First 8.6.1, as well as improvements to playing back to connected external MIDI devices.

 

How to get Sibelius 8.6.1 and Sibelius | First 8.6.1 updates

If you have Sibelius or Sibelius | First installed on your computer already, you can download and install the update easily:

  • Run Avid Application Manager
  • Go to the Apps tab and you’ll see the update waiting for you

Alternatively, you’ll find the latest installers waiting for you in your account at my.avid.com/products.

If you are on an earlier version of Sibelius, you can reinstate your upgrade plan or upgrade via the webstore or through a reseller. This will give you access to Sibelius 8.6.1 as well as the next year (or 3, depending on the upgrade you buy) of upgrades and improvements we release.

If you are new to Sibelius, you can get started in a number of ways:

Trial

Subscribe

Buy

Upgrade

Find a reseller

Download for free

from $19.99/month

$599

$149/$299*

*Special offer until September 30, 2017

www.avid.com/find-a-reseller

We hope you enjoy the improvements in Sibelius and Sibelius | First. My next post will be around what to expect in Sibelius 8.7, so stay tuned!

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.