In my first post in this series I introduced you to the Focus Family and Focus Set plug-ins, which I find indispensable when working with large scores. Let’s look at a few more plug-ins that make things move a bit faster in large scores when working in Sibelius.
On bite at a time…but how big?
There is an old saying, “How do you eat and elephant? One bite at a time!” As a composer, arranger and orchestrator you know that those large scores are completed one note at a time. When we were creating these scores with pencil and paper this was certainly true. But now that we have computer software to help us do the job, we’re able to take larger bites of the process. Here are a few plug-ins that do just that.
Explode, Exchange and Reduce
Here are 3 plug-ins I use a lot no matter how big the orchestration is. In Sibelius 6 they are all plug-ins. In Sibelius 7 Explode and Reduce are found in the ribbon Note Input>Arrange. If you are going to assign a keyboard shortcut you will find them all listed under plug-ins.
Let’s look at this example of a voicing for 4 horns to show you how these plug-ins work.
Here is a 4 part horn voicing that we would like to see split into the 4 horn parts. The first bar is a 4 part block voicing. The 2nd bar is 2 part, which we’d like to have 2 players per part. You could input this passage one note at a time in each part, then adding the articulations and dynamics to the passage, again one note at a time. Here is a quicker way.
•Input the voicing on the horn 1 staff and add all the articulations and dynamics you require.
•Select the 2 bars and copy (command C)
•Next do a passage selection (blue) of the 4 horn staves at that point
•Go to Note Input>Arrange>Explode
Now you have all 4 parts on individual staves with articulations and dynamics. But there is one complication. In orchestral horn writing it is traditional to have horns 1 & 3 play the top parts and horns 2 & 4 play the bottom 2 parts. That is where we need…
•Do a passage selection of horn 2 and horn 3 in this passage
•Now run the plug-in “Exchange Staff Contents” the plug-in window comes up the first time you use it. I would suggest checking the box “Don’t Show This Dialogue Again This Session.” So the next time the plug-in will just do it’s thing and not show this window.
Now you have swapped the contents of horns 2 & 3.
You don’t have to select adjacent staves with the plug-in. Let’s say for some reason you wanted to exchange horns 1 & 4. You just select horn 1 in these bars and then command click horn 4, run the plug-in and those 2 staves swap contents.
Note: The “Exchange Staff Contents” plug-in will need to be installed you’ll find it listed under “Other” in the “Install Plug-ins” listing in Sibelius 7 or for Sibelius 6 on the Sibelius website download page.
Okay, this is great for parts but in the score these need to end up on 2 staves, Horns 1&2 and Horns 3&4.
•Select the passage for the staves horn 1 and horn 2.
•Now go to Note Input>Arrange>Reduce, the plug-in window will ask to assign a destination staff.
•Select “Horns 1&2” and click OK.
And now do the same procedure on staves for horns 3 and 4, assigning the destination as Horn 3&4.
If you’ve read my blog posts on keyboard shortcuts you know I think of this as ‘We’-duce. I’m going to once again hammer this point home, assign these often used plug-ins to keyboard shortcuts and you will really increase your productivity.
This is just one way to use plug-ins to take larger “bites at a time” in Sibelius. There are more posts to come in this series.
PLEASE NOTE: No elephants were harmed in the writing of this blog post and I don’t really recommend eating them!