3 helpful plug-ins for working with lyrics

Tips

Are you using lyrics in your music? If so, you’ll want to know about these helpful tools.

1. Most vocal music these days is beamed according to the time signature, like this:

lyrics1

An older convention, which makes rhythms hard to read but also makes in clearer which syllable goes with which note, called for notes sung to separate syllables to be beamed independently, like so:

lyrics2

Should you need to create music that hews to this older convention, the shipping plug-in Traditional Lyrics Beaming, found in Text > Plug-ins, will automatically do this for you. Just be aware even if you partially select a staff, the entirety of the score will be processed, for that staff:

lyrics3

Finale users will find a similar feature at Utilities > Rebeam > Rebeam to Lyrics.

2. Another convention very much still in use today is to slur melismas, to clarify where syllables start and end. A passage with no slur, like this:

lyrics4

is automatically made into one with slurs…

lyrics5

…by using the Add Slurs to Lyrics plug-in, also found in Text > Plug-ins. Various options allow you to add dashed or dotted slurs, offer to highlight existing slurs if they are incorrectly positioned, or highlight suspect melismas (syllables that don’t have hyphens or lyric lines):

lyrics6

Using Finale? Find this one at Plug-ins > Lyrics > Auto Slur Melismas.

3. Finally, say you’ve entered your first verse of lyrics in line 1 (Text > Lyrics > Lyrics line 1), and then your second verse in line 2 (Text > Lyrics > Lyrics line 2). Sensible enough, but at the last minute you decide you wish to swap the order of the verses.

Bob Zawalich’s Swap or Replace Text Styles will do just that. I covered this very handy plug-in earlier this year, so check out that post for detailed information about how it works and how to get it.

Comments

  1. Kenneth Gaw

    Thanks for drawing attention to these useful plugins.
    I’ll use the slurs one in particular a lot. I wish I had known about them earlier.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Kenneth: I’m pleased that I’m able to repay you in this small way for the many hours I’ve saved by using your plug-ins!

  2. Ron Puente

    Thanks, Phillip

    Appreciate all you do.

    Ron Puente

  3. Bob Zawalich

    Verse Styles For Lyrics (http://www.sibelius.com/download/plugins/index.html?plugin=290, category Text) is another possibly useful Lyrics plugin. It is for the cases where something like Photoscore has created multiple verses of lyrics but they all have the same style name. The plugin changes the style name based of the vertical offset of the text from the staff, so you end up with each verse having a different text style name. You will appreciate that if you ever do Reset Position!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Great tip, Bob!

  4. Diccon

    I have been to the Sibelius plugins page, but can’t find the ‘Add Slurs to Lyrics’ plugin. I am looking under ‘text>plugins.’ All I found was a plugin for adding slurs to melismas for Sibelius 4, but I am running 7.5. Any advice?

    Thanks,
    Diccon

    1. Philip Rothman

      Diccon: Add Slurs to Lyrics ships with Sibelius 7.5, so there is no need to download it separately.

  5. Diccon

    Oh dear, now I feel silly :). Thanks for the quick response.

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