Summer 2017 reading list from Scoring Notes


Summer is here! Time for rest, relaxation, and reading. After you dive into the ocean, dive in to the articles from your favorite blog from the first half of 2017!

Photo: Sand In Your Eye

The big change around here was the re-launch of this blog as Scoring Notes, after more than eight years being known as Sibelius Blog. All the content remained, but the blog got a new look and we’ve been introducing more posts from our fantastic guest contributors.

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Thanks for reading and we’ll be back soon after we return from the beach!

Notation product updates

All the major desktop scoring programs were updated in the first half of this year.

Dorico 1.1 released with chord symbols, repeat endings. Read our comprehensive review of the new major features, such as chord symbols, piano pedaling, linked dynamics, repeat endings, note spacing, filters, and much more. Dorico 1.0.30 from earlier in the year added other new features.

Sibelius 8.6 released with magnetic glissandi lines — lines that snap to both their start and end note, updating their positions if the notes change.

Finale 25.4 added support for MusicXML 3.1, rounded corners for text enclosures, a new key signature display option and assorted bug fixes.

MuseScore 2.1’s new features included playback improvements, new note entry methods, a new “swap” feature, and better support for instrument changes.

Notion 6.2 brought tighter integration between the scoring program Notion and its DAW counterpart in the PreSonus family, Studio One. A handful of notation improvements are included along with other fixes.

On the release of NotePerformer 2.0, a major update to the Sibelius-compatible sound library, we interviewed Arne Wallander, creator of the Wallander family of virtual instruments and NotePerformer.

New apps

Musitek’s new SmartScore Music-to-XML music notation recognition utility — the same feature originally planned for inclusion in Finale 25 — can analyze scanned PDF files of music and send them directly to Finale, Sibelius, or Dorico, or save them as MusicXML.

A first look at MusicJot, a new music notation app for iPad that uses the MyScript music recognition engine.

Komp is a beautiful and ambitious new scoring app for iPad, available after several years of development and a preview at NAMM.

NAMM 2017 coverage

Did you miss our on-site coverage from the 2017 NAMM show? Fear not; here it is!

Headed to NAMM 2017. Music companies and representatives from around the globe will be showcasing their latest wares, and we’ll be filing reports from the corners of music notation and technology to keep you informed.

NAMM 2017: Dorico presentation at American Film Institute with SCL. Guest contributor Doug LeBow covers at a Dorico presentation in Los Angeles at the American Film Institute, in association with the Society of Composers and Lyricists.

NAMM 2017: Newzik, the sheet reader app for iOS, continues to grow and evolve. We learned about how development was going and plans for the future of the app.

NAMM 2017: Soundslice, the web-based music-learning software with an innovative music player that syncs notation with real audio or video.

NAMM 2017: Talking MusicXML and more with Michael Good, MakeMusic’s vice president of MusicXML technologies.

NAMM 2017: Talking Sibelius with Sam Butler, Avid’s senior product manager for Avid‘s music notation and learning products, about the road ahead for Sibelius.

Tips and tutorials

Head to our summer school and brush up on your skills!


Don’t extract parts. Ever since Sibelius 4 introduced Dynamic Parts feature in 2005, and Finale 2007 followed in due course with Linked Parts a year later, I’ve hardly ever needed to extract parts from a Finale or Sibelius file — and you shouldn’t have to, either.

Adding headers for multi-movement works in Sibelius. Sibelius isn’t particularly well suited to having different headers in the same document for use in files with multiple sections. But with a little ingenuity, you can learn how to achieve this by setting up your text style in a particular way.

Changing font name and size for harp diagrams and tuning text in Sibelius. In Sibelius, harp notation text objects are created in a variety of text styles and often contain a mixture of fonts. Learn how they are fabricated, how to filter them, and how to change their appearance.

How to fix a common page numbering problem in Sibelius. If your Sibelius score suffers from an ailment where the page numbers unintentionally deviate from the conventions of left and right numbering, we have both the diagnosis and the cure.

Get accidentals to display correctly on cross-staff notes in Sibelius. Cross-staff notes and accidentals have long been problematic in Sibelius — sometimes they stubbornly won’t appear when they should, no matter what you try. Here’s a way to finally get those pesky accidentals to show up.

Change the appearance of octave lines in Finale and Sibelius. Here’s how to change the default appearance of octave lines in Finale and Sibelius, if, for instance, you’d like the octave line to simply read “8” instead of “8va”.

Combine 8th and 16th rests into a dotted 8th rest in Finale. If you have a passage in Finale with eighths and sixteenth rests (and vice versa) which you want to automatically combine into a dotted eighth rests, the solution is far from obvious — but it’s possible, if you know where to look.

Quick fix: Clean up the list of recent documents in Sibelius. In Sibelius, if you expect recently opened documents to appear in the Quick Start dialog or in the list of recent documents in the Ribbon, but they’re not appearing correctly, you may need to reset a setting.

Fake it ’til you make it: New Sibelius plug-in for per-staff barline. A new plug-in automates the tedious process of creating special barlines and manually adding in fake “barlines” in certain instances where you don’t want the barline to appear to be joined between staves.


Studio-style bar numbers in Sibelius; Studio-style bar numbers in Finale. Placing bar numbers on every bar of your score can save precious rehearsal time. Learn how to get a studio look to your bar numbers by placing them on their own separate one-line staff.

Creating custom line ends in Sibelius with SVG files and Illustrator. Cory Davis from Dunvagen Music shares the detailed method that he used to create custom line ends in Sibelius for a new edition of Philip Glass’s Music in Twelve Parts, by taking SVG files made in Illustrator and importing them into Sibelius.

Sheet music: The map to your score. Composer and orchestrator Jeremy Borum shares his tips and tricks about sheet music preparation that may help streamline your process to achieve the fastest and most accurate way to get from raw MIDI to a printed score, regardless of what DAW or notation software you use.

Paperless composition lessons with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Composer and educator David MacDonald describes in detail how he teaches composition using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and why he can’t imaging returning to the dead-tree way of doing things.

Exclusive e-book excerpt: From DAW to Score. Composer, orchestrator, and copyist Tristan Noon’s new e-book, From DAW to Score, is now available. We have an exclusive excerpt from the book on our blog — and a special discount code as well.

How to tape and fold pages for parts: a video tutorial. The question often gets asked: How does one print and tape music accordion-style? In this blog post and accompanying video, learn the technique and tools you need to accomplish that very task.

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