San Francisco Conservatory of Music Professor on Sibelius 6

Roman numerals used for harmonic analysis
Roman numerals used for harmonic analysis

Professor Scott Foglesong is the Chair of Musicianship and Music Theory at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, an august institution which I was privileged to visit about eighteen months ago on my last visit to the west coast of the US.

Scott is a big fan of Sibelius, and says:

I jumped ship from Finale more or less instantaneously and never looked back, in fact. I still keep an up-to-date copy of Finale around, due to my position as a department chair who is responsible for gathering and copy-editing departmental projects such as our sightsinging and forthcoming rhythm textbooks. But for my own purposes, I’m Sibelius all the way.

He’s recently been getting to grips with Sibelius 6, and has been enjoying all of the new features, including Magnetic Layout, the on-screen Keyboard and Fretboard windows, and the new built-in Sibelius Player.

But Scott wants to draw attention to one of the less ballyhooed features of Sibelius (and one which is not, in fact, new in Sibelius 6): support for Roman numerals, commonly used in harmonic analysis. Sibelius is, in fact, the only notation software that supports the full range of Roman numerals out of the box without requiring any additional fonts or other work.

Scott says:

A feature that doesn’t get ballyhooed much but which I’ve been using to great advantage is the new Roman Numerals text style, a reworking of Sibelius’s already strong ability to enter classical harmonic analysis symbols…

The cool thing about the Roman Numerals style is that it is completely devoted to the creation of classical harmonic analysis using Roman and Arabic numerals. To that end, it makes the creation of such elements as slashed 6, 4+, or the use of accidentals by (or in the place of) a number, downright effortless. Yes, you have to learn some new habits in the process, but the feature has been extremely well thought out and can be learned without much difficulty. Like many Sibelius text styles, most of the standard symbols are available via a right-click menu, just in case you can’t quite remember the keyboard shortcut for, say, a half-diminished ii7 chord with the little slashed bubble.

Thanks for the kind words, Scott! It’s great to see Sibelius in use in the world’s finest institutions, training the great musicians of tomorrow.

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