Correct voice positioning problems with Narrow Two Voices plug-in

Tips

Narrow Two Voices is one of the earliest plug-ins written for Sibelius, dating back more than 10 years. Developed by Hans-Christoph Wirth, it has proven its staying power and can automatically take care of numerous problems inherent in Sibelius’s default settings.

The plug-in offers three built-in modes:

  • A mode that is similar to Sibelius’s defaults, with certain adjustments made for collisions between dotted and undotted notes, and separating unison whole notes;
  • A “narrow” mode which positions interlocking voices note-to-note instead of stem to stem, allowing for a denser typesetting; and
  • An “arpeggio” mode where a pedal note in Voice 2 such as a half note will overlap the first note of an arpeggio in Voice 1

Some examples of each built-in mode:

SettingDefaultWith plug-in
Default, with certain problems fixeddefault-3default-4
Default, with certain problems fixeddefault-5default-6
Narrow Modedefault-7default-8
Arpeggio Modedefault-9default-10

In addition, the plug-in offers the user the option to create their own custom modes. The plug-in offers font metrics for Opus, Helsinki and Inkpen, but users can also create custom metrics for other fonts, like Norfolk.

narrow-voices-1

Wondering how all this is accomplished? The plug-in is adjusting the X offset of the affected notes in the Inspector. You can summon the Inspector by typing Command-Shift-I (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+I (PC), or by going to Home > Edit > Inspector. The Inspector is contextual, which means that something must be selected in order for it to display values. Try selecting a note and moving the X value up or down for fine adjustments to the horizontal position of the note.

narrow-2

If you find you want to undo the results of Narrow Two Voices and start over, make a selection and go to Appearance > Design and Position > Reset Position.

Narrow Two Voices turns 10 years old this summer. Perhaps someone will compose a two-voice birthday tribute in its honor. Until then, you can download it directly through Sibelius 7 or 7.5 at File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins > Layout. Users may also install it manually in Sibelius 6, 7 or 7.5 by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure, or by using the Install New Plug-in plug-in.

Comments

  1. Derek Williams

    Spot on!

  2. Michael LoBianco

    Exactly what I needed, thanks!

  3. Alex

    “Wondering how all this is accomplished? The plug-in is adjusting the X offset of the affected notes in the Inspector. Try selecting a note and moving the X value up or down for fine adjustments to the horizontal position of the note.

    I’ve tried it (manually, not using the plugin) and it doesn’t work for the “Arpeggio” case where half and sixteenth noteheads need to be merged. If you just move the half note to the left on the “X” scale, then it will not look “white”, but “black”, since the sixteenth note will be visible from under it. This means that in addition to the moving the X value down, some other action is taking place. In this case, I know only one way that allows you to bring the action to the desired result: use Headless Notehead Type (Alt+Shift+7) for the sixteenth note. Or are there any other ways?

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