This blog post is written by Robert Puff, one of the industry’s top music preparers. Robert and his company RPM Seattle have prepared scores and parts for over 100 feature films since 1995. He also writes the insightful blog Of Note, where he shares Finale & Sibelius tips and tutorials. Read on to learn more about how to create custom line shapes using font characters in Sibelius.
Ever wonder how trill lines are created in Sibelius? These are actually not a continuous line shape at all; rather, the trill line is created by displaying the “~” font character as end-to-end segments repeatedly.
The trill character was not originally designed to have its shape edited, so It isn’t immediately obvious that it is possible to use this same repeated font character technique to create an entirely new line graphical line like this harp gliss:
Here is an example where the composer used a very specific notation over each of the held notes. This is relatively easy to re-create in Sibelius:
Here are the steps:
1. Locate the Symbols group in the Symbols tab of Sibelius 7, and click Edit Symbols.) In Sibelius 6, choose Edit Symbols from the House Style menu.)
2. Scroll down to the Guitar section, and locate the symbol labeled “Wide vibrato segment (internal)”:
3. Click Edit and choose a new font character. You have a lot of choices, since you can select any of the font characters in any of the available music fonts.
When you go back into the Lines gallery in Sibelius 7 (or the Lines dialog in Sibelius 6), you will see your new choice, still labeled “Wide Vibrato”.
If the new line you are creating is horizontal, that’s all there is to it. If you are going to use this new line for glisses, you will need to be able to angle it. Go into the Lines group of the Notations tab in Sibelius 7 (or House Style > Edit Lines in Sibelius 6) and uncheck the “Horizontal” checkbox.
The reason we chose the “Wide vibrato segment” symbol rather than, for instance, the standard trill line character is because this is what we might call a “destructive edit”; since we actually need to replace one of the default line symbols with another to create the custom line, we want to be sure to maintain access to the standard trill, which is more likely to be required in the same score.