It hardly seems possible it was six months ago that I posted a list of five essential plug-ins for Sibelius. But, as I posted a couple of days ago, there are now more than 250 plug-ins available for download. After the jump are five more that you should consider adding to your copy of Sibelius 6 today (they don’t work in earlier versions).
1. Export Selection as Audio
It’s a cinch to export an audio file of your score via File > Export > Audio, but Sibelius’s built-in feature is designed to export the entire score, not just a selected passage. Provided you want to export the end of the score, you can do so by positioning the playback line at the start of the section you want to export and answering No when asked if you want to move the playback line to the start of the score, but what if you want to export just, say, 16 bars from the middle of the score?
Enter Export Selection as Audio, which employs an ingenious solution to the problem: simply select the passage you want to export, and run the plug-in. The plug-in creates a temporary score containing only the music you selected, exports the audio file, and deletes the temporary score. All done!
2. Convert Legacy Chord Symbols
Chord symbols are smarter than ever in Sibelius 6, but it’s still possible to create chord symbols the old-fashioned way, and of course scores created in versions of Sibelius prior to Sibelius 6 will include old-style — otherwise known as legacy — chord symbols. When you open a score created in an earlier version of Sibelius, you are presented with an option to convert existing chord symbols into the new kind, but what if you forgot to switch that option on? Or what if you prefer the input method of Sibelius 5 and earlier, where you choose chord symbol parts from the word menu, but you still want to take advantage of all the benefits of new-style chord symbols?
There’s a plug-in for that (of course). Convert Legacy Chord Symbols provides a simple way of converting legacy chord symbols to shiny new chord symbols, or vice versa.
3. Fill Selection With Slash Notes
Slash noteheads are used to show that an instrument should play a solo or vamp through a passage. They’re simple enough to create: work out the pitch of the middle line of the staff (which may vary according to the current clef and the transposition of the instrument in question), add some notes of that pitch, and then change the notehead to either the stemless slash (showing no definite rhythm) or the slash with stems (showing a definite rhythm).
But why take three steps when you can take just one? Fill Selection With Slash Notes does the job in a second: simply select the passage, run the plug-in, choose whether you want slashes with or without stems, and hit OK. The plug-in creates the slashes in the right position on the staff, with the appropriate note values according to the time signature.
4. Replace Arpeggio Lines
Another nifty addition to Sibelius 6 is note-attached arpeggio lines that are positioned correctly by default, automatically change their length according to the size of the chords to which they apply, and are allocated sufficient horizontal space in the bar. These new note-attached arpeggios, created from the fifth Keypad layout, are superior to the old arpeggio lines created via the Create > Line dialog in every way. But what about all those scores you created in versions of Sibelius prior to Sibelius 6? How to convert those old arpeggio lines to new, note-attached arpeggio lines?
Once again, there’s a plug-in for that: Replace Arpeggio Lines does exactly what it says on the tin. Give it a try!
5. Maximize or Minimize Comments
Finally for today, one last plug-in that adds another useful dimension to one of the new features added in Sibelius 6. Comments are like “sticky notes” you can create on the score to leave reminders to yourself (or to your teacher, editor, or whatever kind of collaborator you happen to be working with). They can be dragged anywhere you like, and they can be shown or hidden en masse by choosing View > Comments, but they can also be minimized or maximized by double-clicking on their titles. However, you can only minimize or maximize comments one at a time.
That’s where this plug-in comes in. Maximize or Minimize Comments toggles the comments in your score in a single operation.
This last plug-in is written by Roman Molino Dunn, and all of the other plug-ins listed here are written by the doyen of Sibelius plug-ins, Bob Zawalich. Thanks to Roman and Bob for the contributions they make to the Sibelius user community in the form of these great plug-ins!