Laissez (les bon temps) vibrer


There are times when you want your notes to ring out, and for those instances we regularly see the marking “l.v.”, the abbreviation for “let vibrate,” or “laissez vibrer” if you like.

Another way to express this is by adding something that resembles a tie to the end of the note that connects to nothing. Sometimes it feels easy to just add actual ties to the affected notes:


Apart from being rather unsightly depending on the length of the note, you might have playback problems if the tie prevents your program from sending a MIDI note-off message.

Fortunately, there are better ways.


Bob Zawalich’s plug-in Add LV Symbols to Notes is really an ingenious solution. It makes use of the l.v. symbols that come included in Sibelius, but totally automates what would be a time-consuming process of applying them individually. Simply select the passage containing the notes or individual notes themselves, then run the plug-in.


As you can see from the dialog, Bob gives you fine control over your settings, although I have found the defaults to be almost always perfect. It is smart enough to account for positioning in different voices, dotted rhythms, and other complex situations, and will turn off Magnetic Layout for the symbols (which is usually desired).

Without any adjustment needed, I achieved these results by quickly using the plug-in:


The most amazing thing is that Bob recently told me he was working on a project of his own, and, needing to apply l.v. symbols to notes, started applying them by hand. It was only after several times doing so that he remembered he had written this plug-in! I guess that’s what happens when you’re as prolific as Bob.

I forget lots of things, but luckily this valuable tool isn’t one of them. Download it directly in Sibelius 7 or later from File > Plug-ins > Engravers’ Tools. You can also install it manually in 7.5 by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure.

I was going to add some other ideas, but in researching some information after nearly finishing this post I stumbled upon Jay Vinai’s excellent guest blog post on this very topic on Robert Puff’s blog. So please check out that post as well for some additional information and explanation.


To my knowledge there isn’t quite such an elegant automated feature in Finale, but you can get some of the way there by creating expressions with default positioning and assigning metatools to the expressions.

First, create new expressions for the l.v. symbols. You can either create them in the Miscellaneous category or define a new category for them. I’m using the Engraver Font Set, 36 pt. Lower-case I is for the l.v. up symbol and Shift-I (upper-case I) is for the l.v. down symbol.

Here are the settings for l.v. up (measurement units in spaces):



And for l.v. down:



Once you’ve set those up, assign each of these expressions a Metatool for easy access. I’ve set up Q and W but you could use anything you like.

Then, place the expressions into your score. You should find that the default placement is a good starting point, and then you can tweak the positioning as needed. Use the Alt or Option key as needed, as described in this earlier blog post, to constrain the expressions’ attachment points to the notes.


Finally, it’s also worth noting that if you are using the Engraver font as your default music font, and you own the TGTools plug-in suite, there is a Laissez vibrer plug-in in TGTools > Music that automatically swaps out the default notehead with one included in the font that has the l.v. as part of the notehead:



  1. Michael Koschorreck

    Hi Philip,

    thank you so much for bringing up this topic!
    Special thanks also to Bob Zawalich – can’t wait to try this out.

    You guys made my day!

    Kind regards,

    1. Philip Rothman

      Happy to hear it, Michael!

  2. Tom

    I’m a Finale user. I’ve been using this trick for l.v. ties for a few years, but as articulations rather than expressions. The nice thing about adding these markings as articulations is that you can use a Metatool and then click and drag to add several l.v. ties at once.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Good tip, Tom!

  3. Bob Zawalich

    Thanks for bringing this up, Philip!

    When I was working, I spent a lot of time getting the “tie” directions (up or down) right, which was important when you had big chords with lots of notes.

    Occasionally someone still wanted to flip one of the “tie” symbols, but you actually can’t flip a symbol in Sibelius, so you have to delete one and add another and position it manually.

    So I also wrote the plugin “Flip Tie Symbols(, category Engravers’ Tools)”, which swaps “l.v (up)” and “l.v. (down) symbols, which give you the illusion of being able to flip them.

    In many cases, an illusion is all you need!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Terrific, Bob – thanks. A great complement to the LV plug-in.

  4. Bill H.

    There is a plugin for Finale, too. It’s part of Tobias Giesen’s TGTools.It’s not as good as Bob’s plugin for Sibelius, but it works pretty much the same way. Select a region and run the plugin, and it adds the l.v. ties. It requires that you are using Engraver font for the default music font. It doesn’t handle chords with seconds well, and unlike the above method, it actually changes the notehead to a composite symbol that includes the l.v. tie. That avoids problems with symbols drifting. Bob’s plugin is excellent, I use it all the time and it’s a life saver!

  5. Eduardo

    Por favor podrian hacer una herramienta con clave (Password) que bloquee los nombres de los compositores y arregladores de la obra, y que tambien bloquee con clave (Password) las plantillas y arreglos orquestales, para que no se pueda copiar. Gracias

  6. Vladimir

    Hi Bob and thank you for all your work!

    I use the tie plugin everyday now.

    The only trouble is they don’t follow the notes they’re attached to if they’re transposed, I suppose there’s no other cure for that than to be 100% certain of the music before applying the ties.


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