When preparing an edition where it’s important to show that dynamics are implied, but not present in the composer’s original manuscript, you may need to create a hairpins enclosed in round brackets, or parentheses. I was recently working on such a project in Finale and I worked up a solution that I shared with my colleague Robert Puff, who wrote up a nice post about it on his blog.
Fortunately, Sibelius includes bracketed hairpins by default; you can select them from the Ribbon by going to Notations > Lines and finding them in the Hairpins section.
But there’s a wrinkle. You may notice that Sibelius places those brackets awfully close to the right barline, especially on the crescendo:
That’s because the default positions of the bracketed hairpins are the same as their ordinary non-bracketed ancestors. Sure, if you only have a handful of these, you can just manually nudge them into place. But if you have a great many of these, you’ll want to tinker with their default positions. You can find these settings by going to Appearance > Design and Position > Default Positions (click the downwards-pointing arrow), clicking the Lines radio button, and finding Bracketed crescendo and Bracketed diminuendo in the list:
Change the “Horizontal position of right hand end” to a greater negative value, like around -1.25 sp for the Bracketed crescendo and -1.00 sp for the Bracketed diminuendo. Newly created bracketed hairpins will have a bit more room between their end and the barline.
Changing settings in Default Positions won’t change the position of objects already created, but you can easily filter these by going to Home > Select > Filters and choosing Hairpins, and then choosing to Appearance > Design and Position > Reset Position. (Or, to specifically operate on bracketed hairpins only, use the Advanced Filter.)
Now that you’ve discovered the Default Positions dialog and know how it works, try experimenting with some of the other settings to your liking. You’ll find it’s quite powerful and customizable.
A final tip: Need square brackets around your hairpins instead of parentheses? Sibelius doesn’t include a set by default, but you can create them. It’s a bit tedious to set them up, but once you do so, you can use them just as easily as the other lines.
First, you’ll need to set up the square brackets as symbols:
- Go to Notations > Symbols > Edit Symbols (click the downwards-pointing arrow)
- Click Music Fonts…
- Select Common symbols and click New Text Style…
- Click Yes when asked if you are sure that you want to define a new text style
- Your new text style will be named Common symbols (2). Change it if you like, or not
- Choose, e.g., Times for your Font, and set both the size in the score and parts to 12.0 pt
- OK and Close
- You should be back in the Edit Symbol dialog. Scroll down to the User-defined area
- Click the first empty box and click Edit…
- Name your new symbol, e.g., Left bracket
- For Music font, choose Common symbols (2) or whatever the name of your new text style was
- Find the left bracket and select it (it’s slot 91)
- Move it down -0.56 sp so that it’s centered vertically
- Click OK and repeat a similar process for the right bracket (slot 93)
Now, create your new lines:
- Go to Notations > Lines > Edit Lines (click the downwards-pointing arrow)
- Choose the Bracketed crescendo from the dialog
- Click New… and click Yes when asked if you are sure that you want to define a new line
- Name your new line, e.g., Square bracketed crescendo
- In the Start section, where it says Symbol, choose Select…
- Find your newly-created Left bracket symbol, select it and click OK
- You may have to set spaces right to around -0.75
- In the End section, where it says Symbol, choose Select…
- Find your newly-created Right bracket symbol, select it and click OK
- Click OK and repeat a similar process for the diminuendo
It seems a little complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you can have custom hairpins behaving and positioned just the way you like.