Multicopy, multicopy, multicopy…

Tips
A dynamic, yesterday

One of the hidden gems amongst the many hundreds of time-saving features in Sibelius is multicopy. Simply put, multicopy allows you to take any selection – whether it’s a passage of notes, or a dynamic mark, or a selection of chord symbols – and quickly copy it to many staves, either once or multiple times, vertically or horizontally.

Multicopy is really simple to use: in fact, it uses the normal keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste, so you already know how to use it! Read on for some examples.

Dynamics

In scores for large ensembles it can be time-consuming to add dynamics to multiple staves if you do it one by one. When you have a concerted entry with several instruments beginning a phrase at a new dynamics, for example, try this:

  • Add the dynamic on one staff: e.g. choose Create > Text > Expression, then hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac) and type m followed by f, for the correct bold italic mf dynamic), then hit Esc to stop editing text
  • type Ctrl+C or CommandC to copy the dynamic to the clipboard
  • Now select the range of staves on which you want the dynamic to appear, so that they are surrounded by a light blue box.
  • Finally, type Ctrl+V or CommandV to paste the dynamic across all the selected staves

You can do this with a multiple selection of dynamics, too. For example, if you have a text dynamic followed by a hairpin, select both items using Ctrl+click or Command-click, or using the Edit > Filter > Dynamics quick filter, then copy to the clipboard, select the destination staves, and paste to create multiple copies.

Notes

You can also make multiple copies of passages of notes. For example, imagine you want to have four trumpet staves playing in unison for a few bars. Try this:

  • Input the notes on one staff.
  • Select the notes as a passage using Shift-click, so that the bars are surrounded by a light blue box
  • Copy to the clipboard with Ctrl+C or CommandC.
  • Select the first bar in the other three trumpet staves.
  • Finally, type Ctrl+V or CommandV to paste the music to the other three staves.

Another cool trick to extend this is to select a longer passage of music. If, for example, you have an eight-bar phrase copied to the clipboard but you select a passage of e.g. 32 bars, and then use Ctrl+V or CommandV to paste, you’ll get four copies of the music, one after the other.

Chord symbols

Multicopy also works with other kinds of text and other objects. Imagine you wanted to copy a set of chord symbols from one staff in your full score to a bunch of other staves such that they would appear in the parts, but not on those staves in the full score. With multicopy, it’s easy:

  • Triple-click the staff with the source chord symbols on it, to select it throughout the score.
  • Choose Edit > Filter > Chord Symbols to select only the chord symbols on that staff.
  • Copy them to the clipboard with Ctrl+C or CommandC.
  • Now select the first bar in the destination staves on which you want the chord symbols to appear.
  • Type Ctrl+V or CommandV to paste the chord symbols to all of the destination staves in one operation.
  • Without changing the selection, choose Edit > Hide or Show > Show in Parts, which will hide them in the full score and show them in the parts.

Others

There are plenty of other uses for multicopy. Why not share any of your favourites in the comments?

Comments

  1. Peter Roos, San Francisco

    The thing with the dynamics is good tip. I have tried to select multiple staves / notes and then add a dynamics to multiple staves at once, and that doesn’t work. It’s not unusual that multiple staves have similar dynamics, and being able to add dynamics to multiple staves in one go is a time saver.

    About about ‘multicopy tips’, not sure whether this qualifies as a multicopy, but the Arrange feature in Sibelius is pretty brilliant. I don’t know whether Finale has something similar, but when I showed this to one of my instructors at the Academy of Art (who is a Finale user) her jaw dropped to the floor!

  2. John Hinchey

    A multicopy I use all the time is to copy all dynamics for a passage to all instruments playing the same phrase ie: put in all your dynamics (expressions) and hairpins in a lead part (trumpet 1 is a good place to start) select that stave, then filter dynamics opt shift D (on the Mac) which filters the expressions and hairpins, and command C for copy and then select all the brass and saxes and command V for paste. Makes very quick work of putting dynamics in tutti sections.

  3. Charlie Ernst

    I use the ALT / Click combination probably the most….perfect for rhythm charts , and a cappella arrangements. I select the section I need to copy, point my mouse at the first bar of the destination, hit the ALT key and click…huge time saver for me, as is creating keyboard shortcuts. I assign a few keyboard shortcuts to the advanced filter, and can select and copy lyrics, and chord symbols with one or two key strokes. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of other ones, but that’s the cool part of blogs like this…learning how other people use the same software…very cool!

  4. BC

    I’m trying out the Sibelius demo and I have to say the multi-copy feature is nice. However, as with most things automatic in Sibelius, applying multiple dynamic markings (plus phrasing and the sort…) could also become, well…automatic. In other words, there could be a preference that allows multiples to be applied throughout a vertical section of a score under the following conditions: If, for example, you’ve entered trumpet note data followed by it’s markings, any note data you enter for the tracks above or below containing the same rhythm pattern would have these markings copied onto them in real time. By the same token, if the note data for all tracks already exists, applying markings on one track automatically copies this data on to the others. The feature could have a preference to allow the copying to apply to all tracks or only those within a staff grouping.

    No need to select copy, select destination zone, paste… Now this would save time! Maybe in version 7?

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