Re-input pitches in homophonic music


If you’re writing or copying homophonic parts, like similar Violin 1 and Violin 2 lines, or Trumpets 1, 2, and 3 in a band chart, you’ll want to know about this technique. Say you’ve already entered the music in your first part and taken the time to place slurs, text, and articulations.

Simply copy the music from the first to the second part, and then, in Sibelius 7 or 7.5, select Note Input > Note Input > Re-input Pitches (Sibelius 6: Notes > Re-input Pitches).

repitch1A dotted caret appears (rather than the normal solid line), meaning that you can just enter the pitches from your MIDI or computer keyboard, and Sibelius will overwrite the pitches while leaving the rhythm and articulations intact.

Here’s a video that I made some four years ago using Sibelius 6 that demonstrates the concept (note that the keyboard shortcut changed from Sibelius 6 to Sibelius 7: in 6, it’s Command-Shift-I (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+I (PC); in 7 it’s Option-Shift-N (Mac) or Shift+Alt+N (PC):

Finale offers a similar function called repitching, available by going to Tools > Simple Entry > Repitch.

A few other tips (in Sibelius):

  • If you don’t want to change a particular note, hit 0 on the keypad to move onto the next one
  • To turn an existing note into a rest, hit to select it without changing its pitch, then hit 0 on the first Keypad layout
  • To turn an existing rest into a note, use or to move onto the rest, then input the pitch you want

Re-inputting pitches has saved me countless hours on all kinds of projects, and I hope it will do the same for you!


  1. Kelly Fenton

    Wow, I have to admit- I did not know this trick! And what a great one. Thanks, Philip!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Kelly: Yes! Especially for jazz and commercial music, you’ll be flying much faster with re-inputting pitches.

  2. glenn lestz

    Enjoyed the article. I used the repitching technique.

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