The Tie Extended Stable plug-in for Sibelius


The Tie Extended Stable plug-in for Sibelius replaces tied notes that would need to be dragged to reach their target with notes in different durations and different voices, whose ties do not need to be dragged because of their duration.

This makes it quite easy to create passages like this, which will play back correctly and appear properly at the end of systems, with the ties continuing on the next system.

The result of running Tie Extended Stable (voices are colored for illustrative purposes)

Run the plug-in to get (mostly) automatic results

Simply running the plug-in will return nearly usable results. A few things may need to be adjusted manually.

How it all works (if you’re interested)

Here is the manual process that is being automated by the plug-in (the idea to replace tied notes in this manner comes from Philip Rothman):

Rules for replacement notes

  1. They must be representable as a single undotted note. Dotted notes can be replaced with a hidden tuplet, as can some “undottable tied note pairs” like a half note tied to an eighth note.
  2. The replacement note must fit within the bar or tuplet that contained the original note.
  3. If the first note is in a tuplet and the second note is not in the same tuplet, the second note must immediately follow the tuplet containing the first note.
  4. If the first note is not in a tuplet but the second is, the second note must be the first note in its tuplet. Rules 3 and 4 derive from rule 2.
  5. Only four voices are available in a bar, so once you use up all the voices you cannot add any more notes to that bar.

Dotted notes and undottable tied note pairs

To hide notes correctly, you want the replacement note to be a single undotted note. Sometimes the duration of the replacement note will be dotted, or a pair of tied undotted notes, which cannot be hidden by replacing the notehead style. The plug-in can convert such notes to single notes in a tuplet, and the tuplet can be hidden. (See this Of Note blog post for details on hiding such notes).

How voices are chosen

When the plug-in has a pair of tied notes to replace, it needs to know what is in the bar, the duration of the replacement note, and which voices have been used in the bar. It looks at all the notes in the bar to see which notes start at or later than where the new note will start, and end before or at the end of the new note.

In the example above, assume that the half note C in voice 3 is present when the dotted quarter note E is being added. Voices 1 and 3 are not available, but voices 2 and 4 are. Voice 4 was chosen, and when the G came, only voice 2 was available, so it was used. At this point no other voices are available for this bar, since there can only be 4 voices present in a single bar.

The plug-in has rules for deciding which voices to use for each original voice, and for voice 1 the replacement order is 3, then 4, then 2. So the C got voice 3, the E got voice 4, and the G got voice 2. The rules try to match 1 and 3, and 2 and 4, and after that the order choice is arbitrary.

In the case of a chord, there is an optimization when there were several notes that had ties to the same location. It would normally look like this, which uses up all the voices for the bar:

In this example, all the tied notes are be set to voice 3, which both saves voices and avoids some offset problems.

When you run the plug-in you may find that you need to flip some ties and do some other mild editing. If you are changing the result later you may find it easier to delete everything (or maybe filter the original notes and copy them somewhere else, then delete) rather than editing the existing notes, because it can be quite complex. The plug-ins There It Is! or What Is Where? can give some insight as to what you are actually looking at.

Here is an example of converted notes, and how they look when everything is unhidden:

For extra credit, here is the unpacking of the special tuplet:

The data file and special noteheads

This plug-in uses a special notehead, which is stemless, and which uses the black quarter note symbol for all durations so that unison notes will usually overlap seamlessly. A plug-in cannot create a custom notehead style, and importing house style with a notehead style definition often changes more things that are desired, so if the plug-in finds that the notehead style is not defined it the current score it opens a score that contains noteheads with the custom style StemlessAllQuarters, copies a note into your current score, and then deletes the copied note. This leaves the notehead definition in the current score.

This will only happen once per score, and when it happens you will see a score quickly appear on the screen, and then close.

After the score closes, you may find that some of the Ribbon tabs are grayed out. This is a Sibelius bug, and the workaround is to go to the File tab, then return to the original tab.

The Tie Extended Stable plug-in is found in the Notes and Rests category and can be downloaded from File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins. Both the plug-in and data file will be installed automatically in the correct location on your computer.


  1. Derek Williams

    Brilliant piece of work, Bob!

  2. Chris Best

    Can we have a link to the plugins that are described in these notes please? Sibelius only lists them by category and it’s not always clear in which category a discussed plugin is to be found. Thanks.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Chris: There is a link, in both the very beginning of the post and the very end. We also say that the plug-in is found in the Notes and Rests category.

  3. Bob Zawalich

    There is no way to link into the plugin database so that you can go there directly and have it install. The link provided here goes to the download page where the description is given, and we did state the category.

    You can find the category for any downloadable plugin at, a searcheable and sortable list that Philip very kindly maintains.

    We have fairly often requested that the page you come to in File > Plug-ins>Install Plug-ins would have a Search command so you could find a plugin by its name without needing to know the category, but it has not happened yet. Philip’s list is the best mechanism I know of for finding the category quickly, since it does have a good search facility – just type any word in the name of a plugin and it will find all the plugins containing that word.

    I have a link to prominently on my browser toolbars.

  4. Chris Best

    That’s most helpful, thank you!

  5. Andrei

    In Sibelius-land, Bob is a national treasure. Thank you, Sir! Bravo!!!

  6. Bob


    Thanks to Bob for the plugin and Philip for the post.

  7. George Hatzimichelakis

    Hello Bob! Very useful plug-in. But I have a problem:
    After I am using the Tie Extended Stable plug-in, I am trying to change the rhythmic value of the chord and the program crashes!

    Sibelius Ultimate 2019.7 – Windows 10

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi George. The Sibelius developers are aware of this, and a fix is forthcoming.

      1. George Hatzimichelakis

        Thanks a lot Philip!

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