Creating composite symbols in Sibelius


Sibelius includes many hundreds of different symbols for every purpose, but every now and again you may find yourself requiring a symbol that isn’t included. One way to create a new symbol is to combine two or more existing symbols into a new one, creating a composite symbol.

In the above video tutorial, I explain how to create composite symbols, then use them in some new line styles. You can watch the tutorial in glorious HD over at Vimeo.


  1. Nick Edelstein

    I used to do this all the time in the 1990’s, with version 1, but after I upgraded to v.3 I couldn’t figure out how. Thank you so much for sharing. Now all I need to do is log into SibeliusMusic and update my list of published scores. I’m so behind it’s embarassing.

  2. Philip

    Absolutely wonderful tutorial, Daniel! You mention that the trills won’t play back correctly, and while it’s true that they won’t do so automatically, a couple of ticks in the Properties window will remedy that, by unchecking “Diatonic” and specifying the appropriate number of half steps. You’ve inspired me to make a follow-up video soon!

  3. Philip

  4. Paul Johns

    It looks like this could be used, with a LOT of work, to make neumes and/or parts of neumes.

  5. Paul Johns

    @Philip: The techniques you show are very cool. Is it possible to attach default playback properties to the trill line definition itself so that when you insert a line it will automatically work correctly?

    I’m assuming it’s possible to create the composite symbols and lines via a plug-in by manipulating the object model…forgive me for not taking the time to look through the object model to make sure….

  6. Philip

    Paul: I don’t think it is possible to attach default playback properties to the custom line, although Daniel would know for certain.

    If you had a lot of these lines, you could use the advanced filter to filter all instances of the line and change properties en masse. Still, you’d need to be careful about that approach (for instance, think of a trill to flat from a D-flat note — that’s actually a trill of 2 half steps, to the E-flat).

  7. Gudrun

    It’s a while later, but I found this post exceedingly helpful in creating complex time signatures, i.e. 5/4+1/8, etc. Hide the real time signature, make a composite symbol, place as system symbol on all staves (if required), and manually shift the first note in the bar to make space for the extra width. I used only the simple symbols available (“+” being a “shake”), so did not have to futz with fonts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *