Preparing Sibelius scores for online Woodshed use
- These instructions assume a basic working knowledge of Sibelius. Note that
there are some significant differences between using Sibelius 1.x and using
the 2.x version.
- Set "page" size to 8 inches wide by 5 inches high. -- (Height "adjustable"
for larger music systems. Purpose is to make the final image on the screen
approx 800 x 500 pixels which will fit on a 800x600 or larger screen
resolution without scrolling up and down while viewing/listening. You can
choose much smaller margins (down to .3 or even .2 inch) than you would for
hard-copy publishing. I sometimes use a height of 4 inches for 4-part where
there is no accompaniment staff.
- Set one system per page. (except places where two fit comfortably). This
will make the on-screen display replicate the printed version which the singer
should have in their hand. You can cheat the staff sizes smaller than
"nominal" as the version you are preparing is intended only as a reference to
the real printed copy.
- Put one voice per staff. -- I don't know of any other way of isolating
individual parts. Also helps the singers concentrate on just their part,
especially those with minimal choral singing experience.
- Identify which voice part. -- I use a "subtitle" in italics below the song
title which identifies "1st Tenor Emphasized", etc.
- Insert words. At least for the first verse (where appropriate). This is a
cue for some singers to keep track of where they are. No need to add more than
one verse, as they have the full copy of the printed version to sing from.
- Use Repeats, etc. As in the original music. The newer versions of Sibelius
play simple repeats properly. More complex ones are not handled properly and
must be "faked" by cutting and pasting, and artificially diddling the bar
- Use Bar Numbers, Rehearsal Letters, etc. These also help the singer keep
track of where they are in the music. I set Sibelius to display the bar number
at the beginning of each system, or to mimic the method used in the printed
- Watch out for dynamic markings & hairpins. My experience is that Sibelius'
automatic playback of dynamic markings ("pp", "fff", etc.) is too dramatic
unless fine tuned manually. Same for hairpins (crescendos and de-crescendos.)
Unless someone comes up with a more realistic set of settings for the dynamic
playback, I have found it better to avoid including them for online
- Provide tempo markings. Sibelius/Scorch will play the music at your
specified tempo. Note that the viewers can manually change your set speed
slower or faster with the Scorch viewer.
- Make one copy of the file for each voice part and save it as both "Sibelius"
and as "Scorch Web Page" Check the "Snap zoom level" box and "set" the width
to 800 (pixels). For me, it usually jumps to "807" or something equally
strange, but that is OK.
- Embed an indicator of which voice in the file name. I use two characters
in the file name to name each version with S, A, T, B, and Q to indicate the
SATB (or T1 T2, B1, B2, and QQ to designate the TTBB version.
- Set the volume for the parts. -- In Version 2 of Sibelius, the settings in
the Play / Mixer window are saved with the Sibelius (.sib) file and will be
used whenever anyone plays that file.
I use these settings, but others prefer different sounds (primarily piano):
||Other Parts & Solos
||40-60 (adjust to suit)
||60-80 (adjust to suit)
||0 (Full Left)
(-100 in Sibelius 1.x)
|127 (Full Right)
(+100 in Sibelius 1.x)
|Original (default) setting
||Voice Ohs (53)
(some prefer piano)
|Choir Ahs (52)
- WIth Sibelius version 1.x, the volumes you set in the "Sounds" window only
apply when YOU are playing it in Sibelius, they do NOT carry over when someone
else plays the music in Scorch. In order to keep the "volume" setting for each
part in the Sibelius 1.x file, you must attach a MIDI command:
To embed separate volume for each part (Sibelius 1.x), attach an
"Expression" text to the first note in each staff. The general formula is
"~C7,xxx" where xxx is the desired volume from "0" (silent) to "127") all the
way up. This is the same number as shown in the table above for "Volume" Note
that the quotation marks are NOT used in the score.
- Entering music: Scorch has an available integrated scanner (called
PhotoScore) which may be useful in scanning very clean original scores.
However, my experience (and that of many others) is that the cleanup that is
required to make the scanned music usable is more trouble than it is worth.
Your mileage may vary.
Another method of entering music into Sibelius is to use a MIDI Keyboard.
Most PCs and Macs have a MIDI port, and it requires nothing more than an
inexpensive cable to link you computer and your MIDI keyboard. Sibelius will
import music directly onto the score from the MIDI input. Entering music with
a mouse (note-by-note) is the third method.
- Alternatives: Sibelius is available in versions for both PC and Mac.
Likewise, the Scorch viewer (free) is available for both platforms as well.
The Scorch viewer is also available in versions which work with both Microsoft
Internet Explorer, and Netscape and several other internet browsers. It may be
possible to do this with Finale or other music notation programs, but the
major advantage of using Sibelius is the free Scorch viewer plug-in that
anyone can use.
- DO NOT Publish! Respect the rights of the copyright holder(s). Never make
copyright property available to the public without express permission of the
owner. We make the online pages available ONLY to the singers who, by
definition, already hold a paid-for copy of the music. We do this by making
the pages NOT linked from any public pages. This also keeps the music out of
the reaches of the internet search engines.
- Example: You can see the results here. This shows
an example with one song (Sweelinck's Hodie Christus Natus Est from the
Choral Public Domain Library)
© 2002 Richard Crowley
Revised 03 May 2003