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What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

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What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

Postby MJE » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:18 am

Hallo.

     I'm new here, and am considering whether to buy Sibelius, Finale, or possibly both. I wish to use it for composing my own music, mainly for piano. I normally compose within a late-romantic/impressionistic style, but occasionally use "modernisms" within that which require unconventional notation; so I need to know whether Sibelius can do these things before I buy it.
     I would like to ask here about this, please. I will list some of the things I have in mind: I don't need to know how to do these things now (I can learn that in due course), but I just need to know if Sibelius can do them at all. With some of them, if it can't be done at all, it may mean that I need to choose Finale instead of Sibelius (because I'm pretty sure Finale can do many of them).
     I will list them now, and I would appreciate anyone being able to tell me whether they can be done in Sibelius. I will number them to make them easier to refer to for anyone who wishes to tell me if they are possible or not.
     In all cases, accurate notation is more important to me than accurate playback, but having both would be highly desirable, if possible.


Time signatures

   1. Different time signatures on different staves within a system of piano music (bar-lines coincide, though, so that a crotchet, quaver, etc. has a different value in the different time signatures).
   2. As the preceding, but with bar-lines staggered according to the different time signatures (a crotchet, quaver, etc. being the same in the different time signatures).
   3. Two different time signatures within the *same* system of piano music, one stacked on top of the other, and applying to different voices within the staff. Because there would be 4 numerals instead of 2, they can extend above and below the staff and don't need to be shown half-size (and hard to read). (Not just my own idea - see Scriabin's 10th Piano Sonata for an example, about 2 or 3 pages before the end, for 3/8 and 9/16 both occurring in the left hand.)
   4. Time signature changes inside a bar (e.g., occurs in the last movement of Beethoven's Sonata no. 31 in Ab major, Op. 110, where 12/16 changes to 6/8 mid-bar, and then vice-versa later on).


Key signatures, accidentals

   5. Different key signatures on different staves within a system of piano music, where polytonal effects are required.
   6. Non-standard key signatures (e.g., just C# or F# and Bb together).
   7. Triple-sharps and triple-flats (examples occur in music by Alkan, Reger, and Roslavets).
   8. Key signature changes inside a bar (very common in standard use - surely this must be possible).


Handling of bars

   9. Opening or closing repeat signs in the middle of a bar.
  10. Bar numbers that take account of repeats so that each bar number is actually correct for each bar as actually heard. (This would mean bars in a repeated section would carry two numbers.)
  11. Splitting a bar (often but not always a spatially long one) over two systems, even when it would be quite feasible to have it on one.


Handling of notes

  12. A longer note like a crotchet or minim near the end of the bar whose duration doesn't fit, but part of whose value is deemed to continue into the start of the next bar. In the next bar, there would just be a blank (no note or rest) at the start, for the exact value that carries over from the note in the previous bar. (This would at time be clearer than ties, especially in close textures, where the ties would just create additional clutter, but the unconventional notation is perfectly clear in meaning - I've seen it occasionally in music of the classical and early-romantic periods);
  13. The ability to choose, in the same piece, between round breves and old-style square breves (I occasionally use them to mean different things - the former is a precise value equal to 8 crotchets, but the latter is sometimes useful to indicate a long sustained note of indefinite value).
  14. Devising non-standard extensions of the "dot" system for increasing note values. In certain time signatures where textures can get intricate, this would be helpful to reduce clutter. I can think of two examples I have considered using occasionally: in 5-based time signatures (5/4, 10/16, etc.), a horizontal dash after a note could extend its value by a quarter instead of a half; and in 9-based time signatures like 9/8 or 18/8, a vertical dash after a dotted note could extend the value by half the *dotted* value of the note, instead of half its undotted value - which would enable a note lasting a full 9/8 bar, for example, to be written as a single note and without ties. Such things would preferably be done in a way that playback would interpret correctly, although I realize this may be asking a bit much.


Other

  15. More than 4 voices or layers in a single staff, separately stemmed. (I know you can enter notes on a staff, then move them to another staff, which would enable one staff in piano music to have 5 voices if the other has no more than 3, by "borrowing" notes from the other staff - but I might also need another way of doing it, so that *both* staves could exceed 4 voices. This one's important, because the music I compose tends to have different layers in it that need separate stemming.)
  16. In tuplets, not letting the tuplet numeral be placed on top of the square bracket, breaking it into two portions, but leaving the bracket complete and the numeral placed inside it.
  17. Cadenza-like passages such as often found in Beethoven, in free time, observing no time signature at all (although they usually appear nominally within the prevailing time signature).
  18. A whole piece (or very large section of a piece) written without any time signature and with no bar-lines, like Ives for example (except at the end or when a normal time signature resumes).


     I know this is a long list; but please remember I am *not* asking now how you do any of these, but just needing to know if they can be done - so a list of "Yeses" or "Nos" attached to numbers would be very helpful to me now, and much appreciated (something like "1. Yes 2. No 3. Yes" - etc.).
     Thank you.

                         Regards,
                          Michael.
MJE
 
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Re: What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

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Re: What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

Postby andyg » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:23 am

I don't think Sibelius is going to shine at what you want it to do. Just scannning through very quickly, there are a few things on the list that it won't do - without resorting to fakery.

This is a question that you should ask on the official Sibelius forum, there are only 3 of us answering here and this is mostly unknown territory for me, not sure about the other two guys!

http://www.sibelius.com/cgi-bin/helpcen ... ?groupid=3
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Re: What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

Postby MJE » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:09 am

     Thanks for your reply, Andy G. - I had already begun to feel premonitions that this might be so, but wanted to make sure. Faking things may be acceptable, but obviously could be a real pain, depending on how difficult or fiddly it is to do. I had already 3/4-decided on Finale, but just wanted to check out Sibelius. I have the trial version and will fiddle around with it for the couple of weeks' trial period I still have, just to see if I can find out some useful things.
     Yes, I'm aware of the other, official forum; but when I visited, it looked to me like you couldn't join unless you already owned Sibelius.
     There used to be a Sibelius forum 15 years or so ago that moved to Yahoo Groups, and I was on it at the time. Is that still around?
     Is there a reasonably up-to-date Sibelius manual I can save for reference? Manuals often seem to be on-line nowadays, but I do not have Internet access at home - only at my mother's or at the local library - but I cannot use Sibelius (trial or full version) on the library computers.
     Thanks.

                         Regards,
                          Michael.
MJE
 
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Re: What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

Postby andyg » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:53 am

Not sure if you need to own Sib before joining now. Worth trying and you'll have access to the real experts!

It used to be the case that you went there if you were legit and here if you were a pirate! :)
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Re: What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

Postby MJE » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:51 pm

andyg wrote:Not sure if you need to own Sib before joining now. Worth trying and you'll have access to the real experts!

     I think you do need to own it. If you go to that link you gave me, you get a notice saying that if you are not a Sibelius user you cannot join the Help Centre. But I am not going to buy Sibelius until I know which of those things I listed can and can't be done and have decided whether I can live with that or not.
     I found the Yahoo Group I mentioned before. It's still there, but rather less active now - along with most Yahoo Groups, it seems. I may see if I can join that, but I don't seem to be able to log in to Yahoo - might have to try to get a new password somehow - I haven't been there myself for some years.
     As a matter of curiosity: is this forum run by the Sibelius company, or officially linked with them in any way?

                         Regards,
                          Michael.
MJE
 
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Re: What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

Postby andyg » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:13 pm

MJE wrote:As a matter of curiosity: is this forum run by the Sibelius company, or officially linked with them in any way?


No, it's totally unofficial, no-one from Sibelius or Avid ever drops by (Daniel Spreadbury used to years ago). AFAIK, it's not Admin'd or moderated and has just three (possibly four) people answering questions. Like the others, I drop by now and then and try to help a few people if I can.
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Re: What non-standard things can Sibelius do?

Postby bobp » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:37 pm

Just some random thoughts on your list.
I have heard that Finale will indeed do some "non standard" things a bit more easy than Sibelius. So maybe that's the way you should go.
The thing about "non standard" to me is that just because you may have seen something done a certain way in some score, doesn't mean that that is the only way to do it.
It seems to me that the more "standard" that you can do things, the more clear things will be, and the less questions will arise. I have heard composers of very complicated piano music say that they just write the stuff. What the player comes up with might be a bit different, and that's OK. You may write something that has two different time signatures in the left hand, but how will the player interpret it?
Bob Porter
Sibelius 7.5, W10,i5,16 GB ram,desktop
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