In my last post I discussed how to swing the eighth notes in Finale and Sibelius. Let’s take it one step more:  how to change the feel in a piece. For example, let’s say you want to start with a Bossa-Nova style and then change to Swing later in the tune. For example, this medley starts in a Bossa-Nova Style and then at approximately 1:00 minute the arrangement changes to swing.


The steps to change the feel in Sibelius is to select a Tempo indication and place it over the bar where you want the change to take place.

  1. Select the bar
  2. Choose Text > Common > Tempo
  3. You have two choices:  Right-click the mouse and choose the style or type it in yourself.

To change the feel later in the piece:

  1. Select the tempo mark you entered.
  2. Copy and paste it to the new location.
  3. Double-click on the text and change it to the new feel.

Sibelius Dictionary

You can check out the preset musical styles in Sibelius and edit and add your own from the Dictionary.

  1. Choose Play > Interpretation > Dictionary
  2. Click on System Text.
  3. Scroll down and select a text item. You can then see what playback style is associated with this text. You can add additional items if you prefer.


The Finale Human Playback was mentioned in my last post. When you plan to change the feel in Finale, you use a plugin.

  1. Turn off Human Playback via MIDI/Audio > Human Playback. Be sure it is set to None.
  2. Choose the Selection Tool.
  3. Select the first bar of the piece up to the last bar with the initial feel. Use click and shift click to select the bars.
  4. Choose Plug-ins > Playback > Human Playback and choose the desired feel.

Repeat the above steps to change the feel later in the piece.

It is a good idea to use Expression Text to include the feel change so the players have a written indication for printout.