Sibelius has a host of text styles. It is important to understand the various categories of text and how they function. For example, some text is designed to be printed on one staff or instrument and others on all of the parts and the score. And, all of the text styles are “smart” in that they have built-in characteristics such as size, font, play back and more.
Staff Text includes text that is added to one staff or instrument, not necessarily all of the instruments in the score. This includes Lyrics, Chords, Technique Text and Expressions as well as other staff items such as fingerings.
Staff Text Above the Staff
Chords are entered by selecting the note or rest and using the shortcut CTRL+K (Command+K on Mac). Enter the chords and the suffix such as C7, Dmaj7 and so forth. Sibelius will convert the text you type into the closest chord and suffix. If the chord turns red, Sibelius does not recognize the suffix.
TIP: You can respell chord text that has been entered via Text > Chord Symbols.
Technique Text is used for placing text above an individual staff. For example, if you want to indicate specific mutes in brass or add text such as solo or tutti. Select the note or bar and choose the shortcut CTRL+T (Command+T on Mac).
Special Staff Text is also preset up in Sibelius. For example, if you are labeling the cymbals on a drum set staff, or indicating fingerings, choose
Text > Styles > Techniques. The drum set markings are a smaller text size as are the fingerings and drum sticking.
Staff Text Below the Staff
Lyrics are entered by select the note or rest. Use the shortcut CTRL+L (Command+L on Mac). Then enter the lyrics. Type a dash (-) at a syllable break and press the space bar at the end of a word.
Expressions such as dynamics and other indications such as legato are entered as an expression. Select the note or bar and use the shortcut CTRL+E (Command+E on Mac). Right-click and choose the expression or type it with the mouse. Dynamics appear in a special bold font and should be selected from the contextual menu.
System Text is text that appears over one staff in the score but in all of the parts when they are printed separately. System text can also have a specific playback built in to it.
Tempo and Metronome Marks actually do set the tempo. If you choose Largo or Presto Tempo Text, Sibelius will set an appropriate tempo. For setting a specific metronome marking, use Metronome Mark. So, if you want to change the tempo in a piece, copy the metronome marking from the first bar and change the number accordingly.
Other System Text includes title, composer, DS and DC al Coda and copyright. The DS/DC al Coda must be entered from this text style in order for it to play back properly.
Rehearsal Marks are entered in their own special manner so they will automatically number and renumber if one or more is deleted or added to the score. Select the bar where you want to place a rehearsal mark and use the shortcut CTRL+R (Command+R on Mac).
TIP: Do use the Symbols menu when entering markings the Segno and Coda signs. They will play back. However, most of the symbols in the menu do not play back and should be used for graphic display only – not playback.
TIP: Once you enter a specific type of text in Sibelius, you don’t have to go hunting for it in the tabs and menus. Rather, select the first entry and copy and paste it to the next location and then double-click and edit what has been copied.
This post is meant to be an overview of text styles in Sibelius. For more information on the various text styles consult the Sibelius documentation.