Jenny Amaya provides an overview of Sibelius's Preferences, including a brief description of each page in the Preferences window. She points out and explains settings that are important for new or beginning users. This video includes a discussion about turning the Versions feature off, setting up your MIDI input device, and experimenting with textured papers and backgrounds.
- [Instructor] It's time to take a look at some of Sibelius' preferences, important settings that affect every score that you open in Sibelius. I'll specifically address preferences that we'll be working with in this course that you may want to setup on your own system at home. Preferences are global settings that are applied to a single installation of a software application on your computer. All of the preferences that you set in an application will affect every file that you open within that application on that computer. Preferences do not save with Sibelius files.
If you work on multiple computer systems, you'll need to set your preferences on each of the computers separately. There are two ways to access Sibelius' preferences. You can go to the File tab, down to Preferences. Or you can use the shortcut, Cmd + Comma on Mac or Ctrl + Comma on Windows. The Preferences window consists of several different pages of content. The pages are listed on the left-hand side of the window and can be accessed by clicking on their names. Following is a brief description of each page with some suggestions for things that you may want to adjust within your own copy of Sibelius.
The Display page houses general settings for how or if you see things on the screen. For example, the checkbox on this page for Show scroll bars is where you can toggle the main vertical and horizontal scroll bars on and off, so if you find that you don't use the scroll bars, then you can uncheck scroll bars which removes them from view in every score that you open. This provides you with valuable additional screen space, and if you ever want to bring the scroll bars back, simply return to this page in Preferences, check the box, and you're scroll bars will reappear in all of your scores.
Another preference on the Display page that I've personally adjusted for myself, and which you may wish to adjust as well is the Translucency of Sibelius' floating panel windows, which are called tool windows here in preferences. I've set my Translucency to zero so that my tool windows will be solid and not see through as they float on top of my score page. This will help you see them better on my screen as we continue with our training. Next, the File page in Preferences provides general settings for opening and saving all of your Sibelius files.
For example, in a computer lab environment, setting every computer's preference to open at a specific zoom level as well as specifying other view options on this page, means that every file that you open can look exactly the same on every computer that you open it on. You can also set default options for the overall size of the score window. While these settings can be helpful in a lab environment, you may find them enjoyable for personal use as well. Next, since Sibelius does not store fonts within its files, the Font Equivalents page is where you would go to set the fonts that you want Sibelius to use if you open a score that points to fonts that you don't have on your computer system.
The Ideas page is where you set options for Sibelius' Ideas panel. We won't be exploring that panel in this course, so you don't need to be concerned about this for now. The Input Devices page in Sibelius' preferences is where you setup your input device, such as your MIDI keyboard. You can also access this page from the ribbon. I'm going to go ahead and hit Escape. If you go to the Note Input tab, and on the left-hand side there's a Setup group, and click Input Devices, and it takes you right back to the Input Devices page of Preferences.
If you have a MIDI device connected to your computer, then when you go to this page, you should see it listed in the top area of the screen. If you want to use a listed device, make sure that its box is checked in the Use column. To test it out, tap a key on the device to trigger a MIDI note or event. (synthesizer humming) You may or may not hear something during this test, but you should see a green signal in the Test field. The green signal indicates that the input device is working properly. (synthesizer humming) If you do not see your MIDI device listed, and if you're sure that its driver has been installed and that it's attached properly to your computer, then you can click the Find New Input Devices button to have Sibelius scan your system.
If Sibelius is still having trouble finding your device, see Connecting External MIDI Devices in the Sibelius Reference Guide. The Keyboard Shortcuts page is where all of Sibelius' shortcuts are defined. If you want to change, add, or delete a shortcut in Sibelius, this is where you would go to do that. The Language page is where you can go to setup the language that your copy of Sibelius displays. I'm going to leave mine alone, set to English for now. The Mouse page is where general mouse controls are defined. For example, you've already used the Dragging the Paper feature by simply clicking with your mouse on an empty area of the score page, and dragging the paper along.
You could setup Sibelius to require that you hold Command and Drag on Mac, or Shift and Drag on Windows. That would mean that you would have to hold down the modifier key in order to click and drag the manuscript paper around on the screen. If you were to change this preference, then you'd end up having access to a selection tool if you were to click and drag without holding down the modifier. The choice is up to you, but for this course, I'll leave this setting alone. The Music Fonts page is where all of your music fonts, those that create music symbols, note heads, and things of that nature, are organized.
Until you have a clear understanding of how fonts work within Sibelius, I suggest that you stay away from this page and let Sibelius do the work for you. Otherwise your music notes and symbols could end up looking very odd. The Note Input page houses a wide variety of options that affect how Sibelius responds to you during note input. We'll revisit this page later in this course when I discuss more about note input. The Paste as Cue page contains options for the Paste as Cue command, which is a more advanced pasting feature that I actually will not be discussing with you in this course.
Some general settings in the Playback page of Preferences affect the playback of all of the scores that you open in Sibelius. I'll demystify most of these settings in the playback chapter later in this course. The Saving and Exporting page provides options for setting default Save To and Export To locations. We visited this page in our earlier discussion about auto-save and auto-backup. The Score Position page provides some general settings that define how and why the score position might change during note input, editing, Flexi-time recording, or playback.
It's highly suggested that you uncheck Use different zoom under During Flexi-time and playback so that the score page does not annoyingly zoom in and out every time you ask it to play. This is one preference that most people find relieving when I show it to them. Step-time and Flexi-time preferences consist of advanced options for using the MIDI keyboard to input notes. I'll discuss Step-time note input later in this course. The Textures page is where you can go to change the on-screen paper and desktop background textures that are visible in Sibelius.
Whether you're new to Sibelius or a qualified veteran, you should enjoy the pleasure that this feature provides in breaking up the monotony of this lesson. I would suggest spending a few minutes experimenting with different paper and background textures. For those of you with a good sense of humor, I recommend the paper, coffee stained for your paper, and for your desktop, maybe Tiger skin. You can make some selections and click OK, and see the results on your screen.
Should you wish to return to the default texture settings, you can go back into Preferences, Command + Comma, back to the Textures page, and the default setting for Paper is Paper - white cotton, and for Desktop it's Purple gradient. Other than providing amusement these textures do serve an important purpose. The 3D effect produced by the textured layers helps to reduce eye strain. Unfortunately you're unable to print these textures so you'll have to coffee stain your printed scores the old fashioned way.
The Timeline page contains default settings for how the Sibelius timeline panel behaves and displays data. We'll discuss this in more detail in an upcoming video about the Timeline panel. The Versions feature in Sibelius is a complex semiautomatic Save As feature that's built into Sibelius, which prompts you to save different versions of your score every time you close a score. I've chosen to turn this feature off during this course to avoid any potential file saving confusion it can bring to those of you who are new to Sibelius.
To turn the Versions feature off, from the Versions page in Preferences, uncheck the box next to Create a new version when closing the score. Please go ahead and do this now so that your Versions feature remains off for the duration of this course. Moving on, when you create text in Sibelius, you can either type your own words into text fields, or you can use right-clicking menus to access a preset list of words that you can choose from. The preset list of words that you can choose from is called a Word Menu.
The Word Menus page in Preferences is where individual words are placed into their respective menus, and this will make a lot more sense to you at the end of this course when we discuss inputting text styles. The Other page of Preferences offers a variety of uncategorized preferences. A preference that may be of interest to new Sibelius users is to uncheck or disable Play music when Sibelius starts. This is another setting many people are relieved to learn about, and for those of you on Windows systems, you will see a Set Global Preferences button on this page.
This allows administrators to set their preferences for all other users on the same computer. Set Global Preferences is obviously not available here on Mac. Okay, we made it to the end, so remember that preferences don't transfer from one copy of Sibelius to another and they don't save with Sibelius files. If you'd like to continue to use any of the preferences we just adjusted in this course, or any we may adjust later in the course, you'll need to set the preferences on your own computer within your own personal copy of Sibelius. And go ahead and click OK to accept the changes that you've made.
- Installing and launching Sibelius
- Opening and closing a score
- Navigating through the score
- Using important single-key shortcuts
- Marking and coloring a score
- Playing and replaying a score
- Editing selections and deleting staves
- Creating a new score and inputting score objects
- Editing during and after note input
- Editing pitches and rhythms
- Working with text styles
- Finishing and printing a score