Piano, vibes etc. pedalling workflow in Sibelius

I’m in the middle of composing a large work for orchestra and choir at the moment, and as I was setting up my pedalling notation shortcut for the first time in Sibelius 7.5 it suddenly occurred to me that this may be a workflow that others haven’t thought of. I can remember back in the days of Sibelius 1 and 2 that my wishlist included a special “pedalling wizard” because lining up pedal markings too so long and if you were working on piano music and it needed reformatting, you then had to spend hours moving pedal markings around. No longer! Simply set up the right shortcuts and all of your pedalling can be done very quickly… like this:

Set up shortcuts

If you haven’t discovered shortcuts in Sibelius, you haven’t lived! My favourites include double bar lines and split system for when I’m making worksheets, but hey, that’s me. To get to the shortcuts preferences go to FilePreferences or type Ctrl+, (Command+,). Next click on Keyboard Shortcuts in the list.

In this case we’re making a shortcut for the “lift again pedal” line. You may also want to make one for the initial pedal (Pedal lift) although I tend to do this through the lines gallery (shortcut L). Similarly you could make one for “Pedal lift finally” if you’re doing a lot of pedalling. To create my shortcut I chose Line Styles from the Tab or Category list, then Pedal lift again from the Feature list. Click Add and type the shortcut you want to use – I chose Alt (Option)+P because it’s not used already by Sibelius (yes, that’s P for pedal). Finally, click OK. Here it is:

Setting up a shortcut in Sibelius

Using the shortcut to add pedalling quickly

You can use the shortcut in two ways, depending on whether you prefer using the mouse or the keyboard.

With the mouse

Add the first Pedal lift line (for me, through the Lines gallery, but you could do this with a shortcut too) by selecting the notes that you want to add the pedal line under, then adding the line through the gallery or with a shortcut if you made one for this too.

Pedal lift
I’ve highlighted the passage I need the beginning pedal line (“Pedal lift”) under. Then I type L for lines to bring up the Lines Gallery, and select that line.

Now you’ll repeat that procedure, highlighting each passage with the mouse (easy if it’s just one bar, because if you click anywhere inside the bar but not on a note or stem you’ll select the whole bar), but then typing your new “pedal lift again” shortcut (Alt/Option+P if you chose the same as me) to place the line under the passage. As you’ll see, the ends of the line align perfectly with the last pedal line, meaning there’s no more fiddling necessary!

Pedal lift again
All I need to do now is highlight each passage that requires pedalling, and type Alt/Option+P

With the keyboard

You can actually use the same process above, but replace making the selections with the mouse and make them with the keyboard (type Shift+Right Arrow to select one note at a time or Shift+Ctrl/Command+Right Arrow to select one bar at a time) then press Alt/Option+P to add the line. But perhaps less fiddly is this:

Select the note where the pedal line needs to start, and type your shortcut (Alt/Option+P if it’s the same as mine). Press Spacebar to move the line one note at a time. When you have extended the line enough, press Tab to return to the note the line started at, then use the Right Arrow to move forward to where you need to start the next line (or Command/Ctrl+Right Arrow to jump forward one bar at a time).

Other shortcuts

My lovely Sibelius book

I hope  that’s helpful for a few of you out there. There are loads more shortcuts and tips for using Sibelius in the free videos that go with my book Sibelius 7 Notation Essentials – I’ve got a page that explains how to access them here.






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