Sibelius Percussion Part Tips

When entering Marching Band Drum Line parts I have a few tips that might make your life easier. I think they fit into that category of “things I know Sibelius can do but how do I make it do it?”

BASS DRUM STEM DIRECTIONS – (Click on the thumbnails to the right for larger pics) Marching Bass Drum parts usually have all the stems going up. The stem direction after inputting your notes will not be all going up though! To fix this you have to wade through a few dialogue boxes. 1)Go into the House Style menu and Edit Instrument. Find the instrument you are using for the Bass Drums staff and click on it once then click the Edit Instrument button. If you picked the correct instrument and your score is currently open then you should get an error message stating that the instrument you are about to edit is currently being used. Click the OK button. 2)Now go to Edit Staff Type  3)go to the Notes and Rests tab. 4)Find the option that says stems always up. Now you have to hit enter three times to exit out of the edit boxes but you should be in business.

1)  2)  3)  4)


CHANGING 4 DRUM PARTS to 3 DRUM PARTS – Changing from 4 part Bass Drums to 3 Part Bass Drums can be easy. You may have to tweak a few ideas here and there but this is an easy and quick method. My BD part is using notes F, A, C & E from the bottom up. I’ve got the 4 part music input and now I need to print 3 part music for my kids. Add another Bass Drum part to your score, Select the entire 4 drum part (triple click in the first measure) and copy it down to the new 3 BD part (hold down the option key and click on the first measure of the new part). Now comes the magic! Keep the entire part selected and go to the Edit Menu – Filter – Advanced Filter (while you are there learn the sort cut!) Now select the option for Notes or Chords with at least 2 notes in them and then go down and change the Pitch section to single E any octave. Then click the select button on the bottom. Check out the screen shot….

Now double check your music and make sure that only the top notes in spots where you have “chords” in the BD part are selected.

If that is true then it is time to get rid of those top notes… hit the delete key.

Now select the entire line of music again, use the advanced filter once more but this time change the notes/chords with at least option to only 1 instead of 2 like last time. Hit the select button. Check your music… you should now only have the high bass drum part (the E space) selected. Now simply hit the down arrow twice. Now the rhythms that the top note BD were to play will be played by the 3rd BD. Now you may want to alter this technique a little, maybe you want to get rid of the bottom note, so use the idea to get the results you desire. There may be a few spots where you need to alter pitches to keep enough movement going.


Now it is time for me to go to Drum Line Sectionals! Afterwards I will give you a tip on how to make only one of those Bass Drum parts show up in your score.

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