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Robert Langenfeld Compositions

Composer’s Corner – Entry 3 – In Editing Hell

October 1, 2014


Years ago I made the switch from Finale to Sibelius. It made my composing process so much easier. The tools were fantastic, the interface was clean, and my scores looked great. The best part was that it was easy for me to convert most of Finale scores over to Sibelius. As the years went on I started to notice a bunch of little inconsistencies in the engraving of the final score and parts. Wasn’t so much that they where errors but they were just tiny little nuances that unless you looked at the piece for a couple hours a day, like I do, you would never notice them. But it was enough to start driving me mad. Here were my issues:

  • Inconsistencies in the size of some of the fonts between the score and parts.
  • Rehearsal marks sometimes not appearing on parts but on the scores
  • Margins sometimes varying between two different parts in the same piece.

These among other things finally reached a point where I decided it was time for a clean slate and to re-engrave basically everything I’ve ever written. So I set up some templates and did a test run with some of my chamber works. It seemed to be working great. Everything is looking like it’s lining up right, looking consistent, and looking professional. My initial reaction to this was joy. This meant that I could move onto my concert scores and start doing them! However concert band scores turned out to be a whole different beast.

I have two different concert band score types (8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17). The smaller is used for anything that is usually grade 3 or lower because of the pretty standard concert band notation. The larger is used for scores that are grade 4 or higher because of more advanced instrumentation means more staffs and I don’t want them to become un-readable to the director/conductor. Now I am challenged with maintaining these 2 template types and making them consistent in nature.

This can be a particularly tricky situation especially with the variations in the number of staffs. Every time you add more staffs to a score, things start getting a little more crammed. At a certain point Sibelius starts asking you if you want to decrease the staff size in order to make the new staffs fit. Normally this would be fine but I my templates were accidently set up to have the text scale with staff size. So every time I added more then 20 staves to my 8.5 x 11 templates, the software would reduce the staff size and take the font along for the ride. So now I had to go fix that in everything that I’ve done so far.

So this is where I stand. I’m stuck in this loops of getting a score close to being pushed out to my website and then finding another little thing that needs to be fixed and then going and fixing it on the rest of the pieces as well. I just have to keep telling myself that eventually I will get back to actually composing music and not editing music and that this is just a one time deal for all my older works. New works won’t have this issue at all since they will be edited only ever once. Until then I’m going to be stuck here in editing hell.

Until next time.