Sibelius - Percussion Key

O...M...G... I learned more about Sibelius by trying to put together a percussion key, than anything else!

Our final project involves arranging two portions of Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 4, third movement, for a 12-piece ensemble consisting of strings, percussion, and harp. For the percussion portion, we were deliberately given a set of percussion instruments to use, and a specified percussion key. This was for the following reasons:

1. It turns out the percussion key isn't standardized so percussionists basically learn to read music all over with each new percussion key. Standardizing our class of nine introductory students on one set of percussion instruments and one percussion key drastically shortens the reading time and potential for things to go seriously south during the one reading we have at the end of the semester. And prevents students from requesting 3000 different instruments that the percussionists will have to haul in and layout.

2. Our goal in an introductory orchestration class is to get to know the instruments and what they can and can't do. As to the intricacies of what really goes into arranging something, that is done in the advanced orchestration class.

This was the percussion key we were given:

Percussion key Proko.png

To create this percussion key in Sibelius:

1. Use a blank template, and create two five-line percussion parts.

2. Use time signature 6/4 (this will be explained later).

3. No key signature.

4. Create the template.

5. Rename the percussion parts to Percussion 1 and Percussion 2.

6. Right click Hide to hide the time signature.

7. Use quarter notes for all of the notes except for the bongos, where you will use eighth notes.

8. Under Notations > Noteheads, click the first entry, which is 0 or normal. Unclick the stem checkbox.

9. Use Text > Small Text to add descriptions above.

10. Click notes and type the letter "ell" to bring up the different lines. There you will find Bracket Above, Dashed Line, and Octave Above.

11. The reason the time signature is 6/4 is so that you have an extra rest at the end. The first time, I made the time signature 5/4, but then because there was no rest, the Octave Above line wrapped to the next line, and I didn't want it to do that. I also made the time signature 6/4 so that I wouldn't have to do Notations > Barline > Invisible to hide individual barlines.

12. Right click Hide to hide the two quarter rests at the end.

13. Select the first barline and type Return so that the bar stretches all the way.

14. Grab the staves to move them up and down so that you have more room.

15. Click on the second bongo note, and (on Mac) use shift alt left arrow to move the second note closer to the first.

16. Click on the second vibraphone and marimba notes and use shift alt right arrow to move the second notes further away.

17. Reposition the dashed lines so that they go from the end of the notehead to the beginning of the next notehead.

18. File > Export to PDF.

19. Double click on your PDF, and use command shift 3 to do a screen capture.

20. Go to your Desktop folder, open your screen capture, and crop what you need.

Eileen Sauer