3 film score orchestration questions

Happy Monday!

Three quick questions relating to film scores. See the attached screenshot from Sibelius - how do I do the following?

  1. Boxed text at the beginning - 8 clicks free. This should appear in the score and all parts. In Sibelius language, this is called “system text”.
  2. Double bar line at renumbered bar 1 - this is where the actual music starts.
  3. Boxed bar numbers above each bar.
  4. Starting bar numbering at some random number. There’s no consensus as to what is “best practice”, by the way, some people start at bar 1, others start at bar 0 and then have bar 1 for first bar of music, others use the actual bar numbers that are in the master PT session, possibly with modifications. See recent discussion on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/278568792265515/permalink/1537254046396977/
  5. Large time signatures. I know this isn’t possible yet, I just included it for completeness’ sake.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

  1. System text is possible to do (use Shift-Alt-X instead of Shift-X); however boxed text is not.

  2. Use the Bars & Barlines right-hand box, or use the corresponding popover (Shift-B) and type ‘double’.

  3. Use the Layout options (Command-Shift-L – I guess Ctrl-Shift-L on Windows) and go to Bar Numbers: the options will help you there (every bar; above; enclosure type: rectangular).

  4. Use Edit > Bar Numbers > Add Bar Number Change

Thanks Thijs - very helpful. One follow up question: what is the deal with the bold type face “1” on top of the first two bars – does that mean “1 bar rest”? It’s confusing - players could easily mistake it for bar numbers. Is there a way to not display it?


Glad to help!

Yes, the bold 1 is for 1 bar rest. But as with a lot of things regarding typesetting, this can be changed in the Engraving Options.
I should change my default setting to not show that :slight_smile:

Thanks Thijs, much appreciated.

Yes, especially if you use the small type of bar numbering in parts, it’s really confusing … bar numbering in film scores is confusing enough, or it can be (starting at 0, or at 1, or at whatever bar number in the PT session the cue happens to be, etc. etc.), no need to make it even more confusing.

Double bar can also be had by typing the pipe sign twice ( “||” ) which is a little quicker

Thanks Claude!

The bar rest numbering default can be changed in the engraving options, see screen capture attached (this is for my own reference).

Two more follow up questions:

  1. If I want to change the layout for parts from the default no boxed numbering of bars to (a) boxed numbering and (b) appearing at each bar, do I have to do this for every instrument or is there a global setting or default I can change?

  2. Is there such a thing as “housestyle” in Sibelius where you can import the way a score looks, depending on the score you’re working on? I’m primarily focused on film scores but I may want to be able to change to another default layout for e.g. concert scores.


  1. You change the bar number settings in Layout (Ctrl+Shift+L on Windows). After getting the bar number settings you want, save them as the default for part layouts and you should be good to go.

  2. There are no equivalents to housestyles yet but they are supposed to appear in time. See https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=125281&p=679719&hilit=house+style#p679719 for what’s probably the best workaround for now.


  1. Boxed text IS possible. Create a text frame and type your text, then choose the properties panel at the bottom of the screen and select “show border”.

Yes, but a text frame you need to put manually on every part. As far as I know, that option is not there for (System) Text entered with Shift-(Alt-)X.

Thanks Steve - so, once I change the bar numbers layout, it uses my new layout for every new player I add? Maybe I’m missing something but I still get the default layout for every player I add, or haven’t manually changed.

Peter, I seem to remember there being some glitch with “Save as default” only applying to new projects, not the one you’re actually working on when you hit that button.

However you can multi-select layouts on the left hand side of Layout Options and edit their bar number options simultaneously - just select the top part layout and shift select the bottom part layout.

Peter, My apologies. I had forgotten about the problem with “Save as default” only applying to new projects. Leo’s solution is perfect for your current project.


Got it, thanks!