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LESSON 3 Purple > Using Repeats and Repeat Bars

Using Repeats and Repeat Bars


As usual, you can begin this section by watching a video of it. The video is called 3.6 Using Repeats and Repeat Bars and will give you a thorough overview of everything you need to know.

If you’ve played back your score recently you’ll have discovered that it goes for about 2 minutes and 45 seconds. In actual fact, it’s longer than that, because there are repeats missing. By the time you’ve put them in, the song will be over a minute longer. (Isn’t it amazing how much material you can get out of two four-chord progressions?)

Music contains lots of different kinds of repeats. There are repeat bar shorthand notations, used most in jazz and popular music notation. There are repeat bar-lines for repeating sections, sometimes with first and second time bars. And there are larger structural repeat instructions such as da capo or coda instructions. Sibelius reads and plays back all of these, and in this section, you’ll learn how to create them.

Tip: A catch-up file called Purple4.sib will give you the lesson progressed to this point should you want to just do this lesson on its own. If you’re still working from the MusicXML import at the beginning of this lesson, you may prefer to transfer to this Sibelius file simply because it has comments in it confirming where to put the repeats. If you want to keep all your hard work in one file, you can simply open two files and swap between them with View > Window > Switch Windows.

Repeating Shorthand and More About the Keypad Panel

Repeat bars shorthand is not considered suitable for genres of music other than popular music and jazz. If you’re writing orchestral parts, for instance, you shouldn’t use this form of shorthand. With repeat bars, parts with lots of repetition can show the repetition more clearly, meaning performers need not read and count every bar. Because this is a rock score, any time the repeat function was used to repeat some bars, you could also have used this shorthand.

Exploring the repeat bars symbols also enables you to explore the Keypad panel in greater detail, because the marks reside on the Keypad panel but are currently hidden. The important Next Keypad Layout button on the Keypad panel, shown in Figure 3.120, enables you to rotate through six different layouts to access all that the Keypad panel can offer. You can also use the F7 to F12 function keys on your computer to change quickly between the six different layouts (unless they have been ascribed to other functions by the operating system or your computer manufacturer).

Figure 3.120
The Next Keypad Layout button.


Each Keypad panel layout offers different items to attach to the notes in your score. You are already very familiar with the first Keypad panel layout because you’ve used it extensively. The remaining keyboard layouts are as follows:

image More Notes. The second Keypad panel layout, More Notes, shown in Figure 3.121, includes even longer and shorter note lengths than are available on the first layout, as well as grace notes, extra rhythm dots, and some miscellaneous functions such as creating a bar rest, putting a note in brackets, and making notes cue sized.

image Beams/Tremolos. The third Keypad panel layout, Beams/Tremolos, shown in Figure 3.122, is all about beaming. Buttons at the top of the Keypad panel change the beaming away from the defaults, while buttons at the bottom allow for the creation of different kinds of tremolos and rolls.

Figure 3.121
The More Notes Keypad panel layout.


Figure 3.122
The Beams/Tremolos Keypad panel layout.


Figure 3.123
The Articulations Keypad panel layout.


image Articulations. The fourth Keypad panel layout, Articulations, shown in Figure 3.123, contains more articulation marks than can be found on the first layout, including marks for bowing and harmonics. It also contains pauses (fermatas), and three buttons with squares on them that can be user-defined. (Unfortunately, that’s the kind of advanced feature that you’ll meet in the higher levels.)

image Jazz Articulations. Figure 3.124 shows the fifth Keypad panel layout, Jazz Articulation, which is the one you’re about to use. Articulations in this layout include not only repeat bar shorthands, but also scoops and falls found in jazz music and arpeggiation lines.

image Accidentals. The sixth and final Keypad panel layout, Accidentals, is shown in Figure 3.125. It contains not only the accidentals in the first Keypad panel layout, but also double sharps and flats and quarter-tones. There are also useful buttons for bracketing accidentals if Sibelius’s automated cautionary accidentals don’t quite do the job for you, and for cancelling both accidentals and any brackets around them.

Figure 3.124
The Jazz Articulations Keypad panel layout.


Figure 3.125
The Accidentals Keypad panel layout.


One more button must be highlighted as you begin to unlock the true power of the Keypad panel: the First Keypad Layout button shown in Figure 3.126. Because everything you use most often (the most common note lengths, accidentals, articulation marks, tie, and rest buttons) are on that layout, this button serves to get you back to it in one quick keystroke.

Now to put the Keypad panel to work! Before you put in the first articulation, change the orientation of the page to Landscape. Otherwise, forcing four-bar repeats into one stage will squash much of the music. (Although you could just make the staves much smaller, switching to Landscape mode enables you to learn how to change the page orientation.) Simply choose Layout > Document Setup > Orientation > Landscape. You might also want to optimize staff spacing once more.

Figure 3.126
The First Keypad Layout button.


Figure 3.127
The location of the 4 Bar Repeat button on the Keypad panel.


You know that the opening four-bar drum pattern is repeated three times, so highlight bars 9 to 20 in the drum part. Then click the 4 Bar Repeat button (shown in Figure 3.127) on the Jazz Articulations (fifth) Keypad panel layout. A page of music with the repeats in should now look like Figure 3.127.

There are plenty more opportunities to use four-bar repeat signs in the song if you so choose, although they should be used to make the parts easier to read. You may find that overusing them makes it difficult to remember what is going on.

If one part (such as the drum part) uses a lot of repeat bars, you can assist performers in counting the bars by numbering each bar that is repeated. That way, performers can just count bars rather than follow the repeats in their part.

To number the bars:

1. Make a passage selection in the drum part for the duration of the repeat signs.

2. Choose TEXT > PLUG-INS > PLUG-INS > NUMBER BARS, as shown in Figure 3.129. The Number Bars dialog box opens.

Figure 3.128
The score, including a four-bar repeat in the drums.


Figure 3.129
Running the Number Bars plug-in.


3. In the Number Bars dialog box, type 1 in the Number Every Nth Bar Where N Is field, as shown in Figure 3.130, thus asking Sibelius to number every bar.

Figure 3.130
The Number Bars plug-in dialog box.


4. Leave all other options as default, and click OK.

If you jump into the drum part now, you will see exactly how it will be easier for the drummer to count the bars of repetition, as shown in Figure 3.131.

Figure 3.131
An excerpt of the drum part, with repeats numbered.


Adding Repeat Barlines and First and Second Time Bars

If you’re working in one of the Sibelius catch-up files and can’t yet see the yellow sticky notes, or comments, on top of the score, choose View > Invisibles > Comments. If they’re still not there, open the file Purple5.sib from the Lesson 3 folder (Sibelius will prompt you to show them) and carry on working from there (or use that file as a reference).

Begin by putting in repeat barlines. In Sibelius, the repeat barline that tells you to go back in the music is called an end repeat barline, as shown in Figure 3.132. You need one of these at the end of bar 24, as marked by the comment on the score.

To add an end repeat barline:

1. Select the barline at the end of that bar. (It will turn purple.)

2. As shown in Figure 3.132, choose NOTATIONS > COMMON > BARLINE > END REPEAT.

Figure 3.132
Creating an end repeat barline.


3. This repeat is not supposed to go right back to the beginning, so you also need a start repeat barline at the start of bar 13. One way to add this is to make sure you have no selection, and then choose NOTATIONS > COMMON > BARLINE > START REPEAT. You will see the loaded blue mouse pointer; click with this pointer at the start of bar 13.

4. These repeats are also designed to have first and second time bars (which explains why bars 24 and 25 are so similar!). Select bar 24 in any part and press L to see the full Lines gallery.

5. Select 1ST ENDING, as shown in Figure 1.133. The first time ending line is added to the score.

6. Select bar 25 in any part, press L to open the Lines gallery again, and choose 2ND ENDING (not 2ND ENDING CLOSED, which won’t play back properly).

7. If the first ending line overlaps the second ending line, delete any comments that are in the way (just click them and press Delete or Backspace), zoom in, and carefully grab the arm of the line. (Even if it’s right behind the number 2, this is possible.) Then drag it to the left.

Figure 3.133
Creating a first time ending line.


Time for a bit of a break. Your repeat structure should play back. Play back from the start (or at least from the start of the first verse) and see if the first and second time bars work as you’d expect.

Adding Written Repeats (D.S. al Coda)

Naturally, you can’t get enough of this song, so let’s squeeze a few more seconds out of it by adding an overarching D.S. al coda. If you haven’t met this before, a D.C. (da capo) instruction in a score tells the player to go from the top—in other words, to repeat from the start. A D.S. (dal segno) instruction tells the player to play from the sign. The sign can be written as a capital S, but is usually ornamented and appears as shown in Figure 3.134. The other common structural instructions are used in combination with these. The first is al coda, which means “to the coda,” a final section (marked with the word coda and sometimes the sign also shown in Figure 3.134) for the ending of the piece. The second is al fine, which means play until you reach the fine (finish) marking.

Figure 3.134
The segno and coda signs.


These elements can be strung together. For instance, you might get D.C. al fine, which would mean you return to the start of the piece and play until you reach the word fine. Or, as you’re going to put in your score, you could get D.S. al coda, which slightly more complicatedly means repeat back to the sign and, when you get to the words “to coda,” jump forward to the final section marked “coda.” If this is all new to you, it will probably make more sense when you see it in action!

To put in the repeat instructions in the order they will happen in the music:

1. At bar 42, there is a comment with the instruction that a D.S. al coda should be put at the end of this bar. Delete the comment. Then, with no selection, choose TEXT > STYLES > MORE > REPEAT (D.C./D.S./TO CODA), as shown in Figure 3.135.

Figure 3.135
The Repeat (D.C./D.S./To Coda) text style.


2. The mouse pointer will become blue, or loaded. Click at the end of bar 42 to make a flashing cursor appear.

3. Rather than typing in the text, right-click (Control-click) anywhere on the score to open a context-sensitive menu (this can be terribly useful for entering things like notes in metronome marks and similar elements) and choose D.S. AL CODA, as shown in Figure 3.136. Then press ESC.

Figure 3.136
Right-clicking (Control-clicking) when editing any text style makes a context-sensitive menu full of useful text and symbols pop up.


4. The music will now repeat to the segno. Select bar 5 and again choose TEXT > STYLES > MORE > REPEAT (D.C./D.S./TO CODA). Then right-click (Control-click) and this time choose the segno illustrated in Figure 3.134. Press ESC and move it back to the start of the bar if it does not assume the correct position.

Tip: If you’d like to make the segno bigger, you can use the Text > Format group controls as you did in Lesson 1 to edit it as you see fit.

5. The next instruction required is to tell the players when to go to the coda. A comment on the score marks the end of bar 12 for this purpose, so select bar 12, then choose the REPEAT (D.C./D.S./TO CODA) text style again, right-click (Control-click), and choose TO CODA. Again, press ESC to finish editing the text.

6. The final instruction required is the coda itself. The players will jump forward from the To Coda instruction to the coda marking, which should be at bar 43 (if you’re having problems locating bar 43, change to panorama so that every bar is numbered). Select bar 43, then choose TEXT > STYLES > MORE and choose REPEAT (D.C./D.S./TO CODA). Note that this time, as well as being in its usual position, the Repeat (D.C./D.S./To Coda) is also near the top of the list because it is a used style in this score. Sibelius does this to help you locate text styles that you’re using a lot. After inserting the text style at the start of bar 43, right-click (Control-click), choose the Coda sign (refer to Figure 3.134), and then type CODA.

It’s probably tempting to play back the song again straight away (unless you’re getting sick of it by now!), but there is one more little thing to do to get the playback just perfect. And you’ll do that right now.

Changing Playback on Repeats

You may have noticed at bar 13 that the vocalist has the instruction “First time only,” and then “Both times” at bar 21. In contrast, there is a guitar solo written between bars 13 and 20 that is marked “Second time only.” The idea in this kind of structure is that on the repeat, the vocalist takes a break for the guitarist, who similarly doesn’t play the first time through while the singer is singing. To make this work, you get to play for the first time with Sibelius’s Inspector. To access this handy floating panel, choose Home > Edit > Inspector (see Figure 3.137).

Figure 3.137
Opening the Inspector.


The Inspector changes to suit the context of what you have selected. If you have nothing selected, it simply says “Nothing Selected” and offers you no further options. However, select a passage of music (for instance, try selecting the vocal part on that first repeat from bars 13 to 20), and it offers all sorts of exciting possibilities, also shown in Figure 3.137.

To use the Inspector to add the appropriate instructions:

1. To make the vocalist part perform the first time through but not the second time, with bars 13 to 20 of the vocal part selected, uncheck the 2 check box under Playback and Play on Pass, as shown in Figure 3.138. Note that when you change selection, the Inspector disappears (unless you click the “pin” button to keep it), and you’ll need to select it again in the ribbon next time you need it.

Figure 3.138
Changing playback on repeats.


2. Make an identical passage selection, but in the guitar part.

3. Display the Inspector. Then uncheck the 1 check box under Playback and Play on Pass.

There is a lot more that you can do with the Inspector, but that’s all you’ll try for now. It will be back in Lesson 4, “Worksheets.”

If you play back your score now, you should hear all the repeats in combination and the alternating vocal and guitar lines on the first and second times through. The song is complete! Now it’s time to share your hard work.

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