SIP Newsletter #26

Brussels, December 27, 2006


- SipSib v3 is a major upgrade

Dear Score user,

The past year has apart from the pure Windows SipSplit edition seen very little news on SIP extensions. Yet a few minor stability and feature updates were made but most of the time I have been doing a lot of other music related things like playing and engraving. Since November however, I worked on a serious upgrade of SipSib and this Newsletter is entirely devoted to that (and there is this other huge secret utility I am working on....)

SipSib v3.00
The Sibelius to Score converter was never very good in attaching lyrics to the correct staff. Various options could be set to help the program decide whether text was lyrics or not but no satifactory solution was provided.
Until now!
In a way, the 'font usage' feature helped in showing what kind of fonts and text items were contained in an input EPS file but it was still cumbersome to do anything with that information. The feature is still available but there is something much better now called 'text classification'.
As of today, licensed users of SipSib can download this new version.

text classification
Once the 'Convert' button is pushed, SipSib does a pre-scan of the selected EPS files and provides a screen in which it proposes what are the classifications of groups of texts. Texts are shown in boxes headed by the Sibelius font/size with their corresponding Score font/size.
It proposes a group to be either 'Lyric', 'Normal text', or 'Bar number'. The user can, by pushing the buttons with those captions to whatever he thinks it should be and he also has the option to 'Ignore' a group.
There is a '?' box in the top right hand corner which when hit by the cursor gives a full explanation.
The information can be rather voluminous so the default uses the full screen with the taskbar temporarily hidden. The user can select a minimum size for this panel as shown in the User Guide. The User Guide! Of course. It was updated too!
Other new bells and whistles for lyrics are the full control of refrain levels. Now you can put refrains in a conversion immediately on the desired height, independent of where they were in the Sibelius engraving.
Syllables can be linked to notes left aligned and centered, both with a settable offset.
The elision character can be selected from a turned parenthesis or the Code9 LV symbol. Note that when you have the turned parenthesis, the CD (center dashes) command has the undesirable effect of lowering the dashes so you might want to move them above the staff first. This of course does not happen with the Code9 symbol.
The size of that Code9 item is 1 by default but it can be changed by the user.
Sibelius allows to have minimal vertical differences on lyrics in the same refrain. This is visually quite disturbing and the converter tries to align what should be aligned. The Strategy panel has a 'minimum distance between refrains' value which by default is set to 40 pixels which seems enough for all the user files I have been hit with.
Optionally, the refrains are spelled out in the report (much like XML2Score). Dashes are single hyphens, extenders are double hyphens, and elisions are underscores.
The font override option (using the global lyrics options for Score font and size) when applied overrides the font equivalence setting and the main SipSib panel setting of Times-Roman (size 1) for font substitution.

Accidental alignement
Licensed users of Tom Brodhead's ACCS program which superbly aligns accidentals now can link this utility to SipSib.
When so instructed, SipSib will call this utility and your conversion result will do the aligment of your accidentals as part of the conversion process.

Long file names
SipSib on long subdirectory names would give the shortened DOS name. In many cases, this could not easily be related to a Windows path. This has been improved and now, the report gives the full name as well as the DOS path.

Unprintable Score characters
Occasionally, the 'Underbar' message would be given by Score because of untranslatable file name characters in the bottom marker. This has been fixed.

Horizontal lines
Some horizontal lines in a Sibelius engraving would be connected to the wrong staff. This has been improved.

Normal text linked to the right staff
The algorithm has been improved. I do not want to hear anymore complaints about this.

Rehearsal placement
Greatly improved. Now you can also center those boxed items above barlines. BTW, it does not really matter if you declare numeric rehearsals as 'Bar numbers' or as 'Normal text'.

Ottava error fixed
Sometimes a harp pedal setting was generated for an ottava Code7 symbol. This has been fixed. Note that it is not always possible for SipSib to connect the ottava to the right staff. When it has an uphook it goes to the staff above, and when it has a downhook to the staff below. But when there is no hook, it takes the closest staff so you need to visually check this.

And then there are numerous cosmetic improvements that I did on the fly which will be appreciated by experienced users.
With this upgrade, the main module of SipSib went from 36535 to 39381 lines of code and is the biggest program I have ever written.

What you need to download
All SIP users
SIP build 094
SipFind build 008
SipNames build 031

SipSib users
SipSib v3.00 build 102
the SipSib User Guide (you can always consult this PDF online)

Long live SCORE!

Jan de Kloe