Sibelius: Consistent flam or grace note "interp" or spacing

One of the oldest questions from percussion arrangers/composers since computerized notation has been: ";How do I get better sounding flams?"; Well, here is a simple solution for any people using Sibelius. This will depend on your preference with regards to how open/closed you like your flams.

For the purpose of this explanation, the tempo will be quarter=120. And you will need to make sure that Live Playback is turned on. That can be found in the Play menu.

1) Write a flam, then use the [b]Live start position (LSP)[/b] (found in the Playback tab of the Properties window) to set your flam at your preferred spacing. I prefer tighter flams, so I set my LSP at -7. The -7 simply means that it will start 7 edus before the downbeat on which the grace note was applied.
2) Divide the tempo (120) by the chosen the positive version of the LSP (7) and get a number and round to the nearest integer (17).
3) From now on, just divide the tempo by that number (17) by the tempo, change it to a negative, and you'll get the appropriate Live Start Position.

The reason you'll need this is because EDUs are relative to tempo, so -7 at 120bpm would be different than at 200bpm. There are 256edu per quarter note, if you need a reference.

Enjoy!
Hi David, welcome to the forum!

Live Playback is a system in Sibelius that has three main controls that can be adjusted to really refine the playback: Live Velocity, Live Start Position, and Live Duration. Live Velocity is the feature you'll be wanting to use to dial in the dynamic playback of the grace notes.

An important distinction to make is the difference between Velocity and Volume, when speaking in terms of computer audio or MIDI-related music production. Velocity can be equated to how much force is used produce the sound the instrument is making, while volume is more related to the volume slider/fader/knob on a piece of audio equipment (in this case the slider on the Mixer in Sibelius).

That being said, what you'll be affecting is the velocity of the grace notes. You can select just the grace notes using the method I mentioned in the post a few above this one. A decent range for taps tends to be between 65 and 90, depending on the relative dynamics of the phrase, while grace notes tend to feel right maybe -5 of your tap velocities. However, you can obviously experiment and figure out what best suits your taste.

And there's nothing wrong with being picky, since I've always been told that success is in the details. Hope this helps!
Fantastic!  Thanks for the prompt reply!  I'm at the beginning of my busy time writing for my drumline, so I may be posting quite a bit!

Thanks again!
Is there any way to make -7 the default setting whenever placing a grace note in the score? It's a hassle to have to change it each time I write more and want to hear playback correctly
I personally set a keyboard shortcut for filtering grace notes tos something like Shift+Ctrl+Alt+G, then select all of the parts in question, filter to select only grace notes, then set my Love Start Position.
[quote author=bikerdrumr link=topic=3270.msg23094#msg23094 date=1340632591]
Just joined the forum!  I looked around and can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for.

The placement of my flams are fine now, thanks to the procedures found at the beg of this thread. What I want to know is how to lower the volume of the grace note to the tap level volume.  In other words, when you accent a note where a flam is attached, sibelius incorrectly plays BOTH the grace and principal notes as accented. Is there a way to adjust the volume of all grace notes throughout? Or am I being too picky? :)

Thanks!
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In the same tool window you edited the ";Live Start Position,"; for the grace notes you want softer, also check the ";Live Velocity"; box and edit the value there until it pleases your ear.
[quote author=Bryafn Harmsen link=topic=3270.msg23559#msg23559 date=1356462954]
I personally set a keyboard shortcut for filtering grace notes tos something like Shift+Ctrl+Alt+G, then select all of the [url=http://www.greenhour.org/]Crazy Bulk[/url] parts in question, filter to select only grace notes, then set my Love Start Position.
[/quote]

This works like a charm. The flams really do sound a lot better after doing this. Thanks for sharing.
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