I'm writing a piece in swing feel. When I use the grace note, Sibelius plays it differently than how I think it should sound but when I notate the same thing using a dotted 32nd, it plays the same thing correctly. I'm sorry if I failed to phrase this question appropriately :( I'm attaching an image to show you what I mean -

Below is an image of how I ended up notating it. Is this a playback issue or is my assumption of using an acciaccatura wrong here? Thank you so much!

enter image description here

  • 1
    Thanks! What did it sound like when you used the grace note? Was it playing before the downbeat, but you wanted it to on the beat?
    – Peter
    Feb 7, 2019 at 18:46
  • 1
    Sorry I was half asleep when I typed that - I want it to appear before the downbeat but the acciaccatura makes it appear on the downbeat
    – user36492
    Feb 7, 2019 at 23:13
  • 1
    @AmanTrivedi - Which downbeat do you mean? If your screenshot version is what you want and it appears "before the downbeat", then the downbeat is on one 16th note after the start of the measure.
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 8, 2019 at 0:57
  • 1
    @Aman: where is Lawrence Payne? It seems he is familiar with the problem of grace notes in Sibelius. sibelius.com/cgi-bin/helpcenter/chat/… I wonder, there is certainly a possibility to save the midi file in the style you want to have it played and another for the layout of the sheet music, where you can print the notes right for reading. Feb 8, 2019 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is a way to change this. In Sibelius, the grace notes are played back before the beat. There are a couple ways to get around this:

  1. Write it out exactly as you want it (like in your image). It might be slightly harder for performers to read, but they will know exactly what you want.
  2. Have two versions of the score: one for playback and one for performers. The version for playback will look like your image and is just for you to get an idea of what the music will sound like, and the one for performers is what you will actually give the players to interpret.

I will also note that every jazz musician I know will play grace notes before the beat - that's just how grace notes (whether acciaccatura or appoggiatura) are interpreted in jazz. So you will need to make a note somewhere in the score that these notes should be played on the beat.

  • According to the question asker in a comment, "the acciaccatura makes it appear on the downbeat". Can you explain this?
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 8, 2019 at 16:22
  • @Dekkadeci I don't quite understand that comment, so I would need an image to figure it out, but the original question was about playback so I answered that part. From the image posted, it seems like he wants the grace note played on the beat - Baroque style - but using the acciaccatura makes it sound before the beat.
    – Peter
    Feb 8, 2019 at 16:30
  • The rest of the question asker's statement is "I want it to appear before the downbeat but".
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 8, 2019 at 16:34
  • @Dekkadeci Yeah, I read that to mean "I want it to sound before the downbeat." The original question doesn't make any sense otherwise.
    – Peter
    Feb 8, 2019 at 17:42
  • That was my understanding, too, but the original poster's "the acciaccatura makes it appear on the downbeat" contradicts your assertion that "In Sibelius, the grace notes are played back before the beat."
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 9, 2019 at 1:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.