What’s New in Sibelius 2019

By in Music Creation, Notation

We’re really excited to announce the immediate release of our first upgrade for 2019. At the NAMM show in Anaheim, California, we’re introducing a new Review Mode, and building on the existing playback features to allow you to navigate and play back your score quickly. In addition to this, we’ve fixed a good number of outstanding bugs.

If you’re lucky enough to be at the NAMM show in the coming days, drop by booth Booth 15502 in the North Hall and we’ll be very happy to show you round the new features and improvements.


Review Mode

Review mode is a brand new way to navigate your score without making any unintended changes to text, staff spacing or any other part of the musical notation. You can scroll around the score, free of worry that you may unintentionally move something you didn’t mean to.

You can toggle this mode in a few ways. Go to Review > Restrictions > Review Mode:

You can also assign it a keyboard shortcut, from File > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts > Review Tab > Toggle Review Mode.

When it’s engaged, you’ll see a small padlock icon light up in the Status bar, at the bottom of the score. You can click this to toggle Review Mode as well:

To make sure no unintended changes are made to the score or part info, we’ve added a Review Mode tick box to File > Score Info as well.

Scores will remember their locked state when you save them, allowing you to send the score to someone for reviewing, however if you send a locked score to someone with an earlier version of Sibelius (back to 8.6), they’ll be able to open the score and will of course find the score to be editable.


ManuScript support

We have added support for enabling and disabling Review Mode using Sibelius’ plugin programming language, ManuScript. Here’s a snippet that toggles review mode on and off:

activeScore = Sibelius.ActiveScore;
locked = activeScore.EditingLocked;
activeScore.EditingLocked = not locked;

Although there are no new shipping plugins in this release, be on the lookout for new plugins that integrate Review Mode in the future.

Play and Replay

To help you navigate your score and play back more easily, we’ve added a number of improvements to ‘Go to Page’, ‘Go to Bar’ as well as introduce a new Replay Line. Both ‘Go to Page’ and ‘Go to Bar’ functions, found in Home > Edit > Go To, now move the playback line to the start of the page or bar you go to. This saves several steps afterwards to play back the score from that point. Simply use the shortcuts Cmd+Alt+G/Ctrl+Alt+G to Go to Bar, and Cmd+Shift+G/Ctrl+Shift+G to Go to Page and press Space to start playback.

We’ve added a new Replay Line that shows the location in the score you can replay the music from (when using Ctrl+Space on Win or Alt+Space on Mac). This appears as a dashed green line and can be turned on from View > Invisibles > Replay Line:

In addition to this, we’ve made a small change to turn OFF the preference to Use different zoom during play and Flexi-time by default (it should stay on if you already have this set). This preference has its uses, but is better suited for new users in its new default state. To toggle this, go to File > Preferences > Score Position.


Half Speed playback

In this release, we’re introducing the ability to play the score back at half-speed. You can find this in the Play button’s dropdown:

Play at Half-Speed triggers playback from the position of the playback line at, you guessed it, half the tempo. This will be particularly useful for composing, arranging and teaching with Sibelius.


Working with playback lines in the Timeline

The Timeline (found in View > Panels > Timeline) has had a number of small tweaks to help with playback too. This now closely matches the score, so you can see the Playback Line and Replay Line. The Replay Line is part of the default Timeline preset and on by default. The Presets are found in File > Preferences > Timeline.

Clicking anywhere in the Score View or Rulers in the Timeline will move the playback line, and let you immediately play back from that place using the Space bar, as usual.

Related to these changes, the Show Repeats preference is now on by default too. This writes out the repeat structures in the Timeline, meaning you can now play back from anywhere within the repeat structure and start playback from there – something that was previously really tricky to do using the slider in the Transport panel.

The Replay Line and Playback Line, with Repeats shown, in the Timeline

Keen observers will also note the Bar Numbers and Timecode markers are now left aligned, so you can now have more confidence in knowing where these are.


Avid Link Integration

As you may already know, we are also introducing Avid Link manage your Avid account, licensing and subscription, as well as integrate a number of our other services. This replaces Avid Application Manager that has been included with Sibelius for the last few years.

Our part of the roll-out includes integrating several of the Link pages within Sibelius, allowing you to check out the latest news, manage your profile, find and chat with others with direct messages or within the Lounges. You can also head over to the Marketplace to add NotePerformer, PhotoScore Ultimate or AudioScore Ultimate to your toolkit.

This is all found in the File tab in Sibelius:

Your account login from Application Manager or the Avid Link application will be picked up by Sibelius when you start up, much like the Cloud Sharing Dashboard. However, if you aren’t logged in, you will be asked to log into those pages you visit.

To find out more, head over to the Avid Link blog: “Getting Started with Avid Link—Your new creative home“.


General bug fixes

As with every release of Sibelius we do, we fix a number of critical and legacy bugs. This release is no different so you will find Sibelius to be more reliable than ever. In summary, they are:

  • All dialog pop-up messages now respond on letter input from keyboard to choose Yes, No, Cancel and so on. This fix was only on Windows.
  • When Sibelius is running in a narrow window, the Text Style menu is now correctly layered in front of the sub-ribbon.
  • The correct font variant is being used once more on Mac (e.g. Myriad Semibold became Regular) etc.
  • EPS and PICT options have been removed from the ‘Convert Folder of Scores to Graphics’ plugin since they are no longer relevant.
  • Sibelius could, in some cases, crash when using the batch processing plugins. This now no longer happens.
  • TIF images are now the correct size when imported into a score.
  • Font substitution is working correctly with fonts with extra styles e.g. Optima > ExtraBlack
  • Part extraction works well once more. There was a problem when extracting a single part, the extracted part was opened in another window that couldn’t be edited until main window was closed.
  • The dimensions of a video no longer reset after starting playback on Mac
  • The video dimension are also now correct when reopening the Video window on Mac
  • In rare cases, Sibelius could crash when the Quick Start was disabled and opening a new score. This now no longer happens.
  • Sibelius now more reliably responds to keyboard shortcuts after having created a score from the Quick Start on Mac
  • Sibelius no longer crashes when exporting scores with special final barlines to MusicXML


We hope you enjoy our January release of Sibelius. If you’re at the NAMM show in California, please do drop by the show and we’ll be happy to show you round the new features and improvements.

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As senior product manager at Avid, I work with all the departments in Avid from Design, Development, Sales, Marketing, Legal and Global Services to produce the future of the Sibelius family of products and solutions.