Sibelius 8.1 Now Available—What’s New

By in Music Creation

Sibelius 8.1 upgrade is now available for the world’s best-selling music notation software. Let’s take a look at this release to see what’s new.

When Sibelius 8 shipped in June 2015 we added new features, including Annotation and Surface Pro pen support, as well as new purchase and subscribe options that included All Access plans and enhanced support.

In the past, we released major upgrades for a fee, 12 to 24 months apart. With this new model, we provide new features on a more frequent basis. Sibelius can now be purchased as monthly and annual subscription options, or as a perpetual license, offering customers more choice in how they acquire the latest version of the software. Sibelius 8 perpetual license includes an All Access plan with a year of free upgrades. Subscription also includes an All Access plan so customers always have access to the latest version of the software while their subscription is active.

This means anyone currently on Sibelius 8, including Sibelius for Education 8, will be able to download the software update from their Avid Master Account or from the Avid App Manager. Customers on Sibelius version 1 through 7.5 can upgrade for only $89.

Sibelius 8.1 – What’s New

Sibelius 8.1 introduces several of the customer community’s top requests from IdeaScale, demonstrating Avid’s commitment to listening to the needs of customers. The release aims to enable musicians, composers, arrangers and engravers to create beautiful, accurate, easy-to-read scores more effortlessly than ever. Sibelius 8.1 also includes stability improvements.

Intelligent Rests – enhanced Magnetic Layout

Inserting rests into your music just got a whole lot easier. Now any time a rest is created, the newly enhanced Magnetic Layout tool automatically re-positions the rest to align optimally with the phrasing of your surrounding notes. Rests in multi-voice staves also automatically re-position to avoid collisions. Not only does this eliminate having to manually fix note and rest bump-ups, it makes your score much easier to read. Check out the before and after examples below. This is the first time any application has built-in algorithms to avoid rest collisions and support for intelligent positioning of rests.

Examples of how the new Intelligent Rests feature avoids rest collisions in Sibelius 8.1.

Get perfect repeated endings

If you’ve ever written music with first, second, and third time bars, you may have spent some time fixing lines that Sibelius created a bit too long. That’s not the case anymore. With the layout improvements, you can now create multiple time ending bars that appear and play back just the way you expect them to.

Examples of improvements in Sibelius 8.1 Nth time endings before and after

Share your music more easily—MP3 export

Want to let your client, colleague, or friends hear your latest composition? You now have the option of exporting your score as an MP3 audio file, making it faster and easier to send your music through email or over Skype, or even posting it across all of your social network channels. Not only do you have control over the bit rate and sample rate, Sibelius will automatically generate ID3 tags from your Score Info dialog.

Additional Improvements

Check out this post about Sibelius 8.1 in the Sibelius Forum by product manager Sam Butler listing other improvements including El Capitan support.


File > Export > Audio - MP3 export option in Sibelius 8.1

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Marketing Manager for Avid Pro Tools, AAX, Education and music notation. In my past life, I have worked for the BBC, Virgin Townhouse Studios, SSL and Euphonix.