Sibelius | First 8.6.1 Now Available—What’s New

By in Music Creation, Notation

Sibelius | First

Sibelius | First is the little brother to Sibelius, packed full of features to help students and amateur musicians make a start writing and composing music. The features are aligned with high school student and teachers in mind, with additional features to help those in small instrumental groups prepare parts for performance. In Sibelius 8.6.1, we’ve of course kept Sibelius | First in line with Sibelius, inheriting improvements to note spacing and the new Magnetic Lines introduced in 8.6 (see below for details). In addition to this, Sibelius | First 8.6.1 now includes MP3 Export, allowing you to easily share you music with others and take your music on the go.

If you are new to Sibelius | First, you can get started in a number of ways:

What’s new in v8.6.1 for Sibelius

This small update follows the recent 8.6 release, where we introduced Magnetic Glissandi lines, allowing you to quickly and easily draw gliss lines and slides that attach themselves to notes. If you often use these lines in your compositions or orchestrations, this feature alone will save you precious time. 8.6 also included a number of improvements ranging from settings in the Inspector to Music XML improvements to now being more than 10% faster at starting up!

Sibelius 8.6.1 builds on all these, fixing a good handful of bugs along the way. In summary:



  • Guitar slides from the Keypad now respond to changes in playback, which are set in the Inspector and the Edit Instruments dialog. The choices are Chromatic, White Notes, Black Keys, Continuous or None.
  • Trills that trigger soundID changes of +trill.half and +trill.whole now play back more reliably
  • The option to enable MP3 surround encoding has been removed from the Audio Export options


Exporting scores to previous versions of Sibelius

  • When exporting to previous versions of Sibelius, gliss lines are, in most cases, now positioned in the same place vertically. Sibelius does this best when exporting to 8.1-8.5 but some shift may occur when exporting to 8.0 and earlier.


Engraving improvements

  • Sibelius now positions accidentals correctly when engraving rules set to “prefer top accidental at right”.
  • Spacing between clef and the first note has been improved. It’s worth noting that scores created in Sibelius 8.4 to 8.6.0 will have had a small amount of extra space allocated to key signatures in some cases. This has now fixed in 8.6.1 but if you’ve manually adjusted the spacing in scores using 8.4-8.6.0, you’ll need to check this spacing for any adverse affects. The change is so small that we expect this has largely gone unnoticed.
  • The gap after a double barline in an unpitched instrument part can now be reset once more—there’s no need to delete the hidden key signature marking as a workaround.
  • The positions of Glissandi lines and Slides (LX, RX, LY) are now retained when opening an old score in 8.6. This means scores with Slides that had their ends manually adjusted in a previous version of Sibelius, now appear exactly the same when opened in 8.6.1. However, if old scores have been saved in 8.6, their Slides will continue to be offset. To fix this up, you can filter out all regular ‘Lines’, being careful to deselect any lines in the score that aren’t slides, and reset their position.


General stability

  • Sibelius no longer crashes when rapidly creating a new score from the Quick Start.
  • Revoice Chord Diagram now works as expected once more.
  • It’s possible once again to be able to delete a user-created Guitar Scale Diagram.
  • When in note input mode, the color of the mouse pointer is now the same as on keypad.
  • Sibelius no longer crashes when recording Live Tempo if the playback line is at the end of the score.
  • Staff size change of a system is no longer lost after deletion and undo action, if it’s not the first system.


Avid Scorch

In addition to these two releases, we have a new version of our Avid Scorch iOS app that includes compatibility with files created in Sibelius and Sibelius | First 8.6.1, as well as improvements to playing back to connected external MIDI devices.


How to get Sibelius 8.6.1 and Sibelius | First 8.6.1 updates

If you have Sibelius or Sibelius | First installed on your computer already, you can download and install the update easily:

  • Run Avid Application Manager
  • Go to the Apps tab and you’ll see the update waiting for you

Alternatively, you’ll find the latest installers waiting for you in your account at

If you are on an earlier version of Sibelius, you can reinstate your upgrade plan or upgrade via the webstore or through a reseller. This will give you access to Sibelius 8.6.1 as well as the next year (or 3, depending on the upgrade you buy) of upgrades and improvements we release.

If you are new to Sibelius, you can get started in a number of ways:





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We hope you enjoy the improvements in Sibelius and Sibelius | First. My next post will be around what to expect in Sibelius 8.7, so stay tuned!

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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.