Sibelius | First — Avid’s Free Music Notation Software is Now Available

By in Notation

Introducing Sibelius | First

Today, we are really proud to release our first ever free version of Sibelius. We’ve taken the power and the time-saving workflows from Sibelius | Ultimate and created a streamlined application for creating music that makes it fun and easy for beginners, hobbyists, and students to compose and share simple, professional-looking scores.

If you’re new to Sibelius and can’t wait to get started, head to This will take you through a simple sign-up form and will deliver the new Sibelius installers to your inbox.

Start your first score with a template or from scratch

Input notation with your mouse, MIDI controller, or keyboard

Add instruments to your score to build up your orchestration

Sibelius | First is built with simplicity in mind, but also with the power of Sibelius | Ultimate. With Sibelius | First, you’re able to start writing music straight away using alphabetic input or with Flexi-time ™ using a MIDI keyboard. You can even mark up your score with dynamics, hairpins and phrasing with our new multi-edit workflows, allowing you to enter and edit multiple objects at once.

Need to find a feature? Simply type in what you need into the “Find in Ribbon” search box in the upper right corner and Sibelius will find it for you immediately. Here’s a quick overview showing how quick it is to mark up your score with slurs, dynamics and a trill:

You can even share scores online to collaborate, get discovered, and be heard.

“This is a brilliant way to introduce new composers, songwriters, arrangers and musicians to music notation. Sibelius | First will help to make it easier and less daunting to turn musical ideas into written music, whether you’re starting with just a thought or a midi sequence.”

—Booker White, orchestrator, Disney

Unlocking more features and Upgrading

When you reach the limits of Sibelius | First’s features, there are two paths to upgrade to either Sibelius or Sibelius | Ultimate. Here’s a simple table of how the features compare:

Sibelius | First


Sibelius | Ultimate

Ideal for…

Composing simple scores with up to 4 instrument parts (staves)

Composing simple/moderate music with up to 16 staves

Composing, arranging, and publishing scores and parts of any size and complexity; creating notation worksheets and exercises for education


Available for free for anyone to download and use

Subscribe monthly or annually, or purchase and own a perpetual license

Subscribe monthly or annually, purchase and own a perpetual license (educational discount available), trade-up from other notation software, or get network licensing

Number of computers you can install a single copy on


2, for use by same person (e.g., desktop + laptop)

Software updates and support

Download the latest update as it becomes available

Access all new releases and Standard support through a subscription or renewable 1-Year Software Updates + Support Plan (included with new perpetual licenses)

Cloud Sharing

10 scores

20 scores


Number of voices per staff




Sync video




Sibelius Sounds sample library




Timeline view




Layout Control




Thanks to the new single installer for Sibelius, unlocking more features and upgrading to Sibelius Ultimate is really simple. To get started visit this page that provides an overview of the two:

After starting your new subscription or license, open Avid Application Manager to check the new licensing has been picked up (re-sync the account if not) and simply run Sibelius again to get access to the new features.

Sibelius | First workflows for teachers and professionals

Sibelius | First can open any Sibelius file going back to version 1.0 to 2018.6. It can also open files that have more than 4 staves, however these will open up in a read-only mode. This is perfect for sharing scores with people who don’t have Sibelius (yet) and need to review, play back and even print scores. It’ll also be a useful workflow for teachers to send scores to students as reference material.


PhotoScore and AudioScore First

 Simply scan music in or transcribe music with PhotoScore First and AudioScore First


• Free editions of the popular PhotoScore Ultimate and AudioScore Ultimate are included for all Sibelius| First users. You’ll find these in your Avid Master Account.

• Upgrade to either Sibelius or Sibelius Ultimate and you’ll’ received PhotoScore Lite and AudioScore Lite that will unlock the number of staves and pages of music you can scan, and expand the number of music of audio you can transcribe at once.

• If you need the full power from these applications, upgrade to PhotoScore Ultimate and AudioScore Ultimate.


Here’s a quick overview of how the different versions compare:

PhotoScore First

PhotoScore Lite

PhotoScore Ultimate

Max Staves per System




Max Pages per Score




AudioScore First

AudioScore Lite

AudioScore Ultimate

Max Audio Length

1 min

6 min

6 min

Shortest Note Value




Max Instruments per Score




Sibelius | First is the perfect introduction to music notation software. Whether you’re a student just starting out, or someone who is coming to music later in life, there is no better place to start than Sibelius First.

Create beautiful, captivating scores—for free

Sibelius | First* is a new streamlined version of Sibelius that makes it easy for beginners and hobbyists to create simple, professional-looking scores.

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.