Three Things: Tweaking Playback

It is always great to learn new techniques that speed up your workflow in an application you’ve been using for a while, isn’t it? In this series of blog posts, I’m going to stick to three things on a topic that I believe will help speed up your work flow.


Tweaking playback in the Inspector Panel

Playback of your score in Sibelius is an essential tool for proofing, demoing for the client, or sending out reference MP3’s for use in rehearsals. The defaults in Sibelius are often just right, but perhaps you want to tweak some element of the playback. There are several places you can do this, and one of these is the Inspector Panel (in previous versions of Sibelius this was called the Properties Panel).

The Inspector Panel found in the ribbon Home Tab > Edit > Inspector (or use the keyboard shortcut command shift I).


One: Turn it off!

Often there are elements that appear in your score that for some reason you don’t want to hear on playback, or perhaps only playback the first or second time of a repeated section. An example of this would be notes played only on the repeat.

In this example, I’ve marked this figure “2nd time only.”

Select the two bars and open the Inspector Panel. In the playback section you will see “Play on pass”—uncheck the checkbox for 1.

Now during playback this figure will be silent the first time and play on the repeat of the section. But this does not just apply to notes. It will also affect lines and text linked to playback. In this example, I want the decrescendo to playback second time only.

Click on the hairpin to select it (it turns blue) and open the Inspector Panel. Just as in the previous example, uncheck the checkbox for 1 in the “Play on pass” section. Now during playback this figure will play normally the first time and play the decrescendo on the repeat of this section.

Note: If you are in a passage with no repeats and there is something you just want to turn off for playback, uncheck “Play on pass” 1 and it will not play.


Two: Slow it down!

In Sibelius momentary changes in tempo such as ritards and accelerandos are created with lines. By default Sibelius bases these changes on a percentage and a linear change in tempo, but you can direct Sibelius to change from one specific tempo to another specific tempo.

In this example your starting tempo is 120 bpm, you have a one bar ritard, and you’d like the end tempo to be 106 bpm. Click on the ritard line (it turns blue) and open the Inspector Panel. You will see the default is a linear ritard of 75%. But you can set it to be a ritard based on a bpm of 106.

With this setting the ritard will now slow down exactly to quarter note equals 106. You can also experiment with the curve of the ritard—instead of linear it can be early or late to further dial in the playback.


Three: Play it softly

Often you may find the default playback of an instrument to be a bit too loud or too soft for certain sections. A good example is the piano part below. The notes in the right hand, voice 2 (green) are an accompaniment figure that needs to be played much softer than the melody. By default Sibelius will play all of these notes at the same volume.

Select the bars in the treble staff and filter voice 2 by going to the Home Tab > Select > Filters > Voices > Voice 2. You can also learn the keyboard shortcut and do it much more quickly! Voice 2 is now green and the blue box has disappeared and it will look like the example above. Open the Inspector panel and in the Playback section click the checkbox for Live Velocity and you will see the default is 80. Let’s change that to 45.

When you play this section back you will hear the inner line played much more softly.

Note: For these playback changes to be in effect, you must make sure that Live Playback is turned on under Play Tab > Live Playback. If this is not on, you will not see the options to adjust playback parameters in the Inspector panel.

Now that you have these three tips, use them to tweak your playback as needed.

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Three Things: Drum Set Notation

It is always great to learn new techniques that speed up your workflow in an application you’ve been using for a while isn’t it? In this series of blog posts, I’m going to stick to three things on a topic that I believe will help speed up your work flow.


And the beat goes on

Drum set notation can be a time consuming endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. With the help of some handy plug-ins and keyboard short cuts, you can make short work of drum set parts. You will find the following three tips work well with other rhythm section parts as well.

To follow along you will need to install the three plug-ins I mention, which are all found in

File Tab > Plug-ins > Install > Show:All > Notes and Rests


One: Slash notation

After the initial drum pattern is notated a common practice is to fill the following bars with slashes (or beats without stems in Sibelius terms).

You probably know that the direct way to do this is to put quarter notes on the middle line of the staff and then change the noteheads to “beat without stems”. Wouldn’t it be great to fill up the following bars, no matter how many, with slashes in one move? With the Fill Selection With Slash Notes plug-in, you can do just that! This plug-in works on other rhythm section parts as well and will put the slashes on midline no matter what the clef or key.

Select the bars you want to fill and run the Fill Selection With Slash Notes plug-in. This window will come up:

For this situation the defaults are just fine, you can explore the other options of this plug-in as needed. A tip to speed things up, check the box labeled “Do not show dialog again (this Sibelius session)” and now when you run the plug-in the bars will just fill with slash notes without this window opening up.


Two: Rhythmic notation

Similar to slash notation bars, with rhythmic notation the arranger is giving the drummer freedom to use his discretion as to what to play. The difference is, the arranger defines the rhythmic pattern on which the drummer bases his decision. Like slash notation in Sibelius, this notation is created by notating the rhythm on the midline of the staff and changing the noteheads, but this time to “Beat” which includes a stem on the notes. But as you may have guessed by now, there is a plug-in that will do this for you, it’s the Move Pitches To Transposed Midline plug-in.

With this plug-in you can create as many bars of rhythmic notation in as many bars as you need very quickly. The plug-in works on other rhythm section parts as well, and will put the slashes with stems on the midline no matter what the clef or key.

For this example, the right hand of this piano part has the rhythmic figure I want to represent in the drum part.

Select the bars in the treble staff and copy into the drum part and you’ll have this.

Select the bar you need to change. Now run the Move Pitches To Transposed Midline plug-in.

This window will come up. The defaults work for most cases, but experiment with the parameters as needed.

Notice the plug-in deleted the extra notes in the chord and has moved everything to the midline. It works just as well on single note phrases as it does with chords.


Three: Cues

If you do any big band or pit band arranging you are probably familiar with the technique of cueing horn section figures in the drum set part for “kicks”. The drummer reads the rhythms and creates a drum pattern to accent and support what is being played by the horns. The horn section rhythms appear above the top line of the staff as cue sized notes and rests along with slashes (beat no stem) on the mid line of the staff. It’s not difficult to create, but it does take quite a few steps. With Make Pitches Constant-Drums plug-in you can achieve all of this in 2 steps.

Here’s an example of a trumpet staff and a drum set staff. The trumpet staff has the notes and rests that represent the phrase you want to show in the drum set part. Copy the trumpet phrase into the drum set part, using copy and paste or opt/click method to copy.

Now run the Drum Cues plug-in. This great plug-in allows you to choose, notehead style, slash notehead style, cues above on the top staff line or bottom staff line and more. These are settings I use for a brass cue.

And the plug-in creates this in the drum set part:

Now that you have these three tips, assign them to keyboard shortcuts and you can really simplify the process of creating drum set parts.

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Register Now for Avid Education Summits in the US and UK This Summer

Avid Education Summits are back and better than ever, with more training, exclusive seminars and sessions. At this year’s events July 23 and 24 in Los Angeles and Manchester, U.K., Avid Learning Partners (ALPs), certified instructors and educators from the Americas and Europe will come together to discuss the latest updates from Avid and circulate training back to students and learners everywhere.

Avid Education Summits are essential events for Avid educators looking to get up to speed with the latest product features, updates and curriculums. These entirely free-of-charge events include a whole host of Avid Everywhere program and platform updates, workshop seminars, guest speakers and live Avid Certified Instructor (ACI) recertification training.

Hosted at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of Salford’s MediaCity U.K. Campus in Manchester, the Avid Education Summits for ALPs and ACIs are bookended by two weeks of instructor training classes.

From July 18-22 and July 25-29, there’s no better time for educators to get the advanced training they’ve been waiting for with 100-, 200- and 300-level classes for Media Composer, iNews, VENUE, Sibelius and Pro Tools, all scheduled to coincide with the Summit events so that educators can cover all bases in one trip.

At our Los Angeles event Sunday, July 24, Avid and The LA Film School will host an exclusive film screening featuring Oscar-nominated editor Kevin Tent, ACE. As a member of the American Cinema Editors guild and the editor of such notable films as Sideways, Nebraska, The Descendants and Blow, Kevin will discuss his decades of experience as a feature film editor. Admission to the screening is included with registration for the Avid Education Summit.

At our Manchester event, we’re holding an exclusive session with Inside The Edit’s Paddy Bird, who has worked on some of the world’s most renowned television shows, including “X Factor,” “Big Brother” and “Wife Swap” — plus numerous high-end political, historical and observational documentaries. Hosting his editing masterclass, Bird will share valuable techniques and provide key insights on the art of TV editing, taking the next generation of editing professionals through high end crafting secrets that are not taught in film schools, training courses or manuals.

Other agenda topics across both U.S. and U.K. events include:

  • Learning Partner Program updates
  • “What’s New” Training
  • ACI recertification training
  • NewBlue SX
  • Sonnox
  • Networking and socialising with Avid’s Education community

Don’t miss the opportunity to join these live events and network with the Avid community, including ALPs, ACIs and educators from across the Americas and Europe. Register below, or contact one of the teams at training@avid.com or trainingEMEA@avid.com.

Register now for the Avid Education Summit of your choice:

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PT310S6 Advanced Pro Tools | S6 Mixing Workflows

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IN101 An Introduction to iNEWS

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NC120 Media Composer | NewsCutter Option Fundamentals I & II

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Three Things: Plug-ins

It is always great to learn new techniques that speed up your workflow in an application you’ve been using for a while, isn’t it? The problem with reading or watching long in depth tutorials is, you may find a lot of great tips, but when you are done, you are overwhelmed with information. Finding three things you can apply right away is a great way to learn new techniques and have them stick. So in this series of blog posts, I’m going to stick to three things on a topic that I believe will help speed up your workflow.

More often than not, when I have a great tip about Sibelius it involves a plug-in. There are many plug-ins that ship with Sibelius and there are many more that are available for you to install free from right inside Sibelius. This allows the user to further customize Sibelius to his or her specific needs.

One: Installing

To install plugins in Sibelius go to File Tab > Plug-ins > Install > Show:All

You will see the plug-ins sorted by type. Notice on the bottom of the window that you can install the plug-ins in the default location or create your own custom folder. Click the install button and you are done!

Two: Finding

The next step is to find the plug-in when you need it. Each tab of the ribbon has plug-ins associated with that tab.

But the quickest way to find the plug-in (or anything in Sibelius) is to use the Find box in the upper right corner of the ribbon. For example to find the “Add Pickup Bar” plug-in, type in “Add pick”, and there it is!

Three: Keyboard Short Cuts, the key to speed

The reason you are using a plug-in is to speed up a process in your workflow. The way to maximize this is to add keyboard shortcuts to your most often used plug-ins. When adding keyboard shortcuts, take a minute to come up with a system. There are a lot of keystroke combinations you can use for keyboard shortcuts and some you can’t, or really shouldn’t, use. Sibelius will allow you to reprogram almost any default keyboard shortcut, but there are some you really shouldn’t. For example, command S is save in every Apple program. You could use it for something else, but why cause the confusion? Sibelius already uses a lot of the single letter keys for keyboard shortcuts, K for key signature, Q for clef, etc. Also many predefined shortcuts are the command key and a letter, command L for lyrics, command K for chords etc. So what are you left with for user-defined keystrokes?

  • You can use all the function keys F1-F19, although some of these keys get intercepted by the the operating system.
  • You can use single letter keys in combination with any or all of these modifier keys: control, option and command.
  • You can also combine those modifier keys with a single letter and the shift key, so control + option and a single letter or control + shift and a single letter. Actually you can use them all together if need be for example, shift + control + option + command + a single letter.
  • You can also use the function keys in conjunction with any or all of the modifier keys, for example control + F1. Starting to see the possibilities?

So many options and it’s tempting to just start setting up shortcuts but back to the plan.


Functions, Schema, Geography and Mnemonics

I’ve found it much easier to remember what shortcuts I’ve programmed if I do one of, or a combination of, the following:

  1. Group similar functions to similar shortcuts
  2. Build off existing Sibelius shortcuts
  3. Use the same area of the keyboard for the same type of function (editing, layout, etc) geography.
  4. Use a mnemonic device to associate the shortcut with its purpose.

Here’s an example of how I employ three of the techniques.

I use explode, reduce and exchange staff contents plug-ins a lot. And usually at the same point in the arranging process. So I’ve grouped them together in the same geographical location, with letters that remind me of the function and with the same modifier keys.

  • Explode plug-in is control + option + E
  • Reduce plug-in is control + option + R
  • Exchange Staff Contents plug-in is control + option + S

For the “Exchange Staff Contents” plug-in, I was already using “E” in that shortcut grouping. I’ve always thought of that plug-in as “swapping’ staff contents”, so I used “S”.

For more tips on setting up keyboard shortcuts, read the blogpost Sibelius: Keyboard Shortcuts Part 1: The Key To Productivity! on my blog Notes on Notes.

So the next time you think to yourself, “There has to be an easier way to do this…”, look for a plug-in because someone else has probably had the same thought and there may already be a plug-in created to solve that problem!

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Sibelius 8.4 and Update to Avid Scorch are Now Available

We’re pleased to announce updates to both Sibelius 8 and our iOS app, Avid Scorch. Sibelius 8.4 introduces a new Custom Staff Sizes feature, along with various fixes. Avid Scorch is now a native 64-bit iOS app and can play back to external MIDI devices.

Sibelius 8.4

Sibelius 8.4 adds two new staff sizes to the existing normal and small staff sizes that existed in previous versions of Sibelius. There are now four staff sizes for you to choose from, defined in the Engraving Rules > Staves dialog. These are the defaults you’ll see:

  • Normal – 7mm
  • Medium – 6mm
  • Small – 5.3mm
  • Extra small – 4.5mm

The medium, small and extra small staff sizes are scaled proportionally to the normal staff size. Changing the normal staff size will also cause all the other staff sizes to change (effectively allowing you to globally scale your score), whereas changing the smaller staff sizes is completely independent.

Changing the staff size of your instruments

The quickest way to change the staff size of an instrument is from the Add or Remove Instruments dialog. Let’s say for example we’d like to add a rehearsal piano “instrument” to an unaccompanied choral piece:

1. Press the I key on your keyboard to display the Add or Remove Instruments dialog.
2. Find Piano from the left hand list, select it and click Add to Score.
3. Piano will be added to the list on the right, just like before.
4. Select piano on the right, and you’ll see a staff sizes drop down box becomes available to you.
5. Click the staff size dropdown, and you’ll see the four staff sizes listed. The default staff size for that instrument is denoted with “instrument default” (more on that later).
6. Select the small staff size for both the right hand and left hand staves of your piano.
7. Click OK.

The piano, with small staff size, is now added to your score.

Note that, when adding instruments to your score, Sibelius always chooses the instrument default for you, meaning that if you don’t need to change the staff size of your instruments, then there is no extra step in your workflow.

Engraving rules

The finer controls relating to staff size are found in the Engraving Rules dialog. Navigate through Appearance > Engraving Rules > Staves, and you’ll find a new Staff Sizes table, allowing you to edit each individual size.

Sibelius shows you staff sizes using the same unit of measurement that you select in the Document Setup dialog. As before, you have the choice of millimeters, inches or points.

House styles and instrument definitions

It’s also possible to define a default size for your instrument as part of the instrument definition itself. This, along with the settings you choose in Engraving Rules, is stored in the House Style, meaning you can easily export a standard set of staff size settings and apply them across your scores for a consistent look and feel.

Note spacing

As aforementioned, the medium, small and extra small staff sizes are all scaled proportionally to the normal staff size. The same is true for note spacing, where the normal staff size can effectively be considered the master size.

MusicXML support

We’ve added support for custom staff sizes on both MusicXML import and export, meaning that if you work with other notation programs, you can now expect even more consistent results, requiring less manual clean up.

Further notes on custom staff sizes

The choice of four staff sizes is in fact purposefully limited — the updates we have made to Sibelius’ notation engine actually allow it to display any number of staff sizes. We’ve artificially limited the number of staff sizes you may have to make the feature easier to work with and also to encourage sensible choices when laying out your score for consistent results.

The custom staff sizes feature that we’re introducing today is in fact just the first step in a larger feature that we’re working on for a future Sibelius release. We’ll be able to reveal more about that in the next few weeks!

Here’s an example of a score showing the four independent staff sizes:

Other fixes and improvements in Sibelius 8.4

The following bugs are addressed in Sibelius 8.4:

  • Sibelius could crash if the name of your score had certain words in it on Mac OS X, as reported on Twitter by Ivan Boothe.
  • Sibelius can crash when attempting to input notes after having unchecked the Use Virtual Instruments and Effects checkbox in Play > Setup > Playback Devices > Audio Engine Options, as reported by various users on the Sibelius forum.
  • Key signatures could collide with a start repeat barline, as reported on the Sibelius forum.

We’ve also made a minor improvement to Sibelius’ Japanese localization.

If you haven’t upgraded to Sibelius 8 yet, there are only a few days left to get it at $89 before the price goes up. To buy the upgrade, please visit our online store.

Avid Scorch for iOS

Our iOS app for viewing and playing back Sibelius scores has had two updates recently too. In summary:

* 64-bit: Avid Scorch has been re-built as a native 64-bit iOS app to take advantage of the latest iPad models. As such, the playback engine has been upgraded too.
* MIDI out: You can now play your scores out to an external MIDI device, whether it’s attached via a USB camera connection kit, network or over Bluetooth.
* Support for Sibelius 8.4 files — you can now open scores directly saved from Sibelius 8.4.
* Browsing and previewing scores is now more robust.
* We’ve also given the store a more modern look and feel too. You should find the store and app in general is snappier to use.
* Numerous stability improvements and bug fixes.

To find out more about the app and to download the latest version, visit the Apple App Store:

App Store

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Getting Current with Sibelius: Everything You Need to Know About the New Upgrade Plans

In response to user feedback, we are today introducing improved plans for you to upgrade and get current with Sibelius 8.

Act now before upgrade prices go up in January—If you currently do not have an All Access plan for Sibelius, take advantage of special promotional upgrade pricing now and get on a plan for just $199 through December 31, 2016 before standard pricing, starting at $299, goes into effect on January 1, 2017 (education pricing will remain the same).

Every Sibelius 8 upgrade comes bundled with an  Upgrade and support plan, which gives you access to technical support and free upgrades to Sibelius.  Support plans may be renewed annually for $89.

If you allow your support plan to expire, it then costs $299 to get back on board (renewable thereafter for $89 a year).

What’s important to note is that your perpetual license never expires—you’ll always be able to use the software at the last version you’ve downloaded, even if you allow your plan to lapse in the future.

For customers in education, tiered pricing has been removed altogether so that you can upgrade for $89 at any time in the future. For schools with multi-seat licenses, the price to upgrade and renew is $29 per seat. To qualify for these special prices, you must provide proof of eligibility.

We’re also introducing a series of new, three year plans (with generous discounts included) for those users that prefer it. Details of these multiyear plans will be announced in due course.


What’s new in Sibelius 8 so far:

Here’s a quick overview of the new features we’ve rolled out since introducing Sibelius 8 last year…


Sibelius 8.4

  • ‭Create custom staff sizes, making it easier to get your scores looking perfect


Sibelius 8.3

  • Make music easier to learn—or flag certain items—by coloring individual notes and chords
  • Rests are now cleaned up nicely when sliding notes and rests, based on Time Signature and beam group
  • Work more easily with many improvements to multitouch gestures on laptop trackpads
  • Integrate your OS X El Capitan (10.11) workstations with the Sibelius License Server


Sibelius 8.2

  • Have the same pitched note display a different accidental in any part of your score
  • Achieve perfectly placed repeated barlines that coincide with time signatures
  • Move notes in time with a completely new workflow that enables you to slide selections


Sibelius 8.1

  • Create better looking scores fast with Magnetic Rests that automatically avoid notes and rests in other voices
  • Eliminate colliding repeat lines with improved concise placement
  • Share your work more easily with others by exporting your composition as an MP3 audio file
  • Add eleventh chords to your compositions with its inclusion in the chord library
  • Compose music on any OS X El Capitan (10.11) or Windows 10 computer with new support


Sibelius 8.0

  • Handwrite music with a pen and edit notes with a tap using a Surface Pro 3 with PhotoScore & NotateMe
  • Navigate and edit scores quickly using multitouch gestures on a trackpad or Surface Pro
  • Draw annotations directly on a score to communicate ideas, comments, or create reminders
  • See your score in all its beautiful glory with support for high-DPI displays on Windows
  • Auto-activate Sibelius and stay on top with the latest updates through the Avid Application Manager


I have….

I need to….

I’ll get….

Sibelius 8
standard or education version

Download the latest version for free or renew an expiring plan for $89 through my Avid Account

All Access plan extension with:

  • 1-year access to all Sibelius updates and upgrades
  • 1-year access to support

Sibelius 1–7.5
standard version

Purchase one of the following:

  • Sibelius Upgrade + 1-year All Access Plan for $199 (plan renewable for $89/year thereafter)*
  • Sibelius Upgrade + 3-year All Access Plan for $299* (plan renewable for $89/year thereafter)
  • Sibelius 8 perpetual license (doesn’t expire)
  • 1-year or 3-year access to all Sibelius updates and upgrades
  • 1-year or 3-year access to support

 Sibelius for Education
any education or Academic version**

Purchase a Sibelius for Education Upgrade for $89 (plan renewable for $89/year) 

  • Sibelius 8 for Education perpetual license (doesn’t expire)
  • 1-year access to all Sibelius updates and upgrades
  • 1-year access to support


* If you own Sibelius, take advantage of special limited-time pricing. Upgrade your software and get a 1-year Avid All Access plan for $199, or a 3-year plan for just $299, when you purchase by December 31, 2016. Starting January 1, 2017, standard pricing for these upgrades/plans will go into effect at $299 and $399, respectively (annual plan renewals are just $89/year thereafter). ** Please note that Sibelius for Education upgrades require proof of academic eligibility to receive a serial number.

Score Big With Sibelius

Step up to Sibelius 8 for just $199 ($89 for the educational version) and get the tools you need to create beautiful, captivating scores faster than ever.


Step Up to the Full Version of Sibelius and Save Big

To create amazing musical scores that demand attention, you need more than just talent—you need powerful tools that help turn your musical vision into clean and beautiful scores. The world’s best composers rely on Sibelius music notation software because it provides intuitive tools that make notation, arrangement, and layout easy.

For a limited time, you can save $100 when you step up to the full version of Sibelius from Sibelius | First, Sibelius Student, or G7. Not only will you have the advanced tools you need to compose faster and more efficiently, you’ll be able to create sheet music that accurately conveys your musical ideas—down to the last note.

Whether you’re composing symphonies or working on film scores, there’s never been a better time to step up to the full version of the world’s most powerful music notation software.

  • Compose complex scores with a full range of instruments on unlimited staves
  • Control all aspects of your score, and get great performances with highly detailed notation
  • Listen back to your composition with 36GB of studio-quality instrument sounds
  • Publish and share beautiful sheet music with professional auto-layout tools

Sibelius Box

Your trade-up also includes an annual Avid upgrade plan for Sibelius, which provides access to all future software upgrades and expert help for one year from the time of activation.

Score Big With Sibelius

Step up to the full version of Sibelius for just $299 and get the tools you need to create beautiful, captivating scores faster than ever. Hurry—this offer ends September 20th.


Sibelius 8.3 Now Available—What’s New

It’s been just more than a month since our last release, and hot on its heels is another release of Sibelius that’s small, but packs a punch. It reintroduces a nice feature, to colour notes independently in a chord, but also extends this to our ManuScript API scripting language for automating the colouring of notes and other objects. In addition to this, there are over 60 other smaller fixes and tweaks to help you get even more out of Sibelius.

If you own Sibelius 8, the upgrade will be waiting for you in your My Avid account, or in the Avid Application Manager installed on your computer. If you haven’t upgraded to Sibelius 8 yet, you can do so from our webstore or from all good retailers. When you upgrade, you not only get Sibelius 8.3, but it also entitles you to a full year of software upgrades.

In summary, here are the improvements in Sibelius 8.3:


Colorful notes

We’ve added the ability to colour notes independently in a chord. In earlier versions of Sibelius, the color applied to any note would affect the whole chord, but with Sibelius 8.3, the notes can be coloured independently. This feature is useful not only for educators to help students learn music in more vibrant and engaging ways, but it’s just as useful in contemporary scores or even for simply marking up a score for editing.

We’ve updated the ManuScript Plug-in language in Sibelius (the built-in scripting language for automating tasks in Sibelius) to take advantage of the new coloring features. As part of this, the Color Pitches and BoomWhacker plug-ins that ship with Sibelius have been updated to use these new methods as well.

These changes have been added without any change to the file format version, so you can can open files saved in Sibelius 8.3, in 8.2 and 8.1. However, when opening scores in 8.2 and earlier, the colors you have applied to notes will be stripped out as those older versions won’t know how to handle the new coloring attributes.

Improvements to Note sliding

In Sibelius 8.2, we introduced an innovative feature to allow you to move notes left and right in the score with two simple keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+Alt+Left and Right, and Cmd+Alt+Left and Right). This handy little feature speeds up editing and note entry and saves valuable time where preparing a score. With Sibelius 8.3, rests that are created and left behind by moving notes, are now cleaned up nicely, so you aren’t left with a trail of rests.

Miscellaneous improvements

  • To track down the problems some users have reported with scrolling and zooming on Macs when using a Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad or a trackpad on a MacBook or MacBookPro, we’ve given the feature an overhaul to resolve these issues. As a result, you should find scrolling and zooming on Mac smoother and generally more responsive. Gestures with three-fingers are now better supported, allowing you to switch windows more easily, for example.
  • A problem where Sibelius 8.2.0 could crash on quit after first launch on a clean system has been fixed
  • Start and end repeat barlines would sometimes appear too thick when written together. These are now lined up correctly as before.
  • Some users reported a problem where note input would stop working when switching scores. This has been fixed.
  • The Sibelius License Server is now supported on Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan
  • When using Reset Design in the score, it no longer affects accidentals in the part. This is a change in behavior from Sibelius 8.2 where resetting the design on a note or larger selection would reset the accidental in the parts too.


What’s Next from Sibelius

The Sibelius development team are already working hard on 8.4, as well as improvements to Sibelius Cloud Publishing, our solution for publishers to sell sheet music online, and our iOS app Avid Scorch, which allows users to take their scores on the go.

More news on these, and more, in due course.

Sibelius 8.3 Now Available

The latest version of the world’s best-selling music notation software is here! Sibelius® 8.3 delivers over 60 improvements, enabling you to compose music more easily and creatively than ever.


Sibelius 8.2 Now Available—What’s New

I’m pleased to announce the release of Sibelius 8.2, which is available immediately for all those with Sibelius 8. To download the upgrade, open Sibelius and go to File > Help > Check for Updates. Alternatively, log into your Avid Master Account and download Sibelius 8.2 directly from there.

If you have an earlier version of Sibelius, you can try out the features in Sibelius 8.2 right now by downloading the trial, available here: www.sibelius.com/trial

To buy an upgrade to Sibelius 8.2, visit our online store or contact one of our many resellers. With the upgrade, you’ll get access to Sibelius 8.2 along with all the further upgrades we release during the next year, as well as access to our dedicated support team to answer your questions and to make sure you are up and running.

Sibelius 8.2 is the second upgrade of Sibelius this year. In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of what has been included in Sibelius since Sibelius 8.0 was released in June 2015:

  • Support for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Pen
  • Multi-touch support for all trackpads and compatible touch-screens
  • Annotate and mark up scores
  • Intelligent Rests – rests in multiple voices now avoid each other and notes in other voices
  • Repeat lines no longer collide when creating them
  • Export an MP3 of your score directly from Sibelius
  • Support for Windows 10 and Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan
  • Add 11 chord added to the chord library
  • … plus several other small improvements to Sibelius’ features and stability

All these features, and all those included in 8.2, are now available to all Sibelius 8 customers, whether you own a license of Sibelius or subscribe.

What’s new in Sibelius 8.2

Repeat barlines appear before time signatures

Where start repeat barlines and time signatures coincide, Sibelius now correctly places the time signature before the repeat barline.

  • Repeat barlines are now placed after time signatures
  • Sibelius automatically adds a little extra padding between the time signature and the repeat barline for neat layout
  • When the time signature and repeat barline occurs in the middle of a staff, the time signature’s preceding barline is maintained, as well as the repeat barline itself



When working with older versions of Sibelius

Importing from legacy versions

  • The existing layout of your repeat lines and time signatures is respected, so you can expect your score to look the same as it did in older versions of Sibelius
  • You may update your score by deleting and re-inserting the repeat barline

Exporting to legacy versions

  • When exporting, the new positioning of repeat barlines and time signatures is maintained.
  • This means that you can expect your score to look identical in older versions of Sibelius that don’t support the updated positioning.
  • It’s worth noting that we’ve implemented this new improvement without changing the file format so if you’re working with someone with Sibelius 8.1, they can open your scores and see the new and improved positioning.

Respell accidentals in parts

Sibelius now lets you specify different spellings of accidentals between the part and the full score.

To respell the note in a part, simply select the note and press Return. The note and the accidental will turn orange to indicate it’s different in this part. Any change you make in the part, will only affect that part, allowing you to have different accidental spellings in several parts containing the same instrument.

Any changes made to the note in the full score will override any change you have made in the parts, allowing you to quickly reset the spelling.

Slide and move notes in time

This allows a user to move a note or selection within time. This has never been possible before without copy/cut and pasting, which involves using the mouse and/or exiting note input mode that slows down and would interrupt your workflow.

How it works

Moving a note or selection

  1. Select a note or passage in Sibelius
  2. Use Command + Alt + Left/Right (Mac) or Control + Alt + Left/Right (Win) to move your selection left or right

How Sibelius decides how far to move your selection

A selection will move by the minimum of the following:

  1. The duration of the adjacent note or rest.
  2. The duration of the selected note, rest or passage
  3. The duration of the bottom figure (denominator) of the time signature.

The result is that Sibelius will in most cases move your selection by a musically appropriate amount, given the current time signature and the length of your selection.

Collisions with existing notation

If you slide your selection into existing notation, then Sibelius will swap your selection with the notes at the destination.

Handling tuplets

Sliding of tuplets is not currently supported.  If you attempt to slide a passage in a way that would cause a tuplet to be modified (i.e it’s either part of your selection or adjacent to it) then Sibelius will not slide your selection, and will display a message to indicate this limitation. We are hoping to improve this in a future release.

Moving notes in action

In all these examples, select the note or passage and type Command + Alt + Right (Mac) or Control + Alt + Right (Win) to move the notes.

Individual notes

Moving a selection

Moving a selection with multiple voices and/or staves

It’s possible to slide passage selections that cover notes in multiple voices and even span several staves.  At all times, Sibelius maintains the musical integrity of your selection so that any important harmonic or rhythmic relationships are kept intact as you slide.

During note input

The ability to move notes without exiting note input mode is very useful indeed!  The note input cursor moves with you as you slide, so you can quickly get notes down and continue right away – no need to exit note input mode, or reach for your mouse.

1. Enter the first note of your phrase

2. Enter the next note

3. Slide to the right

4. Continue composing right where you left off

Improvements to rests avoiding notes

In response to user feedback, we’ve made a number of improvements to the new rest collision avoidance and placement features that we introduced in Sibelius 8.1.

Interpolation between phrase groups

In order to guide the eye of the performer, Sibelius interpolates the position of rests between phrase groups.  New in Sibelius 8.2, is a further addition to this behaviour – any gap of a bar or more of single voice writing will effectively act as a break in rest placement, preventing any interpolation.  This new behaviour only affects the placement of rests if you have chosen to group rests by beam group, in Appearance > Engraving Rules > Rests.The following diagram illustrates how Sibelius’ algorithm places rests.  Boxes represent phrase groups.  Lines represent interpolation.

Notice how the two half-note rests in voice 1 in bars 1 and 2 effectively follow the slope of the phrase between the two bars (taking into account the strict rules on where rests should be placed within a stave).  Since bar three is an empty bar (as far as voice 1 is concerned anyway), there is a break in interpolation.  Hence, the bar rest in bar three, voice one, is positioned in its default spot.

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Sibelius 8.2 Now Available

The new Sibelius 8.2 delivers advanced new engraving features and powerful workflows that enable you to write compositions that look as amazing as they sound—faster and easier than ever before.


Sibelius 8.1 Now Available—What’s New


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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