1

Editing and Annotation in the new Sibelius on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3

Weclome to my second installment of our look at Microsoft Surface. The first blog showed note entry with the pen and some GUI optimizations for the Surface Pro 3. In this article, I’ll look at Editing and Annotate features of the new Sibelius that are now optimized for use with Surface Pro 3.

Editing

Tapping the erase button = escape

It’s really common for users to want to exit note input, deselect objects, exit menus, and so on, and get on with whatever the next task is. Previously, the easiest way to do this was with the Escape key. We’ve made it easy with the pen; just click the erase button (without the nib on the screen), which behaves exactly like the escape key. The idea is the user has to put the pen down as little as possible, for a friction-free workflow.

The different buttons and their official names on the Surface Pro 3 pen

Multiple selections

You can now use the pen to easily make single and multiple object selections in the score. Here’s how we’ve implemented it in the new Sibelius.

Drawing a selection box in Sibelius

Center selection during note input and editing.

You’ll have seen this function in Sibelius before, but previously there hasn’t been a way of doing it without a keyboard.

  1. Click and hold the right-click button on the pen.
  2. Drag the nib across the score.
  3. A selection box is drawn allowing you to select the notes you want.
  4. When you’re finished, you can deselect by tapping the erase button on the pen.

 

Adding to existing selections

This is new to Sibelius. We want to allow a user to make complex selections with only the pen. That means there is no interruption as the user puts the pen down to use, for example, the keyboard and mouse, which is what you’d have had to do previously in Sibelius.

  1. Select an object in the score by tapping it with the pen.
  2. Click and hold the right-click pen button.
  3. Tap on a new object.
  4. Sibelius adds the new object to your selection.

You can do the same too with selection boxes:

  1. Select an object in the score by tapping it with the pen.
  2. Click and hold the right-click pen button.
  3. Tap and drag on your score – a selection box is drawn
  4. Release the right-click pen button. All the objects that were in your selection box are added to your selection.

Again, tap the erase button to invoke escape, thus deselecting and returning you to where you started.

 

Types of selection

Sibelius has two types of selection: passage selections and object selections.

A passage selection, encompassing a passage and all attached objects

A passage selection, encompassing a passage and all attached objects.

An object selection, comprising of individual objects, not necessarily related to one another

An object selection, comprising of individual objects, not necessarily related to one another.

The type of selection you get depends on how you select objects, and in which order:

  • Object selection + object selection = object selection
  • Object selection + passage selection = passage selection
  • Passage selection + passage selection = passage selection

This should be familiar to existing Sibelius users already, as it’s very similar to how the mouse works now.

 

The old mousy ways work too

The pen inherits a lot of behaviour from the mouse too. That means you can still:

  • Double-tap on a bar to select the entire line.
  • Triple-tap to select the entire line throughout the score.

Erasing objects

Perhaps unsurprisingly, you can use the erase button on the pen to erase/delete objects in the score.

 

Single objects

  1. Click and hold the erase button on the pen, then tap on the object you want to delete.
  2. Er… that’s it.

 

Multiple objects

  1. Make a multiple selection using one of the methods above.
  2. Click and hold the erase button on the pen, then tap on the selection you’ve just made.

Just like previously, if you’ve selected an entire instrument in a score (by triple tapping on it), Sibelius will ask you whether you want to remove that instrument from the score, or merely just empty its bars of notation.

Making corrections using the new Sibelius Annotate feature

Making corrections using the new Sibelius Annotate feature.

Annotate

With the new Sibelius, we’re releasing a brand new feature – Annotate. It allows you to draw in your score, using the pen (or a mouse if you don’t have a Surface).

 

Adding an annotation

  1. Tap Review > Annotate.
  2. Begin drawing on the score.
  3. The annotation is pressure sensitive – pressing harder will give you a thicker line. Pressure sensitivity should help the annotation to appear natural and aesthetically pleasing.

Scribble demonstrating pressure sensitivity.

Undo/redo

You can undo and redo annotations on a stroke by stroke basis. Since you’ve probably got the pen in your hand, the easiest way to do this is using the buttons on the top left of the Sibelius window.

 

Grouping of annotations

Sibelius intelligently groups the different pen strokes that make up an annotation. This means that, instead of moving an annotation a stroke at a time (which could be painfully tedious) you can drag an annotation, in its entirety, into any location you see fit, just like you would any other object in the score.

 

Hide/show

Annotations can be shown and hidden on a case by case basis by right-clicking on them, using pen or mouse, and choosing hide or show. You can hide them globally using a new tick box in View tab > Invisibles.

 

Changing the colour of an annotation

  1. Create an annotation as above
  2. Exit annotation mode by tapping the erase button on your pen (or pressing escape)
  3. Select the annotation, and right-click on it, and choose Color…
  4. Select the colour you want.

In future releases, we’ll make it easier to change the colour of the annotation at the time of entry, but for now we have the paradigm that exists for other objects in Sibelius as described above.

 

Graphical scoring

OK, I admit, the Annotate feature isn’t really intended for this, but there are some interesting possibilities for future development. Here’s a short example:

Using the annotate feature to allow freehand drawing for graphical scoring.

For education

If you’ve got a network license of Sibelius, then Annotate provides a nice workflow for teachers and educators to provide feedback to students. Using the built-in Classroom Control feature of Sibelius, a teacher can request a student’s score from their computer and open it locally in their copy of Sibelius, on their machine. The teacher can then add annotations on the score – corrections, suggestions and so on – which are then sent back to the student for them to work on, all via the network.

 

High DPI display support for Windows

Sibelius now supports Windows high density displays and pixel ratio scaling. Sibelius’ UI is now displayed at a far higher resolution, and makes far better use of screen real estate on Windows high resolution devices. It sounds like a small feature, but actually it has been essential in making all the features above possible. As aforementioned, we’ve added proper high DPI support for the keypad, along with new graphics. We’re also giving the same treatment to the transport window to boot (allowing pen users to use Sibelius’ playback functions using only the pen).

 

Wrapping up

I hope this article has been helpful in explaining the new features and support we’re adding to Sibelius. Thanks for reading it, and if you’ve got questions, please ask. More from me in the coming weeks about other Sibelius topics.

 

The Sibelius team

These features and workflows are a result of input from the entire Sibelius development and product management teams. So special mention to them because this is their work too. We’re also building on the foundation of many years of dedicated work on Sibelius, without which none of the above would have been remotely possible.

Get Your Free 30-Day Sibelius Trial

Get The New Sibelius Today

Access Sibelius in more ways than ever. Subscribe, perpetual, and upgrade. You can also crossgrade from Finale, Notion, Encore and Mosaic.

BUY NOW




Music Composition Apps PhotoScore and NotateMe are a Perfect Pair with the new Sibelius

 

Sibelius has shipped with free Lite versions of Neuratron’s music scanning and recognition technology since before even the first Windows version (Optical Manuscript shipped with Sibelius for Acorn computers in 1997). The new Sibelius is no different and includes PhotoScore Lite 8, which now features the reduced functionality version of our music handwriting app, NotateMe Now. Sibelius can also be purchased as a bundle with the full versions of PhotoScore & NotateMe Ultimate 8. As the founder of Neuratron I thought it would be interesting to give you some background about these apps, how you can include them in your compositional workflow and how they integrate with Sibelius.

The way we use computers has been changing rapidly the past few years. Going are the days of clunky desktop machines controlled by mouse and keyboard; replacing them are highly mobile devices connected wirelessly to the web, controlled by touch and voice.

At Neuratron, we’ve been aware of these changes for a number of years and our highly acclaimed NotateMe music handwriting app for Android and iOS  shows how we have strived to adapt.

 

NotateMe makes it possible for musicians to compose digital scores anywhere, for example, on the train or plane, at the park, or on the sofa. You simply handwrite notation using a stylus or finger on a tablet or smartphone and it is converted to printed notation in front of your eyes. In fact, it’s just like using pen and paper, with the amazing benefit that you end up with an automatically formatted score that can be played back and printed out. Now that NotateMe is integrated into PhotoScore 8, it can even be sent directly to Sibelius at the tap of a button, in the same way as scanned scores.

 

We’ve actually been making it possible to write digital scores on the go since we released PhotoScore Ultimate 5 in 2007, with recognition of music handwritten on special PhotoScore Paper. However it was fairly obvious that the ideal solution is to write notation directly onto a computer screen using a stylus and have software convert it immediately to printed notation.

The problem back then was that the processing power of phones and tablets had not advanced sufficiently for our recognition technologies and furthermore, touchscreens were not sensitive enough to pick up small drawings such as half-noteheads. Then, in Summer 2012, Microsoft announced the Surface tablet, and we realized straight away that this was all about to change.

The first NotateMe prototypes were tested using a Samsung touchscreen device running Windows 8. However, rather than releasing for Windows, the first commercial apps were made available for iOS and Android in Summer 2013. This is partly because we thought it made more sense to integrate our technology into the next major PhotoScore release, but we were also waiting for Microsoft Surface Pen technology to reach a certain maturity.

 

Sibelius ships with PhotoScore & NotateMe Lite and AudioScore 8 Lite. A special bundle with Sibelius and the Ultimate versions of PhotoScore & NotateMe and AudioScore is also available including a specially priced version for educators and students. The bundle can be purchased from the Avid Store or from your local Avid Reseller.

PhotoScore & NotateMe Ultimate 8 and AudioScore Ultimate 8 can also be purchased separately or as a bundle which includes both applications. And Avid offer a trial version of PhotoScore & NotateMe Ultimate 8.

If you already own an earlier version of PhotoScore Ultimate, you can upgrade to version 8 with NotateMe.

Get Your Free 30-Day Sibelius Trial

Get The New Sibelius Today

Access Sibelius in more ways than ever. Subscribe, perpetual, and upgrade. You can also crossgrade from Finale, Notion, Encore and Mosaic.

BUY NOW




New Optimizations in Sibelius for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3

My name is Joe Pearson and I am the Product Designer for Sibelius. This is the first in a series of articles for Avid Blogs to help you better understand new features in Sibelius and also to give you a look at what is going on behind the scenes as we develop Sibelius, Avid Scorch, Sibelius | Cloud Publishing and Sibelius | First. Sibelius now includes a combination of new features, more choices to buy, as we have added the option to subscribe, tighter integration with other Avid products on the MediaCentral Platform, and new 101 and 110 courses as part of our ALP program giving students the chance to gain to certification as a Sibelius Certified User.

We’ll start this series by looking at the new optimization in Sibelius for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

Early iteration of the newly refreshed keypad graphics.

Keypad

The keypad is one of the areas of Sibelius that never received a high-res reworking back when Apple first released machines with Retina displays. That meant it was minuscule on a modern high density Windows display (Mac OS does better job of making the transition from standard to high density displays). Aside from the aesthetic appeal of HiDPI, we needed the keypad to be larger too in order to be usable with the pen, which meant we needed new graphics for each of the buttons. This gave us an opportunity for a little update from our UI designers, so the look has been refreshed with a flatter, cleaner UI. In terms of functionality, the way the keypad works has stayed exactly the same.

What's New in The New Sibelius

Add and edit notes quickly with just a tap of the pen.

Pen Buttons

The button names represent their “standard” function. For example, the right-click button behaves in the same way as the right-click button on the mouse. The eraser button (not the top button!) acts as tool for deleting objects in most applications. The names we use here are same names that you’ll find in Microsoft documentation. Microsoft has set out a few paradigms for how user interaction should work with the pen in apps like OneNote – we’ve tried to follow as many of these as possible in Sibelius so a Surface user should feel quite at home. For example, the right-click button doubles as a tool for selecting items in OneNote – it does too in Sibelius (more on this below).

The different buttons and their official names on the Surface Pro 3 pen

Why haven't you used the top button in Sibelius?

Microsoft have hard-coded the functionality of the top button into launching OneNote, and there isn’t a way we can override it. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, that means we’ve not been able to make use of it in Sibelius. We’re working with Microsoft to change that in a future release.

Entering Notes

Entering notes using the pen is a natural way to get notes onto the page. It’s fast too – I reckon only an experienced Sibelius user, with knowledge of the keyboard shortcuts, would be able to work more quickly. That doesn’t mean this is just a feature for your rookie Sibelius user though. Here’s a little workflow using only the pen:

  1. Create a score with some instruments.
  2. Enter note input mode by tapping on Note Input tab > Input Notes.
  3. Select the note value you want from the keypad.
  4. Begin entering notes by tapping the pen on the stave where you want to enter notes.
  5. Sibelius automatically rejects palm input, so you can rest your hand on the surface of the screen just like you would a piece of paper.
  6. When you’ve finished inputting notes, tap the erase button on the pen to exit note input mode.

Because the pen is active Sibelius is able to detect when it is in close proximity, and display a ghosted note (in grey), indicating the position of the pen relative to the notes on the stave.

Note input indicator

Note input indicator.

This should help a user to enter notes accurately. If you make a mistake, use the undo and redo buttons on the top left of the Sibelius window – using these instead of the keyboard means you don’t have to put the pen down, but of course the keyboard shortcuts work just as well. If you find that pen input just isn’t very accurate, read on and I’ll go into how to calibrate the pen to make things better.

Moving around the score without exiting note input mode.

It sounds simple, but doing this whilst in note input mode has, in previous versions of Sibelius, been a pain. Extraneous notes get entered if you attempt to drag the score without first exiting note input mode, and oftentimes the keyboard shortcuts don’t provide the finely grained control a user needs to focus the area of the score they’re working on. We’ve got two new ways of achieving this in Sibelius 8.0, neither requiring the user to exit note input mode:

  1. Use your finger to physically drag the score on the screen of the Surface. To me, this is the most natural – it’s akin to lifting your pencil from the score, moving the paper, and carrying on.
  2. For users who prefer it, you can right-click and hold and drag the score, using the pen.

Zooming In and Out

Sibelius now supports pinch/stretch to zoom, both on the screen of Windows touch-screen devices, and trackpads on Mac OS. This works regardless of what mode you’re in (note input or annotate). Again, the idea is that the user needn’t put the pen down whilst interacting with Sibelius.

Recommendations

Easy Access Placement

If you’re right-handed like me, I recommend first placing the keypad over on the top left of your screen, so you can easily reach it as you enter notes—the opposite for our left-handed users.

Surface on a Flat Surface

Try experimenting with putting the Surface flat on a table – like a sheet of paper. It’s easier on your hand and wrist when you’re using the pen.

Center Selection During Note Input

Lastly, you can have Sibelius automatically adjust the position of the score as you enter notes. Try going to File tab > Preferences > Score Position and tick the Center Selection checkbox under During Input and Editing. The portion of the score you’re working on stays right under your fingertips.

Center selection during note input and editing.

Calibrate Your Pen

If you find that entering notes is proving a little inaccurate, try using Microsoft’s pen calibration tools that are build into Windows. On Windows 8.1 (and probably 10 too when it comes out):

  1. Click Start
  2. Begin typing “Calibrate” and you’ll see one of the options you’re given is “Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input”. Click that.
  3. Click the Setup button, and follow the on-screen instructions to calibrate the pen.

At that point, you should find pen input much more accurate. I’ve had to go through the calibration process a couple of times and it’s now pretty good – worth trying it multiple times if you’re still not happy.

Find out more about Microsoft Surface Pro 3

In part 2 of this blog on Sibelius and Surface Pro 3, I will look at Editing and Annotating and will also discuss educational applications and details of the higher-res windows display.

Get Your Free 30-Day Sibelius Trial

Get The New Sibelius Today

Access Sibelius in more ways than ever. Subscribe, perpetual, and upgrade. You can also crossgrade from Finale, Notion, Encore and Mosaic.

BUY NOW




What’s New in The New Sibelius

What's New in The New Sibelius

Sibelius is the world’s best-selling, most trusted music notation software. And now you can access the software and express your creativity in more ways than ever. In this video I explain some of the changes and new features that are now available in the new Sibelius.

Sibelius Box

Get The New Sibelius Today

Access Sibelius in more ways than ever: subscribe, perpetual, upgrade from Sibelius 1 to 7.5, or switch from Finale, Notion, Encore  and Mosaic with a crossgrade.

 

BUY NOW




Access Sibelius In More Ways Than Ever

Access Sibelius in More Ways Than Ever

The new version of Sibelius started shipping on June 18th 2015, and with it comes new ways for you to acquire and use the world’s best-selling music notation software. While we have a great summary of Sibelius licensing options, including comparisons between different purchase options, in this blog I will summarize the best value options and explain some of the philosophy behind the changes.

What’s new — The main change is the addition of both monthly and annual subscription options. We have retained the normal perpetual license that you buy and own forever, and the multiseat education licenses, although we have also made some changes to the perpetual license as we now include an annual Avid upgrade plan.

Annual Avid upgrade plan — New purchases and upgrades/crossgrades to the new Sibelius perpetual license include this plan that simply gives you access to all new feature upgrades as they become available for a one year period. At the end of the 12-months you get the option to renew the plan for another 12-months of feature upgrades. If you decide not to renew the plan you still get to use the most recent version of software you have but cannot receive any future features or upgrades. If you then want to get the latest version of Sibelius you will need to move to a low-cost subscription or purchase a new version of the software. Subscription customers automatically get access to the latest version of Sibelius throughout the duration of the active subscription.

Benefits and savings — For some customers subscription offers savings and benefits, see below for customers who benefit from subscription. We are also changing the way we distribute Sibelius software, moving to a model where all users have access to a steady stream of new features—much more frequently than before—as part of the Avid upgrade plan. This enables you to get your hands on the latest tools as soon as they’re available instead of having to wait for a major release, so we plan on providing multiple releases each year and we are taking away the emphasis on a version number. It enables us to react much faster to new feature requests, and to developments we are planning that integrate Sibelius with other Avid products such as Avid Scorch, Avid Connectivity Partners such as publishers, and the new Avid Marketplace — all part of the Avid MediaCentral Platform.

Reasons to upgrade — If you are on Sibelius 7 or earlier there are many features we have added, both in the 7.5 release and this new version, that can streamline your notation workflow, and the upgrade price from all versions of Sibelius from 1 to 7.5 is only $89 USD. If you are already on 7.5 check out the new Annotate feature, the Surface Pro 3 support, simplified activation through your Avid Master Account and other improvements, as well as the knowledge and the peace of mind that you’re covered by the Avid upgrade plan that will deliver upgrades and support for a whole year.

Best Value Choices For Purchase or Upgrade/Crossgrade to the new Sibelius

Check out the pricing comparisons in the License section of the Sibelius product pages for more details.

If you are new to Sibelius…

Best value: Annual subscription
Access the software at a lower monthly cost than a monthly subscription, and without the higher startup costs of a perpetual license. Annual subscription is $239, and for students and teachers* only $99.

If you own Sibelius and want the latest tools…

Best value: Annual upgrade plan for perpetual license
Since you own Sibelius, including Academic versions, the only cost is the annual Avid upgrade plan at $89.

If you want to crossgrade from Finale, Notion, Encore, or Mosaic…

Best value: Perpetual license with annual upgrade plan
The crossgrade from Finale, Notion, Encore, or Mosaic to a perpetual copy of Sibelius is only $199 and then $89 per year to renew your annual Avid upgrade plan.

If you are an Educational Institution…

Best value: Multi-seat Licenses*
Multiseat licenses for Sibelius are available at a discount from authorized Avid resellers for only $148 and $29 for an upgrade.

*Academic eligibility verification required – click here for more details.

If you purchase Sibelius 7.5 now and get the new Sibelius – If you register Sibelius 7.5, either from purchasing an upgrade, a crossgrade, a new version, or an academic version, on or after April 11th 2015, you will get the new Sibelius in your Avid Master Account so check your account and download the new Sibelius. We will also honor Sibelius Academic versions that included 4-years of free upgrades, and the new Sibelius availability falls within that 4-year time period, with an upgrade to the new Sibelius.

 

Sibelius Box

Get The New Sibelius Today

Access Sibelius in more ways than ever: subscribe, perpetual, upgrade from Sibelius 1 to 7.5, or switch from Finale, Notion, Encore  and Mosaic with a crossgrade.

BUY NOW




See What’s On Stage at Musikmesse 2015

Avid at Musikmesse 2015

Experience the exciting innovations Avid Everywhere is bringing to music creation and pro audio at Musikmesse 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany. Join us at Hall 5.1, Stand C76 to hear about the latest news from Avid, meet with our staff and see some of the many demos we have planned for the show.

With Pro Tools 12 get more choice in how you access the industry standard in more affordable ways than ever, including low-cost subscriptions. Or get started with Pro Tools | First, a free version of Pro Tools. And connect, collaborate, and be heard with Avid Cloud Collaboration for Pro Tools.

See what’s new with Sibelius the world’s best-selling notation software for composing and arranging music and editing, printing, and publishing scores. As part of Avid Everywhere, Sibelius now integrates with the new Sibelius | Cloud Publishing technology enabling publishers to provide their customers with the ability to view, play, transpose, change instruments, and purchase scores using any current web browser (no plug-in required) or mobile device, including Android, iOS, and even Linux. And Avid Scorch iPad app offers even more ways for Sibelius users to distribute their scores.

Get hands on with the Pro Tools | S3 a compact, EUCON-enabled, ergonomic desktop control surface that offers a streamlined yet versatile mixing solution for the modern sound engineer. And check out Pro Tools | Duet and Pro Tools | Quartet interfaces with Pro Tools, now it’s an even better value than ever—get your choice of two additional premium Avid plug-ins, plus a free year of Pro Tools upgrades.

 

Avid Music Creation Products

Check out the calendar below for 6 different Avid music creation demonstrations including Pro Tools 12, Pro Tools | First, Sibelius, S3 and EUCON control. On Thursday through Saturday there will also be VIP presentations with special guests sharing their experience about Sibelius, S3 and Pro Tools.

Wednesday, April 15th

9:15 am

Music Creation and Pro Tools | First (English)

10:00 am

Remix in Pro Tools 12 (English)

10:45 am

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

11:00 am

Raise Your Score with Sibelius (English)

11:45 am

Create with Pro Tools 12 (English)

12:30 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

12:45 pm

Small format – Big Mix – S3 (English)

1:15 pm

Music Creation and Pro Tools | First (English)

2:00 pm

Remix in Pro Tools 12 (German)

2:45 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

3:00 pm

Raise Your Score with Sibelius (German)

3:45 pm

Small format – Big Mix – S3 (German)

4:15 pm

Create with Pro Tools 12 (English)

5:00 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

Thursday, April 16th

9:15 am

Music Creation and Pro Tools | First (English)

10:00 am

Remix in Pro Tools 12 (English)

10:45 am

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

11:00 am

Raise Your Score with Sibelius (English)

11:45 am

Create with Pro Tools 12 (English)

12:30 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

12:45 pm

Small format – Big Mix – S3 (English)

1:15 pm

Music Creation and Pro Tools | First (English)

2:00 pm

Remix in Pro Tools 12 (German)

2:45 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

3:00 pm

VIP Sibelius Masterclass with Frank Heckel (German)

3:45 pm

Small format – Big Mix – S3 (German)

4:15 pm

Create with Pro Tools 12 (English)

5:00 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

Friday, April 17th

9:15 am

Music Creation and Pro Tools | First (English)

10:00 am

Remix in Pro Tools 12 (English)

10:45 am

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

11:00 am

Raise Your Score with Sibelius (German)

11:00 am

VIP Pro Tools | S3 with Andy Gray (English)

12:00 pm

Create with Pro Tools 12 (English)

12:45 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

1:00 pm

VIP Pro Tools | S3 with Andy Gray (English)

1:30 pm

Music Creation and Pro Tools | First (English)

2:15 pm

Remix in Pro Tools 12 (German)

3:00 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

3:15 pm

VIP Sibelius Masterclass with Frank Heckel (German)

4:00pm

VIP Pro Tools | S3 with Andy Gray (English)

4:30 pm

Create with Pro Tools 12 (English)

5:15 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

Saturday, April 18th

9:15 am

Music Creation and Pro Tools | First (English)

10:00 am

VIP Composing and Producing Hits in Pro Tools with Phil Schardt and Tom Olbrich (German)

11:00 am

Raise Your Score with Sibelius (German)

11:30 am

Remix in Pro Tools 12 (German)

12:15 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

12:30 pm

Small format – Big Mix – S3 (German)

1:00 pm

VIP Composing and Producing Hits in Pro Tools with Phil Schardt and Tom Olbrich (German)

2:00 pm

Create with Pro Tools 12 (English)

2:30 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

2:45 pm

VIP Composing and Producing Hits in Pro Tools with Phil Schardt and Tom Olbrich (German)

3:45 pm

Music Creation and Pro Tools | First (English)

4:30 pm

Remix in Pro Tools 12 (German)

5:15 pm

EUCON Control of Pro Tools (English)

Avid at Musikmesse 2015

Tuned In?

You won’t want to miss our exciting announcements at Musikmesse 2015.

VISIT OUR BOOTH




Behind the Scenes of Sibelius 7.5

Many Sibelius customers have been in touch wanting to know more about what went in to creating Sibelius 7.5, what we’ve been up to in the last year or so, and what we’re planning on next. I’m going to share with you some of the behind the scenes work we did to bring you two updates to our Scorch solutions as well as an upgrade to our flagship notation product, Sibelius.

At the start of 2013, we assembled a new team of Sibelius programmers and testers, and brought in folk from other teams around Avid. The whole team working on Sibelius (including Support, Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, IT, Engineering and Product Management) now totals over 30 people. For the engineering and product teams, we have six in Kiev in the Ukraine, three in our San Francisco, Calif., office, one in our head office in Burlington, Mass., and two in the UK, which includes me, working from home and our office in Pinewood Studios with Joe Pearson, product designer. We are all musicians with formal music education and most of us play regularly in bands (or just to our families!).

This team got straight to work assessing and getting familiar with the Sibelius and Scorch codebase and build systems. First on the list was to move these systems to the same environments used by the Pro Tools and Media Composer teams. This had the advantage of having a dedicated team to maintain the build systems rather than pulling a developer away from writing features in Sibelius, and it gave us the ability to share code more easily, for example, the scoring engine in Pro Tools can now inherit changes and fixes made in the Sibelius notation engines. It allowed us to utilize the same installer team, too, freeing up more core developer time, so they set to work converting the Sibelius and License Server installers to msi format to match our other products. (The msi format allows schools to deploy Sibelius to all their computers automatically. For those interested, we have this article that goes through the procedure).

At the end of the nineties, I created the German localization of the first versions of Sibelius. It is great to see the amazing progress Sibelius has made in the last 20 years – it really is my every-day tool which enables me to meet my terribly tight composition/orchestration deadlines.

– Frank Heckel

2013 continued to be an extremely busy year for us. We released two successful updates to our  Scorch web plug-in, as well as an update to our Avid Scorch iPad app. The update to the Scorch web plugin made it compatible with more browsers than ever before, as well as supporting 64-bit browsers on Mac. This allowed the publishing community to continue to sell their digital sheet music, and to a wider audience. The update to Avid Scorch brought much needed stability to the overall app, especially to browsing scores in the built-in marketplace, where you can browse hundreds of thousands of titles from Frozen to John Lennon to Back to the Future.

Once the updates to Scorch were complete, it was time to implement the changes we’d committed to  in the next version of Sibelius, which we would call 7.5. What we had thought was going to be a Sibelius ‘8’. Changing this to version 7.5 was quite a challenge as the version number is buried in a lot of places, and which affects licensing too. We were able to bring in help from the Media Composer licensing team to assist with this work as we’ve been using the same licensing scheme since Sibelius 7.1.

Joe Pearson and I were familiar with the new features from our previous work in the support team, and since the new features in the ‘Sibelius 8’ were either not implemented at all, partly implemented or nearly complete, we had to make difficult decisions about which to complete, fix up and even re-write vs. removing and archiving that code for the future.

Avid’s reborn commitment for Sibelius is great! Keep it coming!

– Peter Duemmler

For example, the Timeline looked and behaved quite differently compared to how it functions today and was mainly re-written from scratch for version 7.5 to make Sibelius think of the structure of the score running horizontally as opposed to vertically. We brought in the user interface team that works on Pro Tools to help refine the overall experience of the Timeline in Sibelius and how the new Timeline Presets are handled.

Next, we had to make changes to the new interpretation of how Sibelius plays back ornaments, the new Swing styles and Espressivo 2.0 as well as the new social sharing features. Now, Sibelius can interpret turns and mordents (pictured above), A Tempo instructions and even allow you to specify the style of playback for each individual instrument in your score.

During that time, the new testers validated every feature in Sibelius 7.1.3, the Sibelius 7 Sounds library and License Server for qualification on Windows 8 and Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks. This gave them the deep understanding of each feature in Sibelius and how it works, laying the foundation for regressing the fixes and features we were to add into Sibelius 7.5.

Meanwhile, my colleagues and I had to review all the box art, contents, DVD design and out-of-box experience, download and upgrade logic with the various teams around Avid to move Sibelius 7.5 towards the point where we were able to announce and get the upgrade into your hands.

Once this was all complete, it wasn’t the end of the Sibelius 7.5 journey of course … the marketing launch at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, Calif., in January 2014 was a huge success and the reception we got couldn’t have been better. When it came to the official release of Sibelius 7.5 in February, the number of people upgrading to 7.5 was astounding. We knew, however, that a number of fixes existed that we wanted to get into a free update so we started on 7.5.1 right away.

We have put Sibelius 7.5 through its paces without any interruption to workflow. The 7.5 upgrade is very stable and Sibelius continues to be the primary notation software used for all of my projects.

– David Pritchard-Blunt, DavePB.com

7.5.1 took us through to July and includes more than 160 improvements and fixes that builds on 7.5.0. It went above and beyond that by fixing crashes that dated back to 2009 in the Sibelius 6 days, as well as problems that had existed in version 7, too. The new development team was truly impressive in tracking these down and getting resolutions to them quickly.

This then allows us to start work on our next version of Sibelius, version 8. Although we’re in the early days, initial signs are looking very promising. However, this isn’t the only solution we’re working on. Historically, a smaller project has been slipped in between each major version of Sibelius, be it G7, Student, Instrumental Teacher Edition, Sibelius First or Avid Scorch and now is the time for just one of those.

In working with 7.5.1, I found it to be appreciably more stable and responsive than 7.5.0.

– Philip Rothman, Sibelius Blog

 

We’ve laid the foundation with a solid update to Sibelius, it’s time we, once again, revolutionized an industry. For the next project we’ve taken on is…

… well, you’ll just have to wait for my next post to find out.

I’d like to thank our friends and families for the tireless support over the last few years and I want to thank, too, our invaluable beta testers and passionate userbase for all their feedback and support. This is spurring us on to continue to drive development and deliver on the best possible solutions to help you continue to write great music.

Get Your Free 30-Day Trial

Experience the fastest, smartest, easiest way to write music. Try the software free for 30 days and see why pros and students like choose and trust Sibelius.




Scoring Success from ‘Independence Day’ to London 2012 with David Arnold

Music: Scoring Success from Independence Day to London 2012 with David Arnold

Ever wondered what inspires a film composer? How they use their craft to pull in the audience and make them laugh and cry at the right moments? At BAFTA Conversations with Screen Composers held at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, we were lucky enough to spend time with one of the industry’s most acclaimed composers and Avid Sibelius customer, David Arnold. Listen here to the discussion.

Music: Scoring Success from Independence Day to London 2012 with David Arnold

With a body of work spanning over 20 years and covering all walks of the entertainment industry—from film and television to major global sporting events and theatre—it’s no surprise that David is a multi-award winning composer.

Best known for his work on blockbuster films including Independence Day (1996) and Stargate (1994), in 1997 he took over the mantle from John Barry to compose the music for five James Bond films (including Casino Royale, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA and a Grammy). His television credits are equally as impressive and include the BAFTA-nominated Sherlock (with Michael Price) and Little Britain.

Moving into the realm of large-scale live events, in 2012 David was appointed musical director for the London Olympics and Paralympics closing ceremonies, for which he curated, composed and produced almost all of the music. This year has seen him teaming up with Richard Thomas to write the music and lyrics for the new West End musical Made in Dagenham.

‘I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a composer.’

Using Avid Sibelius, the industry’s best-selling music notation software, as his composition tool of choice, David kicked off the evening joking: ‘I’ve even got Avid in my name!’ When asked the three films that inspired him, Oliver! the 1968 musical, The Jungle Book (1967) and of course a Bond film, You Only Live Twice (1967) sparked his passion for composing. ‘I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a composer,’ he recalled.

Forming a friendship at sixth-form college with director Danny Cannon led David to writing the music for the short films Cannon created. But it would be eight years before he got his first film credit, teaming up with Cannon in their respective major film debuts for The Young Americans, and the film’s song by Björk, Play Dead.

The Young Americans catapulted David into the limelight and work soon followed on some of the highest grossing films of the 1990s. End of the world sci-fi-style blockbusters became his calling card. And using music as a tool to draw in audiences during epic opening scenes and battles was one of his specialities. ‘On Independence Day, for the President’s final speech and the battle afterwards, it was all about tracing the intensity of the speed through music,’ commented David. ‘Emotionally, another explosion won’t get you anywhere, but music will.’

A Bond fan and also a fan of Bond composer John Barry from an early age, in 1997 David was recommended to Barbara Broccoli by Barry as the composer for the upcoming Tomorrow Never Dies. He was hired to score the film and scored the four subsequent films: The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. It was an honour David took very seriously. ‘With Bond films you’re inviting people into a world you’ve created with music,’ he said. To add to his Bond credits, David also co-wrote the main theme songs for The World Is Not Enough (The World Is Not Enough by Garbage) and Casino Royale (You Know My Name by Chris Cornell).

Team up with peers on filmmaking courses and use the power of YouTube as a way of getting your film scores heard.

After talking through his career, David had some sterling advice for today’s generation of upcoming composers. With many free media sharing platforms available, he recommends teaming up with peers on film-making courses and using the power of YouTube as a way of getting their film scores heard and noticed. This modern way is a far cry from David’s humble roots composing for Cannon’s films in a back street studio in Luton. But there’s no doubt that talent, combined with best-in-class technology, makes for compelling collaborations.

BAFTA

BAFTA is the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, an independent British charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image. As a leading charity in the UK, BAFTA ensures that the very best creative work can be accessed and appreciated by the public.




Developments in Sibelius Give Blind and Visually Impaired Musicians More Tools to Craft Their Scores

Developments in Sibelius Give Blind and Visually Impaired Musicians More Tools to Craft Their Scores

It has taken me decades to be able to say that I’m a composer. When I was young, I used to say that I was a pianist, then a jazz pianist, then a songwriter. I only settled on considering myself a composer a few short years ago. The thing that made it possible for me to make that conscious professional choice was the development of music notation software that could be used by a composer with a serious visual disability. That software was Sibelius.

The path to developing Sibelius as a resource for me and the blind and visually impaired community has been a work in progress since Sibelius made its appearance in the music industry. However, over the years, improvements to the software have been promising, especially recently. With the newest release of Sibelius, version 7.5.1, it better supports blind and visually impaired musicians with the ability to use screen readers like NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) on Windows.

For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of a screen reader, its purpose is to read the contents of the screen to a blind or visually impaired user. There are several packages commercially available. The best known of these is called JAWS (Jobb Access With Speech).

 

Developing Sibelius for the Blind and Visually Impaired Community

Right from the start, Sibelius users, visually impaired or not, have been encouraged to use the computer keyboard as a primary method for working on their scores. The early documentation stressed that most functions could be performed without using the mouse at all. For this reason, the idea of making Sibelius accessible for blind and visually impaired users began to take hold.

David Pinto, who is both an accomplished musician and JAWS scripter, began development of a set of Jaws scripts called “Sibelius Speaking.” They were designed to work with Sibelius 3, and were sold by Dancing Dots, a company specializing in accessible solutions for visually impaired musicians, many of whom were quite successful using Sibelius both in educational and professional settings.

The thing that made it possible for me to make that conscious professional choice was the development of music notation software that could be used by a composer with a serious visual disability. 

While Sibelius Speaking did open a lot of doors, it had its problems. It relied heavily on recognizing the graphics on the screen. This meant that everything had to be set up in a very specific configuration, and at that time, different video cards would often yield unsatisfactory results, leading to a good deal of frustration.

When Sibelius 5.25 was released, another programmer, Dan Rugman, who happened to be visually impaired and was also an expert JAWS scripter, developed a new set of scripts for this version of Sibelius. Unlike Sibelius Speaking, this set of scripts made extensive use of Sibelius’s manuscript language, which enables the creation of plug-ins that can perform a wide variety of functions. Since these scripts did not rely on the graphical user interface at all, they were much more robust than Sibelius Speaking in many ways. However, since Dan had committed himself to offering these scripts as freeware to the visually impaired community, he was unable to devote the time needed to continue development as newer releases of Sibelius became available. Although, he did develop a script set for Sibelius 6.20, it never made it past Beta.

While Sibelius 7 was being developed, Stephen Penny, who at that time was working for Avid and involved with the building of Sibelius 7, became curious about the idea of accessibility to Sibelius for blind and visually impaired musicians. In his spare time, he began working on the foundation of what is now the current Sibelius access module. He openly admitted that this was in no way as comprehensive as the work that Dan had done for Sibelius 5, but Stephen’s access module had the distinct advantage of not being limited to one specific screen reader. Because it was a native part of the Sibelius program itself, Stephen felt it should be possible to make it work with any screen reader including NVDA, which reads everything you mouse-over or select on your computer.

Me with my fans at a recent Taipei concert at the Taiwan International Convention Center.

Me with my fans at a recent Taipei concert at the Taiwan International Convention Center.

By this time, Sibelius 7.5 was being launched but was not compatible with the open source screen reader, NVDA. Thankfully, Avid was eager to fix this. I had the pleasure of meeting Sam Butler, Michael Ost and Dimitri Vandellos of the Avid Sibelius team at the NAMM Show 2014 and shared my workflows with them. Over the next few months, the team worked with me, Gordon Kent, beta tester and Sibelius user, and Sibelius plug-in guru Bob Zawalich to come up with a list of improvements that would allow us to use Sibelius with NVDA.

The finished product—Sibelius 7.5.1 with NVDA access. While this latest solution has not yet reached the level of accessibility that was achieved by Dan Rugman’s plug-in based solution for Sibelius 6.20, the fact that a solution has been created by the Sibelius development team itself, involving an essentially free screen reader for Windows, means that, over the long term, the blind and visually impaired community can look forward to a support environment. It will be far less vulnerable to the sort of problems faced previously where a change in either Windows, Sibelius or JAWS would cause the metaphorical three-legged stool to collapse until the development cycles of three unrelated products came back into sync.

The long-term goal is to create an environment in which blind and visually impaired users can use Sibelius to its full effect.

Moving Forward

Presently, development to make every feature accessible to the blind and visually impaired community is being undertaken by Avid in conjunction with experienced visually impaired Sibelius users to ensure a practical fully featured working environment. This effort is the most comprehensive of its kind between a major developer of notation software and the blind community.

We are confident that future versions of Sibelius will continue to reflect this ongoing effort. The long-term goal is to create an environment in which blind and visually impaired users can use Sibelius to its full effect.

Sibelius Resources

To learn more about the work we’ve done with Avid to improve accessibility of Sibelius for blind and visually impaired musicians, read our Sibelius Accessibility for the Visually Impaired User guide.

Review documentation and download the VIP.zip file available from the Sibelius website. It contains a custom feature set containing a comprehensive set of keyboard shortcuts specifically designed to aid blind and visually impaired users and a folder called VIP plug-ins which contains six useful plug-ins specifically developed by Bob Zawalich.

Get Your Free 30-Day Trial

Experience the fastest, smartest, easiest way to write music. Try the software free for 30 days and see why pros and students alike choose and trust Sibelius.




Sketching in Sibelius: The Finishing Touches

Sketching in Sibelius 7.5: The Finishing Touches

This is the fourth and final Sketching in Sibelius tutorial by John Hinchey, producer, arranger, composer and trombonist.

If you’ve been following this series, so far you’ve learned: why I sketch, how to setup your score for sketching, how to input the details of the sketch and how to adjust the length and timing of the arrangement. Next, I covered some techniques on how to quickly fill in the rhythm section parts of the score using the sketch. Now we will get to the horn parts and a few final details.

 

Here Come the Horns!

The score is looking pretty good and I think we can easily make this deadline but the horn parts need to be orchestrated. Are you thinking “Tabula Rasa” (the blank slate) again, as you look at the empty horn staves? Not a concern with a good solid sketch. The horn parts need to stay out of the way of the vocals and add some punch and flavor to the scene. Almost every horn line I need is either cued in or outlined in the chord structure or the sketch. Let’s start at the top.

 

Exploding and Arranging

The first thing I want to do is use ‘Focus on Staves’ to show just the sketch staves and horn staves. You remember how to do this from part one of this tutorial! And I also switch to Panorama as I find this the most efficient way to view the score when orchestrating.

In bars 1 and 2, the horn voicing is spelled out pretty clearly. Here is a quick way to blast that chord out into our 6 horn staves, using ‘Arrange Style’:

1.  Select the treble staff of the sketch in bars 1 and 2 (blue passage selection) and press Ctrl+C or Command C for copy. The contents of this staff are now on your clipboard.
2.  Now select bars 1 and 2 of the Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Trumpets 1 and 2 and the Trombone. I am skipping the Baritone Sax as it will take the root of the chord (blue passage selection).

3.  Go to the tab Note Input > Arrange > Arrange > Choose An Arrange Style. This window will come up and I’ll scroll to the top and choose Explode.

4.  Click OK and I’ve got the voicing I want in the top five horns.

5.  For the Bari Sax, I need the root of the chord. I could input these notes using the normal step input, but there is a more efficient way that will copy the notes with all the articulation, the fall and the dynamic as well. So that’s what I’ll do.
6.  Select the Tenor Sax in bars 1 and 2 (blue passage selection).
7.  Next Alt+Click or Option+Click on the Bari Sax staff bar one and the part copies over and, of course, is an octave and a seventh too high, easily corrected as long as the bars are still a blue passage selection.
8.  Hold down the Ctrl or Command key and press the down arrow on the keyboard twice, release the Ctrl or Command key and press the up arrow once. Now Bari Sax has the right notes with the correct articulation and dynamic.

A note about why I used the Arrange > Arrange > Choose An Arrange Style > Explode (Arrange Style window) and not Arrange > Explode. The latter Explode will only explode to 4 staves or less with a top down voicing. So if I had only 4 staves, and the score order was for example Trumpets 1 and 2, Tenor Sax and Trombone, this would work well. But I’m using a more traditional score order and 5 staves. So in this case Arrange Styles is the way to go.

 

Sometimes Unison is the Way to Go

In bar 10 of the sketch, I have cued in a horn line. This line is going to be played in unison and octaves in the horns, so let’s grab that and quickly put it into all the horns.

There are several ways to do this but let’s use this method:

1.  I’ll go to bar 10 and select the top stave and copy that bar, so it is now on my clipboard.
2.  Go to bar 10 in the Trumpet 1 staff and select the bar (blue passage selection).
3.  Next I go to Home > Clipboard > Paste > Paste into Voice. Set it for ‘Copy from voice 1’, ‘Paste into voice 1’ and click OK. Now you have the line in Trumpet 1, with one little extra bit of text that needs to go.

 

4.  Click on the piece of text that says “horns” and delete it. Now you have a clean copy of the line with all the pitches and articulations. At this point there are several ways to get this line in all the horns but let’s use this one.
5.  Select bar 10 in the Trumpet 1 staff and copy it (Ctrl+C or Command+C).
6.  Select all 6 horn staves in bar 10 (blue selection passage).
7.  Go to Arrange > Arrange > Choose An Arrange Style > Explode but you’ll notice something interesting here. Since I’ve already used the Arrange > Arrange > Choose An Arrange Style > Explode it is now a choice under Arrange Style, so choose it! No need to go to the next window and click OK. Sibelius fills in the unison line in 2 octaves.

8.  For this arrangement though, I’d like the Alto sax and Baritone sax notes to be an octave lower than this. Easy fix, select the Alto sax and Baritone sax in bar 10 (blue passage selection), hold down the Ctrl or Command key and press the down arrow on the keyboard once. Now I’ve got this bar just the way I want it.
9.  Using these two techniques in combination Alt+Click or Option+Click to copy and paste, I can quickly go thorough and finish up the horns.

 

Let’s Make Some Room

Turning back to page view of the score it looks a bit crowded. And one way to alleviate that situation is to remove some staves. At this point in the process the sketch staves are redundant in the conductor’s score. So if removed they really would not be missed. But I did use the sketch staves in the Piano Vocal part, I can’t just delete these staves. So what I’ll do is hide them in the score. Thanks to Bob Zawalich, there is a plugin that does this quite simply.

First install the “Show Staves In Parts Only” plug-in. You will find it by going to File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins. At the top of the dialog, choose All plug-ins from the Show drop-down. From the Plug-ins list, choose Layout > Show Staves In Parts Only.

Once this handy plugin is installed, you are two clicks away from making some room!

 1.  In page view of the score select both of the Sketch staves, only one bar is needed.

2.  Run the “Show Staves in Parts Only” plug-in. It is very simple; it opens and you click OK—nothing more to do! Those staves are removed (hidden) from page view in the conductor’s score.

3.  If you look in Panorama view the sketch staves appear blank. But if you go to Appearance > Invisibles and check “Hidden Objects” you will see the content of those staves have only been hidden. And if you open the Piano Vocal part, you’ll see the staves and content appearing normally.

 

That wraps it up for this tutorial. See the Sibelius file for the final version of this score.

 

WAIT S.O.S from the Client!

The score is done, parts are formatted, everything is exported to pdfs and I am just about to attach to an email and send, when this email arrives in my inbox:

“John, we have a last minute situation. The baritone who was singing the solo has broken a bone in his foot! We can strategically place him on a stool for most of the show but for this one the singer has to be mobile! So we are back to the original tenor soloist (don’t ask me what we did about the costume … it’s not pretty…). The music director feels it would be best for the tenor in the key of ‘G.’ Dress run later tonight, I need the chart in ‘G’ ASAP! But you are the miracle worker right? Best, K.C.”

Sibelius makes this a pretty easy rescue and makes me look good in the process!

As I showed you in Part 3 of this tutorial, transposing the whole score into a new key is a simple process and I’ll do that again here. The real time saver is Sibelius will also transpose all the formatted parts, as well. But I’ll use one of my favorite features in Sibelius and that is Versions. With this feature, I can save different versions of my score as I work all in the same file. I always try to remember to save the final version of my score when I’m done. So in the future, if the client does want to edit or transpose an arrangement, I still have a copy of the original in case he changes his mind and wants to go back to the first version.

So before transposing the score up to the key of G, I’ll go to:

•   Review > Versions > New Version.
•   A window pops up and I’ll name this “Key of Eb_V1.”
•   In the comments box, I may write something like “Baritone solo version pre broken foot” and click OK.
•   Now in the future I can go back to Review > Versions > Edit Versions and if needed, I can go back to this version, make it current and print or edit as needed.

After saving the Eb version, I will transpose the entire score. Before I hit print or export the pdfs, I always give the score and parts the once over to make sure nothing has to be tweaked. I want to make sure the transposition hasn’t caused any orchestration problems.

In about 20 minutes, with proofing included, I’m ready to send the revised score and parts to KC so he can get on with the show!

 

Top Image Caption: The cast of “Sapori d’Italia”, one of three new shows (music produced by Hinchey Music Services) featured on board the Costa Diadema. The Diadema is Costa Cruise lines newest and largest ship. It’s maiden voyage is scheduled for November 1, 2014.

Get Your Free 30-Day Sibelius Trial

Get Your Free 30-Day Trial

Experience the fastest, smartest, easiest way to write music with Sibelius—the world’s best-selling music notation software.

DOWNLOAD NOW