Compose and Edit
Magnetic Layout—only in Sibelius
Write perfect scores up to twice as fast
Magnetic Layout takes care of almost every detail of score layout for you. This one feature saves so much time, it may be the greatest revolution in music engraving in 20 years.
Magnetic Layout makes objects like slurs, accidentals, and tuplets stick to notes, and repels other objects to avoid colliding with them. You get truly professional results—without the work.
Magnetic Layout in practice
While you’re writing music, the dynamics, lyrics, chord symbols, rehearsal marks, and all other objects quietly shift around to make sure your music is as clear as possible. They’re attracted into neat rows and columns, and repelled by other objects, making the best use of space on the page.
Dynamics line up in rows and columns, while avoiding notes, slurs, etc. Lyrics shift out of the way of low notes, but stay lined up in verses. Tempo marks, chord symbols, and many other objects also organize themselves neatly while avoiding collisions.
Drag something across a complex score, and other objects will helpfully jump out of the way. And on the rare occasion things get so tight that Sibelius can’t prevent a collision, it will mark it in red so it’s easy to spot and fix.
Staves behave just as intelligently—Sibelius can optimize the space between them to allow room for low/high notes, lyrics, tempo markings, and rehearsal marks. It adds extra space between instrument families to make large scores easier to read, and saves space between other staves that don’t have much on them.
But there’s more: advanced users can freeze the positions of objects for complex engraving situations. You can also turn off Magnetic Layout for individual objects or the whole score. And though you’ll probably never need to, you can even set which objects’ positions matter most, how much white space to allow around them, and which ones to align.
Dynamic Parts in Sibelius
Parts in other programs
In other programs, you have to “extract” instrumental parts from the full score. You then have to check them and clean them up. And if you make revisions to the score later—which almost always happens—you either have to spend ages making the same revisions in the parts yourself, or extract them all over again.
Not so in Sibelius.
Sibelius has a unique feature called Dynamic Parts. You don't have to extract them—in fact, you don't have to do anything to get parts. As soon as you start a new score, all the parts are already there—and you can look at any of them from a list on the toolbar.
As you add music to the full score, it appears in the relevant parts too. In fact, Sibelius instantly updates the parts to reflect whatever you do to the score. You can even write music in the parts, and the score will change to match. If you like, you can also change things in parts—such as adding cues—without affecting the score.
Sibelius automatically transposes the parts if necessary, groups bar rests into “multirests,” and includes all the relevant markings, such as time signature and tempo changes. So you don't have to think about anything.
Create cues instantly
It takes just a moment to create cues in parts. Simply copy the music you want to appear in the cue, and choose Paste As Cue. Sibelius does the rest—it makes the cue small, puts it in a suitable voice, transposes it or changes clef as necessary, deletes dynamics and articulations (optional), adds a text label, hides the cue in the score, and stops it playing back. You can even add a cue to multiple instruments at once.
What’s more, Sibelius includes two plug-ins to make cueing even easier. Suggest Cue Locations suggests suitable points for cues in your score, while Check Cues verifies the accuracy of cues you’ve already added.
Customize cue appearance
Sibelius does the work of creating cues for you, while giving you complete control over how they appear. You can choose whether you want articulations and dynamics to be included, and whether you want the cue to have new clefs and octave lines, or be transposed to an appropriate pitch for the destination instrument.
Easy instrument changes
Scores often have two or more instruments played by the same person, such as percussion, or clarinet doubling saxophone. Or sometimes you need to rewrite a whole part for a different instrument. Now Sibelius will do this automatically—simply put an instrument change anywhere in the music, and Sibelius will change the instrument from that point onwards—altering its name, clef, sound, even the transposition and staff type if necessary.
If you write for unusual instruments, you can now design your own, choosing the name, clef, range, sound, etc. you want. From glockenrimba to trumpet in F#, your imagination is the only limit.
Sibelius also lays out parts. It puts page turns at convenient places, and positions rehearsal marks, new sections, key changes, etc. at the start of systems, to make them easier for players to locate. In fact, you'll hardly need to adjust parts at all—just look them over and print.
You can print a complete set of parts with one click of the mouse, and even specify how many copies you want for each instrument.
Native 64-bit support
Unleash the full power of your computer
Sibelius is the ideal choice for musicians looking to unleash the full potential of their 64-bit computers. Sibelius is fully native 64-bit notation software, so it’s ready for the most demanding applications that today and tomorrow can throw at it.
Music without limits
Only 64-bit applications can directly address more than 4 GB RAM, required for today’s professional sample libraries. With full VST and Audio Unit compatibility, you can load as many samples as your computer can handle, and Sibelius won’t miss a beat.
Multi-core capability—only in Sibelius
The audio engine in Sibelius automatically balances multiple virtual instruments and effects across the available cores of your multi-core CPU, efficiently using your computer’s resources.
64-bit ReWire—only in Sibelius
ReWire normally requires both the master and the slave to be 32-bit applications, because the underlying technology is not yet available for 64-bit systems. But Sibelius can run as a 64-bit application and communicate with a 32-bit ReWire master, thanks to its unique inter-process communication approach.
Don’t worry if you’re still running a 32-bit operating system or your current hardware isn’t 64-bit capable. Sibelius still fully supports your 32-bit computer, and you can choose to run Sibelius in 32-bit mode on a 64-bit system if needed for compatibility purposes (e.g. if your favorite virtual instrument is only available in a 32-bit version).
View music as a single strip
Panorama is a clear way of viewing music in Sibelius. Instead of chopping up music into systems and pages, Panorama displays your music in a single, infinitely wide strip—which is far easier to read and navigate around. So now you can just think about the notes, and forget about page layout until you’re ready to print.
You can switch between Panorama and normal view whenever you like, or use Panorama in combination with Focus on Staves if you just want to look at a few instruments.
An easier way to compose
Panorama makes it more enjoyable to input music. Because there’s only one system on the page, Sibelius can move smoothly from left to right as you compose, without any disorienting jumps from one system to another. Dragging staves in Panorama won’t affect the layout of the real score—so you’re free to think about your music without any distractions.
No matter where you go in your music, Panorama’s Magic Margin makes it crystal clear what stave you’re on. It even reflects changes to instruments on the same stave, something that’s now incredibly easy to set up.
Creating music in Sibelius
Flexi-time is Sibelius software’s unique system for notating music as you play it on a MIDI keyboard in real-time. There’s no need to tap a pedal or play mechanically—just play naturally with both hands, and Sibelius will follow you as you speed up or slow down.
You can even listen to the music you’ve already written as you play in more music on top.
Step-time lets you play pitches from your MIDI keyboard with one hand, and choose rhythms and articulations with the other from the keypad (see image).
Keyboard and Fretboard windows
These beautiful windows are ideal for anyone who prefers using a keyboard or guitar to enter notation into Sibelius. Simply click on the keys or frets to input notes and chords—or “play” your computer’s QWERTY keys just like a piano.
These windows aren’t just for inputting. Select any note/chord, and the keyboard or fretboard will show how it’s played. And when you play the score back, you can follow the music on the keyboard or fretboard too—even if it’s written for other instruments.
- Click keys or “play” your computer keyboard to input
- Colors show voices
- Scroll through octaves
- Drag to resize
- Choose which staves’ music to show when playing
- Click frets to input notes and chords
- Acoustic, maple, or rosewood neck in three sizes
- 6-string guitar or 4/5-string bass
- Choose which staves’ music to show when playing
Mouse and keystrokes
To input without a MIDI keyboard, pick note-values and accidentals from the keypad with the mouse, and click to place them in the score. For extra speed, use the computer keyboard instead—specify pitch using the letters A to G, and rhythms from the keypad using the numeric keys. There are many other keyboard shortcuts for power users.
You can also get other markings such as clefs, slurs, and time signatures from menus; Sibelius even positions them in the right place for you.
Input music from a mic with AudioScore Lite
Developed by Neuratron, AudioScore lets you input music into Sibelius by singing or playing an instrument—then simply hitting a button.
AudioScore Lite is included with Sibelius, and an advanced version, AudioScore Ultimate, is also available for purchase. The Professional version lets you create an arrangement with unlimited tracks using your microphone, MIDI keyboard, or mouse; input into Sibelius in real-time (Windows only); and can even help you improve your playing skills by displaying the precise tuning of each note you play.
Sibelius includes PhotoScore Lite—the state-of-the-art program for scanning printed music. It takes just seconds to read a page, and you can then edit or transpose the music in Sibelius, play it back, extract parts, and print—just as if you’d input it yourself. It will also read music in PDF files.
The advanced version PhotoScore Ultimate (which you can buy with Sibelius) has many extra features, such as reading handwritten music, slurs, articulations, hairpins, and text.
PhotoScore developed by Neuratron Ltd. Scanning copyright music without permission is illegal.
The Ideas Hub
Never lose another idea
When writing music, you may come up with a bit of melody, rhythm, accompaniment, or chord progression with some potential. Now, instead of wondering what to do with it, just tap a key to store it in the Ideas Hub. Then reuse these ideas later in any score, just like pasting from the clipboard; Sibelius even transposes ideas into the right key and range.
Tag, organize, and search
An idea can be a passage of music of any length, any kind, and for any number of instruments. Once you’ve captured an idea, you can edit it, tag it with your own keywords (e.g. canon, lyrical, riff) to help find it later, or even color-code it. The Ideas window lets you browse and search through all the available ideas by keyword tags, instrument, time signature, key and so on, and even play them back. Plus, you can export them later to share your ideas with other people.
Ready-made ideas for students
Sibelius includes over 2,000 ready-made ideas for students to use—in a huge range of styles from classical, jazz, band to world music, rock, and hip-hop.
By using these ideas in their music, students of all abilities can discover how to combine melodies, harmonies, and rhythms to create different textures and musical structures.
Students can start with just one or two ideas for inspiration, or use ideas as building blocks to create a complete piece. Instructors can keep track of what they’ve done, because Sibelius marks where ideas are used in the score.
If you prefer, you can switch off all of the ready-made ideas, or create focused exercises by giving students just a few ideas.
Track changes and compare versions—only in Sibelius
Another ingenious first in music software, Versions keeps track of revisions to your score, lets you look back at earlier versions of it, and see what changes have been made.
This is invaluable for all kinds of users. Students can record their progress as they write coursework, and submit an automatic commentary along with their piece. Teachers can track what each student has done since last week. Composers and arrangers can look back at earlier revisions, or see changes made by orchestrators, publishers, and other collaborators.
So now there's no need to fish out crumpled-up paper from your bin, or hunt through backups from weeks ago. To see any earlier version of a score, just choose from a list of them on the toolbar. You can print out these past versions, play them back, or export them as separate files. You can also copy music from them to resurrect an idea you'd discarded—or even revert to an old version entirely.
To save a version at any point, just click a button—the date, time, a name, and optional comment are saved with it, so you won't have to remember which version is which. All versions are stored in the same score you're working on, so you don't need to go searching for them later.
What's more, you can compare two versions of a score, or even two different scores, to see the differences. This produces a summary and detailed list of all the variations between them. Objects that have been added, changed, or deleted are also color-coded in the music, so they're easy to spot. You can even export a Word file that lists all these changes, and graphics of each page with the differences highlighted.
Comments are like sticky notes that you can add to your score. And just like the real thing, you can use them to write reminders to yourself, or to communicate with someone else.
To create a comment, just click the toolbar button and start typing—Sibelius automatically includes your name, the date, and time. Add a comment to a selected passage, and it will also state the relevant instrument(s) and bars. Comments are automatically color-coded by author—ideal if you're sharing a score with a student, teacher, arranger, or editor—and you can also change their appearance.
Finally, you can resize comments, minimize them (so they don't get in the way), or hide them throughout the score.
M-Audio HyperControl support
M-Audio Axiom Pro keyboard controllers feature HyperControl technology, which automatically maps the keyboard's controls to commonly accessed parameters in select music software, such as Sibelius. HyperControl creates a constant two-way link between hardware and software—so the keyboard's controls are always in sync with active parameters in Sibelius. As a result, you’ll enjoy a smooth, intuitive workflow. Read more
Task-oriented user interface
The ribbon is a wide band of command buttons at the top of every Sibelius window, replacing the old menus and toolbar. All of the program’s features are logically arranged into 10 tabs, plus the special File tab. From left to right, the arrangement of features describes the typical workflow of creating a score, from adding instruments and bars, through inputting notes, adding notational elements and other markings, text, layout, part preparation, review, and final output.
Every feature has its own icon, text description, and, when you hover over a button, an extended screen tip that provides contextual help. The ribbon intelligently resizes to match the size of the document window or your computer’s display, so you can always access every feature with no more than three clicks.
Tabbed document interface
Sibelius employs a modern tabbed document interface, just like your web browser. Open individual parts in separate tabs within the same parent window, and quickly switch between them using the handy tab bar. Open any tab in a new window by right-clicking the tab bar and choosing New Window.
The intuitive Sibelius user interface makes working with the software fast and super efficient. Important and commonly used options are front and center on the ribbon. For example, you can change page size, orientation, margins, and staff size directly on the ribbon, and see your score update in real time.
Notational elements that you've used in your score are placed at the top of rich, graphical menus so you can quickly create them again. You can also create time signatures by hitting the single-key shortcut T, then typing the top and bottom numbers, and hitting Return.
Every feature on the ribbon can be accessed via a special sequence of key presses called key tips. Don’t worry if you’re a power user who has memorized many keyboard shortcuts in pre-Sibelius 7 versions. With a few exceptions, earlier keyboard shortcuts work just the same in Sibelius 7 and later software—and all keyboard shortcuts are fully customizable.
The status bar at the bottom of every Sibelius document window provides quick access to document view options such as zoom and Panorama. It also shows you useful, context-sensitive information about your score, including the number of bars in your score, duration of the current selection in bars and timecode, the implied harmony of the selected notes, and much more.
Make it stick
Sibelius includes two timesaving features for note input. You can start and stop lines, such as slurs and hairpins, during note input. Input one note, hit S to start a slur, then input some more notes—Sibelius automatically snaps the right-hand end of the slur to each successive note. When you want the slur to stop, simply type Shift-S. This works for any kind of line, and is a tremendous time saver.
Along with sticky lines, Sibelius also offers sticky tuplets. If you need to input a run of tuplets, input the first note of the first tuplet, then hit the single-key shortcut to make tuplets sticky, and input more notes. As you get to the end of each tuplet, Sibelius automatically creates a new one, until you hit the shortcut again to switch the stickiness off.
Optimized for single monitor use—only in Sibelius
Your workspace, your way
Sibelius acts as an intelligent assistant, taking the drudgery out of your work. It now remembers exactly what you were doing the last time you worked on your score, restoring not only the zoom level and showing you where in your score you were working, but also the document tabs, window sizes and positions, view options, and more.
And of course, you have complete control over your working environment, with comprehensive options to determine exactly how Sibelius should set itself up for new and existing scores.
Full screen for full speed ahead—only in Sibelius
Sibelius includes a full-screen mode that hides the Windows taskbar and menu bar, or Mac menu bar, and devotes as much of your screen display as possible to your music.
Without distractions from other applications, you’ll find the Sibelius full-screen mode to be a more immersive working environment—this really is virtual manuscript paper.
Whether it’s the new Timeline window, the Mixer, the beautiful on-screen Keyboard and Fretboard panels, or the Ideas panel, you don't have to compromise between obscuring your score and showing the windows you need. Sibelius panels are dockable, so you can arrange them around the edges of your screen, without obscuring the music itself.
You can also summon or dismiss all of the panels with a single click, to allow you to focus fully on the printed page at any time.
Sibelius features a comprehensive Mixer that employs vertical faders, just like a real mixing desk. By default, the Mixer is docked at the bottom of your screen, and shows just the faders for volume. Make it a little taller, and pan and solo/mute controls appear. Make it even taller and you’ll see advanced options for changing playback device, channel, and sound. Expand it fully to get controls for integrated effects and FX signal buses. Then hide it again by pressing a single key.
For advanced control over the appearance and playback properties of objects, summon the Inspector using its keyboard shortcut. A floating window appears, showing only the controls that are relevant to the selected objects, allowing you to quickly make adjustments using the keyboard. Once you’re done, hit Return, and the Inspector disappears.
If you wish, you can pin the Inspector so that it is visible at all times. It intelligently updates as the selection changes, only showing you relevant controls. You get more of what you need, and nothing that you don’t.