FEBRUARY 28, 2023

Compose easier with new improvements to Score Subsets, Dynamic Guitar Staves, and more!

Examples of the new capabilities of music notation in Sibelius, a music notation app for desktop and mobile devices.

Compose easier with new improvements to Score Subsets, Dynamic Guitar Staves, and more!

We’re excited to kick-start 2023 with a brand-new update to Sibelius that builds on the Score Subsets and Dynamic Guitar Staves features we recently introduced. This follows a busy year of innovation with no fewer than 10 releases in 2022! If you need a recap, head over to our What's New in Sibelius page, where you’ll find all the details on the changes to transposing and MusicXML import on the mobile app, new look and feel in the desktop software, a host of notation improvements, new capabilities for headers, footers and staff names, new barlines, and hundreds of smaller fixes and improvements. If you’re new to Sibelius, you can try these new features in the free 30-day trial or in our free starter app, Sibelius First, on Windows, Mac, iPadOS, and iOS. To get started, head to the Sibelius page.

If you already have a Sibelius Artist or Sibelius Ultimate subscription, or a perpetual license with an active Software Updates + Support Plan, you can download the latest version straight away from the My Products page in your Avid Account or directly from Avid Link on your computer. If you’re reading this on your iPad or iPhone, chances are the App Store has updated Sibelius for you, but you can check this by heading over to the Sibelius page on the Apple App Store.

If you have an older perpetual license of Sibelius, you can now upgrade to the latest version and get the next year of upgrades included, plus unlock features in the mobile app and share music online. To see your options, head over to the Sibelius Upgrade + Renew page.

Now, sit back and enjoy the new features in 2023.2!

Score Subsets

Score Subsets was introduced to Sibelius in December 2022 and opens up new possibilities for working with large scores, enabling you to create a new view of your score focusing on just some of the staves. It’s really useful for importing a MIDI file and keeping the original tracks in the file, while you work on orchestrating the conductor’s score.

Thanks to your feedback, we’re introducing a number of new improvements to make this feature even more useful. These include:

Independent layout marks

In the previous version of Sibelius, when adding layout marks (such as system breaks, page breaks, and so on), each one would be inherited across the full score and each subset.

In the latest version, these breaks are now independent, so adding a break in either a subset or the full score will only appear in that view of the score. This is similar to how layout marks work in Dynamic Parts too.

2 Subset 1aFrom the score, the system break is on bar 3.

3 Subset 1bFrom the Score Subset, the layout is different with the first system break instead on bar 6. It is colored orange because such a break does not happen in the score. This allows subsets to have their own layout, which is very useful for subsets that contain fewer staves than the full score.

One of the golden rules we set out to achieve in any update to Sibelius is that scores will look exactly the same as they did in the previous versions, enabling you to stay up to date with confidence. This release is no different, so when opening your scores with Score Subsets created in 2022.12, Sibelius will retain the original note spacing and layout of the incoming file. You can simply reset the note spacing by opening each subset and typing Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N to reset note spacing. To unlock the layout, type Unlock Layout into Command Search in each subset. 

On desktop, we’ve added a new feature here too, where you can copy the layout of the full score or subset to any other score, part, or subset. Previously, it was only possible to copy the layout from one part to another. Now renamed Copy Layout, you can find this in Parts > Layout > Copy Layout or by searching for “Copy Layout” in Command Search. In the dialog that appears, you can then choose the source and destination for where you copy the layout from.

4 Copy Layout

Independent note spacing in Score Subsets

We’ve also enabled note spacing to be independent between the full score and each subset. Before, the width and spacing of bars in the full score or another subset would influence the bar spacing in all subsets, as with Focus on Staves. Now, the spacing in each Score Subset is independent, giving you full control of the layout in each subset. You can see both independent layout and independent note spacing in action in this little exaggerated example. The first image is a full score with Soprano, Violin, and Continuo realization. The second is a score subset with just the Soprano and Continuo. The fast 32nd notes of the Violin are not there distorting the spacing. Instead, the lyrics are the widest element. The layout has also been unlocked to show the “Ode” on one system.

5 Subset 2a

6 Subset 2b

General improvements to Score Subsets

In Sibelius, there are several places where subsets appear alongside parts in lists and dialog boxes. For this release, we’ve been through all these and made sure these are in a useful order (with subsets at the top, followed by parts). These include:

  1. File > Info
  2. File > Export > PDF
  3. > Parts > Extract Parts
  4. Using the Next and Previous shortcuts on desktop

We’ve also fixed a bug where an empty subset remains in the list of parts and subsets and tidied up a few translations in this area too. In addition to this, switching to a different Score Subset during playback, the panels no longer appear.

Dynamic Guitar Staves

This is one of the most exciting features we introduced in 2022. To get caught up, head over to my blog from July. In today’s 2023.2 release, we’re pleased to enhance this feature even further with a slew of improvements.

It’s now possible to move objects on one stave without affecting the other. Previously, if you moved slurs, a note’s articulation, or even rhythm dots—or flipped a stem or changed the size of a cue note—the same change would be reflected on the dynamically linked guitar stave. Now, all these elements are independent. To reset the positions of these objects, you can select “Reset Position” from the Appearance tab or find it in Command Search.

Smaller but no less important improvements

We’ve improved the way Dynamic Guitar Staves relate to Dynamic Parts in a number of ways and provided a few fixes, including:

  • Entering notes onto a tab dynamic guitar stave no longer creates note spacing issues in the notation guitar stave
  • In rare cases, deleting one dynamic guitar stave would sometimes delete the other one
  • Parts extraction is more reliable
  • In some cases, copying items by Alt+ or Option +clicking into the notation stave were not reflected in the tab stave
  • You can now independently add staff names to each stave, as well as specify note brackets from the second Keypad layout independently

  • ManuScript plugins

    Like most releases, we’re keen on adding functionality to the ManuScript plugin language, so plugin writers can create more wonderful plugins to enhance your workflow. In the latest release, you’ll find the following:

    Via the File > Export > Audio options, Sibelius can export audio files in WAV, AIFF, and MP3 formats with various bit depths and sampling rates. However, the previous ManuScript “Save As Audio” function only supported exporting at 16-bit, 44.1 kHz. We’ve now added full ManuScript support for all bit depths and sample rates, enabling you to export audio in several formats using the following syntax:

    For WAV and AIFF:
    SaveAsAudio(filename[,include all staves[,play from start[,bit depth[,sample rate]]]])

    For example:
    score = Sibelius.ActiveScore;
    score.SaveAsAudio("[filename.wav]", true, true, "16Bit", "44.1kHz");
    score.SaveAsAudio("[filename.wav]", true, true, "24Bit", "48kHz");
    score.SaveAsAudio("[filename.wav]", true, true, "32Bit", "192kHz");

    For MP3 export, we’ve added a brand-new function called “Save As Compressed Audio.” This works in a similar way:
    SaveAsCompressedAudio(filename[,include all staves[,play from start[,bit rate[,sample rate]]]])

    For both “Save As Audio and “Save As Compressed Audio,” this creates an audio file of the score using the File > Export > Audio feature in Sibelius. If “include all staves” is “true” (the default), Sibelius will first clear any existing selection from the score, so every instrument will be recorded; only selected staves will otherwise be exported. When “play from start” is “true” (also the default), Sibelius will record the entire score from beginning to end or, otherwise, from the current position of the playback line.

    Note that these functions will only have an effect if your current playback configuration consists of solely VST and/or AU devices. The default bit rate is 128 kbps and the default sampling rate is 44.1 kHz. The functions return “true” if successful or, otherwise, “false” (including if the user clicks “Cancel” during export).

    The updated ManuScript PDF guide lists all the possible bit depths and sample rates—find it in Sibelius on desktop by selecting File > Plug-ins.

    In addition, the InstrumentChange object handling has been fixed, so you can assign all properties of the InstrumentChnage object using a plugin.

    Improvements to tuplets

    We’re constantly tweaking and improving the default look of the scores you compose in Sibelius to make sure the music you create is the best possible. We’ve made a few changes to tuplets to make them easier to read and look more consistent, including:

    • Tuplets now have “Auto Bracket” turned on by default
    • In Reset Beam Groups, “Separate Tuplets from Adjacent Notes” is now off by default

    You can see this in practice with the famous ostinato from Boléro:

    7 Tuplets

    It’s important to note that these changes don’t affect your existing scores—only new scores you create from the default Manuscript Papers in the Quick Start.

    Other goodies

    It wouldn’t be a Sibelius release without a host of general improvements. This time around, you can expect to see the following:

    • In Sibelius for mobile, we’ve fixed a couple of shortcuts that were not working on iOS 16; typing Cmd+W no longer closes Sibelius without saving your work, and Cmd+E works once more to add Expression text
    • In a Dynamic Part, you can toggle a note bracket (from the second Keypad layout) independently from the full score; as with all these similar changes you can make (such as enharmonic spelling), changes made in the full score affect both the full score and the part, whereas changes in the part only affect that part
    • We’ve revised the warning dialog you see when editing a wildcard and fixed the translations here too
    • A small number of dialogs in Japanese no longer have garbled text
    • On mobile, differences in parts can now be seen after entering and exiting Review mode
    • We’ve added translations for all the new barlines we added in our December 2022 release
    • Sibelius for mobile now includes the Tinos and Arimo fonts, which are part of the most recent version of the Scoring Notes Express templates
    • We’ve fixed a crash that could occur when moving instruments with linked staves up and down in the Add or Remove Instruments dialog
    • Command Search is now even quicker as the search results appear as soon as you invoke it with a comma (,); since it’s prefilled with your last command, you can simply type a comma, then hit Return, and it’ll execute the first result in the list. In addition to this, pressing the Escape key while in Command search no longer clears the selection of the score.

    …and that’s it, folks! We really hope you enjoy the improvements in this release. We’re already beavering away on the next round, and you’re in for a treat, so stay tuned!

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