We’re excited to announce the immediate launch of Sibelius 2022.7, our July release for both desktop and mobile platforms. This update includes brand new features to help you write for guitar, new instruments and manuscript papers, Portuguese support on mobile, and the usual collection of smaller improvements and bug fixes.
If you need a reminder of the regular recent releases, please head over to the Resource Center to read past articles.
This release is included as part of your subscription or update plan at no additional cost. If you’re using Sibelius on desktop, you can download the installers via Avid Link installed on your computer or from your account at https://my.avid.com/products. If you’re using Sibelius on iPhone or iPad, you can download the update (if it hasn’t happened already for you) from the Apple App Store.
Dynamic Guitar Staves
Writing for guitar has always been fairly easy in Sibelius. For a long time, you’ve been able to write for a solo guitar or bass in either notation and tablature, or “tab” for short. To write for both at the same time, you have had to copy and paste the music from one to the other. Luckily, Sibelius is fairly adept at doing this, taking into account maximum stretches in chords, and will even remember fingerings when copying from tab to notation and back again. However, if you made a change in one, it wouldn’t be replicated in the other, causing manual edits and potentially lengthy searches to check for differences between the notation and the tab. Plus, you’d then have to remove unnecessary items such as dynamics or lines that aren’t needed across both staves—until now.
In Sibelius 2022.7, we are introducing dynamic guitar staves—a new and fast way to enter music into both notation and tab simultaneously. And what’s more, we’ve made it available in all three tiers of Sibelius: First, Artist, and Ultimate, so it’s available to everyone.
The easiest way to get started is to open the “Solo Guitar” manuscript paper from the Quick Start:
You can then start entering notes into either the notation or tab staff and the music will be entered into both staves.
You’ll see that as notes are entered into the notation staff, they are immediately replicated on the tab staff.
Similarly, entering notes into the tab staff immediately displays the notation above. When text and other objects are added to either staff, these don’t appear on the tab staff. This is to keep the tab staff clear and without duplicated information.
How does Sibelius do this? Well, the clue is in the name. Sibelius has had “Dynamic Parts” for many years now, where changes you make in either the score or the instrumental part is reflected in the other. Dynamic guitar staves are based on the same technology, whereby the musical information on one staff is then replicated on the other staff.
Differences between staves
Not everything needs to be reflected in both staves. For example, you won’t need to have dynamics, playing techniques, lines, and other music objects appear in both staves since they are already displayed in the notation staff. In most cases, the notation staff will show everything, and the tab staff will only contain information that’s relevant. This helps to keep the music clear and uncluttered. Sibelius does this by ensuring only useful music objects appear on the staves.
You can also set different staff sizes for the notation and tab staves, too, which is useful for practice and rehearsal scores. This is done in either the Add or Remove Instruments dialog, or in the Inspector, where you can choose between four different staff sizes (as set in Engraving Rules).
Creating a dynamic guitar staff
As with everything in Sibelius, there are a number of ways to achieve something. This new feature is no different:
Manuscript paper (mobile and desktop): As mentioned above, when using the Solo Guitar manuscript paper from the Quick Start, you’ll immediately get a new set of dynamic staves.
Add or Remove Instruments dialog (mobile and desktop): We’ve added several new instruments to the Add or Remove Instruments dialog that will automatically add a pair of guitar staves that are dynamically linked. The easiest place to find these is within the Common Instruments list > Guitars where you’ll find “Acoustic Guitar [notation & tab]”, “Classical Guitar [notation & tab]”, “Jazz Guitar [notation & tab]”, “Bass Guitar [notation & tab]”, and so on. Each of these will add a pair of staves to your score.
Adding to an existing guitar in your score (mobile and desktop): As you probably know by now, every feature is just a few keystrokes away in the Command Search in the top right corner of the window. To add a new dynamic guitar, select your existing guitar staff and type “Add Dynamic Guitar Staff” in the Command Search field in the top right corner:
Sibelius will either add a new notation or a new tab staff in your score, depending on which one you had selected, and will automatically populate the music from the original staff to the new.
Via a ManuScript plug-in (desktop only): We’ve created a new commandID for this feature too, allowing you to create a plugin that adds a dynamic guitar staff using "add_dynamic_guitar_staff". The simplest plugin could be:
Changing tab tuning and type of dynamic guitar staff
By default, Sibelius will use the standard EADGBE tuning when creating a tab staff, however it’s common to use different tunings when writing for guitar. To change the tuning of the tab staff in Sibelius, add your tab staff to your score, as above, then add an Instrument Change by going to Home > Instruments > Change. Choose the tuning you need, for example “Acoustic Guitar, dropped D tuning [tab]” or “Acoustic Guitar, DADGAD tuning [tab]”, click OK and then click just before the start of the first bar of the tab staff. This will change the instrument throughout the score from the start and update the tablature across the whole staff to use the new tunings.
Don’t forget to update the notation staff to use the new tuning for your guitar chord diagrams too. To do this, select your notation staff and go to Home > Instruments > Edit Instruments and click Edit Instrument. In the bottom right of the Edit Instrument dialog, in the Chord Symbols section, set the “Tab instrument to use for string tunings” to be the same tuning you’ve set your tab staff to be. This will ensure the chord symbols you add to your staves will match the tuning of your tab staff.
Using dynamic guitar staves on mobile
You’ll be pleased to hear that nearly all the features above are available on mobile, too. It’s worth noting the innovative gestures you can use to enter tab into Sibelius. Using the keypad, you can press and swipe up/down to choose the string and left/right to set the fret number. The note duration you start swiping on will determine the note that’s entered into your score.
Using pencil gestures, you can lean into the pencil to enter note input mode, then again and up to set the fret number, and left to right to set the note duration.
It’s a quick and fun way to enter notes quickly into your score in both notation and tab staves.
Changes to unplayable notes on guitar tab
In previous versions it was possible to move a note way off the end of the fretboard, and Sibelius would denote this with a red “?”, indicating it isn’t playable. Sibelius indeed still does this now if you transpose a note on the notation staff too far down that it’s not possible to play on the bottom string:
However, Sibelius will now avoid getting into that situation when you move a tab note from string to string. Sibelius will limit the movement of that tab note so you always get playable notation:
Changes to tied notes in dynamic guitar staves
In previous versions of Sibelius, and in non-dynamic guitar staves, tied notes on tab staves show both notes, like this:
Now there are two options for tied notes. By default, the tied-to note will be hidden. But if you want this second note bracketed, simply add the bracket and it’ll un-hide the note:
If you need a combination of bracketed and unbracketed notes, we recommend you revert to non-dynamic guitar staves until we make further improvements in this area.
Exporting files for those with earlier versions of Sibelius
As with major new features in Sibelius, there’s no way for earlier versions of Sibelius to understand and comprehend these new capabilities. When we introduce these features, we make sure you can export your files to an earlier version so you can share it with people who don’t have the latest version of Sibelius.
To do this, go to File > Export > Previous Version and choose “Sibelius 2020.3-2022.5”. If your score uses dynamic guitar staves, these will be converted into two non-dynamic guitar staves and text lines and other objects that have been dynamically hidden in the new staves will reappear. If this is a workflow you and your colleagues use a lot, we recommend you get current.
As with all new file versions, there's a new manuscrpt method allowing you to write a plugin to export files to a previous version. The new method is "SaveAsSibelius2020_3".
All Instruments Come to Mobile
Until now, the list of available instruments list has only included the ‘common’ list from desktop. We’ve added a toggle at the top of the Add Instruments list to switch between Common Instruments and All Instruments:
This gives you access to the 600-odd instruments Sibelius knows about, plus some more:
We’ve added a good collection of new instruments and transpositions in this release. Remember the “Manuscript Papers and Engraving Improvements” released in March (2022)? Well, these changes have allowed us to make broad improvements to the manuscript papers, house styles, and now the ability to quickly add new instruments.
As well as the new combined notation & tab instruments mentioned above, Sibelius now includes the following:
- Suspended cymbal: It’s been a long time coming! This is a 1-line instrument with 3, 4, and 5-line tremolo set up, along with a buzz roll to trigger a suspended cymbal sound if your sound libraries in your playback configuration support it
- Complete set of horn transpositions
- Transposing double bass instrument for solo double bass players called “Contrabass (solo, F#BEA tuning)”. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the solo contrabass is a transposing instrument up a minor 7th from sounding pitch
- Bass Clarinet in A and its Bb counterpart has variations for octave transposition and with a bass clef at concert pitch and treble when transposed
- We’ve also fixed the octave transpositions for Basso horns, allowing you to copy/paste music between the different instruments and it retains the correct octave
- Kengong is now correctly called Kenong
- Mallet Percussion is now consistently grouped with other percussion staves
- Several ranges for the family of recorders have been corrected
- In the German translations, "Kontrabassklarinette in B" and "Kontraaltklarinette in Es" now have a hyphen followed by a capital letter
This release also includes the following new manuscript papers:
- Jazz Lead Sheet
- Reduced SATB Choir with Piano
- Reduced SATB Choir a cappella
Other Improvements In This Release
As with every release of Sibelius, we aim to tackle some bugs as well as include some new and useful featurettes. In this release, we have included the following:
- Special characters in wildcards are now correctly displaying once more after deselecting text
- When editing a wildcard within the score, it is now possible to add formatting tags. See “Adding formatting changes to Score Info” in the Sibelius Reference for more information
- There’s a new preference in File > Preferences > Other to turn off KeyTips. These are the letters that appear over the Ribbon, providing keyboard access to all features. This is on by default, so users who are used to this won’t be affected. However, those who find they sometimes get distracted by the KeyTips when tapping Alt on Windows and Ctrl on Mac can now take advantage of the new preference
- The Latest News feed in the Quick Start is now getting its news from www.avid.com/resource-center rather than the soon to be retired avidblogs.com site
- Sibelius Cloud Sharing has had several improvements to make it more reliable and responsive on both Windows and Mac
- We fixed a bug that was causing various issues with paper sizes and orientations on Windows machines, such as A3 pages in landscape orientation
- Problems extracting parts have been resolved
- The new shortcuts for extending a selection to the start or end of a score have been added to all default shortcut sets. The feature has made it to the Command Search on mobile, too
- Sibelius no longer crashes when closing several scores using the X’s on the score and parts tabs
- Fonts with marked and/or zero advanced width characters display correctly once more
Just one more thing... Portuguese Support (Mobile Only)
Sibelius for mobile has been translated into Portuguese, adding to the 6 other supported languages. We look forward to welcoming the many Portuguese speaking musicians from around the world to Sibelius on their mobile devices.
And that’s it, folks! Thank you for getting this far. We hope you enjoy the new features and improvements in this release, and we can’t wait to show you what we’re working on next.