MAY 4, 2023

See What’s New in Sibelius 2023.5 on Desktop and Mobile

Sibelius 2023.5

Create separate Dynamic Parts for players from a combined staff

It’s a great pleasure to announce the immediate release of Sibelius 2023.5, bringing brand-new capabilities to Dynamic Parts, as well as a number of other useful features.

For many years, Dynamic Parts have been saving people hours a day by automatically creating instrumental parts that are linked to the score. It’s great for helping to ensure what’s printed and put onto the players' music stands lines up with what’s on the conductor’s podium.

You’ve been able to create parts with a combination of staves (useful for percussion parts and more) and have had independent layout control between parts and the score for a long time. Showing and hiding text and other objects have always been possible too, so you may be wondering what else we could add to Dynamic Parts in Sibelius!

The limits we’ve had in Dynamic Parts have been related to creating a part for each player from a combined staff in the score. It’s common in the full score to use combined staves for the players in a section; on a practical level, it’s useful to save vertical space on the conductor’s score and to aid score reading efficiency.

1 Full score

However, it’s also very common to need individual parts for each player. The image above shows parts for the clarinet, horn, and bassoon players sharing one staff each.

To create two independent parts in previous versions of Sibelius, where the individual notes from the chords and passages in multiple voices are split out for each player’s part, it would have required you to extract the part from the score entirely and work on it in two separate files. You would then have to constantly check between the original full score and each part to make sure any changes are covered in each file. Multiply this for each player, and you suddenly have many individual scores to keep track of.

Now, in Sibelius 2023.5, you have the ability to split the original staff into two Dynamic Parts, enabling you to achieve the following for the first time:

2 Full score 2 horn players

Full score on the left with a combined horn part, and with individual horn parts on the right

Each player’s part is achieved in just a few simple steps using existing features you’re likely familiar with already.

3 Creating Horn 1 part

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to create the individual horn part, with an animation for illustration:

  1. Select the bars you need (this can be the whole part or just a passage).
  2. Select Home > Select > Filters and choose Player 2 (since that’s the player you want to hide from this part).
  3. Finally, select Home > Edit > Hide or Show—or use the Command+Shift+H (Mac) or Control+Shift+H (Windows) shortcut as I did above—to hide it.

Sibelius then hides the second player from this part, creating a Horn 1 part in seconds. The process that Sibelius does here is nothing short of miraculous, and as this is in a Dynamic Part, the full score and other parts are unaffected by the process. You can safely go off and create subsequent parts in the same way.

To enable all of this, Sibelius is now able to hide individual notes in chords. Previously, if you tried to hide a note in a chord, the whole chord would be hidden. However, hiding a note is fairly easy for Sibelius to handle, but the real smarts come into play when adjusting the music around the hidden object.

You’ll see from the above animation that not only are the Voice 2 notes and bottom notes in chords hidden, but the rests, lines, text, and even bar rests reposition as though the music for Player 2 simply isn’t there.

Here’s a list of things Sibelius now readjusts automatically for you:

  • Stem direction—for passages of music where the players are divided between chords and/or voices, Sibelius will redraw the stems based on the context around them
  • Ties and other lines are redrawn around notes—this works with tie-into ties and L.V.s as well
  • Bracketed noteheads will cover only those notes it needs to
  • Beam angles will be redrawn and stems flipped as needed
  • Arpeggios and tremolos will adjust their length and position
  • Articulations will move to be above or below the remaining shown notes
  • Rhythm dots will move to the appropriate spaces on the staff
  • Accidentals will update the notes further down the bar when notes are hidden
  • If bars now appear completely empty, a bar rest will be inserted; if it’s next to other empty bars, they will form a multirest
A reminder about parts

In Sibelius, you can create new parts in a number of ways; in fact, Sibelius automatically creates parts for you in new scores. On both mobile and desktop, you can select the instrument(s) you’d like in a new part and then launch “Make Into Part” from Command Search.

This creates a new part and brings it into view. You can then change the name of that part for the player you need by editing the instrument name in the top left:

4 Edit part name

To navigate through parts in the mobile app, see this handy video:

5 Parts video

New preferences and engraving rules

We’ve added a number of new engraving rules and a preference to help fine-tune the notation and behavior of bars containing hidden notes and rests.

New engraving rules

You can find the following when you select Appearance > House Style > Engraving Rules or use the Command+Shift+E (Mac) or Control+Shift+E (Windows) shortcut:

  • Accidentals and Dots: Allow hidden notes to update accidentals
    This is disabled by default, so accidentals further down a bar will be updated when you hide a note. Enable this when you’d like the note and accidental to be hidden but then subsequent notes to play back with the chromatic inflection without displaying the accidental
  • Bar rests: Use bar rests and multirests when all notes and rests in a bar are hidden
    This is enabled by default and will create bar rests and merge them with multirests when the contents of a bar are hidden.
Playback Performance

When you select Play > Interpretation > Performance to open the dialog:

  • Hidden items: Play back hidden notes
    This is disabled by default, so when you’re creating parts for individual players and have hidden notes that aren’t played in that part, Sibelius won’t play these back. However, if you wish to hear the hidden notes in parts, or any other music you have hidden, you can switch this on.

When you select File > Preferences:

  • Editing: Respace includes hidden notes and rests
    This is disabled by default and only applies when you’re entering and editing notes. This doesn’t change the behavior when you reset the note spacing. When disabled, Sibelius will space your music based on the visible music and will ignore hidden notes and rests. When enabled, Sibelius will consider all hidden notes and rests too when editing and inputting music. Switch this on if you use hidden rests to, say, force the note spacing to be proportional or fixed.

Reset Note Spacing

Talking of resetting note spacing, you now have two commands to do this. You can select Appearance > Reset Notes > Reset Note Spacing or trigger the shortcut using Command+Shift+N (Mac) or Control+Shift+N (Windows) to reset the note spacing of visible music. If your bar contains hidden notes and rests, they will be ignored by this command. This is incredibly helpful in parts where your music needs respacing after hiding a player, such as in this example:

6 Respace shown notes

If you’d like to respace the music to include the hidden notes and rests (like in previous versions of Sibelius), launch the new “Reset All Note Spacing” command from Command Search.


We’ve added a new description that you’ll hear when selecting any object in your score that’s hidden. Your screen reader—be it Windows Narrator or Apple’s VoiceOver on macOS and iOS—will now say “hidden” when an object is hidden.


As with most Sibelius releases, we often extend our ManuScript plugin language, and this release is no different. We’ve added a new “Hidden” note property, which can be set and read.

Here is some sample code to show how this will work. The plugin code below (copy this into a new plugin’s Run method to try this for yourself) will take all notes in a score that are currently unhidden and hide them, as well as the reverse too (i.e., unhide any hidden notes):

thisscore = Sibelius.ActiveScore;
for each NoteRest nr in thisscore
for each note in nr
if (note.Hidden){
note.Hidden = False;
else {
note.Hidden = True;

Separate to this, and for those who’d like to trigger Command IDs to automate their part creation workflows, you can create a simple plugin that will chain actions together. This isn’t new in this release, but what you can achieve is new, of course. Again, copy this code into a new plugin’s Run method to select, filter, and hide a player in one single action:


The above will be useful for creating a Player 1 part, so if you’d like one to create Player 2, simply change "filter_player2" to "filter_player1".

File format

With new functionality and capabilities in Sibelius, it’s often we update the internal file version for files saved in newer versions. If you’re working with someone who hasn’t upgraded yet, you will need to export the file to an earlier version of Sibelius. This is only available in the Mac and Windows versions of Sibelius.

To do this, select File > Export > Previous Version and choose the file version you need to send to someone:

7 Export to previous version

Improvements to shortcuts (desktop only)

In this release, we’ve also added two long-awaited features to the Keyboard Shortcuts page in Preferences (found in File > Preferences). You can now search for a feature using the new “Search feature…” field:

8 Search shortcuts

Simply type some or all of the feature name you’re looking for and click Search. You can also now export your shortcuts in a simple HTML file. There are various options that will export your shortcuts with different grouping and order. The exported file is a single HTML file, which makes it really handy to print out or open on your phone or tablet.

9 Export Shortcuts

And it looks like this in your browser:

10 Shortcut list

Other improvements

There’s always a good collection of other featurettes and bug fixes in every release, and we have a nice collection here.

New example scores

We’ve added two new example scores to 2023.5. The final movement of the "Octet, Op. 216" by Carl Reinecke expertly shows off the new Dynamic Parts capabilities. We’re also including an example from engraver ilkay Bora Oder of the Sonaten, Inhalt by Joseph Haydn, that shows how incipits can be used to create a table of contents.

11 Haydn Contents

Bug fixes

The Quick Start has been given a spring cleaning, so you can now search and open manuscript papers and your recent scores more reliably.

  • Slurs between two notes on the bottom line of a guitar tab staff are no longer positioned too high
  • Clef changes on Dynamic Guitar Staves now only appear on the notation staff and not the tab staff
  • Slurs, text, and other objects are no longer doubled when adding a time signature change on a set of dynamic guitar staves
  • Note input via Bluetooth MIDI is more reliable once again on iOS
  • You can now hear playback from Sibelius and other apps you have open when using side-by-side mode on iOS
  • Several improvements to translations have been made across Sibelius
  • The “Export Selection As Audio” plugin has been improved by including the new “Export Audio” calls we added to ManuScript in the 2023.2 release
  • When searching ribbon galleries on a Mac, the down arrow now enters the list of results (making it easier to filter for Player 1 and Player 2, of course)
  • Part names are no longer reset when creating a new part or score subset

Whew—that’s it! Many thanks for reading all the way through this blog post. We really hope you enjoy the features and improvements we’ve packed into this release. We’ll be back in due course with news on our next release.

This update is available across Windows, Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and is included in your Sibelius subscription or Software Updates + Support Plan for perpetual license holders. To download the latest version for desktop, visit the My Products page in your Avid Account. On mobile, you can get the latest update through the App Store.

If you’re running an older version of Sibelius with a perpetual license, you have a few options to upgrade to the latest version (and get the next year of updates included too!) from here. To recap on everything you may have missed, check out our “What’s New in Sibelius” summary.

If you’re not familiar with Sibelius yet (welcome!); you can download the free 30-day trial from here:

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