It’s with great pleasure that we announce the immediate release of our first desktop update of the year. This update packs in several improvements under the hood, gives Sibelius a new look, and includes a number of engraving improvements.
The update introduces compatibility for the latest operating systems, so users are recommended to upgrade as soon as possible. The update can be found in Avid Link, or at the installer in your account, located here: https://my.avid.com/products.
New look and feel
We’re pleased to unveil a new look for Sibelius. It’s modern, sleek, and it fits right alongside our sister product, Pro Tools. The main user interface (UI) of Sibelius hasn’t changed since the 2011 release of Sibelius 7 (other than the addition of new Cloud Sharing, Annotate, and Review Mode buttons on the ribbon, and new Inspector and Timeline windows, along the way). The time has now come to update the overall styling of the ribbon toolbars and galleries with a modern and refreshed look. This is simply a re-styling, so you’ll find all your favorite features just where they were before.
The new style is flatter and departs from the use of visual gradients throughout the UI. We’ve also changed the theme color from purple to blue, to be easier on the eye, and to hark back to an earlier era of Sibelius. This change also links Sibelius to Pro Tools through their common color theme.
When you open Sibelius, you’ll first notice the new look in the Quick Start, where we now have a flat and clear interface. We’ve chosen the dark coloring behind the score previews to match the default background color of the UI when the score is open, to create a consistency throughout the score creation experience.
The coloring while “hovering” with your cursor in the Quick Start is now more subtle and features a light blue rather than dark orange. This small visual change created a performance boost, which has made scrolling through the page smoother than ever.
Once a score is open, the new ribbon interface has a clean, flat look, which helps to accentuate the feature icons. The File tab is the same blue color as that from the Quick Start, and the selected tab now connects with the toolbar below it. The non-selected tabs are now darker, and add more dimension to help highlight the selected tab.
The selected tab color flows through to the active score/part tab too, to further simplify the UI.
When picking the colors for the ribbon, we used color calibration tools to ensure we created enough contrast to provide the best readability, and pass standard UI requirements. Now, the yellow gradient behind the selected features has been replaced with a simpler blue, as you can see below.
The File tab, now blue, follows the same new theme and has new icons for the Open, Close, and Folders in the Recent page.
The flatter approach to highlighted sections and cleaner design for action buttons all help to declutter the UI.
Manuscript papers and engraving improvements
Part of the work we do behind the scenes is to reduce technical debt by improving old processes. In this release, we’ve changed the way our manuscript papers are generated. Previously, each of the Sibelius templates (in all 9 languages) were created and maintained by hand, which meant changes had to be painstakingly hand-crafted. But not anymore.
Sibelius 2022.3 is the first release with a fully automated manuscript paper creation process. The new process creates one master file with all the lines, text styles, and musical symbols, runs a script to batch-generate all the necessary files, and then translates them into the eight languages. This allows us to add new lines (or tweak the engraving rules, for example) to the master file and have the changes propagated through to all the files to populate the Quick Start. Each manuscript paper is unique, and the process allows us to specify individual house style changes to each file.
We’ve nicely tied this into the Quick Start, too, so when you create a new score, you’ll see “Title” and “Composer” in the Score Information Setup section, as it appears in the image below.
There, you can enter the title and composer text, and it will populate within the score and flow into the Score Info page in the File backstage. With the new manuscript papers and tie-in with the wildcards and score info, we think beginner users will find it easy to create beautiful scores with ease.
While making improvements to the Quick Start, the score preview will now update when choosing a time signature and key signature.
A few important notes: The new manuscript papers are now embedded into the application rather than being installed outside the application executable. The old manuscript papers will still be installed on your system, but they will not appear in the Quick Start. We intend to entirely remove the old templates from the installer in a future release. This means that if you rely on some of the legacy template papers, you will still have access to them. However, in order to see legacy papers in the Quick Start, you will need to move those papers to the location where user templates are stored:
Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Avid/Sibelius/Manuscript Paper/
Windows: [username]/AppData/Roaming/Avid/Sibelius/Manuscript Paper/
There are many useful improvements to the ManuScript plug-in language in this release—too many to list here. To find them all, check out the ManuScript Reference Language, found in File > Plug-ins.
In summary, we’ve added new ways to set options in Engraving Rules, such as bar number frequency. You can set the initial staff size too, equivalent to setting this in the Inspector.
Through the ManuScript Execute command, we’ve added access to several Command IDs to manipulate the position of objects, such as moving staves up and down, moving objects around, changing spacing, moving the score, changing selection, and so on. We make full use of these in our new Manuscript Papers, which are freely open to you to create your own plug-ins and automate your workflow.
Qt upgrade - change to system requirements on mac os
This release comes with an updated version of Qt, our underlying technical infrastructure. There are several under-the-hood improvements that ensure Sibelius runs well on all computers. Consequentially, Macs will now need to be updated to macOS 10.13 or later to run Sibelius.
We’re pleased to announce full compatibility with Windows 11 and macOS 12 Monterey on both Intel and silicon processors (using Rosetta 2). To see our full system requirements, please see this article on the Avid Knowledge Base.
As always, we love to take feedback from our userbase, and we make every effort to reflect that feedback in our updates. Here’s what you can find in this release:
- Octave lines are no longer too long when you add them to your score.
- Switch notehead styles via the ribbon, or by pressing Shift + Alt 1-9 keyboard shortcuts while entering notes on percussion staves.
- Enharmonic changes are no longer broken in dynamic parts after octave shift.
- System lines now respond to Align in a row and Reset position.
- Z tremolo is now retained when changing voice (this fixes a long-standing bug paired with the tremolo fix included in 2021.12).
- When deleting articulations (e.g. fermatas) that are attached to a rest, the rest no longer gets deleted with it.
- You can now navigate text using keyboard shortcuts in the Quick Start.
- Text in the new licensing messages has been tightened up, and new translations have been added.
- Option + A keyboard shortcut is now working again. This fixes a long-standing problem in which Sibelius crashes after long, plugin-heavy sessions.
- Tab-order has been fixed to go from top to bottom in:
- Engraving Rules
- Preferences / Music Fonts
- Instrument Change
- Advanced Filter (Find)
- The cryptic labels (e.g. “Line 15”) when attempting to change keyboard shortcuts have been fixed to show the actual labels of the object in question.
- New Japanese translations for Export PDF settings
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for another packed update release, soon. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the features and improvements in this release.