Sibelius (software)

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Sibelius 7 main window on Mac OS X
Basic data

developer Avid Technology, Inc.
Publishing year 1993
Current  version 2018.6
(June 26, 2018)
operating system Windows , macOS
programming language C ++ , assembly language
category Music notation program
License proprietary
German speaking Yes

Sibelius is a music notation program named after the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius . Production and sales are carried out by Avid Technology , which acquired the program in 2006 from Sibelius Software Ltd. bought by brothers Ben and Jonathan Finn. It's available for Windows and macOS.

Range of functions

Sibelius enables professional music notation. Traditional notation is fully supported without restrictions (for example in terms of number or type of instruments); unusual or not commonly used forms of notation are also possible. When creating orchestral scores, the individual parts are automatically available. Notes are entered either by importing them via a MIDI keyboard, by keyboard commands directly on the computer or by mouse clicks. Editing functions can be automated using plug-in programs that you can create yourself. The program also offers functions for playing a score with consideration of the playing instructions (dynamics, tempo, etc.), whereby an extensive sound sample library is used. The scope of delivery also includes a simplified version of the PhotoScore program for scanning printed sheet music and converting it into Sibelius format.

Sibelius files can be distributed on the World Wide Web and, with the help of the Scorch browser plug-in, which is freely available to everyone, they can be viewed, printed and played without the actual Sibelius program. There is also a Sibelius file display program for the iPad called Avid Scorch .

File import

Sibelius is able to open the following formats:

  • Sibelius 2–8 (* .sib)
  • MusicXML (* .xml, * .mxl)
  • MIDI (* .mid)
  • PhotoScore and AudioScore (* .opt)

File export

Sibelius is able to save the following formats:

  • Sibelius 2–8 (* .sib)
  • Audio (* .wav, * .aif)
  • Graphics (* .bmp, * .png, * .eps, * .tif, * .svg)
  • MusicXML (* .xml, * .mxl) - from version 7, with older versions only via Dolet
  • MIDI (* .mid)
  • Scorch Webpage (* .htm)
  • PDF (* .pdf)

With the help of plug-ins , you can export to other formats .

Product family

Sibelius is available in the following versions:

  • Sibelius Ultimate (full version)
  • Sibelius Education (full version for teachers, students and pupils from secondary school and as a multi-user license for educational institutions)
  • Sibelius Student v7 (Student English only) - Discontinued in 2012
  • Sibelius (up to 16 staves, discounted version)
  • Sibelius First (up to four staves, free entry-level version)
  • G7 (version especially for guitarists with extensive possibilities for tablature notation) - discontinued
  • Scorch (browser plug-in for viewing, playing and printing Sibelius scores on the Internet)
  • Avid Scorch (iPad version of Scorch)

useful information

Work on Sibelius began in 1986 as a leisure project by British twin brothers Ben and Jonathan Finn, who conceived and programmed the first lines while studying music at university. The implementation was initially based on assembler and was later completely rewritten in C ++ .

The first official version appeared in 1993 under the name Sibelius 7 for the Acorn Archimedes . At that time, the market was dominated by the Finale program from CodaMusic. Since then, the software has steadily developed into one of the most powerful and most widely used notation programs. The suffix 7 was later dropped. The number attached to the name today refers to the current version number. The Sibelius 7 version for Windows and Mac is therefore ambiguous with regard to its naming.

In 2006 Avid bought Sibelius Software Inc., owned by the Finns . The programming team was then reduced in size, but the development and maintenance remained with the same company, embodied by the public face of product manager Daniel Spreadbury , who has been involved since 1999. From now on the employees were subject to the employment relationship at Avid.

In July 2012, Avid announced that it wanted to focus its core competencies again in the future, which was accompanied by extensive company restructuring and the sale of subsidiaries. As a result, the UK Sibelius headquarters at Finsbury Park in London was completely closed and its staff were laid off. Avid then stated that the further development of Sibelius would be entrusted to a team in Ukraine in the future.

The transition period from 2012 to 2013 was coordinated by Bobby Lombardi, Pro Tools Product Manager . Meanwhile, a broad-based initiative organized by Sibelius users tried in vain to persuade Avid to sell the Sibelius division or to reinstate the London developers. At the beginning of 2013 it was announced that the old Sibelius development team is now working on a new music notation software for Steinberg ; this new software appeared in October 2016 under the name Dorico .

The new development team working in Kiev around Senior Product Manager Sam Butler and software developer Michael Ost was presented at the end of 2013.


version publication Remarks
Sibelius 7 1993 First release; for Acorn Archimedes
1 September 1998 First version for Windows, name suffix 7 is omitted
1.2 March 1999 Compatibility with Mac OS
2 2001
3 2003 Kontakt player integration, audio export, CD burning function
4th July 2005 New user interface, dynamic individual part excerpt ( parts ), synchronized video import for composing film music,
5 June 2007 Scroll View ( Panorama View ), VST Support, Sample Library ( Sibelius Sound Essentials )
6th May 2009 Automatic collision detection ( Magnetic Layout ), revision control ( version ), keyboard and fingerboard windows, Live Tempo , ReWire support
7th July 2011 New GUI with ribbon, native 64-bit support, new 38 GB sound library, extended text and typography options, vector graphics export, MusicXML export
7.5 Jan 2014 New sharing functions, timeline view window, new language versions, more realistic musical phrasing when playing
8th June 2015 Support for touchscreens and digitizers , scaling for screens with high resolution, annotations, subscription license model, discontinuation of 32-bit support

Installation under Firefox is not supported by Sibelius First (no captcha function).

See also


  • Frank Heckel / Wolfgang Wierzyk: Sibelius Practice Book: Practice book for professional notation . Wizoobooks, Bremen 2008, ISBN 978-3-934903-63-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Sam Butler: Note Spacing Improvements in Sibelius 2018.6. In: Retrieved November 29, 2018 .
  2. ^ Sibelius Operating System Compatibility Chart. In: Retrieved December 4, 2016 .
  3. Avid Scorch preview page at , accessed December 4, 2016.
  4. Make Music: Dolet / Plug-In for Sibelius. 2012, accessed August 9, 2014 .
  5. Daniel Spreadbury: Introducing the new Sibelius First. Sibelius Blog, May 26, 2012, accessed May 6, 2012 : “The new Sibelius First replaces the existing versions of both Sibelius First and Sibelius Student”
  6. ^ Avid: Sibelius Scorch. 2012, accessed May 6, 2012 .
  7. ^ Avid: Avid Scorch. 2012, accessed May 6, 2012 .
  8. Avid Divests Consumer Businesses and Streamlines Operations. Focuses on Media Enterprises and Professionals. BusinessWire, July 2, 2012, accessed on July 16, 2012 (English): "Avid has agreed to sell its consumer audio and video product lines."
  9. ^ Robert Puff: Sibelius UK Office Closes. Avid Selling Consumer Businesses. Of Note ..., July 7, 2012, retrieved on July 16, 2012 (English): "The Sibelius headquarters in the UK will be closed."
  10. Senior C ++ GUI Developer for AVID project. GlobalLogic, Inc., August 16, 2012, accessed on September 17, 2012 (English): “Avid in partnership with GlobalLogic is running a Product Engineering Lab in Ukraine. (...) We are looking for an exceptionally talented musically minded software developer to join the engineering team working on the world's leading notation software, Sibelius. "
  11. ^ Pro Tools Expert: Bobby Lombardi Heads up the new Sibelius Team. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  12. ^ Arts Journal: Does Sibelius have a future? Avid says, for sure… ( Memento from May 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ).
  13. ^ Save Sibelius : Initiative's Facebook page , accessed April 23, 2014.
  14. ^ Save Sibelius. Homepage of the initiative , accessed on April 23, 2014.
  15. ^ Music Radar: Sibelius team working on new Steinberg notation application. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  16. Steinberg - Making Notes Blog: The first five months , accessed on April 23, 2014.
  17. What is Dorico?
  18. Avid: Shaping the Future of Music Notation and Learning Avid Blogs Sibelius ( April 24, 2014 memento on the Internet Archive ), accessed April 23, 2014.
  19. Sibelius Blog: Avid's Michael Ost speaks about Sibelius's past, present, and future , accessed April 23, 2014.
  20. Daniel Spreadbury: Projects by Daniel Spreadbury. LinkedIn, accessed on August 6, 2012 (English, project document from the former product manager).