Sibelius 7

I saw a post that Sibelius 7 was out. Excitedly I went to their website and started downloading the trail of the new version. I didn’t even read what was new! I just hit download. After the software was downloading then I started reading the new updated features. Several items jumped out at me -
1)Redesigned UI
2)Improved sound library – This is a huge item. Right now I have purchased several other sound libraries in order to make my scores sound as good as possible. This is a hassle to have to keep these other libraries updated and running and incorporate them into Sibelius. It’s just one additional step. The new updated sounds may make that extra step go away. We will have to wait to see as I’m not really seeing a way to try them out. There are a few sound bytes – I’m not very impressed by them though.
3)The inclusion of XML. Previously if you wanted to send files back and forth between that other notation program and Sibelius you would have to spend several hundred dollars and purchase an XML Dolet. Now Sibelius comes with XML support both directions you can import AND export.
There are other improvements as well – those 3 were what jumped out to me though. When you visit their web-stie you can see the other new and “improved” features.

I will give you my first impression of the new version since I first downloaded it and opened it. “Oh, No!” That’s all I can keep thinking. The new UI is so different. Some of the old keyboard shortcuts are changed and things are in different places and it all looks different. The new mixer is hard to read because the font size is so small. Now I have sat back the last few days and listened to people complain about Apple’s Lion. I like Lion. This new version of Sibelius may be the same thing – I just might need to get used to it. I do have to say though that this might be the first time I have not upgraded to the newest version of Sibelius though. I for sure know that I will not be upgrading immediately like I thought I would – I am in the middle of preparing for Band Camp and I think the upgrade would just slow me down. I really want to get all my music into Sibelius this year. That would allow me to use Scorch for iPad! But…….. WOW! (big sigh….)

I will keep trying the new update – I strongly suggest you go download the free 30 day trial and try it out for yourself!

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13 Responses to “Sibelius 7”

  1. Matt Says:

    Hey, first time commenter, long time reader.

    I saw the Sibelius 7 release earlier myself. I’m an avid Sibelius user (heh pun) and recommend it to all my music friends. At first I was a little thrown back about the UI changes, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me. At least in my experience, a lot of Sibelius’s features were hidden amongst menus after menus just to do simple things, nevertheless the more advanced features. The ribbon, obvious a cue from MS Office, seems to streamline it all, still allowing for the advanced features to be accessed yet making the new user be able to get to things quickly. But that’s just my opinion.

    What key commands haven’t worked for you?

  2. Paul Shimmons Says:

    It’s funny you mentioned the MS Office comparison – That’s exactly what I thought of as well (but I’m not giving that as a compliment!) You are right though – now things might be easier to find. But I am a long time Sibelius User and I am having to think HARD and look LONG to find where things are.

    Keyboard shortcuts – I mentioned this to Daniel on the Sibelius blog too that maybe some of the shortcuts I am looking for are ones I have set up myself. Then since It’s been so long ago I have forgotten that those shortcuts were “mine”. So let me list a few and see if this is me or the new version….. (keep in mind I am working on a Mac OSX)
    View full page – command 0
    Command clicking a measure to elect the entire score was not working earlier but it is now…. hmmm….
    The command to bring up the Properties box is of course gone
    No shortcut to the Part Dialogue
    The space bar is not working like I think it used to when I want it to play things (I will have to go back to version 6 and check this one out) Now the space simply starts playing from where it left off the last time. If I select a note or a measure and hit space it doesn’t start from that note/measure. I have to use “P” then it will play from whatever I have selected.

    This is just going to take some getting used to. I do like the full screen version – Although on Mac OSX Lion I’m not sure why Avid decided to not use the standard two arrow icon in the top right corner for jumping into full screen mode.

    I like the “find in ribbon” helper – type in what you would like and it gives you a list and then jumps to it if you select it.

  3. James Humberstone Says:

    I’ve had a bit of a play and what’s really exciting to me is that I’m finding most of the old shortcuts *haven’t* changed! So I turn off scroll bars, minimise the ribbon, turn on full screen mode, have way way way more screen real estate than I used to in Sibelius 6 and off I go. New features like sticky slurs are making input quicker (I just did a load of piano pedalling SO much faster!) and the program with its lovely 64 bits is very snappy.
    I agree with you about Lion, and I think I won’t need a lot of the ribbon things but my students who don’t use Sibelius very well are going to love it and for newbies or Finale-switchers it’s obviously going to make everything easier to learn. So I think the same with Sibelius 7, a bit to get used to, but enough features to make it much better for existing users and a real breakthrough for new users.
    [I'm still trying to get used to the Lion scrolling though! Determined not to turn it off!]

  4. Daniel Spreadbury Says:

    Your reaction to the interface changes, Paul, is pretty much exactly as I would expect. We know that long-time Sibelius users won’t look at the new UI and say, “Oh, great! They’ve changed the UI!” But we simply couldn’t go on the way we were going, adding more and more menu items and more and more floating windows. For somebody who has used several versions of Sibelius, the incremental increases in complexity aren’t too difficult to get used to. But put yourself in the shoes of somebody using Sibelius for the very first time, and starting out with Sibelius 6, and imagine trying to explain to them how you add more pages, or delete bars, or make the music bigger or smaller, or change the page size, and so on, and so on.

    I am confident that Sibelius 7 will be substantially easier for new users to learn, and I think you and other existing users will find the time it takes to adjust to the new version shorter than you might think. You’ll find that features are grouped together more logically, that common operations that used to require trips into dialogs can now be done without having to break up your flow, and many ergonomic improvements throughout the interface (one of my favourite touches being how quick it is to create a time signature now: T, 4, Tab, 4, Return).

    So give it some time. The 30-day trial gives you plenty of opportunity to play with the new version and form a considered opinion. I’m sure you will find lots to love inside Sibelius 7.

  5. choirguy Says:

    I was interested to see the Sibelius 7 information, and as a Finale user, was very happy to see MusicXML as part of the new program. I just watched a video showing how Finale users can use Sibelius, and there’s also a competitive upgrade of $199. My main complaints about Sibelius are no longer valid. That’s all very good.

    Then I read the system requirements…the program itself is 24GB with another 40GB for the advanced sounds. Personally, I’ve only got 85GB available on my computer, and I know that many students are going to purchase entry-level MacBook Airs (especially since the White MacBook is discontinued) with only a 64GB hard drive. I’ve been looking forward to buying a mid-level MacBook Air (128 GB hard drive). I don’t know why the program needs to be so gigantic, but boy, is it big. Basically, anyone with a small hard drive will have to decide whether they run Sibelius or all their other applications. And that’s so large that a Internet download is hard to comprehend.

    Just to compare, Finale 2011 was a 150MB program with 2.6 GB of additional sounds. Finale 2012 won’t be released until the fall, and my guess is that it may be delayed slightly to respond to Sibelius 7.

  6. choirguy Says:

    I received a note from Sibelius which mentioned that the program itself only requires 700MB and the whole installation with sounds is 36GB. It will still be a tight fit for any MacBook Air (64GB) owner, or perhaps even for older MacBooks (like my wife’s late 2007 White MacBook with an 80GB hard drive).

    On a similar note, some of the elements of Scorch for the iPad sound excellent–Scorch is more than just a music reader.

  7. Paul Shimmons Says:

    @Matt thanks for reading for so long and thanks for leaving feedback…. the interaction can be a very positive thing. Brings our little worlds out into a much larger space!
    I like James attitude about NOT changing the scroll bars – that has been mine too – I guess I’d better take the same attitude here and dig into the new Sibelius 7. Like Daniel says …. I did notice that I could find some of those buried options from S6 right out in the easy seen ribbon in S7. Once I re-orient myself with my surroundings this will be just as easy as before.

    I just went and checked my download size from last night and it is only 442 MB. I know that when I bought the other sound libraries I had to not use them on my old laptop for the same space reasons that are mentioned above. I also know that when I did need them I hooked up my external hard drive and there they were. It was SO much nicer to listen to. I could not stand trying to do marching band drum line parts without the marching band sounds turned on. I was glad when Finale and Sibelius both incorporated basic drum line sounds a while back. As for the new sounds for Sibelius I wonder if there will be an option to put the better sounds on an external drive and keep a basic set on a laptop? I had just started to consider the MacBook Air an actual option for my kids for college. Sibelius wouldn’t work too well on that though. Any idea Daniel on if that is possible?

    OK… I am off to go play more with the new version!

  8. Matt Marakovits Says:

    One of my bigger questions is, in regards to that Sibelius Sounds package, what is so different that it is 10 times the size of the previous version; are the sounds really that different. I was fairly unimpressed with Sibelius Sounds in the past preferring General MIDI instead. The samples on the site didn’t impress me much so I’m really hoping the 40+GB is significantly better than them.

    I am also a little curious of why they didn’t use the standard Lion full screen button. Possibly due to the fact that the Windows and Mac codes are probably similar? Maybe we’ll see that in 7.1

  9. Paul Shimmons Says:

    Matt, I do know that in the sound libraries I own outside of Sibelius the additional space was for sure worth it! I think too that if you have external sound modules than sometimes those are better than software sound libraries. The larger size is directly related to the fact that these are samples of real instruments – so you are in fact hearing a recording of a real life instrument when you use the new libraries S7 will have.

  10. Julia Says:

    I was actually very disappointed with this new release. I tried the trial, and to my disappointment, all they did was dumb down the UI for new users, since they’re just trying to bring in more clients, instead of fixing errors/adding new features to the program.I’m amazed that they haven’t added a group name function for brackets, or grace notes at the end of a bar, just to name a few. The promotional videos cater only for potential new users or trying to convert Finale users, but it doesn’t address many of the things that Sibelius users have been asking for years. I really don’t see the point in getting Sibelius 7 to be honest.

  11. shirleylacroix Says:

    Paul – did you ever figure out if we could install the sounds on an external drive?

  12. Paul Shimmons Says:

    Wow! 2:36AM! You are up late Shirley!

    I’m not sure about the external drive possibility. I’ve sent an email to the Sibelius guys – Since I am working out some problems I’ve had with Scorch for the iPad. Of course I found out that the problem was MY error (not a big surprise there) BUT I asked this question too so I will get back to you ASAP.

  13. Paul Shimmons Says:

    Here is Tom’s reply,

    The Sibelius 7 Sounds can certainly be stored on an external hard drive – although you have to put all of the sounds in one location, so you can’t have some on your machine and some on an external disk, I’m afraid. The situation you describe with, say, a MacBook Air, is a good example of where you’d install Sibelius 7 on the machine, but you’d almost certainly want the sounds on an external drive. (Note that they are likely to be a little slower to load from an external disk.)


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