Music notation software, macOS Monterey, and Apple Silicon M1 Macs [updated]

News

Another year, another Mac operating system — and another year that the Mac and iOS underpinnings get ever closer to each other.

While they are still worlds apart in many ways, this does feel like a pivotal year for the ways in which you could work on your Mac and iPad and be lulled into believing you were using one device or the other — and not just because of what the engineers and designers based in Cupertino have created.

Elsewhere around the globe, the London-based Dorico team and the Montréal-based Sibelius team took successful plunges into iWorld, with 2021 seeing both Dorico for iPad and Sibelius for Mobile on iPad released within one day of each other (our heads are still spinning). That was followed quickly by a Dorico for iPad update that made it even easier for users to work on the iPadby removing the player limit, and just this week by the release of Sibelius on iPhone that literally puts Sibelius in your pocket.

Back to the Mac… just as we expect many Dorico and Sibelius features to make their way to both platforms, so too is the case for the macOS operating system itself. All of the marquee features of macOS 12 Monterey either have their origins on iOS or are designed to make your iPad, iPhone, and Mac work together more easily, or at least more similarly to one another. Features like Focus, AirPlay to Mac, and Shortcuts will be familiar to those already with iDevices, and especially those running iOS 15 or later.

The one feature we’re most excited about here actually didn’t make it in time for the official October 25 release. Universal Control, which Apple says is coming “later this fall”, will allow a single mouse or other pointing device and keyboard to work across multiple Macs and iPads. All that’s needed is for you to put your devices next to each other and move your cursor between them. Dragging and dropping content from one Mac to another Mac is also promised.

There are also new entries to the M1 Apple Silicon chip lineup, first unveiled last year. The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips power new MacBook Pros with head-turning speeds and, in many cases, jaw-dropping prices. Good, fast, and cheap — you know what they say: you can have two of the three!

In music notation software-land, all of the major desktop products will run on Silicon, but, as of the date of this initial post, only in Rosetta, Apple’s emulation mode. Not to worry — they will still likely be plenty fast, or perhaps faster than the same application that runs natively on Intel machines. But we’ll keep our eyes open for true Silicon support if and when it comes, and update this post accordingly.

As far as Monterey is concerned, we don’t expect any issues with users of music notation software upgrading from macOS 11 Big Sur to macOS 12 Monterey. As always, caution is advised, and, unless you really need to do so sooner, it’s best to wait to move to Monterey (the OS, that is) until your applications of choice are officially supported.

And, as ever, on the Scoring Notes podcast, we have a few time-testing tips and strategies to follow when it comes time to click that big button, whether it’s the one that says upgrade your operating system or the one that debits your bank account and results in a brand-new computer, and the steps you should take to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

If you’re using any of these products with Monterey, you are very welcome to share your experience in the comments section.

Updated October 28, 2021: Initial post.
Updated November 4, 2021 with information about Finale.
Updated November 16, 2021 with information about MuseScore.
Updated January 12, 2022 with information about Dorico.
Updated March 2, 2022 with information about Finale.
Updated March 17, 2022 with information about Sibelius.
Updated April 28, 2022 with information about Finale.

Note: The official Monterey status will not say “Supported” unless the developer has fully qualified its software to run on that version of macOS. For official M1 status, we will say “Supported under Rosetta 2” if the developer has fully qualified the software on M1 Macs running Rosetta, and “Supported natively” if the developer is providing native M1 support.

We’ll continue to update this post as warranted.

Sibelius

Official Monterey status: Supported
Official M1 status: Supported under Rosetta 2

On March 17, 2022, Avid released Sibelius 2022.3, which brought official support for both macOS 12 Monterey and for M1 Macs, but only under the Rosetta 2 translation layer. No information was provided regarding when Sibelius will run natively on these machines as a Universal application.

According to Avid’s Big Sur compatibility chart, Sibelius 2021.2 and later is officially supported on the latest Macs with the M1 processor under the Rosetta 2 translation environment. Sibelius 2020.6 and later is supported on Big Sur on Intel.

You’ll also want to bookmark the operating system compatibility chart for all versions of Sibelius (going back to 1.4!), and periodically refer to it when it is updated.

Finale

Official Monterey status: Supported
Official M1 status: Supported

Finale v27.2 is a universal binary application allowing it to run in Apple Silicon native mode.

In a Knowledge Base article updated on April 28 2022, MakeMusic said:

The following products are Universal Binary applications that can run natively on Apple silicon Macs as well as Intel Macs.

  • Finale v27.2
  • Garritan ARIA Player v2.001
    • To install this version, click here.
    • This includes both the standalone and plug-in formats.
    • All current Garritan libraries can be used natively on Apple silicon Macs with ARIA Player v2.001. (CFX Concert Grand / CFX Lite users see the section below.)

The following products have been tested on Apple silicon Macs via Rosetta and are considered compatible. Since they are not Apple silicon native applications, they must be used through Apple’s Rosetta 2 technology.

  • Finale v26.3
  • Garritan ARIA Player v1.959
  • Garritan CFX Concert Grand and CFX Lite players
    • Although we do not have a timeline to share yet, there are plans to update the CFX players for Apple silicon compatibility in the future.
    • CFX users can alternatively use these libraries via the ARIA Player v2.001 in order to run natively on Apple silicon Macs, although there are limitations regarding the CFX features that the ARIA Player supports. (Concert Grand / Lite)

If you rely on third-party plug-ins and hardware while using Finale, it is recommended to check with the manufacturers of these products for their specific guidelines regarding Apple silicon.

Dorico

Official Monterey status: Supported
Official M1 status: Supported

Dorico 4, released on January 12, 2022, is supported on Monterey and natively on Apple silicon.

Dorico 4 is a Universal app, which means that it runs natively on both Intel-powered Macs, and on the latest Apple silicon Macs, such as the M1 MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac mini. If you have an Apple silicon Mac, Dorico will run as a native application by default.

When running natively on Apple silicon, Dorico can only load VST plug-ins that can run natively as well: it is not possible for Dorico running natively to load VST plug-ins running under Rosetta 2, the technology that allows software built for Intel-powered Macs to run on Apple silicon Macs.

In addition, there is no support for VST 2 plug-ins on Apple silicon, so when running natively on Apple silicon, only native VST 3 plug-ins will appear.

MuseScore

Official Monterey status: Not supported
Official M1 status: Supported under Rosetta 2

On November 16, 2021, MuseScore’s head of design Martin Keary provided the following statement to Scoring Notes:

Testing and reports from community members using 3.6.2 with Monterey are very positive. We still need to continue with these tests and wait a little longer to receive more community feedback before advising users to make the upgrade. More to come about this soon.

MuseScore 4 is planned for release sometime in spring of 2022, according to Martin Keary.

Notion

Official Monterey status: Supported
Official M1 status: Supported under Rosetta 2

As of October 25, 2021, Notion (v6.8.2 Build 18133) is supported on Monterey.

The PreSonus Knowledge Base article on Monterey has a full list of supported and unsupported PreSonus hardware and software products on Monterey.

As of October 25, 2021, the PreSonus Knowledge Base article on Apple Silicon states:

Starting with Big Sur macOS 11, Apple introduced Rosetta v2, which allows applications to run in an emulated mode. Our tests revealed performance problems when using our software with Rosetta v2 (emulation mode). PreSonus started working on developing native applications for these new Apple M1 machines available in early 2021 and that work is now complete. …

Notion 6.8 released October 2020 is compatible with M1 Macs running Rosetta.

Regarding Notion for iOS, PreSonus has said that there’s no plan for to offer that app to run on M1-powered Macs.

Comments

  1. Riaan van Niekerk

    I have been running the latest stable version of MuseScore 3.6.2 macOS 12 Monterey on iMac M1 since it was released. I have not had any issues. There have not been any reports on the Support and bug reports forum, https://musescore.org/en/forum/6 of issues with macOS 12 Monterey.

    If you do encounter an issue, please start a thread, and if it is a confirmed issue, you can log an issue in the Issue Tracker, https://musescore.org/en/project/issues/musescore (or we can assist you if you don’t know how).

    If an issue is identified that requires a code change, a fix will probably only be released as part of MuseScore version 4.0, currently under development.

    (disclaimer, I am not speaking on behalf of MuseScore. I am just a community member.)

    regards
    Riaan

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Riaan, for that information.

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