New versions of Sibelius, Finale write music automatically; secret Dorico project underway


Saving users from the tedium of actually thinking about pitches, rhythms, and boring elements of music like instrumentation and dynamics, today Avid and MakeMusic both released new versions of Sibelius and Finale, their flagship notation software, respectively, that composes music automatically.

No less than an editorial from The Times has already gushed that the latest version of “Sibelius can notate, print, and play a musical score at a pace even more rapid than Mozart at his most fecund… Imagine what wonders Bach could have worked with such technology.”

Indeed, you’ll soon forget about the drivel created by Wolfgang Amadeus and Johannes Sebastian, when you see what both Sibelius and Finale are capable of in their latest releases. We also learned about a secret Dorico project that’s underway.

Sibelius: Manuscript paper that thinks

For the modest fee of £888 ($1,166 USD), you can forget about ever needing to struggle with an original musical thought again. A small price to pay, indeed, for relieving the stress of meeting a commission deadline.

Just look at an example of the genius output of this “manuscript paper that thinks”:

An example of music automatically composed by Sibelius

Finale: Arbitrary music, hocket tools fill the gaps

Not to be outdone, the latest version of Finale adds more tools to its vaunted palette, and you might well wonder what you ever did without them.

In addition to the familiar tools like the Clef and Key Signature tools, Finale has added two more especially for composing: an Arbitrary Music Tool, so you can never worry again about having an original idea; and a Hocket Tool, to fill in all the places that the Arbitrary Music Tool missed the first time.

The revamped Tool Palette in Finale, with Arbitrary Music and Hocket

One stunning example of music produced via this method is evident in a masterpiece entitled The Visual Index:

An example of music automatically composed by Finale

Users of Finale, however, may find that it takes a while to get satisfactory results, and your screen may look like this for some time:

Don’t despair, however. You can always click the truck and open the secret sub-palette which provides additional options for managing the wait:

The cost of the Finale update was not available at press time, but “priceless” is what comes to mind for such revolutionary technology.

What’s cooking with Dorico?

We inquired with Steinberg about whether they had any similar plans to introduce a similar feature in Dorico. No comment was provided, although we did mysteriously receive a package at Scoring Notes headquarters several days later containing the following items:

Further investigation revealed the source code for the secret project that the Dorico team is working on for a future update.



    I guess you STILL have a sense of humor!

  2. Brian Solomons

    Very good! Although as I received it at 12.05 I’m not sure that it counts!

  3. TLynn

    I submitted ‘The Visual Index’ to a new music competition and won! This version has already paid for itself. Highly recommended.

  4. Graham

    I’ve been waiting for years for a plugin that will write automagically perfectly formed original
    4 part SATB in any style – renaissance aleotoric, baroque patiche, seriously serial
    with no doubled 3rds, parallel octaves, hidden thingies and still sounds like music…..:-)

  5. Fred Gray

    Computer assisted composition has been a field of study since computers came on the scene. In fact IBM raided the music schools for people to train as programmers since composers and coders both need to be creative within a tightly constrained symbol set. Techniques such as machine learning can be used to analyze existing music and generate similar stuff. But thankfully, the arts have so far resisted automation.

  6. Luke W

    “Page Crumpler Tool”

  7. Philip Benjamin

    I’m imagining those who read this article when investigating your site in the future – people who are naturally unconcerned about what day it is.


  8. LMo

    I was triggered just seeing “Manuscript paper” on a Sibelius update article. They know how to poke fun at themselves.

  9. John Parker

    You April fool, you! What a wag.

  10. Jamin Hoffman

    Very nice! Now if it only came with an app that teaches my students, too…

  11. Benny Rietveld

    Genius, thank you!

  12. Mark Vining

    Oh look the little truck is back in Finale. That’s such an improvement on the selector arrow. What a great idea!

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