New Sibelius, Finale versions use AI to 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 use artificial intelligence to compose 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 often hallucinates, and needs some time to detox, leading to this:

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.

Our opinion

Scoring Notes senior contributor and podcast co-host David MacDonald said, “I’ve often remarked on our podcast about what Apple’s Tim Cook calls the ‘toaster fridge’ problem, when combining features into a single product results in a worse toaster than a toaster and a worse fridge than a fridge. But Avid and MakeMusic have figured out the solution to these problems. Not to mention, these versions of Sibelius and Finale make really good toast — as good as Apple Toast, in my opinion — and my groceries stay fresher longer when using them.”

What’s cooking with Dorico?

Speaking of the toaster fridge, we inquired with Steinberg about whether they had any similar plans to introduce similar features 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!

    1. Ben

      Finale had a pair of tools with ‘train’ icons for many years. One was the train engine; the other was the locomotive tender.
      They removed the engine icon in 2008, but they’ve left their users with a tender behind ever since….

  13. Koschorreck Michael

    You had me there for minute. What a true relief I have felt though when realising what date it is.
    I must admit I dropped a few tears of happiness instantly when you gave back to me that precious gift of having to work hard for my own music. We‘ll see for how much longer.
    Thank you for now

  14. Bill

    The fact that there actually WAS a Sibelius update today helped add to the effect! (24.3.1)

  15. LadyViv

    But the Auto Reduce Ukelele tool! What a godsend! Finally!

  16. Andrei

    In Visual Index, there’s a D.S. B.S. al Coda. Nice…

  17. Oriol

    I read this on April 2nd so I took a few lines seriously until I realized. Damn.

  18. Michael Rosen

    Be careful! Remember how many people believed that Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds was real!

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