Sibelius is now native on Apple silicon with the 2024.6 update

News

Avid has released Sibelius 2024.6, the first version of Sibelius to run natively on Mac desktops with Apple silicon processors (M1, M2, M3, etc.). Sibelius will continue to run on Intel-based Macs, as well as on Apple silicon Macs under Rosetta 2, if needed, in order to facilitate compatibility with a third-party plug-in that may not yet have been updated to run on Apple silicon.

Other improvements to Sibelius 2024.6 include updates to the MIDI copy and paste feature introduced in 2024.3; ManuScript updates (the language that Sibelius plug-ins are based on); and a number of bug fixes in the areas of clefs, ties, score subsets, house styles, and more.

Native Apple silicon support

As mentioned, this improvement in Sibelius 2024.6 will only be noticed by users running Macs that use Apple silicon chips, such as the M1, M2, M3, along with their Pro and Max variants. Before this update, Sibelius was supported on these Macs, but only with the help of the Rosetta 2 translation layer, effectively converting Intel-based code on the fly into a version that could be read by the Apple silicon architecture.

Now, Sibelius is designed to work directly with the Apple silicon chip without any intervening layer. Dorico and Finale have been Apple silicon-native since 2022, so Sibelius is late to this prom-de-pomme (although not as late as MuseScore Studio, which is still reliant upon Rosetta 2).

There hadn’t been great urgency here, since Sibelius was already running faster on Apple Silicon Macs under Rosetta than it was on Intel-based Macs, so users were not adversely affected. Still, with this update, Avid says, “When running Sibelius natively now, you’ll see improvements on startup time up to 30%, and when processing large-scale score changes on huge scores you should see improvements up to 50%. For smaller scores running the majority of commands in Sibelius, it’s likely you’ll find it just as fast as before.”

In my limited testing, I found those claims to be accurate. Here are a few tests on my 16-inch 2021 M1 Pro MacBook Pro with 16 GB RAM, on the same 865-bar full orchestra score:

Sibelius Ultimate 2024.3.1 (Rosetta 2)

  • From Open to Quick Start: 16.35 seconds
  • Select All: 1.45 seconds
  • Transpose up minor 2nd: 1.38 seconds
  • Filter all eighth notes: 7.22 seconds

Sibelius Ultimate 2024.6 (Apple silicon)

  • From Open to Quick Start: 11.15 seconds
  • Select All: 0.88 seconds
  • Transpose up minor 2nd: 0.98 seconds
  • Filter all eighth notes: 3.23 seconds

You may not notice one or two of those in an isolated context, especially when only fractions of a second are involved, but over time, those speed increases will make your workflow smoother and faster.

How to know that you’re running Sibelius under Apple silicon

This is true for any application: Open up your Mac’s Activity Monitor and look at the Process Name in the CPU tab:

If, under Kind, it says Apple, you’re silicon-native. If it says Intel, it’s under Rosetta 2.

How to open Sibelius under Rosetta 2

If you rely on plug-ins that still haven’t been updated to run natively under Apple-silicon, you won’t be able to use them in Sibelius, unless you open Sibelius using Rosetta 2. To do that, click on the Sibelius app in your Applications folder, and use Command-I to show its information (or File > Get Info). Check the box that says Open using Rosetta.

To open Sibelius using Apple silicon, simply come back here and uncheck this box. Changes won’t take effect until you quit and re-launch Sibelius.

One of the most popular plug-ins, NotePerformer, has already been updated for Apple silicon, so if you use NotePerformer you don’t need to do anything special to have it run in Sibelius under Apple silicon.

Other fixes and improvements in 2024.6

MIDI copy and paste

The MIDI copy and paste feature, first introduced in Sibelius 2024.3, has received some additional attention in Sibelius 2024.6:

  • When pasting Time and Key Signatures from Pro Tools, the initial time and key signatures are now included
  • Pasting MIDI from the clipboard now ignores muted notes
  • The “Round metronome marks” option in MIDI Import Options is now persistent
  • When pasting MIDI from the clipboard or when importing a MIDI file, system text is no longer duplicated
  • Key signatures are now positioned correctly after pasting MIDI
  • Tempo changes aren’t included at every time signature change, unless needed
  • Options to filter key switches in MIDI Import Options now no longer allow the values to cross

Although copying and pasting MIDI in Sibelius will work with any application that supports copying and pasting MIDI data to and from the system clipboard, Avid intends this feature to complement the same feature in Pro Tools. Accordingly, they’ve also updated Pro Tools in the 2024.6 version of that software to allow the user to selectively paste key, meter, and ruler data, and to paste MIDI with or without notes, i.e., for the purpose of bringing across the structure of a song independently from the music.

ManuScript

With last year’s 2023.5 update, Sibelius introduced new options for spacing music, to support its expanded capabilities with hidden notes. Sibelius now ignores hidden notes when note spacing is applied, by default:

This is controlled in Preferences > Note Input > Editing, with an option called Respace includes hidden notes and rests, which is off by default in Sibelius 2023.5 and later.

This can be overridden by Reset All Note Spacing, a new command available via Command Search which will space hidden notes and rests contained within a passage selection, even if the above Preference setting is unchecked.

In 2024.6, ManuScript gains support to control this feature via a plug-in, with two new Bar instructions, that explicitly choose the behavior bar.RespaceIncludeHiddenNotes and bar.RespaceIgnoreHiddenNotes.

Note: bar.Respace remains unchanged. It’s behavior is determined by the user preference.

In addition, there are three new selection object instructions that respace the music on a given selection: selection.Respace, selection.RespaceIncludeHiddenNotes, and selection.RespaceIgnoreHiddenNotes.

In addition, the Split Bar & Combine Tied Notes plug-ins have been updated; Sibelius no longer crashes with running a plug-in that uses the CloseWindow command; and the documentation is updated.

Notation improvements

  • Blank clefs now appear, if Hidden Objects is checked in View > Invisibiles. These have a similar appearance to instrument changes, but are smaller:

(I’m reminded of a wish-list item to more generally be able to control the shading percentage, and/or the color of hidden objects, to make them more easily visible. These old eyes ain’t what they used to be!)

  • Unison ties are now correctly positioned.

Subsets

  • Page numbers are now retained in a Score Subset after relaunching Sibelius.
  • Copying music within a Score Subset now works correctly after adding a new instrument.
  • Muting instruments in the mixer within a Score Subset now works as expected.

House Styles and editing instruments

  • Importing House Style no longer corrupts instrument ensemble definitions.
  • The Edit Instruments dialog now correctly pre-selects the instrument you have selected in the score once more. Copies of instruments are no longer made with editing custom instruments.

Avid has also said that they have unlocked the ability to import a House Style in Sibelius Artist, the mid-tier version of Sibelius. Previously, this feature was only available in Sibelius Ultimate.

General improvements

  • The preference to Respace multi-voice passages during note input and editing now works as it should when Auto-Optimize is on.
  • Sibelius no longer crashes after adding clef changes while re-inputting pitches.
  • Hidden accidentals no longer show when they shouldn’t.
    Translation errors are fixed on the Film Orchestra Manuscript Paper.
  • The About box credits now scrolls the list of names once more on desktop.
  • Following on from the fix made in 2024.3.1 where tied-to notes are updated when changing enharmonic spelling of the first note in a tie chain, this is future refined so you can’t apply it to more than one note at a time. This avoids problems when respelling a range and multi-item selections.

For other items as well as the official take on this update, consult the Avid post announcing this release.

Compatibility and availability

Sibelius 2024.6 uses the same file format as Sibelius 2023.11 and 2024.3, so you can share files among those two versions freely. However, the MIDI copy/paste feature, and any other features introduced in 2024.3 or later, like Sibelius Connect, require Sibelius 2024.3 or 2024.6, as may be appropriate.

Sibelius 2023.11 used a new file format, to accommodate additional system objects. Files saved directly in 2024.6 will not be able to be opened in an earlier version of Sibelius prior to 2023.11 without first exporting them in File > Export > Previous Version. If you’re collaborating with someone else that’s using a previous version, be sure to find out what version they’re using.

The Sibelius 2024.6 desktop update is free for all Sibelius users with active subscriptions and upgrade plans. The updated installers for desktop are available through users’ Avid accounts and through Avid Link, which has also been updated.

The Sibelius 2024.6 iOS/iPadOS update — and the new Sibelius app for Android and Chromebook — are available in the usual way, and will be delivered automatically, or, if you’ve disabled automatic updates, you can manually update the app on your device. Some of the features in 2024.6 are only available on the desktop version of Sibelius.

Typically our Scoring Notes coverage only extends to the Sibelius Ultimate version of the application. Not all features are available in all tiers of Sibelius.

A reminder that if you’re an existing Sibelius customer with an active support plan or subscription, you get the mobile version at the same tier at no extra charge. If you have a subscription to Sibelius Artist (mid-tier) on your Mac or PC, that will carry over to Sibelius Artist for Mobile, and the same for Sibelius Ultimate — a Mac or PC subscription allows you full access to Sibelius Ultimate on iPhone and iPad.

Learn more

For the latest information about compatibility for Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, and MuseScore, as well as links to the latest news and reviews about product releases, please see the Scoring Notes Product Guide.

Avid also has a “What’s New in Sibelius” page highlighting the features in recent Sibelius updates.

Comments

  1. Luke Furman

    Plot twist–if you’re like me and haven’t updated your NotePerformer in a while, you might still have to run Sibelius under Rosetta. I was still on 3.3.2 and it simply didn’t start up at launch like it usually would. But Sibelius screamed thru startup and got me to the Quick Launch window before the music had finished playing–something it’s never done in past versions on this Mac!

  2. Säde Bartling

    Thanks for the info!
    Question: Is there a way to back out from 2024.6 and reinstall the previous one (2024.3, I guess)?
    Problems with opening old midi files. Already tried Sibelius using Rosetta instead, didn’t help.

  3. Säde Bartling

    An in-depth explanation of the problem in my previous comment:

    Gear:
    mac mini M1 2020
    macOS 14.5 (23F79)
    Sibelius 2024.6

    Problem: Opening midi files with Sibelius 2024.6 causes crash.

    After updating to 2024.6 opening midi files with Sibelius causes Sibelius to crash. Using Rosetta doesn’t help.

    The only way to open midi files with Sibelius is through File – Import page and then opening every single track of each file separately. This is click intensive and disturbs the workflow immensely.

    1. Säde Bartling

      Follow-up to the 2024.6 midi problem, Justin Tokke from Avid replied:

      There’s a bug where any MIDI files opened while Sibelius is running in a language other than English will cause a crash. We already have a solution for it and a patch should be released imminently.


      Justin Tokke, Senior Product Designer at Sibelius
      justin.tokke@avid.com

      1. Philip Rothman

        Säde, that’s great to know. Thank you for following up. It explains why I was unable to reproduce it on my English-language system.

        1. Säde Bartling

          Thanks, Philip! Thought others might benefit of the info as well. Still waiting for the patch they promised, though. In the meanwhile Sibelius is running in English.

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