Sibelius 6 is here!


Sibelius 6 small screenshot

I’m delighted to be able to share the happy news that Sibelius 6 is now available! We’re incredibly proud of the new version, and we’re really looking forward to hearing from our users about it.

Some of the highlights of the new version:

  • Magnetic Layout takes care of almost every detail of score layout for you, automatically. As you write, it gives everything just the right amount of space and avoids collisions – producing beautiful results. This one feature cuts the time taken to prepare a score by up to half.
  • Versions keeps track of revisions to your score, lets you look back at earlier versions of it, and see what changes were made since. Add sticky note-style comments to your score as reminders for yourself, or for others. Compare two versions of the same score, or even two separate scores, and see the differences color-coded in the score.
  • Live Tempo lets you conduct the playback of your score by tapping a key on your computer keyboard, MIDI keyboard or foot pedal. Sibelius follows your beat just like a real orchestra does: you can subdivide your beat to slow down, beat once per bar in fast tempos, and hold as long as you like at pauses, all without marking up the score in advance.
  • Sibelius Sounds Essentials, the included sample library, is better than ever and now requires no set-up thanks to the integrated technology from AIR. The new Sibelius Player allows Sibelius to play back up to 128 channels simultaneously (depending on computer power) with real-time effects including convolution reverb. Sibelius even loads the samples required for playback in the background, so you can edit your score while the sounds load.
  • ReWire support allows you to sync Sibelius playback with Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic, GarageBand, and more.
  • Classroom Control enables teachers to instantly send scores to every classroom computer, temporarily lock student computers to attract their attention, and gather in all student files at the end of a class.
  • Totally revamped chord symbols, with faster input than ever via your MIDI keyboard. Typing chord symbols is faster too: you can simply type the plain text equivalent, and Sibelius will auto-format the chord symbol for you. Text chord symbols and guitar chord diagrams have been combined into a single kind of object, with a library of more than 600 different chord types, and many new features.
  • Keyboard and Fretboard windows allow you to input notes by clicking on keys or frets, or play your computer’s QWERTY keyboard like a piano. These beautiful, resizable windows are also ideal for students learning notation.
  • Professional engraving improvements include the most flexible and controllable slurs of any notation program, automatic stemlets, feathered beams, note-attached arpeggio lines, automatic cautionary accidentals, and intelligently positioned jazz articulations.

Over the coming days, I’ll be sharing some of the story about how Sibelius 6 was put together, and drawing attention to some of the smaller improvements that might otherwise get lost in the hullabaloo about the many major new features in this version.

For now, though, you should go and download the demo version (which is fully functional, but cannot save or print more than one page, and does not include the sample library). If you already have an earlier version of Sibelius, you can order your upgrade for shipping in the next week or two. If you are new to Sibelius, buy your copy today!


  1. Simon Howes


    Takes me back to when I had Sibelius 6 back in the 1990’s. Later had version 7.

  2. John Wesley-Barker

    What an announcement! The Sibelius site is VERY busy following your announcement. I do hope there’s a fix for the Mac Intel Scorch problem of the last 2 years in this new release. I also hope there’s an upgrade price.

    Keep up the developing of this product and I look forward to your first iPhone app in the not too distant future.

  3. Daniel Spreadbury

    We’ve had some site issues over the past couple of hours, but the site is back up now and will hopefully stay back up. Upgrade pricing in the UK is £99 + VAT for educational users (so £113.82 inc. VAT), £139 + VAT for professional users (so £159.85 inc. VAT), and in the US it’s $129 for educational users and $169 for professional users.

    Scorch 6 is also available today, and has indeed fixed the problem whereby playback would produce no sound on some Mac systems.

  4. Will

    Regarding ReWire: Can Sibelius 6 function as ReWire host to record audio from a DAW to Sibelius, thus producing a score in real time? I’ve been looking for an easy way to create a score in Sibelius directly from my DAW; exporting snippets of MIDI from the DAW and then importing them into Sibelius doesn’t really cut it.

    There has been chatter in the Finale forums asking for just such a feature (DAW recording directly to score). If Sibelius can now do this without extra plug-ins, then I think I am ready to upgrade from Sibelius 5!

  5. DS Music - Jon Petrie

    Just to let everyone know Sibelius 6 Software is now out!

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  6. Daniel Spreadbury

    Sibelius 6 can only behave as a ReWire synth application, or slave. So you can take the audio out of Sibelius into another application, e.g. Pro Tools or any other DAW that supports ReWire, but you can’t add multiple audio tracks in Sibelius 6.

  7. thartist

    the new features, especially the Magnetic Layout and the saving of Versions are a godsend. I had been needing really bad an implementation of Versions like the one you did, to analyze the evolution of my projects.

    however i would suggest, my desire is that you’re a little bit more open about development. At least allow submition of features requests and bug reports, and have one beta with automatic bug reporting to help iron out the bugs for a very solid release. I remember Sibelius 5 being quite buggy at launch.

    The most important thing of all is that despite all the great features, where i seem to lose more time is in the NOTES INPUT itself! it is like it doesn’t flow, it’s so rough to use, and no matter the features it takes me a too long to input and correct the music with mouse and keyboard. i think Finale is a little softer to use in that respect. That aspect is what finally needs the focus and tweaking for Sibelius 7.i needed that for 6! one more version of suffering!

  8. Daniel Spreadbury

    Thanks for the comments, thartist. We are as open about our development as we can be, given that Avid is a publicly traded company (and so there are stringent legal restrictions about what we can say about unreleased future products) and given that our competitors would love to know what we’re up to in advance so they can start copying us sooner.

    You can submit feature requests and bug reports via the forum on the main Sibelius web site, or you can simply email me: prioritising feature requests and triaging bug reports is one of my key responsibilities.

    As for improving the fluidity of input, I agree: I think that Sibelius is a great musical typewriter, but not yet a great musical word processor, and that’s something I want to see us improve further in future versions.

  9. JoeyO

    Sibelius 6 seems like a godsend and CANNOT wait to get my hands on. Magnetic parts and staves!!!! Who can ask for more. I arrange for close to 30-40 marching bands every season and I am a mouse and keyboard guy. I tend to disagree with the rigidness of input. I think it is a lot more smooth and the tendency to use keyboard shortcuts is more prevalent. I used Finale for 10 years before switching to Sib. 5 this fall. Sibelius has done nothing but improve productivity and client relations for the company I work for. Kudos AVID and kudos to the Sib. team!!!!

    Joey O.
    Director Of Music Services:
    Pageantry Arts Division
    Fast Forward Productions

  10. Yakov Hadash

    I’ve never used Finale but I think that music input is OK, especially now that Sibelius seems (via new plugins) to be loosening up the bar duration issues i’ve been having with unmetered music.

    But the magnetic input / staves thing looks INCREDIBLE, especially where it lets you write stuff in the middle of a crescendo. I am really excited to never have to futz with placement, and just watch everything lock into place. wow

  11. thartist

    AH! i now remembered one of those 1 time / first impression thoughts that are so valuable but one tends to forget. (I’m afraid this will expand more into a lengthy article than a regular post)

    I am always excited to receive new features along with each version, and i usually seem to think that each and every new feature will “expand on the way i work” and “make my life easier”. Each new version of Sibelius is fascinating by itself, bringing new features that make you think ‘how could i live without this before!’.

    However there is this weird thing that happens over and over again: a while after the initial discovery, i find that im not using them. That i’ve forgotten those features completely, and i’m even invaded by some sense of frustration and confusion. There is something wrong, and it’s not *just* me or whoever the end user is. How come i was excited about something that seemed to be so useful and i seem to love, but in the end i’m not using it at all? Why do i feel that i CAN’T get to use them?

    This is a complex and often very overlooked problem. NEW FEATURES CRASHING AGAINST YOUR HABITS.
    No matter how cool or how many new features are introduced, we have an already stablished set of habits and routines for the way we work, and it’s different for everyone, at anything we do. What i can tell from my experience is that i can’t seem to be able to integrate these new features “into” my workflow, into myself… into my way of thinking. They are left out by the way i’m already used to work. I assume i know how to do something, and that task “x” is done in “x” manner, but honestly don’t know at all if it could be more easily done in any other way. And worst of all, sometimes i don’t even recognize what my limitations are and in the end of my session of work, i come out stressed and i blame the program for being not so efficient. So no matter how many tools i have, i tend to so solve everything with the ones i’m used to using. Those are generally the first ones you’ve had contact with. You see the problem then? New features are left out.

    So the solution i’m in need of is a re-training. Not like “a deep re-training”. I just need someone to “show me” easily (i need to see it done and in context) how to make the best use of a new tool or feature; see when, where, under what situation it will serve me the best instead of doing things in an clunky old way i don’t even know im’ doing things. As stated before, no matter how obvious it may seem for new users, i’m an ‘old’ user of Sibelius, not anymore alert to re-thinking because “i’m already on rails”.

    You may say that there are video tutorials and a looong bible included but they just don’t cover this. They say ‘this does this’, and after staring at those video and saying ‘aha, ok’ i just disregard it because i can’t find or elaborate the “better than” or “instead of” sense of it. Speaking for what i think are many, we need a wider, more comprehensive panorama of situations where every new feature for each version of Sibelius will make my work easier and more efficient replacing old methods; stuff that i don’t even notice i do. Otherwise, you know, i’ll unconciously keep doing things already cimented in my customes.

    I suggest video tutorials. So long of a text for that? well, sadly yes. seemingly. Not necessarily long videos, but just showing a broad ‘number of scenarios’ and the ‘advantages’ of using a feature in each case. It is also extremely important to find how, where and when the videos would be presented to the user. In the website? Of course. But then when the user is alone with it’s music in front of it’s computer working… it needs to be at hand. It needs to be inviting. It needs to be suggested. It needs to be encouraged. All that so that the user INCORPORATES, ABSORBS what is new.

    These subtle details are what the whole long text was for.

    As years and versions go by, users don’t or barely PERCEIVE the differences between versions and feel they are in the end “all the same”, so they decide they WON’T UPGRADE (and the decisins is quicker when taking price into consideration – not that Sibelius is the most accessible software out there) because they are already fine with what they have. So it also translates into other areas. Painful ones ;) . Hasn’t it happened to you? that you’ve been through many years and versions of a program, and despite knowing it’s much better than it’s predecessors you feel they end up being almost the same?

    The very same solution would apply for Finale MIGRATORS. They would stop thinking Finale, and start thinking Sibelius (sounds catchy eh!). You know they would “try to find Finale inside Sibelius” because that’s what they are used to. -but!- Migration disorientation solved.

    Hope it’s been a very useful read for everyone, even if in a weird english.

    Best Regards,

  12. Hugo Lamote

    Is MusicXML export on board now in Sibelius 6? Thanks a lot to the Sibelius team for this great new release!

  13. Daniel Spreadbury

    Hugo, I’m afraid MusicXML export still requires the separate Dolet for Sibelius plug-in. Adding a built-in MusicXML exporter remains on our list of possible future features.

  14. Andy Montgomery

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  15. Jürgen Steiner

    Great, there seems that about everything I used to miss from Sibelius 5 is now included ins Sibelius 6, but it seems like a ‘classic’ is still missing: playback of repeats after a D. S. / D. C. – or am I just too stupid to find it?
    Apart from that: great work!

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      I’m afraid you’re not missing anything, Jürgen: we haven’t changed the way repeats work after a D.C./D.S. in Sibelius 6, but you can be sure that this is high on our list of priorities for inclusion in a future update or upgrade.

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