Plugged in with Bob Zawalich

Scoring Notes
Scoring Notes
Plugged in with Bob Zawalich

If you use Sibelius or Finale, you’ve likely encountered plug-ins, maybe without even realizing it. Plug-ins are small computer programs that run within the software that can look at the score and transform it nearly instantly. Plug-ins have access to a wide variety of settings, and they make it possible to automate tedious tasks correctly and consistently. Sibelius ships with dozens of plug-ins, and many more are freely available to download.

Most of those nuggets were written by Bob Zawalich, who for decades has amassed an output of 500 public plug-ins for Sibelius. You might already know Bob’s work from his helpful presence on Sibelius forums, or from his many Scoring Notes blog posts, or even from hearing about him on this podcast. But do you know the man behind the code?

On this episode, Bob Zawalich joins Philip Rothman and David MacDonald to talk all about his fascinating life and early career, and the key moments that led to him being one of the most important contributors to our  community of music notation software users.

More from Scoring Notes and NYC Music Services:


  1. Stephen Bashforth

    It was really interesting hearing Bob Zawalich talk about his life’s journey into plug-ins.
    A great episode: thank you Philip.

  2. Daniel Spreadbury

    Such fun to reminisce about those early Sibelius days and learning for the first time what an exceptional person Bob is, in every way: as a programmer, as a musician, as a human. I was lucky to have been able to call upon his expertise, his time, his skill over the 10 years we worked together, from the earliest days of my work as product manager on Sibelius in the early days of developing Sibelius 3 until the dying days of my time at Avid a decade later. Thank you, Bob, for everything you did for me, and for Sibelius users around the world. I know you’ve never stopped, even though my colours are now nailed to another (much less purple) mast. You’re the best!

  3. John Hinchey

    A really fun interview with a really wonderful human being!

  4. Mike

    I now work in Dorico but having used Sibelius from v. 3 to v. 7.5 I was very familiar with many of Bob Zawalich’s plug-ins that saved me from countless hours of work and frustration. I was fascinated to learn more about Bob’s background and enormous generosity with his time and expertise. Many thanks to Bob for his incredible work and to Philip and David for a fascinating interview!

    1. Mark Puddy

      Thank you first of all to Philip, for providing such a fascinating vehicle for discovering such interesting information about amazingly clever people, and secondly, to Bob, for such generosity of spirit, to do what you do! It’s so impressive to hear of your work and your commitment to helping Sibelius users.
      Many thanks!

  5. Philip Rothman

    I appreciate everyone’s lovely remarks. Bob is a gem and it was an honor for David and I to speak with him.

  6. Dave McKay

    What a great interview! I agree with Daniel, it is always fun to hear about the early development days at Sibelius. Please do a part two and even a part three with Bob!

    Many thanks to Philip and David for producing this podcast. It is always a treat to listen to catch every new Scoring Notes podcast. Keep up the good work guys.

  7. RC McCauley

    This is for Bob Z, Philip R, and the gang. I’m getting older and the gray dotted lines that show connections from object to object are getting “fainter”- I wouldn’t mind a plug in that would make those dotted lines more intense or even a different color when you’re working with Sibelius. Bob, is there anyway you can help those of us who’s eyes are transitioning to weaker???

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