Notion 6 released

by Philip Rothman on August 26, 2016 · 0 comments

in News

Presonus yesterday released Notion 6, which the company described in a press release as “a major upgrade” to its notation software, adding a variety of features and enhancements, including:

  • Side-by-side workflow integration with Studio One 3.3 Artist or Professional
  • Cross-platform handwriting recognition, powered by MyScript®
  • New layout control and features for professional score output
  • Drag to respace measures and systems
  • New Instruments: Notion Harpsichord, and Lakeside Pipe Organ and Micro Choir from Soundiron
  • MIDI over ReWire for improved integration with other leading digital audio workstations
  • New video window controls for faster scoring to picture
  • The new Notion Scores library, with over 100 works
  • Updated Music XML support
  • MP3 export

A full list of new features and fixes in Notion 6 can be found at the Presonus blog. The Notion 6 user guide, quick reference guide, and other documentation in several languages are available for download as well.


Notion 6 runs on Mac OS X 10.8.5 or later or Windows 7 SP1 or later. US pricing for Notion 6 is:

Presonus sells expansion instruments for Notion beyond those included with the software, which cost as much as $300 for the entire 10 GB library.

In addition, Presonus is celebrating the release of Notion 6 by offering the iOS version of Notion for $8, nearly half the usual price of $15, “for a limited time only.”


Sibelius 8.4.2 update available

by Philip Rothman on August 24, 2016 · 0 comments

in News

update-downloadAvid yesterday released Sibelius 8.4.2, a minor update to the recent Sibelius 8.4 update.

Sibelius 8.4.2 addresses a few issues:

  • A problem where hidden text was shown when printing or exporting to PDF has been fixed
  • The spacing between clefs, key signatures, time signatures and start repeat lines has been improved
  • Sibelius no longer crashes when clicking on Detailed View in the Ideas panel
  • Sibelius no longer crashes when exiting from viewing a video in full screen mode (macOS Sierra only)
  • The staff size is now shown in Edit Instruments > Edit Staff Type
  • The top crashing issue from Sibelius 8.4 has also been addressed

“In addition to this,” senior product manager Sam Butler said,  “we have made improvements to the sizes of ossia staves. Since Sibelius 8.4, we introduced the ability to have two further staff sizes (Medium and X-Small).” The sizes of ossia staves from 8.4.2 are now two smaller than the size of the parent stave where possible, for example:

  • Normal parent -> Small ossia
  • Medium parent -> X-Small ossia
  • Small parent -> X-Small ossia
  • X-small parent -> X-small ossia

Sibelius 8.4.2 also comes with the latest version of Avid Application Manager, version 2.5.8, which now includes a silent install option, which Avid said provides a much smoother and more streamlined update experience to the user.

Sam said: “Work on Sibelius 8.5, our iOS app and improvements to Sibelius Cloud Publishing continue, and we’re looking forward to sharing more about those projects in due course.”

Th update is free for all Sibelius users with active subscriptions and upgrade plans. The updated installers are available from Avid Application Manager or through users’ Avid Accounts.


New Sibelius plug-in: Impose Sketch onto Template

by Philip Rothman on August 23, 2016 · 17 comments

in Tips

curranThis blog post is written by Tom Curran, composer, arranger, orchestrator, and musical director. In this post, Tom describes his new plug-in, Impose Sketch onto Template, a tool to transfer the structure of piano-vocal, MIDI exports, or other sketch scores onto full orchestral scores.

The inspiration for writing this plug-in came out of a conversation with a colleague of mine. We were working on a theatre production and sharing our frustration about the time-consuming process of having to manually copy out the structure of a piano-vocal score into a template file before the contents can be pasted in. From my experience working in theatre, it’s very common for the initial piano vocal score files created by the composer or arranger to be separate from the template file used by the orchestrator from which parts are then generated by the copyist.

The only real way of getting the structural information from one score to another is to manually copy the attributes of every bar, including time signature changes, key signature changes, tempo text, system symbols and lines, changes to the bar numbering etc. Once this information is in the template file, only then can you copy the actual contents of each stave across. There just had to be an easier way of doing this seemingly simple task, so I decided to immerse myself in the ManuScript programming language and try to write a plug-in that could help.

The plug-in is called Impose Sketch onto Template, and it automates the process that I’ve described above. The primary use in mind was for theatre copying, but after sharing a first version of the plug-in with a small group of colleagues, it became clear that it would also be of use to those that need the structure of a MIDI import score on a clean template, or simply for any Sibelius user who wanted to extract the bar structure from one score into another file.


The current version of the plug-in (version 2.01) includes the option to actually import the sketch staves to the bottom of the template file, and also the option to add their contents too. More detailed information can be found in the plug-in description, including information about setting up the template file correctly.

I hope that it will be a useful addition to many Sibelius users, especially for those that regularly find themselves having to manually copy large bar structures from one file to another. In case it’s of any use, here is a video showing what the initial version of the plug-in did:

Impose Sketch onto Template
may be downloaded directly through Sibelius 7 and higher at File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins > Other. Users may also install it manually in Sibelius 6 or higher by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure, or by using the Install New Plug-in plug-in.


Making good on a promise to release an upgrade this summer, today MakeMusic released the latest version of Finale, its 25th in the history of the notation software. In doing away version numbers by year, as had been the custom since the 1990s, MakeMusic has committed to “release more incremental versions, as we did with Finale 2014.5, which add new functionality (not just bug fixes) without charge to our current customers,” according to notation product manager and senior editor Mark Adler.


Finale v.25 does come with a price tag, however. Similar to past major upgrades, the price for new customers is $600 retail and $350 with valid academic or worship credentials. Existing customers will pay $149 for upgrades from previous versions of Finale. A competitive upgrade is available $149 for users of Sibelius, Notion, Encore, Score, or Overture. PrintMusic users wishing to trade-up to Finale can do so for $400. A free 30-day trial is available.

For months, in a departure from the usual secrecy around upgrades, MakeMusic has been sharing details of the new Finale on their official blog. Regular readers of that blog (or this one) therefore won’t be surprised at what’s included. The focus for this release has been “streamlining and modernizing Finale’s codebase,” Mark said. “We do this to improve performance, maintain compatibility with future operating systems, and to set the stage for future improvements.”

To that end, the most notable element of the new Finale version is the overdue but welcome transition to being a 64-bit application. Even the most entry-level computers are 64-bit machines, as are modern operating systems. The difference between 32-bit and 64-bit may not sound like much, but if an application is 64-bit it effectively means that it is limited only by the available memory on the computer, whereas a 32-bit application can only handle 4 GB of memory. Practically speaking, 64-bit applications are more efficient and, in the case of Finale, it will finally be able to accommodate 64-bit sound libraries.

Generally speaking, other than those described below, there are no major changes to Finale’s interface from 2014 or 2014.5, so existing users will feel comfortable right away with Finale v. 25.

Finale v.25 will only run on recent operating systems — Mac OS Yosemite (10.10) or higher, or Windows 7 (64-bit) or higher will be required. Full details about system requirements are listed on Finale’s web site.

The change to 64-bit means that all shipping plug-ins have been updated. Popular plug-ins such as Jari Williamson’s JW Freeware Plug-ins, Robert Patterson’s Patterson Plug-in Collection, and Tobias Giesen’s TGTools are all being updated as well, as the the 32-bit versions of these plug-ins won’t work in Finale v.25.

In addition to the update to 64-bit, Finale’s other notable new features are:

  • ReWire support
  • Correct transposed instrument audio on note entry
  • Staff attribute to independently display time signatures in a score and part (to better facilitate film-score style large time signatures)
  • Contoured dashed slurs
  • Additional Garritan sounds and updated ARIA player

There are a number of smaller fixes and changes as well, which we’ll summarize later. A full list of what’s new in Finale v.25 for Mac and Windows may be found on MakeMusic’s web site. For now, read on for an overview of the more significant changes. Read the full article →


Thumbnail image for “Link Up” with a day in the life of our music prep shop

“Link Up” with a day in the life of our music prep shop

August 10, 2016

Today we’ll take you on a behind the scenes tour of our music prep shop, where we prepare, print, pack and ship music for an orchestral program that’s performed by nearly 100 orchestras around the world each year.

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Thumbnail image for Behind the scenes with Dorico, MuseScore, and a Finale font tool

Behind the scenes with Dorico, MuseScore, and a Finale font tool

August 2, 2016

Going behind the scenes in a new video from Steinberg’s Dorico program, what’s cooking for MuseScore 3.0, and learning more about an online music font comparison tool that could have big potential for Finale.

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Thumbnail image for Using the Open Selected Parts plug-in in Sibelius

Using the Open Selected Parts plug-in in Sibelius

July 28, 2016

Bob Zawalich’s Open Selected Parts plug-in for Sibelius not only makes it faster to open just the parts you want, but it also quickly closes unwanted parts at the same time.

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Thumbnail image for Harp glissando and arpeggio playback in Sibelius

Harp glissando and arpeggio playback in Sibelius

July 22, 2016

Learn how to get harp notation that is pleasant to both the eye and ear by using several convenient plug-ins, in this guest post by Bob Zawalich.

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Thumbnail image for Go wireless with the Xkey Air MIDI keyboard: a review

Go wireless with the Xkey Air MIDI keyboard: a review

July 19, 2016

CME delivers on its promise to make a version of its Xkey that connects to your computer or tablet wirelessly. Hands-on with the Xkey Air 37, the latest addition to CME’s MIDI keyboard lineup that connects via Bluetooth.

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Thumbnail image for Musegraph’s Wolfgang font brings the SCORE look to Sibelius

Musegraph’s Wolfgang font brings the SCORE look to Sibelius

July 14, 2016

Wolfgang, a font created by Musegraph and derived from the classic SCORE music engraving program, is now available for use in Sibelius.

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