Avid today announced plans for the next version of Sibelius and, with it, plans for future Sibelius upgrades and licenses. Sibelius version numbers, like the symphonies of its namesake, will end at 7 (well, technically 7.5). Going forward, Avid plans to move away from version numbers with Sibelius and instead offer more frequent releases, which will likely be less comprehensive than previous major releases but also have the potential to be more responsive to user requests and changes in technology.
The Surface Pro 3 has been receiving a lot of attention from music notation aficionados recently, thanks to the new Windows app StaffPad, a music handwriting recognition tool which makes full use of the tablet’s features and active pen-and-touch technology.
The next Sibelius version will also take advantage of the pen technology, by allowing users to add, select and delete objects in the score. We haven’t yet seen this in action, but one can envision the process being very similar to how StaffPad works for music that has been rendered in its scores.
Selecting music in Sibelius using a Surface Pen (promotional image provided by Avid)
Users will be able to add annotations in the next version of Sibelius, allowing you to draw directly on the score using a mouse, trackpad, USB tablet, or Surface Pro 3 Pen. There is good potential for this to be an effective tool for collaborators and educators, or simply to jot a note to oneself. Annotations will be grouped intelligently and always attached to the bar you add them to, and that the annotation layer can be optionally hidden.
If you use annotations to write in musical markings, however, it does not appear that they will automatically convert into Sibelius’s customary musical or text objects; you’ll need to input those in the usual way.
Annotating music in Sibelius (promotional image provided by Avid)
Windows users will be getting some more improvements from the next version of Sibelius, as it will support DPI scaling on Windows displays that support it. Sibelius already supports Retina Displays on Macs.
The PhotoScore Lite software from Neuratron that comes bundled with new versions of Sibelius will include support for NotateMe Now, and the upcoming PhotoScore Ultimate 8 will include the full suite of NotateMe features.
Owners of the Surface Pro 3 — and those with their eyes on one — must be feeling the love with the back-to-back announcements of StaffPad and the new Sibelius features, including NotateMe and PhotoScore. A workflow that involves beginning scores by handwriting them in StaffPad or NotateMe and then polishing them in Sibelius — all on one device that takes full advantage of the active pen-and-touch technology — will soon be possible in a way it wasn’t just a couple of weeks ago.
Additional features announced at this time are multi-touch support and UI improvements to the Keypad, Transport and other floating windows.
The new features will, for now, only apply to Sibelius, and not the entry-level Sibelius First product, according to Avid. Avid also says that future Sibelius upgrades will be more closely integrated with Sibelius Cloud Publishing, other products on the Avid MediaCentral Platform, and the Avid Marketplace community, although specific details were not available at this time.
Feature announcements for past versions of Sibelius have generally been timed to coincide with the public availability of the product. In this case, however, Avid is eager to demonstrate the new features in advance of its release, and will be doing so next week at the international Musikmesse trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. If you are attending and have a chance to check it out, please let us know what you think in the comments!
The next Sibelius version will be available in this quarter of 2015, in a number of licensing options described more fully in the following section. Read the full article →