Warning: this post gets a bit nerdy about software windowing models. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, try this instead. Likewise, if you’re a Mac user, you might find all this a bit parochial.
Like all good modern applications, Sibelius 7 uses the Single Document Interface (SDI) model, which means that each Sibelius score you open gets its own window, each with its own button on the Windows taskbar, and so on. Of course, you can also open further windows onto the same document if you wish (of which more later), but in the general run of things you’ll have a single window for each document, with multiple tabs open in that window to house the full score. Folks who have upgraded from previous versions of Sibelius, which used the Multiple Document Interface (MDI) model – where the Sibelius application itself has a parent window to house every score that is opened, and that window stays open until the application quits – have struggled a bit with the transition to SDI.
The chief sticking point is the expectation of what happens when you close a window. On Windows, typically an application quits once it no longer has any windows open (obviously there are exceptions, such as applications that put icons down in the system notification area, but those are normally utilities rather than full-blown productivity applications). Under the old MDI model, it was easy to close one score before opening a new one: the parent window would hang around, so you could simply choose File > Open from the menu, and a new score window would open within the parent window. Under an SDI model, however, if you close the last document window, the application quits (on Windows only, of course), so you never get the option to open another score. This is why, by default, we made the Quick Start window reappear after you close the last document window: it prevents Sibelius from quitting, and provides you with an easy way to open another score.
But what if you don’t want to see the Quick Start window? It was already possible to disable the Quick Start window when starting Sibelius, with the application opening a default blank score for you, so that you can open a new score from there, or indeed just add instruments to that default document and get cracking. But if you disable the Quick Start window when closing the last score window, Sibelius quits as soon as that window closes.
As of the latest Sibelius 7 update, version 7.1.2, Sibelius now behaves the same as other SDI applications that use ribbons, such as Microsoft Word. What this means is that if you close the last tab in the last window (e.g. by clicking its close button, or by typing Ctrl+W or Command–W, or by clicking Close in the File tab), the score disappears from the window, but the window remains, with the ribbon disabled above it. You can click the File tab, which now defaults to the Recent page, making it easy to choose a recent score to open, or you can click Open (or type Ctrl+O or Command–O) or New (Ctrl+N or Command–N) to open an existing score or start a new one. Once you have opened an existing score or started a new one, the empty window ends up with the newly-opened or created score in it, and away you go again.
Be warned: closing the last window by clicking the close button at the top right-hand corner of the window will still quit Sibelius altogether (unless you have set the Quick Start to open after the last window closes), but this is correct, and how SDI applications work.
So to run Sibelius without the Quick Start, first ensure you’ve updated to Sibelius 7.1.2, then switch off Show Quick Start dialog and Show Quick Start again after closing last score on the Other page of Preferences. Enjoy!