Categories
Music Software Sibelius YouTube Videos

Custom Bar Numbers in Sibelius

For those that work with orchestra or any music that requires parts to be produced, you may want the bar (measure) numbers in the parts to look different than the numbers in the score. I take a look at that issue in a YouTube tutorial video. I also talk about how to make a special staff on which to display the numbers.

The main sections to look at in Sibelius are the Appearance->Engraving Rules->Bar Numbers and in the Parts tab, part appearance.

Categories
Arranging Church Music Sibelius

New Sheet Music

New Music

Available now at my website and SheetMusicPlus, are the following titles. For a list of all titles I have available, visit https://jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php

Ancient Quandary — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964252

Christ Is Made The Sure Foundation — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964255

David’s Lamentation — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964256

Heaven Above — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964259

I Remember You, My Lord — Orchestra — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964261

Open My Eyes – Organ — https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20964263

Is there a specific hymn tune you’d like to see arranged, and for what instrumentation? Let me know.

Categories
Arranging Church Music Organ Music Sibelius Website News

Recent additions (Nov 2018)

Late October additions to catalog and Soundcloud

Listen to my contribution to a collaborative effort with Spitfire Audio. (Alas it wasn’t selected as part of the song).

I added 3 new sheet music titles to the sheet music catalog (https://jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php)

Two versions of the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. One for solo organ and one for Brass quintet:

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20928934

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20928932

A solo organ arrangement of Beneath The Cross Of Jesus.

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20928930

I have some instrumental ensemble (orchestra) titles coming soon. If you have any suggestions for what type of music you’d like to see me add to the catalog, please comment below.

Enjoy..

Categories
Arranging Church Music Sibelius

New Choral music (and personal update)

New Choral Music

I’ve released 2 new choral titles through my distributor Sheet Music Plus Direct. As with all my current arranging, I use Sibelius for the composing and layout.

First, an unaccompanied setting of Are You Washed In The Blood for SATB choir. See more details here: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20804287

Secondly, an accompanied setting of Christ, Whose Glory Fills The Skies, also for SATB choir, although the first part only requires a 2-part choir. See more details at: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20804289

On a personal note I had a bit of a scare on Sunday, Sept. 2. I play organ for a local rural church. Short story is I passed out about 15 minutes before the service. Fortunately it turned out to be a case of dehydration. I mention this as a word of warning to those who might have done like I did. I use to drink a gallon or more of tea (and that’s it) in a day. (Maybe an occasional soda). As one gets older, the body cannot tolerate caffeine as well and it tends to dry one out. In trying to figure everything out I’m happy to say I have a very healthy heart, good lungs and am not diabetic. I did of course take it easy for a while.

Since I’ve had no comments about my liner notes for my album Sampler I will no longer be writing any more. Suffice it to say the rest of the songs were done very similar to the previous tracks. If interested in the rest, drop me a note or comment. And thanks to all who read this blog. Please share it and my website with others. I have opening for piano students or music software tutoring via the internet.

Categories
Arranging Church Music Organ Music Sibelius

New Sheet Music

Christmas Organ Selections II

I have a new sheet music Organ Collection available. This contains selections of Advent and Christmas titles.

Available at: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20753754

Away In A Manger [MUELLER]
God Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen
He Is Born [IL EST NSTE]
In The Bleak Midwinter [CRANHAM]
Joy To The World [ANTIOCH]
O Little Town Of Bethlehem [ST LOUIS]
The Babe of Bethlehem
The First Nowell
The Snow Lay On The Ground
What Child Is This [GREENSLEEVES]

There are a variety of styles represented. This and volume 1 will provide you with plenty of selections to choose from during the hectic Advent and Christmas season.

In addition to the link above (which takes you to the SheetMusicPlus website, my main distributor), a listing of all my available music can always be found at my website, JamesGilbertMusic.com

All of the typesetting for this collection was done using Sibelius.

Categories
Albums Arranging General Organ Music Piano Lessons Reaper Recordings Sibelius Website News YouTube Videos

May 2018 update

Current news

I’m always looking for subjects to write about here or tutorial to do on YouTube. Please use the comments section to give me some ideas.

I’ve not shown a map of where people are buying and performing my sheet music for some time, so here’s the latest (as of Mar 31, 2018)

I’m making some changes to the music catalog. Rather than offer individual keyboard arrangements, I’m only selling collections. I have 8 piano solo collections available. As time permits I will remove organ solos from the catalog and only offer collections. It is easier to manage collections.

I have no plans for anything on YouTube at the present time. This is for two reasons: 1) Nobody who watches my videos on YouTube has bothered to let me know what they want to see and 2) YouTube no longer allows me to monetize my channel and nobody who watches my videos has donated anything to keep it going.

As always, check the sheet music catalog for new titles. At least once a month, sometimes more often there are new titles.

After 15 custom arrangements for a single client I must be doing something right. If you have a beginner/intermediate instrumental group or a church orchestra in need of arrangements, let me know so I can write it for you.

I’m always “playing around” with my various sound libraries and live instruments in my home studio. Look for at least one new album out this summer, if not two.

I continue to teach piano lessons locally and over the internet. So, no matter where you are in the world I can teach you. I can also tutor on composing, arranging, music theory and more. Drop me a note if you are interested.

Categories
General Sibelius YouTube Videos

Sibelius Sound Set Editor Introduction

Sibelius Sound Set Editor

I put together a brief video showing an introduction to the Sound Set Editor and how you can use it to support virtual instruments

Categories
Arranging Other Sibelius

Sheet Music Plus for Composers/Arrangers

A “Kindle like” publishing platform for musicians

In case you did not know it, SheetMusicPlus.com has been operating a self-publishing platform similar to the way Amazon allows book authors to publish material for their Kindle.

I’ve been using it since Jan 2016 to sell all the titles I have available and have been quite happy with it. (I also should add that SMP is my go to source for printed music since there are no music stores within driving distance of where I live).

The following article explains it much better than I can and includes some videos to help Sibelius users although anyone who can create a PDF file of their music can participate. Their ArrangeMe option, discussed in the article is a great opportunity for arrangers.

http://www.avidblogs.com/sibelius-users-sell-music-today-millions-worldwide-smp-press/

In addition to Sheet Music Plus, ScoreExchange.com out of England also allows you to sell your music for free. They are very geared toward Sibelius users, allowing them to upload Sibelius files directly to them. I also have many of my titles there, but unfortunately, they are not as well known as SMP. JW Pepper music in the USA has a publish option for composers/arrangers that has a startup fee but also makes titles available to customers in printed form and is geared toward the educational market. I’ve not tried them.

Are there any other similar services I didn’t mention?  Any pros/cons anyone would care to discuss? Please comment.

Categories
Albums Arranging General Other Reaper Recordings Sibelius Website News

Variegated Plate

Wonder what this might be?

Coming soon...
Coming soon…

var·i·e·gat·ed
ˈver(ē)əˌɡādəd/
adjective
1) exhibiting different colors, especially as irregular patches or streaks.
Botany: (of a plant or foliage) having or consisting of leaves that are edged or patterned in a second color, especially white as well as green.
2) marked by variety.

Think definition number 2. Coming soon…….

Categories
Albums Arranging General Other Sibelius YouTube Videos

Sibelius 101 Video tutorial series

Sibelius 101 video tutorial series

I’m sorry I’ve not posted anything in over a month. I’ve been busy with a few new projects. Check out my Soundcloud page:

http://soundcloud.com/jamesgilbertmusic

Among other things I’ve been working on a new video tutorial series for those new to or inexperienced with Sibelius 7. I’m calling it Sibelius 101. I’m trying to keep the videos short and faster paced so you don’t have to spend too much time on any single video. Rather than go through every feature, I’m focusing on the options that will help you get things done in as efficient manner as possible. I’m also showing tips and practical ways of doing things.

View the videos at this YouTube playlist.

Part 1 covers the basics of Sibelius with regards to setting up the program and where to find things that you may want to adjust to your like.

http://youtu.be/REF0j7BOM40

Part 2 covers basic note entry. How do you get notes into Sibelius. Several ways of entering notes in step-time is shown. Mouse entry, computer keyboard entry and midi/external keyboard input.

http://youtu.be/mjED2JZgccI

Part 3 covers real-time entry and basic note editing. How to use your midi keyboard to enter notes is shown. Some tips for cleaning up your played notes are shown too.

http://youtu.be/3ZKl5hydpsQ

Part 4, 5 & 6 cover various topics about editing your notes once you get it into Sibelius. I talk about how to use voices including converting existing voices to other voices, copying and pasting notes, adding intervals above and below existing notes and more.

http://youtu.be/l0vi1Ugmd_A
http://youtu.be/7TbvGt3ZS0s
http://youtu.be/UenxdqmeJxY

The whole series is now available – 11 parts in all – see the Playlist at the top of this page to view the other 5 videos. You can also visit our YouTube Channel to see all the videos. I also have separate videos about other Sibelius topics available on the YouTube site. 

If you’ve not visited our website, please do:

http://jamesgilbertmusic.com

If you’d like to listen to my albums – I now have 8 available – listen to them on Spotify

Update 2020, I now have 13 albums available everywhere digital music is available.

Categories
Arranging General Music Theory Other Sibelius

More on iPad apps for music

iPad music apps

See also an updated article HERE

If you have some time, please listen to my music on iTunes (Click here)

This is a followup to my previous blog about sheet music apps for the iPad.

My favorite and the app I use the most for viewing sheet music is still forScore. If you don’t like it, another good one is unrealBook.

In addition to creating music, I also teach lessons, mostly piano, but also composition & theory lessons. Here are some apps I find useful for one or more of my musical endeavors, whether teaching, performing or creating. Some of these will also work on the iPhone while others are only for the iPad.

dbVolume – not really music, but it measures the db level of any sound source.

FinaleSong – If you use the Finale notation program, you might find this useful. (I wish there was a similar free app for Sibelius)

iRig MIDI recorder – This app could be a lot better but it allows you to record MIDI using the iRig MIDI adapter. If you could move existing midi files from your computer to it via itunes I’d find it helpful. I find that the iRig MIDI adapter tends to slip out of the iPad if there’s the least bit of motion in the iPad or the midi cables. But for free, it’s helpful if you don’t need a full-blown midi sequencer or DAW just to record MIDI.

iTalk Record  and Pocket Wave – for recording my piano students during lessons to give them more feedback about their playing. The built-in camera app is good for video of performances.

English: An image of an iPad 2.
from Wikipedia

MIDI Monitor & MIDI Wrench – for troubleshooting midi connections

miniSynth2 – a nice 2 Oscillator synth with some nice features

Musical Terms – a dictionary of musical terms, with an option to hear an Italian speaker say them. (I forget if it just does Italian).

Pitch Invasion – a neat video arcade game that helps teach ear training

SampleTank Free – Another disappointment from IK Multimedia, but I guess for free I shouldn’t expect more. A 4-track only (even in the full paid version) sequencer. Contains a variety of sounds & loops. Can use with or without the iRig MIDI adapter. But really, only 4 tracks and again no way to transfer midi files from my computer to the app? Decent if you need to put together a sequence and you don’t have anything else to use.

Sound Brush – An interesting way to compose music. Useful for teaching purposes.

TouchOSC – If you use a DAW or musical instrument software (like Reaktor), this is is nice. It turns your iPad into a hardware controller. Depending on how you set it up and what you’re trying to control, you can use OSC or MIDI for the controlling. It is easy to design your own control templates. Since you already spent a lot of money on the iPad, why spend more buying a hardware controller when this can pretty much do what you want for around $5?

Categories
Arranging Church Music General Music Theory Other Piano Lessons Sibelius YouTube Videos

Introduction to Music, Conclusion

Introduction to Music

for those wanting to become musicans, or improve their musicianship

Conclusion

I hope this Introduction to Music series has been helpful. While it is obviously not a comprehensive look at all there is to music notation and music theory, if you know this stuff, you have a great amount of tools to help you as either a performer or composer, no matter the style of music.

I have a number of YouTube videos that cover a range of music topics, some duplicating what was in this series, but many that go beyond this series. Here are a few below for you to take a look at.

To see and hear how I’ve used my musical knowledge, you can download any of my sheet music for Free at the website. I also have six albums (as of January 2013) available on Amazon, iTunes

If you would care to make a donation to help in my efforts with free content – blogs, videos and sheet music – your Donation is most appreciated.

Introduction to Piano Lessons and general music theory
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRdYzYjxl5M
Introduction to Chords
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmezVWK0Ex8
A Review of iPad Apps of help for musicians
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Ia92GaSrg
12-tone, Dodecaphonic Composition Overview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMayH_p5GS0
Scales and Modes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHhf7mB4180
Some Sibelius (notation software) Tips
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OouCZ-Uz0zM
Making another Arrangement using Sibelius
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yKV-GI-5KA
Making an Organ arrangement in Sibelius
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B49i8EtmS-w
I hope you enjoyed this. Your comments and questions are welcome here or via the contact page on the website.

 

Categories
General Piano Lessons Reaper Sibelius Website News

Piano lessons and music lessons over the internet

Piano

I’m happy to announce that I’m now teaching piano lessons and general music lessons via the internet. Please pass the word on to all you know.

I mainly teach piano lessons, but I am also available to teach Composition, Music Theory, Sibelius 7, Reaper DAW and Native Instruments Komplete 8 (with the various software like Absynth, Battery 3, FM8, Guitar Rig 5, Kontkat, Massive and Reaktor). For piano I teach all levels of experience and all styles. For Composition, Music Theory and Sibelius 7, I teach all levels, from beginner to advanced. For Reaper DAW and Native Instrument software contact me for details. If you are interested in organ lessons via the internet, let me know.

All that is required of the student is the ability to hear them clearly and see their hands on the keyboard.

Being able to see the piano student’s hands and their keyboard is preferred and is almost essential for beginners. But, if a video connection is impossible on the student’s end, then audio will also work. For other non-piano lessons, audio is sufficient although being able to share our desktops with one another would be desired.

For a limited number of new students, lessons (of any type) are ABSOLUTELY FREE through the end of 2012. After that, I will charge half price through May 2013, then go to regular price.

For general information about piano lessons, either in person or via the internet, use the contact page link in the menu above.

Don’t forget, we have over 400 free sheet-music titles available on my website for FREE! All we ask is that you consider making a donation to help the effort.

Categories
Arranging General Sibelius YouTube Videos

New video: Importing XML files into Sibelius 7

Importing XML files into Sibelius 7

I’ve posted a new video on YouTube about importing and editing XML files in Sibelius 7.

One can take MusicXML files exported from such programs as Finale and import into Sibelius. Some tips on doing that and editing them once they are in Sibelius.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5gC_aH4pIc]
In addition to the tips on the video, there is also a plug-in available to batch convert a whole folder of XML files. Once one does that, it sometimes is good to run another plug-in. That being the import house style into a folder. Both plugins can help speed up the editing of the music once it is in Sibelius.

 

Enjoy.

Categories
Arranging Church Music Sibelius YouTube Videos

O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

Our latest additions to the catalog at our website consists of the title: O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing.

There are two titles available. They are both upbeat, rock/pop adaptations of this classic hymn tune also known as AZMON.

One is an MP3 recording and the other is a sheet music transcription for solo instrument. The sheet music version is for solo instrument with piano and optional rhythm section and keyboards. The keyboard part is also made available in parts that could allow you to perform this piece with a full orchestra (with a piano and instrumental soloist).

We try to be versatile with our music and allow for it to be performed with a variety of possible instrument combinations. Much of our instrumental solos, orchestra, instrumental, brass, woodwind and string music can be played by instruments other than indicated in the descriptions. Most, but not all titles include parts for C, Bb, Eb, F and alto clef instruments. (The catalog description specifies which parts are provided).

As with all our music in the past 3 years, it was typeset using the Sibelius notation software program. For recordings, we use the excellent Reaper DAW.

Check out a short YouTube video where you can listen to this title:

 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaoX950jl2c]

Categories
Arranging General Sibelius

About my latest YouTube video – Sibelius 7 tips

Sibelius tips

I’ve uploaded a new tutorial video to YouTube. This one is about some tips I’ve found that help my workflow when using Sibelius. Geared toward Sibelius 7, it can be adapted to use with earlier versions.

Highlights

Advanced filtering.

Have you discovered the power of advanced filtering? An example is shown.

Preferences.

There are many preferences to choose from. This video shows how to turn off the startup sound, ease the strain on your system of the playback configurations (which seem to be more system demanding in version 7 than before). A discussion of keyboard shortcuts. Almost every task you can do in Sibelius can have a keyboard shortcut assigned to it and more.

Voices and editing music in different voices

Do you know how to take an existing part and copy it into voice 2 in another staff that already has voice 1 notes? You can’t just cut and paste. See how.

Wildcards

There are many wildcards that can be used when working with text. See how to incorporate them into your titles/composers and how you might use them in footnotes.

Parts

Making the layout of your parts look consistent among parts, including editing text styles to change the position in the parts, but leave it where it was in the score. Hiding text in the parts but keeping it in the score.

Ribbon tips

You either love it, hate it or tolerate it, but the Ribbon is here to stay. How to gain back some screen real estate and some different ways to view your music.

Take a look at it:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OouCZ-Uz0zM?hl=en&fs=1]

Please leave some feedback on the YouTube site or here.

Categories
Arranging Reaper Sibelius

The Cat

New Video

I’ve uploaded a new video to YouTube.

The soundtrack is an original piece originally written as a school assignment (years ago) to accompany a section of a cartoon. It has since undergone some revision. The music was written for Flutes (including Alto), Saxophones, French Horn, Trumpets, Guitar, Electric bass, drums and piano. The somewhat odd instrumentation was due to the requirement’s of the school assignment.

The music was originally written using MusicPrinter+ (anyone remember that?), Finale (97?), then converted to Sibelius 6, then Sibelius 7.

The recording of the music used the Reaper DAW for recording & mixing. I used a few Native Instruments products (Kontakt 4, Komplete 7) and built in effects in reaper.

The video part shows some still images put together to make a video of the day in the life of The Cat. The video portion is not as important as the music.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njgeW8iHrsE]
The sheet music and a full mp3 recording can be found at JamesGilbertMusic.com

Questions or comments? Drop us a note.

Categories
Arranging Reaper Sibelius Website News

New MP3 recordings at the website

Two new mp3 audio recordings have been added to the music catalog.

Chord Flavors

The first, Chord Flavors, is a recording of the original composition Chord Flavors. It is a flowing, rhythmic transition between various chords. This transition and interplay of chords ends up making for a nice melody as well. If you’ve followed any of the chord tutorial series on YouTube, this is a good example of what you can do with little more than a progression of chords.

For the recording, the G-flat Group used software based synthesizers to do the recording. The piece used only 3 instruments, a patch in Massive, a patch in Absynth and an instrument in Reaktor that was created by feeding the audio of the first two instruments into Reaktor.

Read more and listen to an audio sample.

Run Away From The Island

The second piece, Run Away From The Island is a recording by The Emotive Players. It was made from a piece written specifically for the recording. The sheet music to this title will soon be in the catalog, and may be by the time you read this. It is a high-paced, percussive piece implying action and movement. Instruments used include Massive, Evolve Mutations 2 and Studio Strings Pro. A fun little piece. See our YouTube channel where this music is used as the soundtrack to a short slideshow video.

The piece is based on a 12-tone row. The row is formed in such a way that it is not too atonal. The piece is melodic, but it is more percussive than melodic. The use of the animator feature in Studio Strings Pro gives the piece some real sense of motion. The Evolve Mutations patches add a depth to the percussive nature of the piece.

Listen to an audio sample

The recordings were mixed in Reaper. The sheet music used to generate MIDI files for some tracks was done in Sibelius 7.

We hope you enjoy these and please let your friends know about them.

 

 

 

Categories
Arranging Reaper Sibelius

Music Soundtrack Example

I’ve put together another video on YouTube. This one is focused on the music, not the video.

The music is an original composition for potential use as background music to a video — a soundtrack.

For the sounds used, I used instruments from Komplte 8 Ultimate. There are 2 Massive tracks (Blue in Grey and Found Objects). There are 2 Evolve Mutations 2 tracks (Aqueous Slammerz and Fartherest Star Menu) as well as Violins and Cellos using the animator feature of Sessions Strings Pro (pop 3 & 4) and a solo violin patch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WVWJOeynzI]

The original composition was put together in Sibelius 7. The melodic elements are based on a 12 tone row. The percussive elements (the mutations tracks in particular) are based on rhythmic figures.

The score was transferred to Reaper DAW via MIDI. The sounds were rendered from the above mentioned instruments.

Your comments, either here or on YouTube are welcomed.

Categories
Arranging Reaper Sibelius

From arrangement to recording

After considerable difficulty with video cap and editing software, I’ve finally gotten two new videos done.

I decided to make an arrangement. I did it in Sibelius 7 and Reaper. The first video shows the process of making the arrangement. This arrangement was for violin, cello, piano, guitar, bass and drums.

The 2nd video shows taking the MIDI from Sibelius and putting it into Reaper DAW and making a recording.

I welcome your comments and questions, either here or on Youtube.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yKV-GI-5KA?hl=en&fs=1]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dkjmHCHDzg?hl=en&fs=1]

Categories
Arranging Sibelius

Making a music arrangement using Sibelius 7

Ever wonder what goes on in an arranger’s mind when they go to arrange a piece of music? Well, here’s a video showing some of that process. It also shows off some of the new Sibelius 7 music notation software.

See how I take a hymn tune based on a German folk melody and turn it into a fugue like arrangement for solo organ.

Not mentioned in the video is that the piece was used a few weeks ago (end of July 2011) as a postlude for a church service. Postludes are the music heard at the end as everyone is leaving so you don’t want it to be too long. The piece served its function well and will probably be used again.

I did find one issue with the arrangement when playing it. As the 3rd voice of the ‘fugue’ comes in, the hand spread required to play the piece requires part of the right hand part to be played with the left hand. That’s not too bad, but it was a bit awkward switching.

Questions about Sibelius or making the arrangement are welcome.

Categories
Sibelius

Sibelius 7 first impressions

A look at the new Sibelius 7. Keep an eye out on my YouTube page in the near future for some screen shots and more detailed looks.

Highlights

  • For someone upgrading from older versions, plan to spend time learning the changes
  • Gone are the menus, welcome the ‘ribbon’
  • Text handling changed (typography & frames)
  • New text font
  • Gone is the user menu structure (location of user house styles, manuscripts, etc)
  • Improved status bar at bottom
  • New quick-start
  • Improvements to dialogs (resizeable, find functions)
  • New, improved mixer window
  • Printing setup improved
  • Music XML support
  • Note input changes (sticky tuplet & lines, a Finale-like speedy entry option)
  • Shift existing notes up/down chromatically
  • Graphics export changed (PDF output built in, even in Windows)
  • New plug-ins

Upgraders & Finale converts

As someone who upgraded from Sibelius 6, this version is taking me a bit of time to get use to the new layout. Some items are harder to find at first. Once you know where they are, it is arguably easier to find the next time you need them. There were few changes of key commands.

I’m not sure if convert is the right word, but for those coming from Finale (as I did with version 6), one word: patience. Sibelius approaches tasks from a completely different way than Finale. It is not a task based/tool based approach. It is more what I would call a ‘selection’ based method. Select an item, do something with it, whether it be selecting a staff, typing the N key and entering notes or highlighting a region and pressing CTRL-arrow up to move the notes up an octave. Once you figure out how Sibelius does thing and start thinking that way, you’ll have no problem. The way Sibelius does text I think is more powerful than Finale, but so different that it may create the biggest challenges.

Ribbon

Gone are the menus and in is the ‘ribbon.’ If you’ve used Office products from version 2003 on, you’ve used the ribbon at the top. This will cause the biggest dislike among users of previous versions, but if you are new to Sibelius, embrace the ribbon and use it to your advantage. Similar to the menus, there are different tabs that specify different tasks. Organized to help the workflow in a natural way, each tab contains tasks related to that tab. The View tab, for example, gives many options for indicating what items you want to display (eg. handles, hidden items, etc). While the ribbon does take up quite a bit of vertical space, you can minimize the ribbon so that it looks more like menus. My tests with Sibelius 6 & 7 suggest that when the ribbon is minimized, you have just as much vertical space as in Sibelius 6.

Text

The text section has had a major re-write. There are now advanced typography functions available. These include line spacing, tracking, angle and text color. You can directly access an individual text item’s property on the text tab of the ribbon. The need for using the properties window (in Sib 6) is not needed. You can also specify that text fit into a fixed size frame. In newly created scores, it now uses a hierarchical system for text. (If you are opening a file from previous version, you’ll have to modify your text styles to take advantage of this). This means that you can specify that a particular text item will be based on another. Lyrics are the obvious example. Set Lyrics verse 1 as you want your lyrics to look. Then set lyrics verses 2 through 4 to be based on verse 1 lyrics. If you change the settings to verse 1, all the other verses will also change.

A new text font is included and is treated as the default. It is the Plantin font. If you are familiar with Oxford University Press, this is the font they use.

User files and program files location change

The location of the files related to Sibelius 7 have changed. Since the program is both 32 & 64 bit compatible, some aspects of the program data have changed. The what’s new file explains the changes. Since Sibelius is owned by Avid, it is stored in an Avid folder. A link to the user files location is included in the installation. On windows, it is in the start menu under the Avid folder, Sibelius part. This is where you put things like downloaded plugins and where the program stores manuscripts and house styles you create.

Improved status bar

The status bar at the bottom is improved. It shows more details about what you have selected. Also on the status bar are options for showing how the music is displayed (spreads) and the panorama option. A zoom fader with + and – buttons is also now available.

Quick start change

The quick-start has changed considerably. The new score and recent tabs give thumbnail views of the items to select. Manuscripts are organized by topics. There is a learn tab that gives links to various sorts of help. There is a latest news link that displays items from the Sibelius Blog.  (One of my YouTube tutorial videos is even on there as of this date).

Dialogs

Some dialogs can now be resized. There is some uniformity on where the ‘ok’ and cancel buttons show. Some dialogs, like the instrument selector have find boxes to help you find what you are after. (I wish they had done a find button with the keyboard shortcuts).

Mixer window

The mixer gets a new look. It looks more like a DAW mixer than it did before. There are three different sizes available, each size shows more. It is docked by default to the bottom of the screen. You can also undock the mixer.

Printing dialog changes

Press CTRL-P (or use the file tab) to get to the printer options. I find the new look to be easier to work with than the older system. There is also a print preview that is nice.

Music XML

I know many people complained that there was no XML output in Sibelius 6. Well, 7 introduces the ability to export XML.

Note input changes

Some note input changes were made. I suspect they were inspired by Finale. Most notable, ‘sticky’ tuplets. Once you start entering a tuplet, you can tell it that everything from that point on is a tuplet until you turn the sticky option off. Similarly, you can add slurs and lines during note input. If you were use to Finale, you can now specify that you pick the pitch prior to picking the duration. Personally, it never made much sense to pick a note value first before picking a pitch. Whatever your opinion, you can choose between the two. I’ve gotten so use to the default Sibelius 6 method that I haven’t even tried the pitch before value option. I eventually will.

Chromatic shifting of notes

This is something I find to be handy. If you already have some notes entered, you can select them, press the up and down arrows and they will go up and down in pitch. Diatonically. If you want to go up chromatically, use SHIFT-Page Up or to go down, SHIFT-Page down. (On Macs it is a different default key command).

Exporting

Exporting has an easier look to it. Graphics exporting has some improvements. The big thing for me is that you can now export your music directly to PDF format. Before I had to use either the full version of Acrobat (which I quit updating a few versions back because it is just too expensive) or an alternative. Now it is built in.

Plug-ins

Plug-ins are now listed by category. That is, depending on which tab you have selected will determine which plug-ins show up. Any plug-ins you might download will be listed in the home tab.

Tips

A big tip for anyone using the program is to learn the key commands. For example, instead of going to the file menu, then open to open an existing file, use the keystroke combination CTRL-O (letter O). The nice thing with Sibelius is that you can add your own key commands and even change existing ones. They are in the preferences.

If you import a keyboard shortcut set from a previous version, any shortcuts unique to version 7 will not be there. (Like the Shift-Page up/down mentioned above). I would suggest starting from the default 7 menu set and adding your own or changing the existing items. Alternatively, you could go through the what’s new and reference help to see what new keyboard commands have been added or changed and go from there.

Use CTRL-+ and CTRL– (minus key) to zoom in/out without having to use the slider at the bottom.

Use the inspector to see some of the finer detail about items. This replaces the properties window.

If using the new Organ sounds in 7, explore the playback dictionary to find out how to access the various stops included. The dictionary is also useful to look at for other playback features as well.

If you have a lot of customized items, create your own house style and/or manuscript papers. Use them when starting new documents.

If you can’t stand the purple background, no sweat, go to preference and change the texture to whatever you want. You want change all of that purple, but it does seem to tame down the purple.

 

New text font