I Want Sibelius 6 SO… BAD.

8 Jul


You guys.  I’m seriously.  I have been a Sibelius user for a long, loooong time, and I just don’t know how they do it.  Every year or two, they come out with a new version, and each time, it comes with one feature that is so revolutionary, so time-savingly awesome, that I can’t believe I lived without it.

In the beginning, there was the (at the time) brand new Sibelius 2.  I was in college, and just starting arranging class, and it had become clear that my handwriting just wasn’t going to cut it.  Gary Lindsay, our badass arranging prof, would bust your assignments down a grade if they were written sloppily, and as anyone who has seen my music notation can attest, well, I was in trouble.  Like, my music handwriting makes David Baker’s charts look like the work of freakin’ Tannia May. (Damn. That just may be the nerdiest thing I’ve ever written.  Which is saying something.)

Well, Sibelius changed all of that.  The minute I got my hands on the program, I knew I’d be hooked for life – the speed with which it was possible to input notes, the ability to copy/paste, the fact that the score extrapolated your parts for you… well.  It was amazing. When we did our end-of-term big band arrangements, I remember most of my non-Sibelius-using friends pulling all-nighters while writing out each of their 18 parts by hand, while I was taking my time with the arrangement, exporting the parts and cleaning them… taking ‘er easy.  The next morning I was well-rested and confident that my parts matched my score.  I have no doubt that my smugness was sickening.

After school, I skipped Sibelius 3, but upgraded for Sibelius 4, and the addition of dynamic parts to the program blew my fucking mind.  For real.  Here I’d thought I was using the top-of-the-line program with version 2, but every time I extracted parts, I’d have to go into the separate part file, open it up, clean it up, make tweaks and then DUPLICATE those same tweaks in the score… now, I could edit all my parts and my score at the same time! If you’ve never used a notation device or done a big band chart, I guess this doesn’t make any sense, but it saved me literally dozens (upon dozens) of hours.  My parts were more consistent, my files much easier to organize, and I was a happy camper.

Sibelius 5 came out and didn’t set the world on fire, but it did make things easier to do, in general, and added some cool features (though I still don’t get wtf was up with Panorama view). It was the primary program I used when scoring The Exited Door, as well as doing all of my most recent arrangements for student ensembles.  Basically, it did what it was supposed to do, and in a way was a lot like Sibelius 3 – a refinement on the previous version, but nothing revolutionary.

Sibelius Six has Dynamic Layout

Please let there be truth in advertising.

Now, however, comes Sibelius 6, and the minute that we get copies at Urban, I’m installing it. There’s one reason for this: Magnetic Layout. In the new version, all dynamics, chord symbols, crecendo/decrecendo makings, expressions, and any other text around the staff automatically reposition themselves so that there’s never any overlap or crowding.  Hit the link above and watch the demo video, and you’ll become a believer – while I’m sure it’s not perfect, it looks to come close to removing the one remaining bit of Sibelius busywork (cleaning up parts), which will save untold hours of my life.

I also get the feeling that the chord symbol and slash notation issues (slashes would transpose, chord symbols lacked some extension options) have been rectified, which means that Sibelius 6 looks set to fix any remaining issues I have with the program.  Couple that with direct-to-Pro Tools ReWire compatibility and… yeah. STOKED. I bet it’ll have new types of wood for the desk, too.

So, sometime in the next month or two, I’ll get a copy, and I’m sure it’ll blow my mind. Until 2012, that is, when Sibelius 8 comes out and not only does everything 6 does, but also, like, books shows for my band and gets me press. And does my laundry.

Oh my god, you guys. I want Sibelius 8 SO…BAD.


Though I'm sure that the composer is great, too.

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