Sibelius 6 Notation Software Review

Sibelius 6Musical composition is an activity that has been greatly improved over the years. Sibelius software, which is one the most recognized music notation software you will ever find in the world of music development, has demonstrated these improvements. Now, Sibelius Software is presenting its latest version with even more features.

Sibelius 6 was developed by Avid, which is a renamed company in the environment of music software and hardware. They are also developers of the award winning Pro Tools software and owner of M-Audio products among other endless software packages such as Pinnacle Studio and Photo Score. In addition, Avid has a lot of presence in the entire word.

HINT: Sibelius developers named this software “Sibelius” in honor of Jean Sibelius which was a well known musical composer from the Romantic era. For more details, I invite you to read the full biography of Jean Sibelius.

Product Features

The latest version 6 of Sibelius includes all functions from its predecessor Sibelius 5 and some additional features.

Layout

Sibelius layout is pretty simple. It is very similar to a word processor but designed for music development. All staff and score sheets are shown in a MS Word sheet fashion style (See picture below). The design is pretty clean and user friendly. In addition, the main window has a simple tool bar with the most common functions. Furthermore, it gives several options to customize the toolbar.

Sibelius Layout

Writing music with Sibelius

I am a regular and devoted user of Cakewalk software since their first versions, so I am used to working with cakewalk products. When I just got started with Sibelius, I had some difficulties to understand how it worked. Later, I figured out it is very simple to use. Sibelius provides a floating tool bar named keypad.The keypad is mapped to the numeric pad of the computer keyboard. Hence, they are similar. Its main function is to select note time duration,silences and other additional symbols which are used for writing music.

Sibelius KeyPad

To write notes to the score sheet, we must press the key N and then left-mouse-click in the position where you want to place the note. This process of writing is pretty simple. Furthermore, this process gets even simpler using a midi instrument such as a midi keyboard.

Working with musical notation and Sibelius

Unlike other software I have tested, Sibelius comes with a fully integrated system for the interpretation of the most known symbols used in musical scores. Some of these symbols are: piano, mezzopiano, forte, mezzoforte, tied notes, slurs, comments, lyrics and all mayor note types. Commonly, most music notation software has this system. However, Avid has improved it greatly in Sibelius. Furthermore, Sibelius supports guitar TABS.

The Magnetic Layout Feature

The Magnetic Layout is a build in feature of Sibelius 6. It has the main purpose of fixing some writing issues commonly made when we record using a MIDI instrument. This makes clear writing and improves the experience of creating music. See picture for clarification.

Fixed Notes

Playback

During the early beginning of notation software, playback was performed by the default MIDI engine of the computer. Most software you may find out there still work in that way. The default sound set of the sound card MIDI engine sounds like an old ATARI computer game. So, the experience of writing software was not very pleasing. Today, Sibelius and other related software have implemented real-time playback realistic sounds.

Sibelius has a magnificent audio engine. Sibelius uses the VSTi and Audio Units(MAC Only) technology of MIDI virtual instruments, which improves greatly the process of writing music. In addition, all playbacks are performed in real-time by showing which notes are played while a cursor follows the sheet. Moreover, Sibelius includes a library of sound instruments. Furthermore, all this giving the additional option of adding your custom VST plug-ins.

Here is an example of playback using Sibelius:

Sibelius 6 includes a versatile mixing console in which the user can control volume levels, panning and adding additional effects such as equalizers, compressors or any other effect available in your computer.

Sibelius KeyPad

ReWire Feature

The ReWire feature, has the purpose of giving synchronization between other DAWs and Sibelius. For example, with this feature you can synchronize Sibelius playback with Pro Tools or any other DAW software. This is useful if the user uses Sibelius features enhanced with other DAW. Watch the video for more details.

Conduct your own music

By default, common notation software provides a fixed tempo. The Live Tempo feature allows the user conducting its own music in real time. This can be done by using a pedal or just typing a key of the keyboard. Watch the video below for more details.

Audio Scores

Sibelius allows recording audio tracks with the feature audio score. What makes these features really good is its feature of auto tune detection, which can help you improve your instrument playing skill.

Concluding Sibelius 6 Features

Sibelius 6 is a very complete software solution with amazing features for musicians. It has all required features for music writing, and it adds additional features that improves greatly the process of creating music.

Opinions and user comments

I have myself a copy of Sibelius 6, so I can validate all those features, and I can tell many of those features are really helpful to me, while others are not really necessary. In my case, the Audio Score feature is not really necessary neither the ReWire feature. However, I think both features are pretty useful.

Average, Sibelius 6 is highly recommended by most musical composers of the world. From many opinions I could found from different sources, no one has complained about the functioning neither for the features of the product.

Indeed Avid has done a great job here. Moreover, they provide a flawless technical support. From 50 opinions I read, no one have complained about any issue. However, it is a common comment saying this software is not for those people looking for easy and fast solutions. In other words, it is required some time to learn how to it. Let’s say compared with other software, Sibelius has an average learning rate. In my case, it took me about four hours to learn the most basic functions of Sibelius.

Analysis

As in all my reviews, I do a statistical analysis in search for any issue. However, I could not find any problem in Sibelius 6. So, rest assured this software will do its job without trouble.

System Requirements

I strongly recommend checking Sibelius 6 requirements before purchasing it or downloading the demo.

Prices and where to get it

Sibelius 6 is not cheap. The average price of this software goes from $440 to $699 U.S. Unfortunately, the highest price comes from Sibelius.com. However, I could find a best deal at Amazon for just $453 U.S. Furthermore,the educational version is also available and it is cheaper but has less features.

I would recommend giving a try before buying anything. There is a demo version available at Sibelius.com.

Conclusion

This is an excellent product I really recommend it. Rest assured you have a 99.99% of chance to get a good product.

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