Is the new Sibelius 7.5 any good?

Is the new Sibelius 7.5 any good?


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2014

Avid, the owners of Sibelius composing software whose development team decamped en masse in November 2012, has rushed out an upgrade to the programme to show they are still interested in taking it forward. ‘The company felt it was doing everything possible to communicate to the public that its developers were working on a new release,’ a defensive new executive told user Philip Rothman.

So, Philip, is the 7.5 an advance on Sibelius as we knew it? Read on here.

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  • David says:

    Thanks for the info and the excellent review by Mr. Rothman.. As a longtime Sibelius user it’s what I expected, especially Mr. Rothman’s opinion: “On the other hand, if you’re concerned primarily with engraving, and are lightning fast with your keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the score already, you can skip the upgrade”.

    Sibelius has made little attempt to improve the engraving since version 6. While they have made numerous other improvements (64 bit, XML import/export etc), they don’t seem willing to fix the notation problems that still exist. I’m sure many people laughed about the tuplets, they still haven’t fixed it! (Although I appreciate the progress they made). The “draw on all staves” is a nice touch.

    I’m still using version 6, and I am lightning fast with keyboard shortcuts. Many of us were hoping for some kind of retro “choose classic interface” option so that we didn’t have to deal with the ribbon interface of version 7. Alas, it looks like that’s not going to happen. I’ll settle for magnetic lines and dynamic parts that can accurately separate voices.

    • If you’re lightning fast with the shortcuts, then you mightn’t notice such a difference between 6 and 7, moreover the Ribbon can be hidden and shown with a single keystroke. From my perspective, Sibelius 7 represents the way Sibelius should have been designed in the first place, and I very much wonder whether if it had been, and Sibelius 6 had been introduced as its upgrade, whether or not the rebellion would have been just as intense. I can’t see them abandoning the ribbon, anymore than Microsoft have. Microsoft made a lengthy tutorial explaining why they had to resort to a ribbon in order to accommodate all the features in labyrinthine menus, although they did still keep those – as you’re suggesting should have happened for Sibelius 6>7.

      I have created an iPad control surface I call ‘Sibelius Wizard’ to speed up things like common text entry and to get round the fact that I was using so many shortcuts that unless I accessed them regularly, I kept forgetting what they were.

      You can see the Sibelius Wizard here (Sibelius 7 on Mac only for now, but Windows version on its way):

  • gomez de riquet says:

    My (limited, mea culpa) understanding is that the former programming staff left with 8.0 in the bag, roughly speaking. Whether or not Sibelius can sustain itself will probably be best determined 3 years from now.

  • Tully Potter says:

    Sibelius 7.5 … is that the symphony he composed between the Seventh and the lost Eighth? And if so, where is it?

  • The sacked Sibelius team worked for another year after the release of Sibelius 7, so it’s reasonable to conclude pretty much everything in 7.5 was in development for Sibelius 8, and has little or nothing to do with the current replacement team, who’ve already admitted they’re still finding their way.

  • Mikko says:

    For a split second I thought the title of the post referred to a half-arsed attempt at recreating Sibelius’s eighth symphony… I don’t use the software, as you can tell.

  • Jerome says:

    I’m still using Sibelius v6.2, which is the best version so far. No significant improvements have been made in v7, v7.5 or v8, and there’s the awful ribbon. As for the MusicXML export, there’s a plugin for v6. Also, v6 is the fastest version. So, as far as I can see with this new v8, the old & good v6 will remain the best version for a long time.