Sibelius Composition Software by AVID

In Audio, Lighting, Product Reviews by tfwm

Sibelius Composition Software by AVID

By Collin Makariak

As a student of music composition, one of my biggest priorities was to ‑nd a soware that is accessible, diverse, provides good value and is professional in quality. In the past, I had been using a combination of different soware when creating music. However, for one reason or another, I had never been completely satisfied with any of them. My knowledge of Sibelius was limited as I began my work with the soware, but as I learned the many features of the program, I discovered what it had to offer in an array of settings.

Any compositional soware needs to be accessible for music to be created more efficiently. Much to my delight, AVID went above and beyond to ensure that I knew how to use the program to its maximum potential. ­e program includes five tutorial ‑les, each containing instructions and projects to teach you the basics of the program. Topics range from ‘How to Create New Scores with a Variety of Instrumentations’, ‘How to Access and Implement Score Markings’, ‘How to Operate the Playback System’, and more. ­e tutorials each take at minimum one hour to complete but do an exceptional job of explaining the operation and syntax of the program. ­e soware contains plenty of useful features that make using it easier, including a variety of plug-ins for irregular adjustments to your score or different formats to simplify navigation within the score. I was pleased to see AVID also has an online forum where Sibelius users but I found once I had overcome this challenge I was able to produce and edit scores at an incredible pace.

Sibelius stands above its peers in its diversity. The program comes with a near limitless repertoire of instruments to choose from. The so‑ware allows for composers to use any combination of sounds they desire, creating an impressive amount of freedom. AVID includes a variety of formatting options that ensure scores can be legible and professional in appearance. Diversity is also seen in its playback system. To ensure the best possible sound quality, the program comes with the ability to download sound ­les for the playback system. The sounds contained in these ­les are of a high quality and follow instructions on the score. Anything from dynamics, expressive markings and even velocity can be edited and followed during playback. This feature is useful in any work-related or educational ­fields, as composers gain an understanding of what their music is sounding like, and gives direction on what could be changed.

AVID includes a plethora of choices when importing and exporting different kinds of ­les. The standard Sibelius ­le can be formatted in MIDI, XML, manuscript papers and PDF. The program also allows for users to export their ­les to previous versions of the so‑ware, meaning there are little to no restrictions on who you can share scores with. Sibelius also provides direct conversion of the playback to an MP3 or video ­le. This is particularly useful for composers to share their music with others without the need for it to be performed, due to the program’s sophisticated playback system. In a church setting this direct to MP3 or video conversion is helpful for music directors and composers to enhance the performers understanding of the piece by allowing them to hear it.

Anyone looking to purchase Sibelius has one of two options. A monthly subscription fee with a one-year commitment can be paid. Alternatively, a permanent license can be purchased. All subscriptions and perpetual licenses come with a one-year upgrade plan and free so‑ware updates for the ­first year. Add-ons to the so‑ware can be bought separately, as a package together, or with a perpetual license. The pricing is affordable and provides good value for the quality of the product. AVID also includes discounts on the so‑ware for educational purposes. Instructors and students both can receive signi­ficant price reductions on subscriptions and permanent licenses, and other institutions may receive discounts as well after contacting AVID. AVID has created a so‑ware that exceeds expectations on many fronts with few shortcomings. It has a learning curve, but is never frustrating to use, allows for rapid music production, and contains a truly exceptional amount of customization. The pricing is affordable and well worth the package you receive. I not only recommend it to churches with staff composers or performers, but to anyone who is serious about music composition.

COLLIN MAKARIAK IS A COMPOSITION STUDENT AT ACADIA UNIVERSITY AND PLAYS PIANO AND SINGS IN THE CHOIR AND WITH THE MEN’S QUARTET AT WOLFVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH, IN WOLFVILLE, NS.