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Sibelius (computer program)

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Sibelius is a proprietary scorewriter program, created by the company Sibelius Software. As at August 2006, there are 180,000 (registered) users of Sibelius worldwide (according to Sibelius Software).


[edit] Origin

Sibelius was originally developed by British twins Ben and Jonathan Finn for the Acorn Archimedes and Risc PC computers (and was one of the best-known products for those computers). It was started in 1987 (just after the Finns left school), and launched in 1993, beginning a competition for market dominance with the program Finale that continues today.

The first ever user of Sibelius was the composer and copyist Richard Emsley, who provided advice on music engraving aspects of the software and used it before it was first released to the public. The first score published using Sibelius was Antara by George Benjamin, published by Faber Music and copied by Emsley.

In 1998 and 1999, the first versions for Windows and Macintosh were released. The current Sibelius, version 5, was launched on 8 June 2007.

[edit] Features

Sibelius includes features that allows scores created in the proprietary .sib format to be played back in high quality or burned to as an audio CD. It is also possible to use the third-party program Photoscore to scan and create a Sibelius score from printed music, although the accuracy of results can vary. A lite version of Photoscore is bundled with the Sibelius software. Sibelius Scorch, a web browser plugin enables users to publish scores created in Sibelius on the Internet. It is used by (see below), various music publishers' web sites, and web sites of individual musicians.

Sound sample libraries, from Sibelius's partner Native Instruments or others, may be installed to enhance playback quality further. The Sibelius bundle includes a lite version of Native Instruments' Kontakt Player which may be used instead of the sound fonts that come with a computer's sound card and upgraded accordingly. The fifth version of Sibelius allows for VST and Audio Unit plug-ins to be used as playback instruments, giving Sibelius users access to high-end sample libraries (such as Vienna Symphonic Library or MOTU's Symphonic Instrument).

The current version of the program plays a brief passage from a recording of Jean Sibelius's 3rd Symphony as it starts, unless this option is switched off in the program's preferences. So far, each Windows/Macintosh Sibelius version has used a different excerpt from a Sibelius work. Sibelius 1 and 2 used different parts of the seventh symphony, whilst Sibelius 3 used the opening of the fifth. Version 4 used an excerpt of the fourth.

[edit] Lite versions

Lite versions of Sibelius have been released for Acorn computers (Sibelius 7 Student, Sibelius 6 and Junior Sibelius) and more recently for Windows and Macintosh platforms (Sibelius Student). A Sibelius version for guitarists and songwriters called G7 is also available.

[edit] Name

The name Sibelius for both software and company is a namesake of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Some users have also speculated that it was taken from developers' surname 'Finn', as Sibelius was a Finn (i.e. Finnish). Nonetheless, the Finn brothers maintain that they cannot really remember the reason.

The original Acorn version of the software was called Sibelius 7, but the "7" was not a version number. It may have been an allusion to Sibelius's 7th Symphony. For the Windows and Macintosh versions the company dropped the "7" and began using conventional version numbers instead. It is not clear what will happen to the name if and when the current software's version number reaches 7.

[edit] is a web site where people can post music they have created with Sibelius, so that anyone can view, play back, alter and print the music using Sibelius Scorch. Some scores are sold, others are free. SibeliusMusic began in 2001, and by December 2006 had approximately 60,000 scores - more than any other web site. It is also one of the most popular sites that use the Scorch plug-in.

Scores can be searched (by genre, instrumentation, duration, etc.), reviewed, and voted on. The site also features Top 10 charts of the most popular scores, and a chat page.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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