Avid sets Sibelius free (kinda) with complimentary beginners’ version
Avid Corp. has gone ahead and made Sibelius, the popular notation software, free. Not the whole thing, though. Rather, it’s called Sibelius | First and it stands for a streamlined free version not unlike Pro Tools | First.
Still, Sibelius | First has the basics covered. It supports transcription, editing, and cloud sync among other functionality. Up to 10 scores can be stored and shared in the cloud. The software supports up to 4 instrument parts.
As expected, the free version of Sibelius is missing most of the functionality which can be considered “power user.” This means most of the playback, utility, publishing, exporting, and sharing functionality won’t be available to free users. The essential notation features are still there, though, so as a freeware notation tool, Sibelius | First goes a long way.
If Sibelius | First suits your workflow, you can always upgrade to Sibelius which lets you compose scores with up to 16 instrument parts, or go Ultimate, where all the brakes are off and pretty much everything is customizable.
More information is available over at Avid. For a competent freeware alternative to Sibelius, check out MuseScore. This is open-source, professional-grade notation software available on multiple platforms and featuring no paid functionality whatsoever. And don’t forget Steinberg’s Dorico, which reached version 2 this year, with an entry-level version available for those on a budget.
“Streamlined” is music-sales cant meaning “hamstrung, having been edited to be insufficient for productive use” and should not be repeated. I suggest “minimized” as a shorthand substitute for journalists and “influencers” as a more-neutral term, though a number of others would be similarly effective. I understand terms like “lame” and worse might alienate companies, so modest but more-honest terms have to suffice for sites like this one.
Please, however – spare us deceptive nuggets like “streamlined” that salespeople use to suggest some positive functional considerations went into such changes or that a useful side effect arises when one pulls key features from a product. No need to follow all the word choices in press releases when your prime goal is to benefit readers.
Hi mrdoghead, appreciate the feedback! Yes, you’re certainly right about “streamlined” as a marketing/PR term – and we strive to remove all those kinds of terms from our coverage. Here Lyubomir clearly outlined all the functional areas that are missing, though, so I think readers have a fair idea about what to expect from the “streamlined” version. I like “minimized” as an adjective! 🙂 I’ll have to try to remember that one in the future when editing…