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Reference and education software Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Sibelius 5.0 musical notation software

£595 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Sibelius

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

Composer, performer, teacher or student, there will be something in Sibelius 5.0 to delight the musician in you.

Composer, performer, teacher or student, there will be something in Sibelius 5.0 to delight the musician in you.

If you are familiar with the previous versions of this software you will know that Sibelius 5.0 does all it can to make the laborious task of note-by-note input as easy as possible. You can do it all by mouse - easy but tedious. Mastering the keyboard shortcuts may take you some time, although entering A if you want the note A is not too difficult a concept, and other shortcuts are almost as intuitive. Using a combination of mouse and keyboard is a good option with practice.

If you have a midi keyboard then you can play in each note. You still need to enter the time values for the notes but it does feel more musical. Switching to flexi-time midi input is the easiest and quickest, but Sibelius 5.0 is fussier about time values than the human ear or fingers. This will never be a foolproof task whichever route you take, but correcting mistakes is simple and you can add many extra enhancements as you proofread, such as slurs, ties, grace notes. expression marks, tempo changes - the list is endless.

Another method of note input is to use the included Photoscore Lite scanning software. Although you might need to upgrade to the Ultimate version of Sibelius 5.0 for serious use (more than 12 staves on one page) this will go a long way to meeting the needs of the less serious user, effectively transferring the printed page into an editable score with few mistakes.

How it looks

An astonishing range of styles means that your finished music can look as individual as it sounds, and saving your own house style can mean all of your scores have that personal look. Do you want a single staff or a complete orchestra? Sibelius 5.0 can cope either way, and guide you on every step. The Panorama feature allows you to view the entire score in a single wide scrolling format without page breaks. Rather like frozen panes on a spreadsheet, this view will keep your clef and key signature in view while scrolling through the numbered bars. Change either and the new sign stays in view.

How it sounds

Playback through Kontakt Player 2 is straightforward and sounds good. Every time you enter or change a note Sibelius 5.0 plays it back to you. A slide lets you skip to any point in the score and play from there. Sibelius Sounds Essential, which comes as standard, has a sample library of over 150 high-quality instrumental sounds, making a full score very impressive on playback. Both VST and AU formats are supported.

Do your own thing - again and again

The innovative Ideas Hub lets you capture your own ideas or fragments of your music, save them in your library with a suitable tag, and then paste them into any score - Sibelius 5.0 automatically changes the pitch to match the surrounding music. A library of more than 2,000 built-in ideas that covers pop, reggae, rock, classical - all cleverly colour-coded so that you can skip quickly through marching band to get to Latin or hip-hop - makes it simple to insert a motif wherever you want it


For a teacher this program is a dream come true. Arranging parts for a school orchestra? Sibelius 5.0 will transpose automatically for a given instrument, print out one part, all of them or just a selected few and the new cueing feature makes it so easy to show your students what to listen for just before they have to play.

In the classroom the Worksheet Creator will quickly guide you through steps to produce worksheets that can be answered on paper, on the computer, or by performing. It will tell you whether the activity needs teacher guidance, change the questions each time you use it and then provide answers. Templates allow for unlimited imagination, and if you don’t like what Sibelius 5.0 puts up for you, simply double click any part and put in your own version.

Sibelius 5.0 Expert Verdict »

System requirements: 300MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon
Windows XP/Vista
512MB RAM, 350MB hard disk space
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 9 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 10 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Sibelius 5.0 is simply staggering in its capabilities. It will do almost anything you can think of and a lot of things that never entered your head before. If you’re serious about musical notation, this is the package to choose.

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