Custom Keypad
Sibelius with its powerful feature set is a great tool for composing, editing and typesetting music. Many functions of the application are accessible via keyboard shortcuts. Ever since toying around with an iPad for the first time I have said to myself what a great Sibelius controller the iPad could be with the right software. I finally found the brilliant Custom Keypad app, which allows you to create interface elements on a grid layout and transmit key commands to your machine.

So without further ado I proudly present Sibelius Control for iPad, a keypad layout for Custom Keypad (App Store Link) allowing you to control a wealth of functions with a tap of your finger.
Sibelius Control is based on my workflow as a composer and has a few prerequisites: You need a keypad as well as a MIDI input device for entering notes. For most of the commonly used features, you will not need a computer keyboard since Sibelius Control can do that for you.

Sibelius Control is perfect for working with a portable computer or far away from a computer screen. I just _love_ taking my iPad with Sibelius Control to my Stage Piano and entering notes from across the room!
It also is the perfect companion to Sibelius for switchers from a different application such as Finale, as it clearly labels all the keys without you having to learn all the shortcuts in a short amount of time.

Sibelius Control for iPad

Sibelius Control aims to make any task dead easy. The layout was designed for quick access to any function you will need for regular work. You can even access Engraving Rules, Document setup and other layout Control features.

Using the capabilities of the iPad, Sibelius Control has a number of functions assigned to double taps on the keymap, for example:
- Tapping the Hyphen button once creates a crescendo, tapping it twice creates a decrescendo.
- Make the crescendo longer by single tapping on the Space button. Make it shorter by double-tapping on it.
- Similarly, tapping once on a Voice button switches to input mode for that voice. Tapping twice selects all the notes if this voice in the current selection.
- To prevent deleting anything by accident, the backspace button used for deleting the selection only reacts to double-tapping! This is by design.
There is a zoom area allowing you to pinch in and out to zoom, as well as directional joystick for navigating from page to page as well as up and down.

Sibelius Control saves you from needing to hold down the command key when entering dynamics. Just press the dynamics button, then the m and f buttons and you have set a mf dynamic without having to worry about forgetting to press the cmd key and ending up with starved-looking dynamics. This is beginner's mistake number one, as I can attest from countless "introduction to Sibelius" sessions :)

Here is a Screencast to give you a short overview of the interface and help you get up and running:

Custom Keypad connects with your machine via VNC, so there is no special application required for getting it to work, all you need to do is activate Screen Sharing. Sibelius Control is compatible with both the OSX and Windows version of Sibelius, and is tested with Sibelius 7, 6, 5 and 4.

Sibelius Control comes as a compressed zip file, which you need to unpack. Installation is dead easy:
- Buy and install Custom Keypad (App Store Link)
- Download Sibelius Control (see sidebar)
- Extract the zip file and get the keymap file contained therein on your iPad. The easiest way is to send it to yourself via email.
- Open the email containing the keymap file and choose to open it with Custom Keypad.
- The file will then be opened. Connecting to your Mac is described in great detail in the PDF file included with the download. This file also contains a quick reference of all buttons and their respective commands, so please read it carefully!

Besides creating a Windows-compatible version, I will also further develop the layout as well as probably add some new ones for specific tasks. So please send me your feedback!

This software and its website are in no way affiliated with Sibelius or any other part of Avid Technology, Inc. The views expressed in this site are solely of the authors, contributors and editors of this site, and do not reflect the views of Avid Technology, Inc. For official help with, support for and information about Sibelius and other Avid products, please visit