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LESSON 3 Purple > Exporting and Sharing Online

Exporting and Sharing Online


There is a video, called 3.7 Exporting and Sharing Online, that goes with this section.

Following your experience with MIDI file and MusicXML import, you can see the advantages in being able to grab files from other programs and make beautiful scores out of them in Sibelius. It’s also quite likely that at some point in your Sibelius career, you’ll want to share a file with someone who doesn’t have Sibelius. Obviously, the best solution is to remedy them of their ailment and persuade them to buy the world’s fastest, smartest, and easiest notation software! But failing that, you might need to think about which format is best for sharing. In addition, you might want to promote your music to a wider community in a number of formats.

PDF is one that you’ve already seen, and that’s a great way for sharing scores and parts with players via e-mail or a Web site where you might allow them to download. PDF is not so good for playback, though, so if you want people to not only see but also hear your music, you’re going to need one of a number of other formats. Having some experience with MIDI, you can see that’s a good universal format for a bit of playback and the ability to import into a number of other programs, but it’s by no means the only—nor necessarily the best.

Tip: If you didn’t actually work on the song in this lesson, you won’t have a file to work with, which will hold you up somewhat. Find the Sibelius file Purple6.sib in the Lesson 3 folder under Core Resources and use that.

Exporting XML

Exporting MusicXML from Sibelius is even easier than exporting PDF. You would choose MusicXML if you wanted the person receiving your music to actually be able to edit your file in another notation program, create parts, make changes, and so on. Because there are some basic, free notation programs that can open MusicXML files, this could be a good way to openly share your creative work.

To export “Purple” as a MusicXML file:


2. There is only one choice to make: compressed or uncompressed XML. If you’re not sure what software the person you’re sharing the file with is using, and if you haven’t embedded any graphics in your score, click UNCOMPRESSED. Otherwise, always choose COMPRESSED, especially because it will also make the file smaller to e-mail.

3. Click EXPORT. Sibelius will prompt you to choose where to save the MusicXML file.

4. If you don’t have another notation program to try this on yourself, open the PURPLEXMLEXPORT.PDF file in the Lesson 3 folder, which was created by another notation program after importing the Purple6.sib MusicXML file.

Exporting MIDI

Exporting MIDI from Sibelius is as simple as exporting MusicXML. To make this experiment a bit more interesting, this section will step you through importing the MIDI file in Pro Tools and allocating some instruments to each track. An MP3 will be exported so you can see how much of Sibelius’s playback survived the export and import process (exactly the opposite to what you tried in the section “Importing MIDI Files” earlier in this chapter).

To export a MIDI file in Sibelius:

1. Choose FILE > EXPORT > MIDI. Nearly every time you do this, the default settings, shown in Figure 3.139, will work best.

Figure 3.139
The default settings on MIDI export are usually the best.


2. Click EXPORT.

3. In your chosen sequencer or DAW, import the MIDI file. As an example, the process in Pro Tools is outlined here. To import a MIDI file in Pro Tools, choose FILE > IMPORT > MIDI. Use the default settings in the MIDI Import Options dialog box, shown in Figure 3.140.

Figure 3.140
The MIDI Import Options dialog box in Pro Tools.


4. In Pro Tools, each MIDI track has been loaded, but because it is not yet allocated to an instrument, it is grayed out (see Figure 3.141). Choose TRACK > NEW and add an Instrument track for each MIDI track (although in practice, several MIDI tracks can be ascribed to each instrument), as shown in Figure 3.142.

Figure 3.141
The MIDI tracks are imported. Because they’re not allocated a playback instrument, they are grayed out.


Figure 3.142
Add multiple instrument tracks to allocate the MIDI tracks. Seven is actually overkill; XPand2 instruments can handle four at once.


5. In each virtual instrument, choose a suitable sample for each MIDI track as shown in Figures 3.143 (Boom) and 3.144 (XPand2).

Figure 3.143
Choosing an instrument setting in Boom.


Figure 3.144
Choosing instruments in XPand2.


6. As you allocate each MIDI track to each instrument, the track in the Edit window turns into color as shown in Figure 3.145. After each track is ascribed, balance the mix in the Mix window, and you’re all done. To see how the Sibelius MIDI file sounds playing back in Pro Tools 9, open PURPLEMIDITOPT.MP3.

Figure 3.145
With each MIDI track now allocated to an instrument for playback, Pro Tools looks much more colorful. It sounds better, too!


7. Play the file. Notice that Sibelius included all the repeats you wrote in the score in the exported track, recalculating the bar numbers and so on. The next stage in Pro Tools is, of course, to delete the vocals MIDI track and record a real vocalist singing over the top!


In the Avid Learning Series

If you’d like to know more about importing MIDI files into Pro Tools, there is a section on it in the Pro Tools 101 course that is part of this Avid Learning Series. Refer to Lesson 6.

Exporting Audio

While all things audio are usually the tricks of programs like Pro Tools, Sibelius has a few up its sleeve too. Exporting audio directly will work as long as you’re using virtual instruments for playback. (There’s much more to learn about virtual instruments in general, but you’ll get to that in Lesson 5.) Sibelius 7 Sounds is a virtual instrument, so if you’re using it to play back “Purple” and like what you hear, you can export that as an audio track easily and quickly.

You’re most likely to want to share your Sibelius score as audio when giving a preview of what it would sound like is important, and when you think the playback you’ve set up is a good representation. Of course, if you send someone a MIDI file and they play it back on a 20-year-old MIDI keyboard, it’s probably not going to sound great.

Sibelius exports audio in an uncompressed format on both Windows and Mac platforms. Windows users will export a WAV file, while Mac users will export an AIFF file. You don’t need to know anything technical about these files except that they will probably be too large to email and not of sufficient quality to make available for download. Unless they’re just for your listening pleasure, you’ll want to convert them to a compressed format such as the very popular MP3. This section will give you a couple of ideas for making the conversion.

Begin by exporting an audio file of “Purple” from Sibelius. If you don’t have a virtual instrument installed, follow it through on the video.

To export a file in Sibelius:

1. Choose FILE > EXPORT > AUDIO, as shown in Figure 3.146.

Figure 3.146
Export Audio settings in Sibelius.


Note: If you use several virtual-instrument configurations, Sibelius will enable you to export using any of these even if it isn’t currently loaded. You shouldn’t change to a different configuration from the one you’re using unless you’ve already previewed it by playing it back in Sibelius, however.

2. The Playback Line section gives you the option to start the export at any point of the file. (Sibelius will export to the end of the file, but if you only want an excerpt, find a clever way—e.g. a fine—to stop playback.) Usually you’ll want to export the whole piece, so leave EXPORT FROM START selected.

3. Leave the BIT DEPTH set to its default (probably 16-bit) unless you’re going to use the resulting audio in something rather impressive like a surround-sound video soundtrack. As you can see, at 3 minutes and 50 seconds, the file is going to be nearly 39 MB. The limit on file size for e-mails is usually 10 MB at the most, which is why if you want to e-mail this audio file, you’ll need to convert it (discussed momentarily).

4. Click EXPORT and select a location to save the file. (If you’re not great at remembering where you file things, use the desktop now and delete it later.) Sibelius renders audio offline, which means it can export your recording in a fraction of the time it would be able to play it.

If you have a sequencer or a DAW like Pro Tools, you can then import the AIFF or WAV file and then export it back out as MP3. In Pro Tools, choose File > Bounce To and follow the prompts to name your MP3 file. If you don’t have a sequencer, don’t despair; there is a lot of free software available that can do the conversion for you. One of the most popular free music library programs is iTunes.


In the Avid Learning Series

Naturally, audio file conversion, including MP3 export, is also covered in the Pro Tools 101 course.


On the Web

You can download iTunes free of charge from

To convert your Sibelius audio files to MP3s in iTunes, you will need to make a change to the iTunes preferences. (Note that you only need to make this change once, not every time you use the program to convert your files.)

To change your preferences in iTunes:

1. On a Windows PC, with iTunes open, choose EDIT > PREFERENCES. On a Mac, with iTunes open, choose ITUNES > PREFERENCES.

2. Under General, click IMPORT SETTINGS, as shown in Figure 3.147.

Figure 3.147
Accessing import settings in iTunes.


3. Click the IMPORT USING drop-down list and choose MP3, as shown in Figure 3.148. The other settings are also good formats, but not necessarily as widely used as MP3, which is therefore the safest choice for sharing your music. You can also click the SETTING drop-down list and choose HIGHER QUALITY.

Figure 3.148
Import Using settings in iTunes.


4. Click OK, then click OK again.

As mentioned, you will only need to set those preferences once. The process after that for converting your Sibelius audio files to MP3 is very simple.

To convert your Sibelius audio files to MP3:

1. Drag your Sibelius file to the Library section in iTunes, as shown in Figure 3.149.

2. The file will appear in the Library (and may start playing). If you can’t find it, type the file name in the Search field in the top-right corner of the iTunes window. When you can see it, right-click (Control-click) the file and choose CREATE MP3 VERSION, as shown in Figure 3.150.

Figure 3.149
Importing your Sibelius audio file into iTunes by dragging it onto the Library.


Figure 3.150
Converting to MP3 is as easy as right-clicking (Control-clicking) the file and choosing Create MP3 Version.


3. A second copy of your file will appear in the iTunes library. This is the MP3 version. Simply drag it out to the desktop to use it as you see fit. (In this case, the MP3 of “Purple” is 5.6 MB, so no problems e-mailing it to all of your friends or posting it on Facebook!)

Exporting to the Internet

All the file formats you’ve exported so far are very useful for posting on the Internet. PDF, MIDI, and MP3 can all be shared on Web sites, including social networking sites.

Sibelius also has its own format for publishing your scores to the Internet, called Scorch. Scorch is actually a plug-in for most popular Web browsers (for instance, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari) that enables them to open Sibelius files. People browsing Sibelius files on your Web site using the free Scorch plug-in can leaf through the pages, play the score back, transpose it into different keys, and even print or save the Sibelius file if you allow them.


On the Web

There is an online community for sharing and selling your Sibelius scores called Score Exchange, which—funnily enough—you’ll find online at At Score Exchange, you can set up a profile page with information about you and the music you write. You can upload scores and give them away or even sell them and start earning straight away. Or if you’re after music you can browse on the Web site by instrumentation, genre, difficulty, and so on.

You can try out Scorch on your computer without needing to delve straight into creating a Web site. Here, you will make a Scorch Web page for “Purple.” First, make sure you have the free Scorch plug-in installed. If not, you will find it on your Sibelius installation DVD; alternatively, you can download it from the Sibelius Web site.


on the ewb

Download the free Sibelius Scorch plug-in from

To export the score as a Scorch Web page:

1. Choose FILE > EXPORT > SCORCH WEB PAGE. The settings available are shown in Figure 3.151.

Figure 3.151
Exporting a Scorch Web page in Sibelius.


2. Choose the Classic template to begin with. (You can export the Web page any number of times.)

3. Increase the default width of the Score Size. Sibelius is quite conservative by default, and you can usually increase to 900 pixels without any problems. (Nowadays, Web designers build Web sites with a 900-pixel width by default.) To do so, repeatedly click the WIDTH up arrow or type 900 in the WIDTH field.

4. Check the KEEP ASPECT RATIO and ALLOW PRINTING AND SAVING check boxes. (You can always re-export with different settings later on.)

5. Click EXPORT. Sibelius will ask you where to save the Web page; choose your desktop or another folder you’ll easily be able to access. (Don’t choose the Core Resources folder, because that will create a second copy of your “Purple” score.) Sibelius exports two files with nearly identical names. One is an HTML file (the kind of file Web browsers read) and one is a copy of your Sibelius file, as shown in Figure 3.152. These two files need to be kept in the same folder for the Web page to work, as one refers to the other.

Figure 3.152
Two files are saved when you export a Scorch Web page: an HTML (Web page) file and another copy of your Sibelius score.


6. Double-click the HTML file to open the score. (The HTML file will have the same icon as your default Web browser. The one in Figure 3.152 shows an Internet Explorer icon.) The score appears.

Note: If the score doesn’t appear, you may not be using a supported browser or operating system. As browser versions change often, you should check the Scorch Web site ( to see if your browser is supported. If not, there are plenty of free browsers that are.

7. The options available from the toolbar, shown in Figure 3.153, include playback, transposition, printing, and buttons for flicking through the pages. Click the TRANSPOSE button; the Transpose dialog box shown in Figure 3.154 opens, inviting you to transpose the piece.

8. You can also play back from any point in the score by simply clicking on it. Try this now: Click in the score to play back from that point.

Figure 3.153
“Purple” as a Scorch Web page, and options.


Figure 3.154
The Transpose dialog box in the Scorch plug-in.


Exporting to iPad

The final way of sharing your Sibelius files is probably the most exciting—at least, if you have an iPad! Avid Scorch for iPad is a recent release and enables you to view, play back, and do much more with Sibelius files on your iPad. In fact, the word exporting is a bit misleading, because there is no exporting to be done. Scorch for iPad reads Sibelius files with no change to the file format at all. You simply drag them into the Scorch application through iTunes. Figures 3.155 to 3.161 provide a visual description of how “Purple” looks and works in Scorch for iPad.

Scorch for iPad is an incredibly versatile tool. When you start to think about your whole band playing from them, it gets pretty exciting! That’s a good, futuristic way to end this third lesson.

Figure 3.155
A page of “Purple” on Avid Scorch for iPad, with the blue playback line. It looks nearly identical to the score in Sibelius, and fits the iPad’s screen beautifully.


Figure 3.156
The Parts button enables you to jump into a part quickly from the score. (And you can play along while Scorch accompanies you by playing back the rest of he band!)


Figure 3.157
Scorch works in either orientation, and has a fantastic full-screen mode for when you’re performing right from the iPad.


Figure 3.158
Despite being billed as a viewing app, Scorch has some pretty powerful editing features, including the ability to transpose the score …


Figure 3.159
…or you can change a staff on the score to a different instrument (transposition automatically supported!)— here, the voice has been changed to trumpet in B flat.


Figure 3.160
Scorch even has the option to convert normal notation to guitar tab.


Figure 3.161
The resulting guitar tab.

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