Sibelius 2024.3: MIDI copy and paste, remote connection, resizeable Keypad

News

Avid has released Sibelius 2024.3 for desktop and mobile. Following a preview of the feature at the 2024 NAMM Show and other trade shows, this update rolls out copying and pasting MIDI data between Sibelius and other applications that support copying MIDI data to the clipboard. In coordination with this Sibelius update, Avid has updated Pro Tools to support this feature, making it possible to copy and paste MIDI data between Sibelius and Pro Tools.

Sibelius 2024.3 also introduces remote control of Sibelius by other apps running locally. Known as Sibelius Connect, this makes it possible to directly control Sibelius via a device like Stream Deck, without the need for intermediary keyboard shortcuts. Over at NYC Music Services, we have released a big update to Notation Express for Sibelius and Notation Express XL for Sibelius that not only rebuilds these entire profiles from scratch to take advantage of Sibelius Connect, but to also add many more new buttons and features to Notation Express.

The Keypad in Sibelius 2024.3 is now resizable, for easier visibility on larger displays, and custom articulations are visible directly on the keypad for the first time.

Finally, Sibelius 2024.3 introduces a handful of smaller updates and fixes.

Copy and paste MIDI data to and from clipboard

Avid’s booth at the 2024 NAMM Show

Avid has been previewing the ability to copy and paste MIDI data between Sibelius and Pro Tools since the beginning of this year, and have demonstrated the feature at NAMM and other venues. Neither Sibelius nor Pro Tools have previously supported this feature, so in a stroke of good fortune for users who use both products, Sibelius and Pro Tools have both been updated to version 2024.3 to support this new feature. It’s supported not just on the most advanced (Ultimate) tier of these products, but on the free (First) and mid-level tier (Artist) as well.

At the NAMM Show, Sam Butler, Avid’s director of product management for audio software, said, “That’s a really fun feature. You can select that MIDI region, or MIDI clip, and you can just use standard copy and paste. So Ctrl-C, or Cmd-C to copy it, move to Sibelius, and just paste, and it will stream the MIDI from that point in your score.”

This is indeed how it works, with one clarification: The standard copy and paste shortcuts (Ctrl-C, and Ctrl-V on Windows, and Cmd-C and Cmd-V on Mac) work in Pro Tools; in Sibelius, copying and pasting MIDI is a separate command from the standard copy and paste operation.

Copying MIDI from Sibelius is accessible from Command Search as Copy MIDI to Clipboard:

Likewise, pasting MIDI from Sibelius is accessible from Command Search as Paste MIDI to Clipboard

It has a shortcut: Shift-Alt/Opt-V. You’ll find Paste MIDI in the Home > Paste menu, as well:

When you invoke Paste MIDI from Clipboard, you’ll be presented with a pop-up encouraging you to refine the MIDI options prior to pasting the information:

This will bring up the familiar MIDI Import Options dialog, where you can set options for voices and quantization, among other elements:

By introducing this Sibelius feature to coincide with the same feature in Pro Tools, Avid is naturally focusing on how this feature can be used to copy MIDI between its digital audio workstation and notation software. Sam has written an official post on Avid’s site explaining in detail the various ways in which this can be used to support various creator workflows.

For instance, copying the song structure (tempo map, time signatures, and key signatures) will be copied over to Sibelius, if you make a system passage (purple) selection in Sibelius just prior to pasting the MIDI information. Drum notation is also supported; when copying in a drum track from Pro Tools, Sibelius will translate these the low pitches of the General MIDI drum mapping onto the drum staff you’re pasting onto, including the correct noteheads. Some cleanup may be needed if you use a pitch that isn’t defined in the instrument’s drum map, but it beats having to re-enter it from scratch.

But the feature isn’t limited to Pro Tools or just Avid’s software. When copying or pasting MIDI, Sibelius is using standard MIDI on the public clipboard. It turns out there is another music notation software program that supports copying or pasting MIDI already: Finale, via the MIDI/Audio menu. So for the first time, it’s possible to copy and paste MIDI directly between these two longtime rival programs, without the need to save or export any file in between:

 

Now, as Scoring Notes readers know, the surer way to transfer notation data among not just Finale and Sibelius, but among virtually any music notation software product isn’t MIDI, but via MusicXML. But transferring MusicXML — and MIDI, until today — requires exporting and importing a file. Even in the example above, several steps were required to sort out the MIDI music that was pasted from Finale. Still, for basic music snippets, you may find this to be a quick and easy option when working among any software that supports MIDI copy and paste. We’re so accustomed to copying and pasting plain text among hundreds of applications already without giving it a second thought; if MIDI copy/paste gets more refined and supported in future updates, in time this may end up feeling just as natural.

One final tip, if you’re eager to try this out but don’t use either Pro Tools or Finale (you do need to be a Mac user, however): Our excellent colleague Ben Byram-Wigfield has made a simple MIDI player called AppPlayMIDI that can copy the MIDI data from a document to the clipboard, so it can be pasted into apps that support pasting MIDI data.

Remote control via Sibelius Connect

Sibelius 2024.3 also introduces remote control of Sibelius by other apps running locally. Known as Sibelius Connect, this makes it possible to directly control Sibelius via a device like Stream Deck, without the need for intermediary keyboard shortcuts. Over at NYC Music Services, we have released a big update to Notation Express for Sibelius and Notation Express XL for Sibelius that not only rebuilds these entire profiles from scratch to take advantage of Sibelius Connect, but to also add many more new buttons and features to Notation Express.

Unbelievably, that means it’s been more than four years since the last update to Notation Express for Sibelius. The payoff is worth it, I hope — this is the largest update to Notation Express ever, and finally allows for control Sibelius in a comparable manner to what has been possible in Dorico, when Dorico 4 introduced remote control.

 

This is a major change for the following reasons:

  • Reclaim your shortcuts – You can now reclaim all of the keyboard shortcuts for your own use, as you like, without them being reserved by Notation Express
  • Cross-platform support – One Notation Express profile works for both Mac and Windows, so you can use the same profile on both operating systems (no need to purchase separate versions)
  • Multi-language support – Notation Express is now supported in all languages, so you don’t need to switch to English to use it in Sibelius (the icon labels will still only be in English, for now)
  • Faster – The direct connection to Sibelius makes Notation Express significantly more responsive, because it passes commands directly to Sibelius instead of invoking a series of macros that may involve opening and typing into a text area, for example
  • Control Sibelius in the background – The direct connection to Sibelius means that you can use your Stream Deck to control Sibelius even when another application is running in the foreground

I’ve especially enjoyed this last benefit; it’s surprisingly convenient, for example, to use the playback and navigation controls on Stream Deck and have it automatically control Sibelius in the background, while working in another application (like Logic, Pro Tools, or a PDF reader like Acrobat or Preview) in the foreground.

And, if you have multiple Stream Decks, well, more power to you:

These changes alone would have been worth an update, but because it’s been so long since we’ve added new features to Notation Express for Sibelius, we went right on ahead with more.

Read all about it in this separate post about Notation Express, along with how to upgrade if you’re an existing Notation Express user.

The technical details of Sibelius Connect are included in the ManuScript Reference, so it’s possible for other developers to integrate with this feature, as well.

Bear in mind that in order to make use of this ability for the first time, you will need to affirmatively allow Sibelius to accept remote control by going to Preferences > Input Devices > Sibelius Connect, and check Allow Sibelius to be remotely controlled by other applications.

Resizable Keypad, with custom articulations displayed

In Sibelius 2023.11, the Keypad was refreshed, and an option to minimize it was introduced. In Sibelius 2024.3, you can go the other direction. Super Size Me!

Although the above example is a bit extreme, those users with larger displays will find this beneficial. Now that the Keypad has been fully redesigned with vector graphics, everything looks nice and sharp, regardless of the Keypad’s size.

The Keypad’s size and position are saved and loaded for each score. If you’d like to set the position and size of the Keypad and other panels so they always appear in a certain position for every score, go to File > Preferences and then choose Set Custom Size and Position from the Files page.

Moreover, there’s no more mystery about which custom articulations you’re using. As you can see above, the generic boxes corresponding to custom articulations 1, 2, and 3 now update to reflect the symbol you had chosen. (this will also be reflected in Appearance > Engraving Rules > Articulation).

Articulations

Visit Notations > Edit Symbols to set these custom articulations for use in your document or house style.

One more thing: When a selected note has articulations or other properties set on another Keypad layout, the layout buttons are highlighted, as you can see in the above example (the accent and end beam cause the Common notes and Beams/tremolos layouts to be highlighted). This is a feature that was last seen in Sibelius 6.

Other improvements and fixes

There are a number of improvements and fixes in Sibelius 2024.3:

  • Key Signature changes are now imported when opening a MIDI file
  • Sibelius no longer adds an extra blank bar when importing a MIDI file
  • In addition to the ability to resize the Keypad, we’ve tweaked the colors, allowing the buttons to stand out more prominently
  • The changes to the Keypad continue to support accessibility improvements; the tooltips of the custom articulations match the symbols’ name and will read it out when using a screen reader
  • The Keypad also now shows the correct accidental for notes that are on transposed instruments
  • The Keypad could, in rare cases, disappear, but now it should no longer wonder off
  • Tremolo marking is now retained when using the Chord tool on the Keypad, then undoing
  • Japanese translations have been improved in a number of places in the app
  • Adding Special Page Breaks at the beginning of a score is now consistent when selecting the initial barline or the page break layout mark
  • Reset all note spacing now accounts for accidentals
  • Sibelius is updated to the latest version of Qt5

For other items as well as the official take on this release, consult the Avid post announcing this release, along with the special feature about copying and pasting MIDI between Pro Tools and Sibelius.

Compatibility and availability

Sibelius 2024.3 uses the same file format as Sibelius 2023.11, so you can share files between those two versions freely. However, the new MIDI copy/paste feature, and Sibelius Connect, require Sibelius 2024.3.

Sibelius 2023.11 used a new file format, to accommodate additional system objects. Files saved directly in 2024.3 will not be able to be opened in an earlier version of Sibelius prior to 2023.11 without first exporting them in File > Export > Previous Version. If you’re collaborating with someone else that’s using a previous version, be sure to find out what version they’re using.

The Sibelius 2024.3 desktop update is free for all Sibelius users with active subscriptions and upgrade plans. The updated installers for desktop are available through users’ Avid accounts and through Avid Link, which has also been updated.

The Sibelius 2024.3 iOS/iPadOS update is available in the usual way, and will be delivered automatically, or, if you’ve disabled automatic updates, you can manually update the app on your device. Some of the features in 2024.3 are only available on the desktop version of Sibelius.

Typically our Scoring Notes coverage only extends to the Sibelius Ultimate version of the application. Not all features are available in all tiers of Sibelius.

A reminder that if you’re an existing Sibelius customer with an active support plan or subscription, you get the mobile version at the same tier at no extra charge. If you have a subscription to Sibelius Artist (mid-tier) on your Mac or PC, that will carry over to Sibelius Artist for Mobile, and the same for Sibelius Ultimate — a Mac or PC subscription allows you full access to Sibelius Ultimate on iPhone and iPad.

Learn more

For the latest information about compatibility for Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, and MuseScore, as well as links to the latest news and reviews about product releases, please see the Scoring Notes Product Guide.

Avid also has a “What’s New in Sibelius” page highlighting the features in recent Sibelius updates.

Comments

  1. Aldo Lopez Gavilan

    Is it possible to copy and paste MIDI files from logic to Sibelius?

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