Share video and audio of music notation software via Zoom

Tips

Update: See this post on how to enable high fidelity audio in Zoom.

These days, ESPN.com usage is down, and Zoom usage is up, according to The New York Times.

Source: The New York Times

If you’re one of the many using Zoom to share your creations with others or teach music remotely, you’ll want to not only allow your collaborators to view your score, but to hear it as well.

Here’s what you need to do to share your video and audio through Zoom in Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, and Musescore.

Install Zoom

The first thing to do is install the Zoom desktop app on your computer. There are free and paid plans with various limitations. Follow the Zoom instructions to start and host a meeting.

Share your screen and get ready for audio

Sharing your screen is easy. Once you’ve started a meeting, click the Join Audio icon.

You’ll see the Join With Computer Audio button appear; click it. This is also a good time to test your speaker and microphone and configure those settings if needed.

Next, click the Share Screen icon. Depending on what’s open on your desktop and how many displays you have, you’ll see something that looks like this.

Choose the desktop you wish to display. Also — this is important — check Share computer sound. Click Share.

If you forget to click Share computer sound in the above step, you can get to it later in the taskbar that appears during your Zoom session.

Share audio from your notation software (Mac)

If you’re on Windows, there’s nothing else you need to do.

On Mac, though, you’ll need to configure your notation software to share its audio via the Zoom desktop app.

Sibelius

Go to the Play tab and, in the Setup area, click the dialog launcher (the downwards-right pointing arrow) to open the Playback Devices window.

In the lower left of that window, click Audio Engine Options…

In Audio Interface > Interface, choose ZoomAudioDevice (or ZoomAudioD).

Click Close, and Close again. You and your collaborators should now hear Sibelius playback through Zoom while your screen share is running.

Finale

Go to MIDI/Audio > Device Setup > Audio Setup…

In Output > Source, choose ZoomAudioDevice (or ZoomAudioD).

To test this, click Test Audio Output. If you’ve configured this correctly, you’ll hear a very soothing tone.

Click OK. You and your collaborators should now hear Finale playback through Zoom while your screen share is running.

Dorico

Go to Preferences > Play > Audio Device, and click the Audio Device Setup… button.

Set the ASIO Driver to ZoomAudioDevice (or ZoomAudioD).

Click Close, and Close again. You and your collaborators should now hear Dorico playback through Zoom while your screen share is running.

Musescore

Go to Preferences > I/O > PortAudio.

Set the Device to ZoomAudioDevice (or ZoomAudioD).

Click OK. You and your collaborators should now hear Musescore playback through Zoom while your screen share is running.

Improve your audio settings

By default, Zoom sends out monaural audio. It also processes the audio for echo cancellation and background noise. This may be OK for your purposes, especially if bandwidth is at a premium.

But Zoom has an option for the user to receive stereo audio and/or unmodified audio, the latter of which might be desirable if you have a premium microphone that already has sophisticated noise processing. In order to enable this, you’ll first need to log in to your Zoom account and modify your settings in your profile.

Go to the In Meeting (Advanced) section and enable both Allow users to select stereo audio in their client settings and/or Allow users to select original sound in their client settings.

Then, back in the Zoom desktop app, open its Preferences. In the Audio tab, you’ll see a setting that wasn’t there before: Enable stereo. Check this box.

If you want to enable the unmodified audio, click the Advanced button and check the box that says Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.

Set the audio output back to the normal setting

Once you stop screen sharing through Zoom, you’ll want to switch this setting in your notation software back to your usual output device.

Comments

  1. Jon Burr

    A couple of cool Zoom features that come with the lowest level paid account are the option to present stereo, and also “Share Original Sound,” which turns off Zoom’s aggressive audio processing, and sends out a respectable 36kHz/320kbps audio stream.

    Recording audio via Zoom for archiving, the saved file is always mono, unfortunately.

    Both the above settings must be enabled both in the online dashboard, and in the local app preferences…
    Thank you for the article!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Jon! I’ve updated the post. For the “Share Original Sound” option, I think that’s for the mic, not the computer audio. Does it have an effect on computer audio as well?

  2. Dave Hanson

    Philip,

    This is enormously helpful to me since I teach online arranging classes in Zoom with a shared screen and Sibelius playback. For some reason, the Sibelius sound library breaks up in Zoom for me when I use Zoom as the audio engine in Sibelius, but the general midi sounds are fine, and I haven’t checked Note Performer yet. I’m on a MacBook Pro 2.3 GHZ Intel Core i9 16GB. Thanks in advance for any ideas!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Dave, I’m glad you found this useful. The Sibelius Sounds are samples and very resource-intensive, and take up a lot of memory. So that could be the reason. NotePerformer is much more lightweight, since most of the sounds are modeled instead of sampled. So see if that works better.

      1. Dave Hanson

        Philip,

        Indeed, NotePerformer works a charm in Zoom-no breakup at all. Now, if it just worked a little better for jazz styles!

        Dave

  3. Adrian Holovaty

    Another approach is to use notation software that’s native to the web, such as Soundslice. This has some advantages:

    * The notation is rendered to fit your device (e.g., displaying only two bars per system on a smartphone, vs. four bars per system on laptop).

    * It’s interactive, meaning people can click on a note to jump to that point of the audio (as opposed to helplessly gazing at it from afar via a video chat).

    * It’s much less bandwidth intensive than a video chat. Your browser loads the notation/audio once, and then you’re done.

    * No need to futz with audio/video settings. You will be experiencing the notation in a native way, as it was intended to be experience.

    As I see it, the advantages of your above-mentioned Zoom approach are:

    * Everybody sees exactly the same thing. This is beneficial if you treat your notation as a “photograph,” something intended to be seen in the same pixel-perfect way by everybody.

    * A single person is in control over what everybody sees. This is beneficial in a one-to-many environment such as a lecture.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Adrian, thanks for this. Soundslice and Noteflight are good options here. You’ll still need Zoom or some other service such as Skype, etc. if you want to see and hear your collaborators.

  4. Galvagno Michele

    For me Dorico is having audio engine not responding.
    I keep getting the red triangle in the bottom right corner.
    What could this be?

  5. Derek Williams

    I use Zoom as described here for screensharing and audio sharing sessions with Sibelius, Dorico, MuseScore (rather dodgy interface) and Logic, but have found it unsuitable for instrumental teaching, because of its built-in compression causing sustained notes to fade to zero prematurely. I tried turning Zoom’s compression off with the “original sound” option and all sorts of other tweaks, but to no avail. So for instrumental lessons I still use Skype and run WhatsApp in parallel for document sharing, as it’s better for document orientation, and allows magnification and easy flick through. If the student side has poor bandwidth, then I just run the video on Skype, and use a parallel phone call for hear the audio. There is slight latency, but at least the audio on the phone is stable. Edinburgh University’s broadband is 1TB, but we’re on lockdown and working from home. Because I still have to use home ADSL (10MBS) in Edinburgh’s Old Town with no sign of fibreoptic cable in the near future, I have resorted to using O2’s 4G on my iPhone tethering to my iPad and MacBook Pro, and this yields a health 80-100MBS, comparable to fibre. Where the other side also have fibre, the reception is rock solid, however this still doesn’t solve the Zoom issue I described.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks for this very detailed report, Derek.

  6. Harold Severin

    Any idea of how to set the MuseScore I/O setting to zoomaudiod?

  7. Ray Thompson

    Hi Phillip
    Been using Zoom for some months .I’ve been using zoom to ply mp3s as I could not get Sibelius to work.
    Using on a Mac with Note Performer. Followed your instructions exactly but music get breaking up, or stopping.
    Just found the memo about general midi, and tried it….working fine.

    But don’t understand why note performer is NOT….according to comments above it should beOK.

    Any suggestions as to what I should try?

    Thanks

  8. David Hanson

    Philip,

    I just saw a post on Facebook saying that Zoom is coming out with a new version (maybe around September 1st?) with improved audio for musicians. This is exciting, and now I’m wondering if this might allow us to use better samples for our Sibelius playback in Zoom, rather than mostly General Midi or Note Performer. Have you heard anything about this, Philip?

    Best,

    Dave

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Dave. Yes, we’re aware and I expect we’ll cover this on Scoring Notes one way or another.

      1. Dave Hanson

        Philip,

        Great-looking forward to it!

      2. Mark Dal Porto

        Yes, the 9/1/2020 Zoom update added High Fidelity Music Mode!

        Thanks also for your April 8, 2020 article “Share video and audio of music notation software via Zoom”. For some reason, I cannot get the Zoom Audio Device to show up in my Sibelius Audio Engine Options Interface (on Windows 10). I see ASIO4ALL, MME, DS, & WASAPI listed, but Zoom Audio doesn’t come up. I’ve tried getting it to work on 2 different Windows 10 computers but the Zoom Audio Device doesn’t show up on either. (Both computers are running Sibelius Ultimate 2020.6 with Zoom Pro 5.2.2.) Thank you for any suggestions you might have.

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