How to sync your DAW to a notation software using 3party software

I’m trying to sync my daw to Sibelius, but not in the traditional way. I saw a composer using the daw and the notation software at the same time once. When he wrote something in the piano roll, it was inserted into the sheet music of Sibelius at the same time, and it worked the other way around, thus he could write on Sibelius and then the midi would be generated in the piano roll. How do I do that?

Hi @dred2009 and welcome to the forum! Which DAW are you using (name and model) and which version of Sibelius are you on?

I need some more info before going through how to do this, but I’ll give you some general pointers.

Sibelius is re-wire compatible which means when you open your DAW first and then open Sibelius the DAW will automatically lock the transports if re-wire sync is enabled.

To get notes out of Sibelius and into the Piano Roll of a DAW, the easiest way to do this is draw them into Sibelius at the corresponding measure number. Tempo changes, time changes, and key signature changes have to be accounted for in both the DAW and Sib. The DAW is your Re-wire master, Sibelius is the Re-wire slave.

Since re-wire sees Sibelius as an external midi instrument, you draw the notes on Sibelius then record the MIDI notes (not the audio) back into the respective MIDI channel strips. The DAWs piano roll will instantly recognize them. If you’re in Pro Tools, you want to keep your MIDI merge off. That way if you get finished, then want to go back and change only measure 5-8, then just re-record those four measure back into the DAW. The DAW will overwrite them instead of combine what you changed with what you already had.

I can probably guide you through this, but I need to know the DAW. I have all the standard DAWs except Sonar and FL studio.

Hello and thanks for the welcome. I have Sibelius 7 and my daw is Mixcraft 7 pro studio. What’s the name of the process? maybe I could search it online.

I’ve never done that Dred but a composer on another forum described it this way.

"Based on some advice I read online and multiple experiments, I have now switched to what I describe as using Finale as the MIDI fuel for the DAW engine. In essence, I have both programs running at the same time. I use Finale as usual, but all playback is through Cubase.

The connection between the programs happens via “virtual” MIDI cables. I use LoopBe30 ($20), which can create up to 30 virtual MIDI ports on your computer. There is a free LoopBe1, but, as you can guess, it is limited to 1 port (16 channels).

Although it takes more time to set up two programs, Cubase is much more flexible and stable than Finale, can sync to video, incorporate other audio, etc. I can even switch out instruments at the same time I am playing music back through Finale (impossible if Finale itself is doing the playback).

I know some folks turn notation files into MIDI and then edit them within the DAW, but for me, that would only be a useful step at the very, very end, once I am 100% sure of the final product and want to do real fine-tuning of the MIDI performance data. When I am in the midst of writing something, I want to be able to make changes notationally (i.e., in Finale) and hear them real-time.

Cubase doesn’t have the option to record audio directly from the MIDI sound output, but I recently bought TapeIt ($20), a VST plugin that does pretty well creating WAV files."

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Oh crap. I forgot about mix craft. That’s one DAW I don’t have. When people ask me what DAW I have I need to stop telling them I use all of them, because I do get reminded from time to time that there’s a few out there I don’t use.

I pulled the manual for Mixcraft and I can see that it IS rewire compatible, which would have been the first major issue. The first process would be establishing a re-wire link. All you’re gunning for there is to get the transports to talk to each other (meaning when you hit play on one transport, the other program plays as well). You also need 2 things to happen:

  1. You need Sibelius to follow tempo adjustments. Meaning that when you set Mixcrafts tempo to 140bpm, Sibelius should also play at 140bpm. You should be able to hear both metronomes, and they should be locked.
  2. You need to lock up the playheads. When you set your Mixcraft playhead on measure 20, then hit play, Sibelius should start playing from measure 20 as well. Vice versa, if you insert a accelerando and retardando in Sibelius, you should see the tempo incrementally increase/decrease when Sibelius reaches the section where the accelerando/retardando is assigned.

@ingolee - That isn’t what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to feed the notation from Sibelius INTO the piano roll editor in the DAW. I assume the purpose is so he has full DAW control over a recording that matches his score as he creates the score via the note entry process in Sibelius.

Sibelius is capable of playing back 3rd party virtual instruments. But Sibelius lacks the tools to do much of anything to those instruments, other than play them back. Trying to code Midi CC and key switch articulations, and trying to mix in Sibelius is like trying cut through a thick metal cable with a butter knife. His end goal is to have a pristine looking score, then having a compelling audio recording to match it.

@Jonathan Which is what my quote described as being done with LoopBe30. According to the Sibelius forum there is a problem with Sibelius support for Rewiring midi out. As I said above I have not tried this but others say LoopBe30 will work for this.

I included the line about recording audio directly from midi for general interest.

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Ok. I see.

Yeah I thought Rewire should work for this situation, we’ll see if Sibelius changes something although they’ll probably limit it to ProTools :slight_smile:

I hope @dred2009 gets his rig working.