MARCH 7, 2024

New in Sibelius: Copy and paste music between Sibelius and Pro Tools

PT 2 Sibelius Hero3 1862x1040

I’m extremely excited and honored to be announcing the immediate release of brand new capabilities in both Sibelius and Pro Tools to aid the music writing and orchestration features. It’s an industry first, tying together two applications that are at the forefront of music creation.

The 2024.3 updates to both Sibelius and Pro Tools now allow creators to simply copy music (MIDI) between the two applications.

PT 2 Sibelius

I cannot explain what a sea change this is; it has completely transformed my world. The sheer amount of time and energy that I have saved today has been incredible.

Simon Franglen
Grammy-winning film composer, songwriter and producer
Avatar: The Way of Water


From Pro Tools to Sibelius

To copy MIDI from Pro Tools to Sibelius, first select the MIDI clip in Pro Tools and go to Edit > Copy or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C (on Win) or Cmd + C (on Mac). This will copy the MIDI notes and underlying MIDI automation to the clipboard. Switch to Sibelius and select where you’d like to paste. Go to Home > Paste dropdown and choose Paste MIDI, which you can also find in Command Search under “Paste MIDI from Clipboard.” By default, this will paste the MIDI notes into the nearest 16th/semiquaver note value and split notes between voices nicely too.

NOTE: It will paste in the music from the start of the selection and will overwrite the subsequent bars.

To insert the music into your score and bring in the “Conductor Track” from the MIDI information, make a System Selection in Sibelius and then paste MIDI from the clipboard. This will bring along the time signatures, tempo mapping, and key signatures too.

See below for tips on cleaning up the notation after pasting music in.

From Sibelius to Pro Tools

Select the music in Sibelius and copy it to the clipboard using the "Copy MIDI to Clipboard" command from Command Search. Switch to Pro Tools and select where you would like to paste it. Go to Edit > Paste or use Ctrl + V (on Win) or Cmd + V (on Mac) to paste in the music.

We’re expecting our users to come up with some pretty neat workflows, but here are some examples to inspire you.


In film and TV workflows it’s common to write music in Pro Tools because it’s where you have your video source material and hundreds of audio/MIDI/instrument tracks set up in your template, each with your favorite plugins and virtual instruments for playing the various articulations. When creating music this way, you often write something in Pro Tools once, and then end up recording the music again in Sibelius, which is very time consuming and of course takes at least twice as long.

But now, once you’ve finished recording in Pro Tools, you can simply copy the clip to the clipboard, switch to Sibelius, and paste in the MIDI, all ready for orchestration and part preparation.


Recording MIDI automation in Sibelius has been a somewhat lengthy process with manual and time-consuming tasks to clean it up. You may be aware of the Graphical MIDI Tools from Santiago Barx, an excellent plug-in that allows you to manipulate MIDI directly in Sibelius. However, Pro Tools has many advanced MIDI editing features so you can now select your music in Sibelius and copy it across to Pro Tools where you can add your MIDI automation by drawing or recording it in.

Select the MIDI clip in Pro Tools, copy it to the clipboard, and bring it back into Sibelius using the Paste MIDI from Clipboard command. You’ll now see the MIDI data, when viewing Hidden Objects, written out using several CC messages across the bars you’ve just pasted.


Say you’ve written and recorded a song in Pro Tools and you’re ready to write the string parts in Sibelius. Before now, you’ve had to export the MIDI file and import it into your template. Now you can copy and paste the whole song structure from Pro Tools into Sibelius in just a few steps.

Just before pasting the MIDI though, make sure you have a purple system selection by either Ctrl + [click] or Cmd + [click] on a bar, or making a blue passage selection and going to Home > Select > Make System Passage Selection. Now Paste MIDI from the clipboard and you’ll see the musical structure comes in from the “Conductor Track” in the MIDI data. This includes the tempo map and the time and key signatures. It’ll bring in the music as well, so you can quickly delete what you don’t need before starting to write further music in Sibelius.

Once you’ve written your accompanying music, you can now quickly copy and paste these staves into new tracks in the Pro Tools session and have full confidence that it’ll play back in time and be in the same key as the rest of the song.


When copying MIDI to the clipboard in either program, we are placing standard MIDI on the public clipboard. This means that any other application that supports the same method using public.midi-audio will be able to copy and paste between Sibelius and Pro Tools as well.

The copying process aims to capture all the MIDI attributes of every note and chord. When pasting into either application, these will be retained. Sibelius pastes music using the same method it uses to open a MIDI file, so the music will be quantized for you, and can even support simple tuplets. This ensures a clean representation of the music notation, but it also retains the original MIDI data underneath. You can see this if you turn on Live Playback from Play > Live Playback, and open the Inspector panel from the Home tab. In the Playback section, you’ll see the live velocity, start position, and duration for each note as you select them in the score. This allows you to copy the music and paste it back into Pro Tools and these attributes will be retained.

Sibelius will handle drum notation too, so 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, giving you nice and clean drum notation, including the correct noteheads:

Drum notation example



When preparing music to copy across from Pro Tools to Sibelius, it’s always advisable to quantize the music first. This is common practice and will yield much cleaner results when pasting into Sibelius. In Pro Tools, set up the quantization options, often 8th/quaver or 16th/semiquaver notes as needed, and tap the Q button:

Q in Pro Tools

What pasting MIDI into Sibelius for the first time, you’ll be offered to open the MIDI Import Options:

MIDI Import Options

These will be familiar to anyone opening MIDI files already in Sibelius. Here, you can set up options to allow you to paste MIDI to suit the material, for example set the minimum note duration, use multiple voices or even set up a filter for high and low key switches. Apply the settings you need, and if you need to tweak these after pasting, undo, and try again. To prevent these options appearing on every paste, you can dismiss the dialog, and always find them again in Home > Clipboard > Paste > Paste MIDI Options.

After pasting in Sibelius, you may find you need to tidy up the notation further. There’s a great feature in Sibelius called “Renotate Performance”, which is designed to clean up the notation after Flexi-time recording, and is now extremely useful when tidying up imported or pasted MIDI. Here’s a simple example:

Drum notation

When pasting in a MIDI clip containing drums, you may find one or two of the notes have not been assigned a notehead in the drum staff. This happens if you’ve used a MIDI pitch that isn’t defined in the instrument’s drum map. Sibelius won’t know which MIDI note to assign it to, so it will retain the original MIDI pitch. To fix this up, you can either manually move the notes up, or you can use the Advanced Filter to filter the pitch you need to adjust, then move them all up together, assigning the correct notehead as needed.

Automating the process

Another great tip is to automate these workflows. Both Sibelius and Pro Tools come with powerful scripting capabilities. Pro Tools has the Scripting SDK, and Sibelius has the built-in ManuScript plug-in language, which has also just become even more powerful in 2024.3. Here’s an example of a quick ManuScript plug-in that pastes the music in, runs the Renotate Performace plug-in, resets the note spacing, then moves the score so the start of the selection is in view:






When running both Sibelius and Pro Tools on the same system, you should be aware of a couple of things.

  • The system requirements for Sibelius and Pro Tools are different, so we advise you check these carefully before running both applications on the same system:

Pro Tools System Requirements
Sibelius System Requirements

  • Ensure the audio interface is supported on your operating system and the drivers are up to date. This is especially important on Windows as this relies on you having stable ASIO drivers.
  • Check the sample rate of the Pro Tools session matches the sample rate in the Audio Engine Options in Sibelius.


We want to be able to give everyone the ability to use these new workflows, so we’ve put this as the standard set of features in both Pro Tools and Sibelius. Both of these apps have free versions, so there’s nothing stopping you trying this out:

Get Pro Tools Intro for free
Get Sibelius First for free


As you can imagine, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improving the interoperability between these two great applications, and we can’t wait to unveil what we’re working on next.

Whether you're recently been to a concert, or watched TV show or a film, the chances are the music has been scored in Sibelius and mixed in Pro Tools. Now it's your turn.

  • Sam Butler headshot

    As director of audio software at Avid, and a keen musician, Sam works with all the departments in Avid to produce the future of the Pro Tools and Sibelius products and solutions.

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