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Back in the old days, I used Sibelius to typeset scores. I've switched to the great open-source MuseScore now and don't miss anything from Sibelius except... my old scores. I know that there is a MusicXML export plugin in Sibelius, but I won't install Sibelius or any other proprietary software. Is there a way to convert the Sibelius scores into some free format (that is recognised by MuseScore, such as MusicXML)?

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I also searched for this, but up-to-day found only these possiblities:

export via:

  • to-buy Dolet Sibelius Plugin
  • free sibexport Sibelius Plugin
    • does not work with Sibelius First 7!
      • plugin (from 12/2010) was properly auto-installed to the Roaming folder, but it did not appear under Plugins, Export nor Save as :-(
  • potentially errenous export via 30-day trial Sibelius First version
    • with **version 7 there is the option to export to compressed or uncompressed Music XML, but it looks pretty bad in a first try of a complex pop song MIDI
      • when I opened the exported MIDI the scores looked quite different and although I could see the drum part, I could not hear it, although volume was normal (I only used standard options)
    • you just have to provide an email address to download it immediately
  • during my research I also found other sources mentioning torrent downloads, which are illegal and very dangerous!
    • so please do not damage your computer by even trying to find help through such likely virus-stuffed files (NSA is a kindergarden compared to that)
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I think that the free software community would forgive your one-off use of proprietary software for the purposes of converting proprietary files into an open format, especially if this aids your transition to free software..

After all, you could have done the conversion before you uninstalled Sibelius, so it doesn't really make that much difference if you re-install it now just to do the conversion, and then uninstall it again afterwards.

If you are willing to overlook your moral principles just this once, you will find Andreas Dietrich's answer to be most helpful in converting Sibelius files to MusicXML.

Alternatively, if you have a friend who uses Sibelius, you could always ask to borrow their computer just to do the conversion, thereby preserving the ethical purity of your own machine. This may also be the best course of action if you don't have a valid Sibelius subscription.

  • Your first paragraph is actually not correct. You could write a converter yourself. Reverse engineering is always possible. The rest of your post is fine, so I imagine it is that first para that got the downvote. I have deleted it and given an upvote. – Rory Alsop Mar 17 '18 at 12:59
  • @RoryAlsop, thanks. You're right, it is possible for someone else to write a converter, but good luck trying to do so for an undocumented binary format. In practice this is never going to happen, not for something as complicated as sheet music anyway. – HullCityFan852 Mar 18 '18 at 21:26
  • Oh - I agree with you. It wouldn't be easy at all. I just wanted to give the rest of your post an opportunity to get upvotes ;-) – Rory Alsop Mar 19 '18 at 8:09

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