XML Export from Sibelius shows multiple stringed instruments in Mixer

• Sep 7, 2017 - 22:27

MuseScore 2.1 on Win 7 Pro SP 1
I just received three XML files (one per movement) of a symphony, exported from Sibelius by a professional typesetter. Movements 2 and 3 load into MuseScore just fine. But Movement 1 seems to crash MuseScore every time I open it, and I am looking for some help about why.

There are nine bars where the MuseScore import reports problems: but I often come across this type of fault, usually caused by a tremolo bar. I usually fix it by deleting the bar and inserting a new bar. Much more bizarre is the fact that when opening the Mixer there seem to be around 100 "extra" string instruments (Violins and Cellos) . Yet with Edit > Instruments, I see only the standard string line-up: one each of Vln 1, Vln 2, Vla, Vc and Db.

Has anyone come across this problem in the Mixer after an XML import? I can't share this MSCZ score on the forum because it's 7.27 Mb, but I will send it by WeTransfer to anyone who can offer advice.

Thanks in advance to anyone who steps forward!


If there are many "same staff instrument change" settings, the mixer behaves this way. (Opens a separate instrument for each change).
That could be the reason.
Can you look inside XML?
Could there be a "direct export" somewhere in the headline?

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

@Ziya, many apologies for the delayed reply. I had a hard disk crash and repairs took a while...
You're right: this XML was an export from Sibelius 7.3.1 and there is a comment "Direct export, not from Dolet".

I have tracked down what I think is the cause of the problem: a 3-bar ossia on the Violin part and a 6-bar ossia on the Cello part. When importing the XML, these ossias cause MuseScore to add "Instrument change" instructions in almost all the bars which are not the ossia. Hence the multiple instruments (hundreds) visible in the Mixer.

So my question really is whether Sibelius is wrongly interpreting the way in which an ossia should be exported in MusicXML, or whether MuseScore is wrongly handling a correctly defined ossia during the MusicXML import?

The screenshots show:

a) the MusicXML definition by Sibelius of the Violin 1 part for the ossia and the main Violin 1 part (my comments in red may be reversed?):
Rootham_Op.97_Symphony_No_2_Mvmt_1__Violin 1 definitions.png

b) the ossia for "2 Violins soli" in bars 195-197, as in the Sibelius PDF file:

c) the visible effect on the Violin 1 part and the Cello part in the opening bars of Movement 1, after importing the MusicXML file into MuseScore:

I am happy to share the MusicXML file for Movement 1 privately with anyone who can comment, but it runs to nearly 300,000 lines so would need WeTransfer or Dropbox.

Thank you!

In reply to by DanielR

Have you tried this? :
Open the same XML file with Sibelius.
Is everything in place?
All instruments are okay?

Instead of direct export, use the dolet plugin.
I imported this XML to Sibelius, exported it with dolet plugin, then I don't see (many) instrument change problems in Mixer.

In reply to by DanielR

Yes, you can :)
Dolet plugin isn't a third party plugin.
This plugin written by the creators of MusicXML.
Direct export is always problematic, read more: ... http://www.musicxml.com/dolet-plugin/dolet-6-plugin-for-sibelius-5-1-an…

I opened your XML in Sibelius and exported it with Dolet.
Maybe, You may want to check the result. (see attachment),

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

@Ziya, thank you very much for the Dolet export. It certainly fixed the previous problem with multiple instrument entries in the Mixer. So yes: I will encourage Sibelius users to install and use the Dolet plugin!

@Leon, many thanks for responding. The problem seems to refer only to a "direct export" from Sibelius.

Sorry for the late reply, but I just noticed this thread.
I have experienced the same thing with numerous XML imports from Sibelius. Everything seems to function properly, but the mixer shows three violin parts - Violin, Violin Tremolo, and Violin Pizzicato. Only one part shows in the score. I thought it was either a quirk of MusicXML, or to cover the necessary violin sounds when and where needed. This hasn't interfered with my work, so I just left things as they are.

[EDIT] In the scores I have received, it is unlikely that there were any changes to the instrumentation or articulation on the Sibelius end - the parts in question are simply guide tracks for vocalists, and contain few markings of any sort.

I'm interested in how this works out.


In reply to by toffle


Thanks for the post, but I think that it's absolutely normal for MuseScore to have three entries per stringed instrument in the Mixer. That's necessary because the different sound types (e.g. Violin, Violin Tremolo, Violin Pizzicato) need different sound samples for playback.

The problems mentioned in my posts are quite different and lead to hundreds of extra instruments in the Mixer. There is definitely a problem when handling ossias in MusicXML, but I am not yet able to say whether it is Sibelius generating MusicXML wrongly during export or MuseScore interpreting the MusicXML file wrongly during import.


In reply to by toffle

The spurious "Instrument" texts in screenshot c) are caused by the way the ossia is encoded in the Sibelius export combined with MuseScores MusicXML importer's handling of instrument changes. The "1. Violin" part is encoded as a part with two staves and two instruments with the first one (P16-I1) used for staff 1 and the second one (P16-I2) used for staff 2. As the MusicXML file is exported one measure at a time for both staves, every measure contains two instrument changes, which by default have an associated text to visualise them.

Am not yet quite sure what the required behaviour would be and how to implement a fix. I assume normally you would want to see the instrument changes. This file is encoded in a (probably legal) unusual way, which does not work well with the current importer.

In reply to by Leon Vinken

Further investigation shows the issue is not related to the ossia at all, but simply to having two different instruments at the same time in one part. MuseScore does not support this (within a part only one instrument is supported at any time), the MusicXML import does not handle it. For the attached file, this results in an instrument change at the start of every measure. This in turn leads to the many instruments in the mixer (this is not related to MusicXML import at all, it also happens when a score containing many instrument changes is created in MuseScore itself).

Note that the Dolet export does not suffer from this problem, simply because it's part P16 contains only a single instrument.

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