Sibelius Plugins

Sibelius, a music notation and composition program by Avid, is pretty great, but it doesn't do everything. In particular, it has some trouble playing (guess) microtonal music. It is my intention to fix this using plugins written in ManuScript, Sibelius's own in-software scripting language. These plugins will work on Sibelius 7 (at least on my Mac), and Note Info, Remove MIDI Pitch Bends, and Offtonic 19-TET were written using Sibelius 6 and should work on that platform as well. Please contact me if you've tried them on that platform! For instructions on installing plugins, please go to Sibelius's help page on the topic.

Note Info


Note Info simply displays basic information about a specific note in a computer-readable format. I wrote it as a tool to help me understand how Sibelius internally represents notes, but I can imagine others wanting the same thing. Note that Sibelius's representation of a Note object is as an object inside a NoteRest object, so Note Info does not display duration or velocity, for example.

New in version 0.1.0:

  • Initial release
  • Displays basic information about a note, like pitch, accidentals, that sort of thing.

Download Offtonic Note Info 0.1.0 here, or get it at the Sibelius website

Remove MIDI Pitch Bends


Remove MIDI Pitch Bends removes all MIDI pitch bend messages in your selection and optionally adds a pitch reset message at the start of each staff in your selection. MIDI pitch bend messages look like ~B47,66 and instruct the MIDI instrument to tune itself depending on the message; ~B0,64 in particular changes the pitch to default tuning. If you've used a plugin to add large quantities of pitch bend messages to your score (like Offtonic 19-TET or the quarter-tone playback plugin that ships with Sibelius), this is a quick and handy way to take them back out.

New in version 0.1.0:

  • Initial release
  • Removes pitch bend messages. You know, like it's supposed to!
  • Has the capability to add a pitch reset message (~B0,64) at the start of the selection in each staff in case previous music contains pitch bends

Download Offtonic Remove MIDI Pitch Bends 0.1.0 here, or get it at the Sibelius website.

Offtonic 19-TET


Allows playback of music in 19-tone equal temperament (19-TET). Very cool, huh? The 19-tone scale is not very different from our usual 12-tone scale. The diatonic scale can be reproduced very faithfully in 19-TET by interpreting a whole step as three 19-TET steps, and a half step as two. As a result, we can label the pitches as follows:

C C# Db D D# Eb E E#/Fb F F# Gb G G# Ab A A# Bb B B#/Cb

It's rather amazing that tonal music in 19-TET sounds so similar to tonal music in our usual 12-TET -- the only element that really breaks is enharmonic spellings, meaning that an augmented 6th is no longer equivalent to a minor 7th, for instance. We can take advantage of this fact by using our common 12-TET notation for 19-TET. No new symbols are necessary. Offtonic 19-TET adds a pitch bend message to each note in your selection, retuning your music to fit the 19-tone scale. Arbitrarily, C in 19-TET is tuned to the common C in 12-TET.

Interestingly, the 19-TET system allows some interesting sonorities. Thirds, both major and minor, are closer to their pure forms. The fifth is a tiny bit flat compared to the already narrow 12-TET fifth, but this is hardly noticeable. The augmented sixth sounds very much like a septimal minor seventh, the seventh overtone, which is a nice sonority. Leading tones are actually hampered by this system, as the diatonic half step of two 19-TET steps is wider than its 12-TET counterpart.

A major limitation of Offtonic 19-TET is that, by the nature of MIDI commands, it cannot retune chords, only single notes in each staff. Only one pitch bend command may be active at a time in a single staff, so if you need to retune multiple notes all sounding at once, they each need their own staff. This applies to chords, multiple voices, and even, more subtly, slurs, if they are set to increase a note's duration past 100%.

New in version 0.1.0:

  • Initial release
  • Removes all existing pitch bend messages from the selection and retunes the written notes to 19-tone equal temperament
  • Allows the user to specify the maximum pitch bend of the instrument
  • Includes a help dialog

Download Offtonic 19-TET 0.1.0 here, or get it at the Sibelius website.

Offtonic 17-TET


Allows playback of music in 17-tone equal temperament (17-TET). Significantly weirder than 19-TET. The diatonic scale can be represented by interpreting a whole step as three 17-TET steps and a half step as one (unlike two for 19-TET), but since the 17-TET scale makes everything sharp rather than flat (a major third is about 24 cents wider than a 12-TET third and about 37 cents wider than a just intonation major third), traditional harmony doesn't translate well to 17-TET. However, it has its own interesting harmonies, and interesting things can be done melodically as well. It has a third 3 cents sharper than the note halfway between the minor and major thirds in 12-TET, and a note about 11 cents sharper than an 11/8 fourth. The pitches can be labeled as follows:

C Db C# D Eb D# E F Gb F# G Ab G# A Bb A# B

Right away we notice something odd: Db is lower than C#! A chromatic half step, say from C to C#, is two 17-TET steps, and a diatonic half step, say from E to F or C to Db, is just one. As a result, the chromatic scale looks really funky. I haven't implemented this yet in the plugin -- next version -- but it would make sense to identify C# as Dd (half flat) and Db as Ct (half sharp).

The same limitations apply as in Offtonic 19-TET, since the plugins are virtually identical other than the specific values for retuning the notes.

New in version 0.1.0:

  • Initial release
  • Removes all existing pitch bend messages from the selection and retunes the written notes to 17-tone equal temperament
  • Allows the user to specify the maximum pitch bend of the instrument
  • Includes a help dialog

Download Offtonic 17-TET 0.1.0 here.

Offtonic N-TET


Offtonic N-TET will retune your music into a very wide variety of equal temperaments, from 5-TET to 119-TET (skipping some in between). It works like the above plugins. You select a passage, notated in common notation, and Offtonic N-TET applies pitch bend messages to the passage to alter the tuning of each note, holding C at concert tuning. The way that the notation maps to N-TET pitches is different for each scale, and a scale info dialog is present for each temperament to elucidate the notation. For most tunings, the scale is generated by the fifth, producing a consistent circle of fifths. In 17-TET, for example, the fifth is 10 steps. If C is step 0, then G is step 10, D is step 20 - 17 = 3, A is step 13, E is step 23 - 17 = 6, and so on. Accidentals alter the pitch by a specific amount, and there are 17 of them available in Sibelius that can be mapped: sharps and flats, double sharps and double flats, half sharps and half flats, 3/2-sharps and 3/2-flats, and each of these accidentals as a bracketed accidental (available on the accidentals pane of the keypad), as well as the natural. The scale info dialog explains how these work for each scale; since these are the only accidentals available, the mapping sometimes needs to be creative. For a handful of scales (some multiples of 5-TET and 7-TET, specifically), the circle of fifths is not consistent. For example, in 7-TET, C# is enharmonic with C, but for 119-TET, which breaks up the 7-TET interval into 17, the # is 4 steps. It is assumed that the maximum pitch bend is 2 semitones, but you can change this; under that assumption, however, certain notes are not reproducible. For example, in 5-TET, B = C, and B# = D. The value for D in 5-TET is 240 cents, but the original 12-TET value of B# is 0 cents. This would require a pitch bend of 2.4 semitones, which is impossible under a maximum of 2, so B# is unavailable. A full list of which notes are unavailable is displayed within each scale's scale info dialog; this means that you'd have to use enharmonics, which can be a minor inconvenience but it will not stop you from producing the sound.

The same limitations apply as in Offtonic 19-TET and 17-TET regarding polyphony. MIDI pitch bends apply to the whole staff, so if more than one note is present at a time, the tuning will be off. This applies as well to some virtual instruments' reverb, especially using a General MIDI synth. For fast passages using those instruments, I would recommend splitting it into multiple staves and alternating the notes.

Scales available include:

  • 5TET
  • 7TET
  • 10TET (5TET * 2)
  • 12TET
  • 14TET non-diatonic (7TET * 2)
  • 15TET (5TET * 3)
  • 17TET
  • 19TET
  • 20TET (5TET * 4)
  • 21TET non-diatonic (7TET * 3)
  • 22TET
  • 24TET (12TET * 2)
  • 25TET non-diatonic (5TET * 5)
  • 26TET
  • 27TET
  • 28TET non-diatonic (7TET * 4)
  • 29TET
  • 30TET non-diatonic (5TET * 6)
  • 31TET
  • 32TET
  • 33TET
  • 34TET (17TET * 2)
  • 35TET non-diatonic (7TET * 5)
  • 35TET non-diatonic (5TET * 7)
  • 36TET (12TET * 3)
  • 37TET
  • 38TET (19TET * 2)
  • 39TET
  • 40TET
  • 40TET non-diatonic (5TET * 8)
  • 41TET
  • 42TET
  • 42TET non-diatonic (7TET * 6)
  • 43TET
  • 44TET (22TET * 2)
  • 45TET
  • 45TET non-diatonic (5TET * 9)
  • 46TET
  • 47TET (c = 8, d = 1)
  • 47TET (c = 1, d = 6)
  • 48TET (12TET * 4)
  • 49TET
  • 49TET non-diatonic (7TET * 7)
  • 50TET
  • 50TET non-diatonic (5TET * 10)
  • 51TET (17TET * 3)
  • 52TET
  • 52TET (26TET * 2)
  • 53TET
  • 54TET (27TET * 2)
  • 55TET non-diatonic (5TET * 11)
  • 56TET non-diatonic (7TET * 8)
  • 57TET (19TET * 3)
  • 58TET (29TET * 2)
  • 60TET non-diatonic (5TET * 12)
  • 62TET (31TET * 2)
  • 63TET non-diatonic (7TET * 9)
  • 64TET (32TET * 2)
  • 65TET non-diatonic (5TET * 13)
  • 66TET (33TET * 2)
  • 70TET non-diatonic (7TET * 10)
  • 70TET non-diatonic (5TET * 14)
  • 75TET non-diatonic (5TET * 15)
  • 76TET (19TET * 4)
  • 77TET non-diatonic (7TET * 11)
  • 78TET (26TET * 3)
  • 80TET non-diatonic (5TET * 16)
  • 81TET (27TET * 3)
  • 84TET non-diatonic (7TET * 12)
  • 85TET non-diatonic (5TET * 17)
  • 90TET (45TET * 2)
  • 91TET non-diatonic (7TET * 13)
  • 93TET (31TET * 3)
  • 98TET non-diatonic (7TET * 14)
  • 99TET (33TET * 3)
  • 104TET (26TET * 4)
  • 105TET non-diatonic (7TET * 15)
  • 112TET non-diatonic (7TET * 16)
  • 119TET non-diatonic (7TET * 17)

Scale multiples, like 12TET * 4, indicate that the base scale, using normal sharps and flats, is multiplied by the use of the other accidentals. In this case, 12TET * 4, indicates that using only sharps and flats will produce the 12TET scale, but using half-sharps and bracketed accidentals will produce the other tones. Some scales do not have a diatonic representation, like 11-TET, and are therefore not included, but it's simple enough to simply use every other note in 22-TET to accomplish the same result.

New in version 0.1.0:

  • Initial release
  • Removes all existing pitch bend messages from the selection and retunes the written notes to a large variety of equal temperaments
  • Allows the user to specify the maximum pitch bend of the instrument
  • Includes a help dialog and mathematical explanation

Download Offtonic N-TET 0.1.0 here.

Mauro Cutz Braunstein 2012. Contact: (Return home)