How does Sibelius detemine the clef of a MIDI file?

Hi all. I am sure that at least some of you use Sibelius. I have the demo vers of v7 which I am checking out.

Can someone tell me how Sibelius goes about determining what clef to assign? Say I have a project with Violins (treble clef), Violas, (alto clef) and Celli and Bass (bass clef). How does Sibelius know which clef to assign for each individual MIDI track? I ask because in my ex., all are right save for the violas - which are in bass clef. I know how to change the clef - that’s easy. I was hoping someone could tell me how to ensure that the correct clef is always assigned in Sibelius so I need not take the xtra steps after the fact. Something to do with the MIDI file I create?

Thanks in advance.


Probably to do with the instruments range. The violin’s lowest note is G below middle C which is about the limit you’d write for treble clef without having too many ledger lines. THE viola goes down to C below middle C hence it being given the Bass clef , Cello and basses obviously are in the Bass clef.

I would have thought a midi file is just a set of midi notes and Sibelius has no way of knowing what instrument should be playing what. Have you tried saving say a viola part as ‘viola.Mid’ ?

If you think about it Sibelius has no idea at all from a midi part what instrument should play the note, how would it know to transpose instruments for alto sax or trumpet for example. The strings are non transposing (except double bass which transposed and octave lower) so there’s no problem there, just the alto clef as you say for viola.

I just put my midi files into a concert score and name each part with the correct instrument and then ask Sibelius to output the transposed parts for my players.

I don’t do this often enough to know if there’s a better way, sorry :slight_smile:


Move this to the lounge if you want better visibility.

I write everything in Treble Clef, and then when I reassign the various parts to the correct Clef, Sibelius knows to transpose the notes, too

Norbury has the right idea. I believe there is some consideration given to where the majority of the notes fall as far as clefs go. If there is a phrase that is too low (treble clef) or too high (bass clef) in spite of the clef being used there is the 8va notation that can be used to indicate an octave transposition either up or down.