Lyrics Need to Be In Midi Export

I asked this question in VI-Control, but no one knew the answer. If I open in Synthesizer V a file with lyrics, exported via midi from Sibelius, the lyrics are contained in the file. But if I export a midi file from Dorico I only get the notes but not the lyrics. This is a real pity, because both Sibelius and Dorico are superior in quickly entering lyrics, and Dorico better than Sibelius in many ways, but it is incompatible with Synthesizer V until it exports the lyrics in its midi file. Will this be possible in the future? Or can it be done now with some other setting?

Support for lyrics is an ‘optional extra’ in the MIDI 1.0 spec. There is a Text event, which simply occurs at the same time as the note event. It’s described as a “meta-event, which is not required for every program to support”.

I don’t know whether the MIDI 2.0 spec has any improvement on this.

Can you not import the lyrics any other way? Copy and Paste?

Note that Dorico does export lyrics since v.4 (and it’s great for proof-reading)

For some strange reason, midi files exported from Dorico do not seem to contain lyrics, but exported from other notation programs they do.

I have tried to see if there is another way to get lyrics out of Dorico in a midi file, and cannot seem to do it esily. I have looked for settings, etc. to see if the midi export can be changed, but found nothing.

Here is what I am trying to do: I want to open midi files made in Dorico in a program called Synthesizer V, which is very popular at the moment, and by far the best AI singing program on the market. Dorico is great for putting lyrics to notes, with bulk entry, and other advanced features, so it is ideal for preparing lyric files for export to Synthesizer V with a fast work-flow.

Here is what I found testing various methods.

  1. Export a midi file from Sibelius, and Synthesizer V opens it WITH lyrics.
  2. Export a midi file from Encore (30 year old program and file), and Synthesizer V opens it WITH lyrics.
  3. Export a midi file from Dorico, and Synthesizer V opens it with only notes and NO LYRICS.
  4. Export an XML file from Dorico, reopen it in either Encore or Sibelius, re-export it as midi and then Synthesizer V receives the lyrics.
  5. Export an XML file from Dorico, use an online converter to change it to .svp file (which is the Synthesizer V proprietary format) and it also includes lyrics.

From the above, it is clear that Dorico is different in its midi file (no lyrics) than at least two other notation programs, but has the ability to export lyrics and notes together in the XML format. This would require three extra steps and file saving, to get midi out of Dorico efficiently for use with Synthesizer V (which cannot import xml.)

Lyric export, as a text file, is a great feature in Dorico, and useful for many functions. It is just as easy to do in Sibelius (using a different method) but in either case it takes a lot of work to re-attach these to the notes of a midi file inside Synthesizer V, so that option is very slow and cumbersome.

I am sure, therefore, that this is something simple, since even very old programs can do it, so Dorico should have no problem fixing this.

(There is a web forum for requesting update features to Synthesizer V, and they are very helpful, so I will point this out to them and see if they can add xml as an import option, in order to make them compatible with Dorico, in case this cannot be corrected by Steinberg.)

FWIW, I don’t think that Finale exports lyrics in MIDI files. (Opening one in a text editor doesn’t reveal any syllables, anyway.)

I expect that, if it were so simple, the Dorico Team would already have implemented it.

Perhaps no one has brought it to their attention yet! Artificial Intelligence speech and singing synthesis has advance rapidly in recent years, and now there are incredible programs like Synthesizer V that will be used by many musicians, combining with DAWs and notation programs, so maybe up till now a midi file with lyrics was not so important. So when I noticed this, I thought I would bring it to their attention.

That’s interesting! Is it possible to send to me a midi export from Finale (with lyrics) and I will open it in Synthesizer V to see if it receives the lyrics?

You know you can bulk-enter lyrics in SynthV V as well?


Yes, I know! Synthesizer V is very sophisticated and powerful in its handling of lyrics (which, being dedicated to intelligible singing, so it should be.) I use Synth-V bulk lyrics entry all the time. But Synth-V is not as good at fast and accurate programming of complex midi files as is Dorico or any DAW, so it is great to be able to make your vocals in other programs and instantly open them in Synth-V with the lyrics included. With bulk entry in Synth-V you have to be very careful to have the little “-” and/or “+” in exactly the right places and right number, and even if one is misplaced, all the lyrics sing on the wrong notes. With a midi file coming from Sibelius (and soon, hopefully, from Dorico) you don’t have this problem, and can see everything clearly, and they automatically align, ready for further tweaking in pronunciation.

I am currently working on a project converting more than 50 choral scores from notation to Synth-V, and am forced to use Sibelius because Dorico cannot export lyrics together with the midi. It is possible to use Dorico lyric export (to a text file) and then use that file to bulk enter them into Synth-V, and that works fine, but I have choral scores with 4,6, and sometimes 8 parts, and this has to be done separately for each part, so it takes quite a bit of time to do what is automatic and instantaneous if you export out of Sibelius or Encore.

But because Dorico is more sophisticated and capable of itself bulk-entering lyrics and general handling of them, it would be a far better match to work with Synth-V, since you can use offline text processors to get lyrics in a form more suited to Synth-V before export.

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It wouldn’t be trivial to export lyrics in MIDI files, though it would certainly be possible for us to add it. The reason it’s not straightforward is that MIDI export works on the playback representation of the score, and at the moment, lyrics are not included in that representation at all, so we would first need to add lyrics to the playback representation, then do the necessary work to include that data in the MIDI file.

We’ll plan to include this in a future version of Dorico, but I can’t say for sure when we will be able to add it.


Good to hear that, because I have to switch back to Sibelius too only to solve the problem of the missing lyrics. So hopefully this will be a nearby future version :innocent:

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I see! Thank you for that clarification.

It will be great when Dorico can do this, as I love the program except that it doesn’t have pause playback and midi lyrics, and I am now working a lot with Synthesizer V and these two features are essential for that integration. Both are scheduled for Dorico updates, but I’m thinking out loud that Dorico can, in fact, export notes and lyrics in the XML format, and there are programs which can convert XML to MIDI, so perhaps instead of changing the architecture of the program for this one issue, perhaps a conversion filter could be added to automatically convert Dorico’s XML output to MIDI?

It’ll be easier to simply include lyrics in MIDI export. It just needs us to find the time to do it! We’ll try and get to it soon.


Been working with Synth V a lot lately and I must say such a feature would be awesome!

Could you share the links to those online converters?

Did you ever find an xml to svp converter? I just switched from Vocaloid to SynthV and am over the moon at the voice quality vs the J-Pop voices in Vocaloid. The UI and functionality are in some ways inferior to Vocaloid but the result makes it worth it. Now on the same quest as you to streamline lyric entry.

Here’s a converter I found that I just tried with an xml out of Dorico. I’m about to examine it closely but looks pretty good so far. It came in as Manual vs Sing mode but looks like I can change it.

UPDATE: A few minor problems but a big timesaver. It seems to split multi syllable words by syllable and not insert the + and doesn’t do well on with words held over two notes (no -) and slurs. This piece is heavy on triplets and some of those were messed up a bit; that could have been my bad copy or even related to S-V missing an eighth note triplet grid.

The utaformatix converter works pretty well for some types of conversion, and lots of Synth V users find it useful. If you are only concerned with getting MIDI lyrics out of Dorico into Synth V WITH the lyrics, some people find it easier to bypass utaformatix and save the Dorico file as an XML, then open it in a DAW that supports lyrics in MIDI, then export as a MIDI from the DAW to import into Synth V. I can confirm that this works for both Reaper and Studio One, because users have reported it, but it may also work with other DAWS (if they support lyrics)

As far as splitting multi words by syllable, this is a matter of taste, and how you like to work, but advanced users seem to find that careful use of whole words together with “+” and or “-” works perfectly provided you get very used doing it correctly, with no extra spaces, and things like that. After doing that, keep the English the way it is and only tweak or change the phoneme of the individual syllables. Lyric enhancement in Synth V needs the scripts of copy and paste lyrics and phonemes all on separate keystrokes, and the multi-lyric tool (ctrl-L) to edit whole songs or sections, and a word processor (like Microsoft Word) with good search and replace routines to reformat lyrics and put them back into Synth V quickly.

when the lyrics information becomes available to the playback engine would that then also enable the Synthesizer V vst plugin to get this info for rending vocals?
I can imagine the syllable split/joining might need some attention (since they seem to use -,+), but it would be a great opportunity for choir projects in Dorico.

Synthesizer V (either the plugin or standalone) can only get lyrics via MIDI import and/or typed or pasting them in manually. Some people are pretty quick at batch exporting lyrics from Dorico or Sibelius and then batch importing them for an entire song in Synth V. Once you know the differences in format, you can do this pretty quickly, but it seems to me that a simple program could be written that converts notation lyrics (with syllable splitting and slurs to indicate melisma) to whole words and the plus sign for extra syllables. I have a few macros in Microsoft Word that help with this conversion, but it is not perfect yet.