Midi import problems

Good afternoon:

I am having problems importing midi files, exported from Pro Tools. Dorico tells me that there is a file format error (“invalid file format”). To be sure, I have no problem opening / importing the midi files with Sibelius.

Is there a special procedure for importing midi? I used the “import > MIDI” from the first tab.


If Sibelius can read the MIDI file, try exporting it again as MIDI. That might tell you if the problem is with Avid or Steinberg.

In any event, since the next Dorico release is imminent the next step will be to see if the problem still exists in the new version.

Hi Peter

Do you want to send me the file, or post it here and we’ll see what the issue is?

We’d be very interested to see this file in case it does show a bug in Dorico. MIDI import has had a number of improvements for 1.1, though we’ve never seen reports of invalid files before.

Thanks for the feedback … actually, there are dozens of midi files. Two of them I can import into Dorico, all others give me issues.

The midi files are from a film score for an upcoming documentary with Robert Reich, to be released on Netflix later this year, I’d rather not share them publicly so I’ll send them to you (John and Paul) privately.

Beyond the technical inability to import midi files, I’m also interested in two other things:

  1. Quantization settings in Dorico - does it offer the option to quantize note lengths to 16th / 8th / quarter notes etc? Usually it’s better to do this in the DAW but Sibelius actually works pretty well if you pay attention to the import settings.

  2. How does Dorico deal with import of midi tracks for which the notes are sent to channel 10? In Sibelius, it automatically imports them onto a percussion staff, and then changes the notes around to sort of make them fit the staff. Took me several days to figure this out (and nearly drove me to tears - very confusing).


Peter’s sent me these files, and I’ve got to the bottom of why they’re not importing - turns out they weren’t actually MIDI files at all. In answer to the other questions:

  1. There are currently no options for quantizing that are exposed. There are a number of other internal settings that the MIDI import uses which currently are baked in (eg for instrument selection). We expect that in the future there will be a dialog to customise the import.

  2. Currently we don’t make any assumptions about channel 10 being percussion, but it’s likely that that would be an option that we would expose on an import dialog. MIDI files unfortunately don’t carry around much (any?) useful metadata that indicates unambiguously whether it’s a percussion track or not.

In that case, it’s probably better not to ask how Sibelius managed to import them. :unamused:

Simple - because it turned out they were Sibelius files saved with a .mid extension. Presumably this was accidental use of ‘Save As’ rather than ‘Export as’.

Thanks Paul! Yeah, I got confused about the extension .mid — that led me to think they were midi files. :laughing:

About the quantization, that would be good to have as an option — in Sibelius, you can choose to have notes “rounded up” to 16th note / 8th note / quarter note, etc., which is really covenient to quickly clean up imported midi files. It is easy enough to do this in a DAW but it would save time.

About the import of midi on channel, that got me totally confused in Sibelius … until someone (Robert Puff) tipped me off. It’s pretty crazy to see the notes change while comparing the DAW session to the notes in the engraving program, and you have no idea what is going on … I pulled out some hair. For anyone in a similar situation: the workaround is to change the channel assignment from 10 to anything other than 10, and then export as midi file. You can do this either in PT or e.g. in Reaper or Cubase. One handy thing to know. :slight_smile: