Finale and Sibelius, as well as other notation and DAW software, can export files in audio format. There are two common uncompressed audio formats: AIFF and WAV. These are the file types used on CD recordings.  AIFF is a Mac format and WAV is Windows. However, both formats are interchangeable and can be read on each computer platform.

What is MP3?

MP3 is a compressed file format. The objective with compressing files is to make them smaller in size so they are easier to download without losing too much of the audio quality. MP3 is approximately a 10-1 compression. So, an AIFF or WAV file that is 10MB (10 megabytes) will be approximately 1MB (1 megabyte) when converted to the MP3 file format. For more information on MP3 go tohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3.

Audio and DAW software such as Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase and others can save in uncompressed audio and they typically can convert to MP3 as well. If you own DAW or Audio software including the free program Audacity check the documentation to find out how to do the MP3 conversion.

Sibelius

Starting with version Sibelius 8.1, MP3 export is supported.

  • Choose File > Export > Audio, and choose MP3.

Sibelius MP3 export.png

With Sibelius 7 and earlier versions, the only option is to  export files in an uncompressed audio format. So, you will have to take two steps: save the file in Audio format and then use another program to make the MP3 conversion. See below for converting files using Apple’s iTunes.

Finale

The Finale 2012 and later a couple of options for saving audio files. If you set the MIDI/Audio playback engine to “Play Though MIDI” then when you export audio, there will be an option of saving in AIFF/WAV or MP3.

Finale Play Through MIDI.png

  • Choose File > Export > Audio File
  • At the bottom of the window, choose MP3 file.

Finale select MP#.png

This uses the computer’s build-in sounds so the quality of the audio is not as good as using the samples that come with the program. However, if you use Audio Units to playback the file, then when you export the Audio file you will only have the option of saving in full audio format and using an external program to make the MP3 conversion.

Converting WAV or AIFF files to MP3

There are lots of ways to convert audio files to the compressed 10-1 conversion of MP3. If you own audio or DAW software, you could save the audio from Finale or Sibelius and then open it in this software and make the conversion. If you don’t own DAW software, then you can make the conversion using Apple’s iTunes, a free download for Mac and Windows. 

  1. Review the steps to set the preferences in iTunes to convert to MP3: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1550
  2. After you have made the settings in iTunes, you can convert a file or files to MP3.
  3. From the iTunes File menu, choose Add to Library or drag the file into the Library window.
  4. Select the file you want to convert to MP3.
  5. Choose File > Create New Version > MP3.
  6. This will create a copy of the file in MP3 format.
  7. Select the converted file and choose:  File > Show in Finder (Mac) or Show in Windows Explorer (on Windows). You can also right-click on the file to get this window.
  8. This is the location in the iTunes folder where the converted file resides. You can upload it from here or drag it to an email message. Or, if you want to move the file, you can drag it to a document folder or the desktop.