I have been using an iPad for about a year now and I have found it to be helpful with my notation score creation, sharing and for practice and demonstration. This posts covers how to play back Finale and Sibelius files on the iPad and the app I use to create music notation: Notion. With the fast-changing landscape in the app world, it is hard to keep up with developments. Please post your comments, questions and suggestions about what you are using with regard to notation and the iPad.

PART ONE: Playing back your Sibelius or Finale files

As of this date, there are apps for both Finale and Sibelius so you can play back all of your files. You can’t edit the notation in these apps, but they are handy for playing back music for practice or demonstration.

Avid Scorch for iPad (free):

The company who sells Sibelius, Avid, maintains a free iPad app that you can download for playing back Sibelius files. Transpose the music to play in any  key;  change instrument sounds;  or convert to and from guitar tab; view the score or individual parts; music stand mode to turn pages quickly. For more information on the app read the Sibelius blog post:

Finale Songbook for iPad (free): 

With Finale Songbook for iPad you can open your Finale files and play them back. You can view the score or the part.  The Songbook can also open and display PDF files so you can put lots of music into the app even if it is not a Finale file. The PDF files don’t play back, so use them only for display purposes. Check out the company promo for the latest version of the App as of early 2013:

PART TWO:  Creating notation on the iPad and sending it to Finale or Sibelius via Music XML

If you want to create notation on your iPad, you will need to purchase a stand-alone app. The one app I have used successfully is Notion.

Notion App ($14.99):


From Computer to iPad

To get files out of Notion into your computer to use with Finale or Sibelius, export the file on the iPad to Music XML. Then import the Music XML into Finale or Sibelius. To go the other way, export the Finale or Sibelius file to XML and then import it into Notion on the iPad. Sibelius 7 is the first version of Sibelius to be able to export music XML directly from the app.

Moving files back and forth via the Cloud

I find the simplest way to move files from my computer to the iPad is using a cloud app such as DropBox.