Export Notation

Synfire can write notation file formats that many notation programs are able to open. Originally, this export feature was intended for songwriters to print a lead sheet with chords, lyrics and melodies. It is however capable enough to assist you with notation tasks beyond that limited scope.


MusicXML files can be imported by most notation programs. You should adjust the page layout and other options in your notation program before you print the score.


LilyPond is a free open source program that produces printed notation of excellent quality. This is not a format for data exchange between programs, but rather a scripted language for printing scores. The files can be edited easily to change page layout and other options.

Please visit https://lilypond.org for more information. Download the latest version of LilyPond and install it on your computer. If you installed LilyPond correctly, Synfire will call it automatically and a PDF will be generated and opened.

In Preferences under the Files tab, you must set the location where LilyPond is installed. You may need to tweak the command line setting and look for errors in the LilyPond log to iron out issues if they occur.


Before you export an arrangement for notation, make sure you understand the following.

  1. Global Key: Consider that Synfire assumes the global key for the clef (key signature), which also determines all exported accidentals. If there are many key changes in your progressions that you don't want to see printed, tick the box Global Key in the global Notation Export Settings.

  2. Playing Ranges: Make sure the playing ranges of your instruments match those of the real thing, if you export for orchestra or other natural instruments.

  3. Voice Separation: Split multi-staff parts over multiple instruments (with the same sound) and check to have them all merged into the same staff on export with Notation Export Settings. This is not necessary, but has benefits.

  4. Note Positions And Durations: Quantize Figure symbols exactly to what you want to see in the score. Be especially precise with triplets and dotted notes. Avoid swing or other forms of expressive rhythm. Make everything as simple as possible.

  5. Rests And Overlaps: Use Force Legato everywhere unless the rests between notes are intended. Clean up unnecessary note overlaps.

  6. Sustain Pedal: Remove this controller and disable Generate Pedal with Interpretation.

  7. Morphing: Freeze all morphed regions with a Snapshot, delete the Morphing parameter and clean Figure up by hand as detailed before.

Export Options

Make sure you configure the global export options and options for each instrument.

Export Arrangement

Use File > Export menu to export the whole arrangement.

Export Container

Use Container > Export to export the selected container only.

Configuring External Editors

In the global Preferences under Notation, you can configure three command lines for processing exported notation files.

Note: This feature is available with the Pro edition.