Scorch files

This section is mainly for legacy Scorch publishers that used Sibelius Internet Edition to create Scorch (.sco) files. If you don't know what a .sco file is, then you probably don't need to read this. If you do know what Scorch files are, and especially if you have a library of scores that are in Scorch format, read on.

When Scorch plug-in was first developed, the model was to load the Sibelius file data directly from a publicly available file on a web server. Such were the days of internet innocence! As a security measure, the Scorch file format (.sco) was developed.

The main differences between Scorch files and standard Sibelius files are as follows:

  • Scorch files cannot be opened by any version of Sibelius
  • Scorch files can contain PDF content
  • Scorch files contain extra Scorch options to control the publishing experience

Scorch file support today

Since the advent of Sibelius Cloud Publishing, and more modern ways of protecting assets, there is no need for the encryption provided by the Scorch file. Having the publishing experience embedded directly within the file itself was also inflexible - with Sibelius Cloud Publishing, you can now display your score in any way you like having had only to publish it once.

It was important for us to support the legacy system in order to make Sibelius Cloud Publishing easy to adopt for our existing publishers, and that's why Scorch file support remains. Sibelius Cloud Publishing fully supports Scorch files and there should be no need to make any changes to your existing library of scores.

Scorch options

When creating a Scorch file, Sibelius Internet Edition would allow you to customise various options relating to how the score should behave in the Scorch plug-in itself. Those settings were stored in the Scorch file. In Sibelius Cloud Publishing, we've replaced these settings with more flexible APIs and parameters that you can dynamically change to suit your publishing business.

When you publish a Scorch file, Sibelius Cloud Publishing will read the existing Scorch settings within the file and will treat those settings as default for that score. That means your score should work pretty well "out of the box" with no further changes from you.

Display in 'view' mode

The number of pages specified here is the default number of pages that will be displayed when you request a view of your score. This value may be overridden using the pages parameter of the getScoreView route.

With Sibelius Cloud Publishing 2.0, there is no longer a concept of a "print" or "post purchase" mode. Rather, we provide you with the controls to decide how your score should be displayed, and whether it should be printable or not.
This makes Sibelius Cloud Publishing much more flexible than Scorch used to be, and allows it to fit a wider variety of business models.

The ability to print is controlled with the printable parameter on the getScoreView route. You may control the number of pages displayed using the pages parameter.

Playback options

These settings would let you control how much of a score you want to be played back. In Sibelius Cloud Publishing, we treat the existing Scorch setting as a default. Length of playback is now tied to the length of the score itself, so you may override length of playback by setting the pages parameter of the getScoreView route.

As a little added extra, you'll find that playback fades out nicely at the end.

Scorch buttons


This setting controls whether a score should be transposable by the user or not.

It has been replaced by the transpositions parameter of getScoreView.


The ability to change instruments is not yet supported in Sibelius Cloud Publishing.

Passwords and scripts

Scorch plug-in allowed you to embed various server call backs into the Scorch file itself. This model of interaction has been replaced with a client-side messaging API. You may listen for message events and respond in any way you see fit; in this way, the new messaging system is much more extensible and flexible than the hard-coded Scorch system it replaces.

Many of the purposes that the old Scorch scripts served are are no longer required since the new web-service-based design of Sibelius Cloud Publishing naturally prevents the access of your scores without you explicitly requesting a view of your score.

NB: Any existing scripts in your Scorch files are ignored. If you wish to provide similar functionality you must re-implement using the client-side messaging API.

CD-ROM options

Scorch provided special options for optimising your scores for distribution on CD-ROM. These are now deprecated and ignored by Sibelius Cloud Publishing.

PDF Scorch files

Sibelius Internet Edition also provided the ability to wrap a PDF in a Scorch file. This provided the same encryption and Scorch settings found in the native Scorch file.

Sibelius Cloud Publishing continues to support Scorch-wrapped-PDF files, however there is no need to create new ones since it now supports PDF natively. Since the source file itself is never exposed to the customer directly there is no longer a need to encrypt the file.

Cutting pages

Sibelius Internet Edition provided a special plug-in that allowed you to create an excerpt of your score consisting of only certain pages. The idea was that you would publish two files per score - one cut down version and another full version, as a security measure in case a user was ever able to download the source Scorch file. Since the source file is never exposed to the user in the Sibelius Cloud Publishing model, there is now no longer a need for this workflow.

If you have a different score file for pre-purchase and post-purchase views, you have two options for implementing a similar system in Sibelius Cloud Publishing:

  • Discard the cut down version of the score and use the parameters on the getScoreView route to manage which pages of the score are displayed.
  • Publish both the full and cut down version of your score using publishNewScore and then manage which one you'd like to display to your user in your own application.

ManuScript APIs for creating Scorch files

Sibelius Internet Edition provided extra ManuScript methods for managing Scorch files. These are still present in the latest versions of Sibelius but are ear-marked for deprecation. In any case, there shouldn't be any need to use them.