Music Notation on eReaders

Has anyone had success incorporating music notation in an epub?  I'm trying to incorporate full page graphics from scores created in Sibelius 8.1.  The conversion process handles the image size and most elements of the notation well, but there is one pretty general problem.  The staff (five horizontal parallel lines - what could be easier to draw than that?) is poorly rendered on most ereaders with individual lines varying in weight (sharpness/blackness) often to the point of being invisible or barely visible on the screen.


The process I have followed uses monochrome graphic exports from Sibelius in various formats (JPG, PNG, BMP, SVG) at every resolution level available.  I insert them into the Word docx which contains my narrative, and convert via the Lulu website.  Sometimes there is a marginal improvement on one of the test readers I'm using but it is invariably offset by a poorer result on another, and basically none of them are of a distributable standard.


I'll be very grateful for any ideas, suggestions or advice.


  • In my experience, musical notations do not translate to EPUB files well at all. The best advice I can give is to make the images of the your musical notes at about 500 x 500 pixels, with resolution no more than 150dpi. We find this to be the best for the majority of eReaders.
  • Thanks Paul. I have tried SVG exports below 150 resolution.  116 dpi, I think.  This is the only format Sibelius supports under 300 dpi. The page image size is approximately 1200x750 pixels, and I'm not sure how I would reduce that, although I can investigate. However, some variablity in line weight is already visible in the export file, and the effect when converted to epub is as poor as most of the other formats and resolutions. 


    On a different tack, I see that Word 16 suports import of pdf files and am wondering whether to upgrade from 2010.  Do you happen to know anything about conversion of pdf to epub?  Pdf format produces the cleanest results when printed, so there may be some reason to hope it will convert cleanly to epub?


    Thanks again.

  • I'm not well versed in PDF conversions like this - I've used Calibre to convert from PDF to Word in the past (eventually going to EPUB) but this conversion is never clean. If the newest version of Word can do so cleanly, there is some hope!
  • I've made some progress using a PDF inserted in a trial copy of Word 16 then converted to epub via the Lulu site and to mobi (for Kindle) via


    I'm seeing good, clearly readable notation on Adobe Digital Editions on my Win10 PC, iBooks on iPad, and on my Kindle.  Less good (just about readable but not of a standard I would distribute) are Calibre 2.71 and the Kindle reader on the PC, but these two have shown the poorest results throughout my testing.


    So I'm encouraged, but there's always a downside.  At first sight it looks like the PDF import into Word 16 supports only single page files, and I have 50 pages of this stuff so I'll check this out further.


    If anyone else has suggestions or advice I'll be pleased to have them.

  • I updated this a couple of hours ago but it doesn't show, so a quick summary.


    Word 16 will import and display single page PDFs only.  There are some work arounds for multiple page files in Microsoft's forums but one I've tried, using native Word functionality to open the PDF, mangled my notation graphics.  It probably works for text files.


    The good news is that I got good usable results on three of my five test devices (iBooks on iPad, Kindle reader on Kindle, and Adobe Digital Editions) and poor results on Kindle reader and Calibre on Win10 PC.


    I'm going to revert now to Lulu Support, but if anyone has further advice or suggestions I'll be pleased to have them.

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