This blog post is written by Bob Zawalich, creator of hundreds of useful plug-ins for Sibelius. Read on to learn more about how to deal with muted staves while playing and exporting audio in Sibelius.
Staves in Sibelius can be muted using the mixer. When a staff is muted, it may or may not play back or be included in an exported audio or MIDI file.
File > Export > MIDI is the simplest case. Any selection is ignored; all bars are exported. There is an option in the Export MIDI screen to omit muted instruments. This is on by default, so by default muted instruments will not be exported. If you want all the instruments to be in the MIDI file, switch the option off.
For playback and File > Export > Audio, muted staves will be silent if there is no passage (box) selection. If there is a passage selection, muted staves play back and export if those staves are included in the selection.
This is because Sibelius lets you select certain instruments to play by themselves, and they decided that this would be a way to hear muted instruments as well, without having to unmute them in the mixer.
In the example below, the piano staves, though muted, will play if you start playback at the selection.
To playback without hearing the piano staves, either turn off the passage selection, or exclude the muted staves from the passage selection. Note that you can exclude staves in the middle of a passage selection by Cmd-clicking (Mac) or Ctrl-clicking (PC) the staves you do not want, so you could exclude the alto and bass staves, for example, and leave other staves selected.
File > Export > Audio exports exactly what would be played back. It will export all staves in a passage selection, including muted staves. If there is no passage selection, it will omit muted staves but export all other staves.
You can choose the starting note for File > Export > Audio by moving the playback line to the desired note before exporting. File > Export > Audio will always export from the starting point to the end of the score. You can use the Export Selection As Audio plugin to choose a different endpoint for audio export.
So it is good to be aware that muted staves will play back and export to audio files if there is a passage selection and the muted staves are selected.