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Vienna Special Edition and Sibelius
Last post Fri, Feb 29 2008 by DaveTubaKing, 15 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Feb 19 2008 21:29
by jayb
Joined on Wed, Feb 13 2008, Posts 12
I'm having a problem with drop outs in some instrumental lines. I've got a piece in Sibelius for harp and 3 flutes. The harp line is fine. The flutes are written on one staff. The flutes will drop notes and I can't figure out why. If I have two or three notes in chords, it seems fine. If I have two or three notes moving in parallel, it seems fine. If I have two or more voices doing doing, say, eights against quarters, or a dotted quarter against a half and a quarter, one or more notes will not sound. It almost sounds like the attack or other articulation parameter is not responding fast enough, so the note doesn't sound.

Oddly enough, if I change the patch to oboes, it works just fine.

Running macbook pro 2.16ghz, current build of leopard, current build of both software programs, 2 gig ram, more than enough disk space, instrument files on separate firewire drive.

Can someone give me some advice? Thanks
Posted on Wed, Feb 20 2008 00:13
by andi
Joined on Wed, Feb 18 2004, Vienna, Posts 3523

Hello Jayb!

I would recommend writing the three flutes in three staves. Then you have the possibility of each flute playing different articulations. Also remember that our performance interval patches are monophonic. So if you have more voices in one staff and you write a slur it leads to notes being not played as they should be.

When you make three staves for the flutes you have to trick Sibelius with the third flute as the Special Edition Sound Set is only designed for two instruments of the same kind. In the the Playback Devices/Manual Sound Set set the third Flute as Flute Ensemble but load the Solo Flute matrix in the corresponding channel of the Vienna Ensemble (assuming that you use Vienna Ensemble) nevertheless.

I hope that helps.

Vienna Symphonic Library

Andreas Olszewski
Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Wed, Feb 20 2008 02:42
by jayb
Joined on Wed, Feb 13 2008, Posts 12
Andi: Thank you. That was it. I find that I can get by with two staffs if I create the matrix properly. It sounds wonderful.

One more question. Do you know how to insert program changes in a Sibelius score to change articulations? I know how to create a program change, but I don't know what to put in it to change articulations by switching to another cell. Thanks. The software is great.
Posted on Wed, Feb 20 2008 10:21
by andi
Joined on Wed, Feb 18 2004, Vienna, Posts 3523

You don't need program changes. If you have loaded the Vienna Special Edition Sound Set (You can get it here: http://www.sibelius.com/helpcenter/resources/soundsets.html) it will take care of the articulation changes. I also recommend reading the pdf that is located on the same site on how to work with the Vienna Ensemble and Sibelius.


Andreas Olszewski
Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Wed, Feb 20 2008 11:20
by Steve Martin
Joined on Sat, Sep 17 2005, Queensland, Australia, Posts 568

 Hi Jayb,

if you are using one of the sibelius 5 soundsets, a legato slur will trigger the legato patches, staccato will trigger the staccato, and no markings usually set to the sustain patch on default.  The other thing that is great about using the sib5 soundsets is that dynamics, and hairpins will playback also. Now, to get pizz going, hit control/t and insert pizz. from the text area. To go back to normal playing, type in nat.arco [I'm sure that is what you type I think]. For Sforzato playback you may have to edit the playback dictionary. I know it sounds scary to do, but it's not that hard. Just  go to  play/dictionary and hit "new", and "new keyword" box will come up. Type in sfz, hit OK, then go to "effect", click on the arrow pointing downwards and a drop down list will appear. Choose "sound ID change". In the sound id window, type "+sforzato" [of course don't add the quotation marks - I just put them in so you know exactly what to type is between them, but don't include them].

Next, Under the sound ID window there are three choices:

click your mouse in the circle beside the words "Until next sound ID change" then press OK to exit. Now when you add a sforzato in the score, it should play back. 

I am sure you do the same thing for the detache also. Go to the play dictionary and do the same process. You will have to type in detache again, and the +detache in the dialogue etc.

The other way is to simply add the keyswitches themselves manually just before the note.

As an example, for most strings in the SE edition,for staccato playback, just  type in ~N24,10 before the note you want to switch to a staccato patch.. As for an explanation of what that message means, the "~N" and the following number gives the number of the note in the bass that is the keyswitch, and the number 10 is just the velocity of the keyswitch note. You can probably stick any number between 1-127 after the comma for velocity playback, as long as there is a velocity number. If there is none, it won't work. You will notice that after you have typed in the message, it will become invisible, so to see them faintly, yet visibly, so you know exactly where they are positioned in the score go to "view" and click beside "hidden objects" and you will see them. This means you can move then around the score and reposition them, or duplicate them easily to save yourself retyping them by just clicking on them, and going to a place in the score where you want it to go and hit "alt" to duplicate it.  Anyway, I found that after a while, you get to know the messages off my heart anyway, so you may not worry about that so much.

So for all strings in SE edition [except double bass].

~N24,10 = staccato

~N25,10 = detache

~N26,10 = sustain

~N27,10 = legato

~N28,10 = sforzato

~N29,10 = tremolo

~N30,10 = pizzicato

For the double bass section  the same messages almost apply, except for the digits in the one's digit placement [got not for the digits in the 10's place as you can see], but as it is up in the higher range for the keyswitches they are:

~N84,10 = staccato

~N85,10 = detache

~N86,10 = sustain

~N87,10 = legato

~N88,10 = sforzato

~N89,10 = tremolo

~N90,10 = pizzicato

To change between the different horizontal layers  of the matrix, for example to go down, just type in ~C1,127  directly onto the  score where you want the change. eg, you have a legato passage, but you want to use the portamento cell directly in the layer beneath it, use the slur, or the legato keyswitch where you want legato, but on the place where you want to change to portanmento, just type in the ~C1,127. To switch back to the upper layer in the matrix, just type in ~C1,0.

For the woodwind and brass the keyswitches and articulations are very similiar. From memory, I am sure the SE brass and woodwind use the same articulations [just check as I could be wrong here though]

~N24,10 = staccato

~N25,10 = sustain

~N26,10 = sforzato

~N27,10 = legato

 ~C1,127 control message to switch down the layer, and the ~C1,0 message to switch back.

Of course in the very deep brass and woodwind instruments, the keyswitches would be up higher, just as the same as for the double bass in the string patches in comparison to the higher strings. 

So, in either way, you can use either manual keyswitches, or the sound set that you can get from the sibelius website.

I must say, that when you use VI ensemble with Sibelius 5, you can load heaps more instruments than what you can using the normal vsl matrixes, without crashing Sibelius 5.

I have 2 gigs of memory on my machine [it has also the duo processor which is great], and when I got near using just over 2 gigs of ram using just the single vsl instrument for each staff, Sibelius would just crash, but on a recent score using the Vienna Ensemble, I have had my ram levels up to 2.27 without Sibelius crashing - just so handy and great, so when I have completed or throughly composed one group of instrument parts, I can optimize and shed the unused samples, and get on with orchestrating a new section of the orchestra.

Honestly, the VI ensemble is just so great to use. There is also a soundset avaliable for that on the Sibelius website.

After using Kontakt 2, and being able to load a lot more instruments using K2, than using the single matrix approach that one first used with the new vienna instruments, the Vienna Ensemble does pretty much exactly the same thing, so you can load a lot more matrices, and samples without crashing Sibelius - [thanks Herb and all of the vsl team for the VEnsemble - a real saviour as far as I am concerned!].

I hope that information will get you going. I am planning to do some symphonic movements of composers from scores that are public domain, so that one just has to download the sibelius score, and the soundset configuration, open the score up in Sib 5 and hear a direct playback of say, Beethovens 5th, a Mozart Piano Concerto, plus many others, which will hopefully give help for orchestration ideas. What do you think about the idea?

If you think its a good one, let me know, and I'll press ahead when I get some spare time and do it.

Hope the info was helpful [sorry it is so long though!].


Steve Big Smile

Posted on Wed, Feb 20 2008 14:35
by jayb
Joined on Wed, Feb 13 2008, Posts 12
Steve: Thank you so much. That is exactly the information I was looking for. I'm a complete amateur at this; composition is a hobby, so I don't know a lot of the basics. I did find the Sibelius soundset, but I had a lot of trouble getting it to work properly. This was due in part to not understanding that VI can't handle multiple notes on one staff because the samples are monophonic. I was getting all kinds of dropouts as I referenced earlier in the thread, but I'm beginning to understand how to work around that.
Posted on Wed, Feb 20 2008 14:43
by jayb
Joined on Wed, Feb 13 2008, Posts 12
Oh, and I'd love to see some scores so I can get ideas orchestration using Sibelius and VI. If I'm not mistaken, Sibelius has posted Rimsky Korsokov's book on orchestration on their site.
Posted on Thu, Feb 21 2008 11:20
by Steve Martin
Joined on Sat, Sep 17 2005, Queensland, Australia, Posts 568

 Hi Jayb,

no problem, glad to be of help, and also Andi's comments on the soundset and tricking Sibelius 5 are spot on. I did discover the same thing recently. I had two different staves, each for a duplicate of each SE flute patch, and could not work out why the legato was dropping in and out. I decided to try to go to the manual playback settings, and set it up so that I had flute 1, and flute 2 in the soundset settings for the two staves, and then it worked fine.

Yes, maybe in the school holidays when I get a break I will get onto getting some of the Beethoven, and other symphonic works by Bach and others, into sibelius 5 playback set up for SE specially. Which means you know how exactly a certain melodic, chordal, or instrumentation technique will sound in playback through SE, which hopefully will give one much more confidence to orchestrate better, and also to learn from the Master composer/orchestrators such as Beethoven, Bach, and Rimsky Korsakov and others,  right in front of them on the computer.

Glad to be of help.


Steve.Big Smile 

Posted on Mon, Feb 25 2008 01:08
by fanagiga
Joined on Sat, Mar 13 2004, Posts 24

Hi Steve et al - as the person who started this post, i just wanted to say thanks for all of the helpful information, and sorry for the radio silence - my day job has taken over again of late and I can only look wistfully at my VSL server setup lying dormant next to my desk.  I appreciate your help, and look forward to having the time to take advantage of the advice you've given.

Best regards,


Eric Keisman
Posted on Mon, Feb 25 2008 06:43
by Steve Martin
Joined on Sat, Sep 17 2005, Queensland, Australia, Posts 568

 Hi Eric,

I understand very well! I feel swamped under also, so I only get time to write some helpful posts not that often, and then can't get time to check back also as much as I would like. I do hope you get some time to get back into vsl though!


SteveBig Smile 

Posted on Tue, Feb 26 2008 09:46
by Laurent
Joined on Thu, Sep 05 2002, Paris, Posts 337
Steve, you have an incredible easiest way to explain things that many people didn't get.

That's a gift, really


Posted on Wed, Feb 27 2008 20:48
by Steve Martin
Joined on Sat, Sep 17 2005, Queensland, Australia, Posts 568

 Hi Laurent,

thank you  for the nice complimentBig Smile. I think after teaching school pupils music from the ages of prepatory  school right up to the last years of high school forced me to break every presentation of information down into the tiniest steps, [so that things could be understood] has probably helped me develop any skills in this area. I have actually thought of doing a tutorial specifically aimed at sibelius 5 / Special Edition users, and also sib 5/any vsl library users. 

Thanks again and regards,


Posted on Wed, Feb 27 2008 20:53
by Laurent
Joined on Thu, Sep 05 2002, Paris, Posts 337
Steve, you're right, I wish you had written the VI or VE manual
Posted on Wed, Feb 27 2008 20:59
by Laurent
Joined on Thu, Sep 05 2002, Paris, Posts 337
Steve, you're right, I wish you had written the VI or VE manual, or the videos tutorial, your explanation are so clear the only one reading is enough to get everything into the brain.
What you thought, doing a tutorial for Sibelius 5 / VI is exactly what I'm looking for !

Again, again…thanks


Posted on Fri, Feb 29 2008 08:18
by DaveTubaKing
Joined on Fri, Feb 27 2004, London, Posts 770

Steve, for what it's worth I would bite your hand off for a good text tutorial on the Sib/VSL interface. I would even pay good money for it, published or not.

David Carter https://sorabjiorchestralmusic.wordpress.com/

W10 Pro (64bit), Z390 Aorus Pro wifi MB, Intel i7-8700K s.7 GHz, Corsair 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 3000MHz, Samsung 970 EVO M.2, 2 x OCZ Agility 3 480GB SSDs, Sibelius 8.4.1, Symphonic cube, VEPro7, MIRPro, Focustite Scarlett Solo, Nvidia GeForce GT 710 2GB GDDR5
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