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  • Special Edition + percussion and Sibelius

    I'm struggling to understand how to use the percussion in the Specila Edition Plus with Sibelius. I've created a test page in Sibelius so I can experiment with triggering the sounds. The staffs are named in Sibelius: Timpani / Drums / Cymbals / Gongs  / Crotales / Percussion / Plate bells / Tubular bells. The drums, cymbals, and percussion staffs have no sound ID listed for them and come up as '(none)' in the playback configuration.

    Sibelius seems to have no soundID in the drop-down list on the manual soundsets menu for Plate Bells - only Orchestral Bells. So how would one trigger the Plate Bells in Sibelius?

    For playback I have one instance of Ensemble into which are loaded Timpani / Drums / Cymbals+Gongs / Cymbals + Gongs / Cymbals+Gongs / Percussion / Plate bells / Tubular Bells from the Special Edition matrices.

    Here are my initial questions:

    1. What triggers left hand right hand single hits in timpani?

    2. How does one get inside matrices that have many different sounds? If the Drums matrix contains six different percussion sounds (as listed on p.52 of the manual) how do I trigger these in Sibelius? Are there six different note-heads or symbols? Likewise with Cymbals+Gongs - there are four main percussion sounds inside that matrix - how are they triggered?

    3. What about instances and channels? Does every sound need an instance and a channel of its own? Cymbals+Gongs contains tam-tam, gongs and cymbals. If I wanted to play all three at once do I need to load 3 instances of this matrix and give each a separate channel?

    4. Can an unnamed 1-line of unpitched percussion in Sibelius be designated to play any unpitched percussion sound loaded in Ensemble? If so how?

    It would be helpful if there were a document about all this - especially for beginners. It is much more complicated than simply loading a flute or trumpet. The Optimizing for Sibelius document only seems to mention VE Percussion's full articulations, not the Special Edition's percussion.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hello Oceanview!

    How to trigger variants of the standard percussion sounds included with the Special Edition is explained in the "Optimizing Sibelius Playback" manual, page 8.

    Here are some additional answers to your questions.
    Generally it's enough to create the according instrument with Sibelius in order to trigger the correct sound. For example by creating a Bass Drum instrument, Sibelius will trigger the Bass Drum in the Drums matrix.

    As with other instruments, you will have to reserve a distinct channel for each instrument you want to use in a score. If you use cymbals and a Tam-tam, you will have to reserve two channels for that.

    For the Plate bells I recommend using a Tubular Bells instrument, because the Orchestral Bells instrument transposes two octaves up.

    Best wishes,

    Vienna Symphonic Library
  • I'm struggling to find the exact same things. There must be hundreds of percussion sounds in the Percussion Drum and Cymbal Matrices but I've only managed to work out how to activate the Tam-Tam and Snare so far haha. Does the special edition have taiko drums? If so how do I use these in Sibelius 6? The PDF doesn't really help that much with percussion. I just want to be told straight how to activate the different drum sounds :(

  • Hello Rachmaninoff3!

    Please make sure to use the Vienna Symphonic Library House Style. For Taiko drums simply add a Taiko system to your score and reserve a channel with the program Drums on the Manual Sound Sets page. Other drums, cmbals and percussion instruments (Cymbals, Bass drum, Triangle, ...) can be used similar.

    Best regards,

    Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Thanks for that Andi, I forgot to mention also that whenever I compose piano music in sibelius, I have some strange things happening with the play back. When I mark the music as "pianissimo" the velocities of the notes played back are all even and sound great. But if I notate the music to be played "piano" it all goes horribly wrong and some notes -when playing the music back- suddenly play alot louder and in a different timbre. It sounds awful because you have some notes played softly with the odd interjection of a really loud note :s. Have you heard of this happening before? Is their anyway to tackle it?

  • Hi Rachmaninoff3!

    For more realistic dynamics I recommend using Velocity XFade for Strings, Woodwinds and Brass as described in the "Optimizing Sibelius Plaback" manual, page 15.

    I also recommend setting the Sibelius/Play/Performance/Espressivo option to "Senza Espressivo".

    Best regards,

    Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Hi again Andi,

    I can't seem to find how to work with VSL Special Edition Percussion and Sibelius at all.

    I'm writing for three percussionists within an orchestra. How do I change instruments, from Glockenspiel to Tam-Tam (1-line) for instance, in the same staff? I could only change from Glock to Tam-tam 5 lines (that recognizes the percussion matrix) but still I have to write a G6 for Sibelius to play the Tam-tam. 

    Furthermore from the problems between Eb and Bb Clarinets I've told you before, I could only get the Tuba to work when I add an F Tuba in my score. I cannot possibly imagine why but this was the only way it could sound. And I couldn't get Sibelius to see the difference between the Trombones Mute A and Mute B presets.

    Please help! I'm already overdue with a composition I have to deliver in a couple of months and so far it has been a nightmare trying to solve these issues. I've been over and over through manuals and forums but yet so far I have stumbled in problems rather than solutions.

    Best regards,


  • last edited
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    Hello Markus!

    Creating an instrument change from Glockenspiel to Tam-tam should work. You will have to switch to the instrument "Tam-tam" though to get a Tam-tam played. The "Percussion" instruments will not work. On the Manual Sound Sets page reserve a channel for Glockenspiel and one for Cymbals.

    I have answered the questions about your clarinet problem in your other thread.

    Using the "Tuba" or "Tuba in F" shouldn't make a difference, because both instruments have the same Sound ID.

    If you need more help, you can also send your score and Playback Configuration (xml file and data folder with fxb files) to and I will take a look at it.

    Depending on your operating system, Playback Configurations can be found in one of the following folders:
    Users\your username\AppData\Roaming\Avid\Sibelius 7.5\Playback Configurations

    Users/your username/Library/Application Support/Avid/Sibelius 7.5/Playback Configurations
    Under Mac OS the Users/your username/Library folder is hidden by default. To get access, go to the folder Users/your username. Then choose Go/Go to folder and enter “Library”.

    Best regards,

    Vienna Symphonic Library
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