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  • Percussion and Sibelius

    Hi there,

    I'm having a problem with my percussion standard library and sibelius integration. Everything else is working great, I'm well-used to working with VSL and Sibelius, so I've got the correct house style etc loaded. I've got a problem with non-specific drums - here's my example.

    I've got my bass drum on channel 3, my snare on channel 4, my tambourine on channel 11.

    Now, because there's no specific sound ID for drums, cymbals etc, all I ever get, despite indicating the required instrument changes on the appropriate stave, is the bass drum. I can muck about with the channel settings a bit to get, say, the tambourine or snare instead, but I'm then stuck with it - instrument changes don't work.

    This only applies to instruments in the library that don't have sound IDs - temple blocks, glocks, vibes etc are all switching as they should. This one's got me stumped though. 

    Grateful for any help. I do have a feeling I've asked something like this before, but I can't for the life of me remember what the answer was, so apologies in advance for any duplication.

    Thanks

    Mike


  • Hello Mike!

    Your problem can have different reasons. Please check the following things.

    - Generally it is recommended to leave the output device and channel settings in the Sibelius mixer alone. Making settings there can mess up the playback. If you have already made settings there or are not sure, reset all outputs in the Sibelius mixer to (Auto).

    - The Manual Sound Set page needs to be defined for all instruments used in the score. If one or more instruments are left out, some instruments might not switch correctly. If you have instrument changes on one staff, you need to reserve a MIDI channel for every instrument used on this staff.

    By the way. Drum and other percussive sounds also have Sound IDs, but Sibelius doesn't show them on the Manual Sound Sets page, because one drum program can include different instruments and Sound IDs.

    Best regards,
    Andi


    Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Hi Andi,

    1. Sure, I know that VSL and the Sibelius mixer don't play nicely. Everything is (as always) set to auto

    2. Yup, each instrument has its own channel settings - I'm attaching screenshots of both my Sibelius config as well as my VSL setup. As you can see, everything is given its own instrument ID in Sibelius (where one exists), and each instrument is assigned its own channel in both Sibelius and VSL.

    I'm running several instances of the Vienna ensemble, with Strings, Woodwind, Brass and percussion each having their own instance. Everything else is working perfectly, and always does. It's just this problem with the percussion instruments.

    Thanks

    Mike

    Image

    Image


  • Hello Mike!

    I can't tell from the screenshots what's going wrong. If you want to, you can send your score and playback configuration (xml file and data folder) to support@vsl.co.at and I will take a look at them.

    On a Windows computer playback configurations can be found here:
    Users\your username\AppData\Roaming\Avid\Sibelius\Playback Configurations

    Best,
    Andi


    Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Hello Mike,

    I don't know whether you have solved your problem but I know how frustrating it can be when things don't work!  I have found the implementation of VSL percussion and Sibelius to be particulary tricky.  I do not use the sound ID 'drums' because like you, I just couldn't figure it out or get it working to my satisfaction.  My solution was to edit the percussion sound set to create specific sound ID's for certain percussion instruments, in the same way that for example the glockenspiel has it's own ID, as you mentioned.  Now VSL recommend that you do NOT mess with the sound sets but I have edited mine extensively to customize my set up and if you are careful, there is no problem.  Make a back up of the sound sets you are using to begin with.  Then download the 'Sound Set Editor' App.  Open the percussion sound set.  I will set out how to create bass drum sound ID and you can create others in a similar way for your other percussion instruments.  Under programs, create 'new'.  Call it 'Bass Drum'.  Give it this sound ID:  percussion.bassdrum1   Now, under 'Switch Types' you need to create a simple switch, so hit new and call it something like: 'new switch'.  On the right hand side where there is a column called Sound ID Change, hit Add at the bottom...It should create a reset ID.  Select this entry (highlight it) and under actions on the right, hit Add again...it should create a keyswitch...highlight this keyswitch and you can edit it.  To start with, set it to Keyswitch [12] which is C0...this is the default matrix keyswitch.  Go back to programs and select this new switch for your bass drum program.  When you highlight your new bass drum program there should be an area at the bottom where you can select the switch + volume type etc.  I would choose expression and note on velocity for attack type.  Make sure 'Sound' is selected and NOT 'drum map'.  Save the sound set under a NEW name.  Boot Sibelius back up, go to your Manual Sound set page for your percussion insts.  Select your newly named soundset and you should find an entry called bass drum which you can select in the same way you would select any other instrument with a sound ID.  In Sibelius you might like to create a new instrument called bass drum, then add it to your score.  In the mixer make sure this instrument corresponds to the correct instance of VEPro and instrument/midi channel and it should work.  Once you have done this for the snare drum, tambourine etc (all on different midi channels with specific sound ID's, you should also be able to switch between them on one stave if that is what you want to do.  I personally have a separate stave for all of these instruments in case I want the bass drum and snare drum to play at the same time.  

    Another solution is to use a glockenspiel instrument that works as you describe with no problem and create other matrixes below it in the VIPro player.  Fill these matrixes up with percussion instruments and create new commands in the dictionary to select the required matrix  using control changes.  You can set the Matrix control change 'Matrix CC' in the player.  matrix 1 is controller value '0'.  Matrix 2 is controller value '1'.  Select the matrixes from within your score by using the technique command and typing in the new name you entered into the dictionary for the specific matrix you want.  This solution will work without any editing of the sound sets, however you cannot play the instruments simultaneously.  You can though create several identical instances and put them on individual staves to get round this problem!

    Good luck!  Remember, be careful if you embark on editing your soundsets and always copy and create backups.

    Please let me know how you get on.

    Best, Andy 


  • Thanks for these super-detailed instructions Andy!

    I've had a bit of back and forth via email with Andi, who's been very helpful. 

    I'll have a go at editing the soundset myself I think - of the two scenarios that you've outlined here, the first one is more practical for me - I'm lucky enough that most of my stuff gets played by humans, so I use mainly playback for proof-reading and making sure that timbral combinations are what I expected in my mind's ear, so to speak. 

    But I do think that percussion could be handled better out of the box - stave-sharing in percussion parts has been convention forever - it definitely doesn't work as seamlessly as everything else.

    Mike


  • Andy,

    So, first problem, I was able to follow your instructions to the letter - very clear, thanks again

    Unfortunately, Sibelius 8 can't find my custom (renamed) soundset, which I put in the same (default) directory as all my other VSL soundsets. Have I missed a step?

    Thanks

    Mike


  • Hi Mike,

    Yes, I discovered through trial and error (like many things with my custom set up!) that as well as renaming the file you have to rename the soundset from within the editor.  Go to the 'General' tab and put in a new unique name for your newly edited soundset and it should show up in Sibelius.

    I should point out that in the example I outlined, only an instrument with one cell is accomodated.  If you want to switch cells, a little more programming in the 'switch' department is required.  However, it starts getting complicated to explain and in general for a bass drum/triangle etc, a one celled instrument is sufficient.  Once you get inside the sound sets you can see how it all works with the keyswitches etc so you can probably add some cell switching once you get the first cell working properly.

    The only problem with using one stave and switching instruments comes when you want them to play at the same time, however you have the option of having separate staves for each percussion instrument and then maybe creating a stave for printing which has them all on the one stave if that's what you desire.

    Best,   Andy


  • Thanks Andy,

    Yeah, that worked - thanks. I think I'll need to spend some serious time with the manual - from doing a bit of reading it looks like you can get right under the hood, adding articulations (as RAM permits) to the defaults, and all sorts of things that might be useful. 

    I've taken up enough of your time, and thank you for your help. If I could ask for one more small pointer, it would be to shed some light on why I can't get the tambourine to playback properly. I've created sound ID pitched percussion.drum.tambourine which validates just fine, but then doesn't actually make the switch in Sibelius. There's probably another principle that I've failed to grasp in terms of naming conventions etc. 

    But I'll probably work it all out as soon as I get time, so only if you get chance, and it's an easy answer. Thanks for all your help, I appreciate it.

    Mike


  • Hi Mike,

    Glad things are progressing!  Does the Tambourine work on it's own stave successfully?  Also I have found you can only switch between instruments in the same VEPro instance.  It could be that Sibelius in 'confused' as to which instrument you want to switch to.  Within the instuments area of Sibelius, I created my own folder of only the instruments that I use and filled it with such.  Then, when I add instruments to my score I only add them from this folder.  Make sure that your new percussion instruments have their own entries in your instruments list...You can also try the 'preferred instrument' in the edit instrument area and select your specific Tambourine entry from within your new folder of instruments.  I have found that this preferred instrument entry field populates but then dissappears...One of several bugs in Sibelius.  I am on 7.5.1 on a Mac by the way.  However, once the tambourine works properly on its own stave, you should be able to hide that stave and switch to the instrument from your other bass drum stave for example.  I have found that switching can be a bit quirky, but it does seem to work in a stable fashion now.

    Best,   Andy 


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