Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • Advice For Newbie

    I've only had Opus 1 & 2 and GS3 for a couple of weeks and am running Sibelius 4, and Cubase SX3.

    I was wondering how people work with scores since I have a Symphonic Poem that I have written and would like to record it as realistically as possible.

    I imported the Sibelius score as a midi file but then was wondering whether I would be better off printing out the parts and playing them into Cubase.

    Any thoughts?

    The other issue I have is one of progam changes. Since the symphonic poem starts of with a Violin tremelo at piano and then changes to a non trem crotcht and then back to a tremelo I do not know the best way to create this effect. Opus 1 does not have keyswitches for trem to non trem at piano so I can't use the performance tool. I thought the best way to achieve it was through program changes, however there would be 2 program changes in the space of 2 crotchet beats and am not sure if this would cause problems. Would I be better off using seperate midi channels?

    And if so how would you play the above in if you needed to constantly swap midi channels or program changes?

    Any advice would be great



  • Whoa! There's a lot of questions there. I still consider myself a beginner myself (with VSL at least) but as I have Cubase and the Opus bundle I'll try and get you started.

    Everyone works in different ways depending on their main skill. Those used to working with parchment and quill often start with a MIDI file generated by scoring software, but for me it often creates a very stilted performance and takes a lot of work with tempo changes and subtley moving notes and velocities around to get it sounding at all natural. I would advise playing the parts in using a sustain or modwheel blend patch or even just standard orchestral sounds from a synth module. The main thing is to get the timing and phrasing as you want it.

    I believe there are a number of ways to quickly switch your articulations. I only use Halion 3 in Cubase so I can't speak about any special functionality within GS3 and, though I think you can programme the Performance Tool to switch automatically between any articulations you want, I would be inclined to just set your patches up on seperate MIDI channels. Then, by setting the single MIDI track you recorded into Cubase to MIDI Channel 'Any', you can freely select each note (in the Key editor) and assign the correct articulation by changin the MIDI Channel number on the info bar. This saves you using loads of tracks for each instrument and means you can have up to 16 patches available (one for each channel on that track) and these patches may themselves contain a number of related 'keyswitched' articulations. With careful planning and suffucuent CPU and RAM resources there is plenty of scope.

    Once you've worked like this for a while you'll get to know whch articulations you prefer and can setup default templates for each instrument within GS3 - and a Default project containing all the tracks you need in Cubase.

    First thing you should do to clarify all of this though is to check out Beat Kaufmann's excellent tutorials right here in the VSL forum (haven't got time to post the link right now). The great thing is that he uses Cubase too! [H]

    Good luck,


  • thanks cwillshire. You have certainly got me started. I was concerned that if I save the Sibelius score as a midi file it would sound stale. Now back from holiday it is time to start practicing.

  • Mischa,

    I'm soldiering on with Sibelius 4 and the Pro edition. Some thoughts for you.

    1. Program changes. Should be no issue - this is how I do it all the time. There is no issue with putting in lots of program changes and certainly 2 program changes in 2 crotchet beats is OK. I've been successful using two staccato samples in alternate semiquaver runs at 140bpm.

    2. I've not bright enough to understand keyswitches. However, to get your trem/non trem effect you can simply use another stave (channel). If you've got the live playback velocities switched on then you can mix the velocities and timings to get it to sound right.

    And now to the confession. I have an extremely cumbersome way of writing my music, but it works.

    First I sketch in Cubase, pumping sounds out to an E-MU module.
    When the sketch has shape, I import MIDI into Sibelius and add all articulations, so it can be performed.
    To get realistic sounds, I export the Sibelius as MIDI and then re-import it with live playback velocities. Then I work on it with program changes for samples and use the velocity volume controls. This means if I have to mix samples (such as making a cresc more subtle) by using multiple samples, then I just put those additional notes on the nearest empty stave, suitable programmed.
    It's not pretty, but I've had some passable results.

  • Thanks Jonathan

    I haven't got my head rouund program changes yet [[:)]] but I am now familiar with keyswitching. Guess I have a lot of practicing to do. I must admit I have't tried using GS3 with Sibelius as I find the Kontakt player quicker since I score everything first.

    I think I will have to play about with playing the individual parts into Cubase and importing a midi file from Sibelius to see which method is most time effective and which is most realistic souunding. At the moment both are long winded being a newbie but practice makes perfect as my piano teacher used to tell me. [[:)]]

  • I think there are only long winded ways of getting good results. When you are getting somewhere, do let us all know - I've flipped between Sib and Cubase. If someone can do it better and easier, then I'm all ears. For me at least, I think there is little doubt that Cubase is faster for sketching, then Sibelius for producing score and parts for performers, then after that the question is what's best for realistic faux performance with samples.

    Given the level of programming changes I need to insert to get something realistic, I've tended to settle towards Sib, provided I use the backloaded MIDI file in live playback with the velocities shown (view menu).

    If you want to use program changes with Sibelius. Simply (sorry!), set your >play>devices menu item in Sib to point at the Gigaport. Then you use the Control-T option and insert the programming change for each note on each stave ~P0,1 (where 0 is the bank and 1 is the program). Have a look at how you've loaded the performance files in Giga and that will give you the bank/prog numbers.

    Good luck with it and keep everyone posted.

  • Thanks Jonathan,

    I certainly will keep you posted, your help is greatly appreciated. I agree Cubase is great for sketching but for me writing is visual as well as hearing - if that makes sense. I seem to be able to develop so much more when I see the score rather than just hearing but that is my way. That's why I always end up scoring either in Sibelius or on beloved manuscript. My concept is to get everything into Cubase since playback on Sib can sound dry and it will make it easier for mastering studios since I have no mastering knowledge or tools (except the in built Cubase ones).

    Experimentation and practice is key just very frustrating at the moment. [:)]