The Best of Both Worlds

Just the other day I was lamenting how I had to choose between a Digital Audio Workstation (Cuebase, Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Ableton, etc) to mock up my pieces or to use Sibelius 7 and its mediocre sound set. I’m not knocking either one of those, as all music notation software comes with notoriously bad libraries, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with DAW’s either. But of course, this forces you to either “create a realistic playback” or “work with actual music staves.” And lo and behold, I found a guy who had the same dilemma and decided to write a template and corresponding soundset for Sibelius 7 to address these limitations.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that when the playback cursor stumbles upon certain markings in Sibelius, such as “pizz” for pizzicato or a dot above the note for staccato, the program actually loads up the appropriate sound for that instrument  That’s because behind the scenes, it interprets that symbol or text object as a unique sound ID (sound IDs are on the bottom):


But of course, this becomes cumbersome when you’re trying to get the engine to reflect the automatic articulations a player would use given a certain phrase. That’s the beauty of this system: not only does it replace soundID functionality (which is nice), but it also gives you the option to control the articulation of each note manually and then allows you to hide those instructions very easily, providing you with an unblemished score in the blink of an eye. The level of control here is impressive, and the results speak for themselves:

I actually have the Gold version of Symphonic Orchestra rather than Platinum, which means I am having to write some of the sound set myself. But it’s turning out to be a good thing, because now I know a lot more about MIDI and sample libraries.

At any rate, I’m a fan of this guy’s work. Check out his website if you happen to have Sibelius 7 and are looking to upgrade the sound set. Going with EastWest isn’t cheap, but it is certainly an improvement.

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