Jenny Amaya shows you how to use the Sibelius Sounds configurations, and clearly defines the difference between Playback Devices, Configurations, and Sound Sets. Learn how to create your own configurations using multiple available devices on your system. Explore the process of assigning a Default Playback Configuration for Sibelius in Preferences, versus assigning a Playback Configuration to your individual scores, and why Sibelius may ask you to choose between them when you open a score.
- [Instructor] As you know, a quality sample library, Sibelius Sounds, is included with Sibelius. Although the library requires its own separate installation. The Sibelius sounds are generally much better quality than the sounds produced by your computer's general MIDI sound card, and using Sibelius Sounds for playback will also allow you to export your score's audio performance to an audio or video file. Installed along with the Sibelius Sounds library is the Sibelius Player, the device that acts as an engine driving the sounds along during playback. When your Sibelius sounds are installed, Sibelius will give you the option to choose preset playback configurations that use the Sibelius Player, assigned to various sound sets from within the library.
All of this might sound a bit daunting right now, but for the most part, if your sounds have been installed correctly and your audio engine interface is setup correctly, you shouldn't have any trouble playing back your score using any of the preset Sibelius Sounds configurations. A very quick way to change playback configurations is by visiting the Play tab, the Setup group, and clicking on Configuration. You'll be able to choose between Sibelius Sounds configurations and General MIDI configurations, all of which should work just fine to play back your scores, but other than a few descriptive words that provide you with some clue as to what each of these configurations is best used for, it takes a bit more investigation to understand exactly what a playback configuration is, and how to make the best choice.
To dig a bit more into playback configurations, you'll want to take a closer look at Sibelius' Playback Devices window. I'm going to go ahead and hit Escape to exit out of the Configuration list. To access Playback Devices, from the same tab, the Play tab, in the Setup group, you're going to go to the dialog launcher button now and click on that, and that accesses Playback Devices. Everything that you currently need to be concerned with inside the Playback Devices window is visible to you on its main page, this first tab labeled Active devices.
In short, you'll need to have an understanding of your configuration, which is located at the top of the window, your Available devices on the left, and your Active devices on the right. A playback configuration can contain one or more devices working simultaneously to play back your score. You can only have one playback configuration assigned to a score at any given time, so if you want to use multiple devices to play back a score, you'll have to create one configuration that contains all of those devices.
At the top of the Playback Devices window is a list of available configurations. This score is currently set to Sibelius 7 Sounds. If you're using Sibelius 8.5 or later, don't worry if your configurations are titled Sibelius 7 Sounds. Yes it's a bit confusing but it does not mean that your sounds are out of date. Sibelius Sounds and configurations were originally introduced in Sibelius version seven. The labeling of configurations within the application has not yet been updated in Sibelius 8.5.
So when choosing a Sibelius 7 Sounds configuration and Sibelius 8.5, you're choosing an up to date configuration, assuming you've used the most recent Sibelius Sounds installer. Notice on the right side that the Sibelius 7 Sounds configuration consists of one active device, the Sibelius Player. That is the device that is installed along with the Sibelius Sounds to drive the playback of the sounds for you. Also take note under the Sound Set column that the Sibelius 7 Sounds configuration consists of the Sibelius 7 Sounds Sound Set.
We'll come back to a discussion about sound sets in just a bit. On the left-hand side of the Playback Devices window is a list of all of your computer's available devices. This list will look different depending on if you're using a Mac or Windows computer, and whether or not you have any third-party sound libraries installed on your system. If you have third-party sound libraries loaded on your computer, they should show up in the list of Available Devices. If they don't show up in the list, either they're not the correct type of plugin for Sibelius to recognize, or they've not been installed properly on your system for Sibelius to be able to find them.
The idea behind the Available devices list is to give you the chance to select any available device on your system, and then activate it using the Activate button, which adds the device into the Active devices list for the given configuration. When you first give this a try you'll find that you won't be able to make changes to any of the preset Sibelius 7 Sounds configurations. In order to activate devices and to create your own configuration, you'll need to start a new configuration by clicking the New button at the top of the Playback Devices window.
Give your configuration a name. Click OK, and then you'll be able to activate and deactivate devices within the Playback Devices window. So I'm going to create a configuration that allows me to use sounds from my general MIDI sound card, the DLSMusicDevice on the Mac, and my Sibelius Player at the same time. A good reason why you would do this is if you like the general MIDI sounds for some of the instruments in your score, but you prefer the Sibelius sounds for other instruments in your score.
Activating both devices at once into one playback configuration allows you to choose sounds from either of those devices to play back any of the staves in your score. Now to complicate this a bit further, some devices have the ability to load different sound sets, or small groups of sounds that can be activated together. Before continuing, I'm going to go ahead and save my configuration so that it will always be available to me, so I'm going to click Save up at the top, and now Jenny's configuration will always be available here in the list.
Configurations are saved locally within the copy of Sibelius installed on your computer, so once I create and save a configuration, I can immediately use it in other scores on this computer if I'd like to. Now if I choose the configuration Sibelius 7 Sounds Jazz, notice that the Sibelius Player is the active device, but the sound set assigned to it is Sibelius 7 Sounds Jazz. If I was to choose Sibelius 7 Sounds Lite, then you'll notice that the sound set that the Sibelius Player is playing from is going to be the Lite sound set.
The sound set will actually limit your choices of sounds for each instrument. With Sibelius 7 Jazz, it only gives you the jazz sounds from the Sibelius Sounds library. If a device has sound sets, you can triple-click on that Sound Set field to choose from a list of those available sound sets for that device. While much of this information is more than a brand new Sibelian needs to know, it's been provided for two reasons. First, for those of you have interest in using third-party virtual instruments for playback within Sibelius, this should get you started in the right direction, although there's a lot more to be learned.
Second, for everyone, it helps make sense out of some of Sibelius' playback preferences, and the playback warning dialogs that you may have already encountered after opening a score. So let's take a look at Sibelius' playback preferences now to help demystify this a little bit more. I'm going to go back here first though to the Sibelius 7 Sounds sound sets. And close that. Cmd + Comma to get us to Preferences and go to Playback. There are some general settings in the Playback page of Preferences that affect the playback of all of the scores that you open in Sibelius.
For example, the Default Playback Configuration ensures that your copy of Sibelius will always be loading the same playback configuration, every time you launch the application. If you always want Sibelius using Sibelius 7 Sounds for example, then check the box next to When starting Sibelius, load this playback configuration, like I have, and then choose Sibelius 7 Sounds. So there are about three levels of configurations. Sibelius the application has a preferred configuration here in Preferences.
Second, your score has its own preferred configuration. Whatever configuration you've chosen within the score file to play back the score, and that information is saved with the score file itself. Third, anytime you close a score, whatever its configuration was, that configuration remains as what Sibelius calls the active configuration. To understand this, let's build a situation from the ground up. So right now in Preferences, I've selected Sibelius 7 Sounds as Sibelius' preferred configuration.
When I save this setting, every time Sibelius launches on its own without a file involved, it will load Sibelius 7 Sounds as its active configuration. I want to also point out the additional setting below this. I'm going to choose Let me choose whether to change to the new configuration. That's the Sibelius default, and I'll explain that in a moment. I'm going to go ahead and click OK to save those preferences. Now within my score I'm going to select the general MIDI configuration, so from the Play tab under Configuration, I'm going to choose General MIDI.
I'll do a quick Save As. Let's save this file as 04_02b. So this score has been saved with the general MIDI configuration. Now right now when I close this score, just going to use the X in the upper left-hand corner. The active configuration is general MIDI. That configuration is still alive. If I open the original score file for this video, 04_02, which was originally saved with Sibelius Sounds as its configuration, watch what happens.
Because General MIDI was the active configuration and because I've told Sibelius to let me choose whether to change to the new configuration, Sibelius is asking me what I'd like to do. In this situation, I can click Yes if I want to switch to the file's saved configuration, Sibelius 7 Sounds, or No if I want to use the currently active configuration, General MIDI. I'm going to go ahead and click Yes, and since I clicked Yes, you'll be able to see in the Play tab under Configuration that I'm using Sibelius 7 Sounds.
Now, if I open the file that I Saved As, the 04_02b file, let's go ahead and open that up. Remember this was saved using General MIDI. You'll see that I'll get that warning dialog again. So once again, Sibelius is asking us if Yes, we'd like to switch to the file's configuration, General MIDI, or No, we'd like to use the active configuration, which is Sibelius 7 Sounds.
Now hopefully your mind is a bit more clear now on what's happening with all of these playback configurations. I'm going to go ahead and click Yes to open this score, but there's more to this, and this may please some of you. If you find Sibelius' line of questioning about playback configurations to be a bit confusing, or maybe even a little annoying, you can turn it off. So if we go back into Preferences, Command or Control + Comma, and back to that Playback page, in the area where it defaults here to Let me choose whether to change to the new configuration, you have two more choices.
Always change to the new configuration means that every score that you open, regardless of the configuration it was saved with, will immediately switch to its own saved configuration without asking you. Never change to the new configuration means that no matter what configuration the file was saved with, Sibelius will always revert the file to whatever the active configuration is. It will not change to the file's new configuration. Now to simplify this for you, for those of you who want to use Sibelius Sounds all of the time, the best thing you can do is setup your preference so that Sibelius 7 Sounds is your default device, and then select Never change to the new configuration, and always launch Sibelius by itself before opening any files.
It will load the Sibelius 7 Sounds configuration, and any file you open after that will automatically be assigned to Sibelius 7 Sounds no matter what configuration the file was saved with. Now I'm sure you've probably encountered the playback configuration warning dialog at one point or another, so I hope that all of the information provided here has helped you understand it a bit better. And don't worry, it would be completely normal if you had to replay this video a few times to get this straight, and once you've wrapped your mind around this, it'll be up to you to decide what playback preference you prefer for your personal use.
For the sake of this course, I'm going to set my preferences so that we're going to use Sibelius 7 Sounds, and we are never going to switch to a new configuration. I'm also going to double-check that the configuration that I have in this file is set to Sibelius 7 Sounds.
- Installing and launching Sibelius
- Opening and closing a score
- Navigating through the score
- Using important single-key shortcuts
- Marking and coloring a score
- Playing and replaying a score
- Editing selections and deleting staves
- Creating a new score and inputting score objects
- Editing during and after note input
- Editing pitches and rhythms
- Working with text styles
- Finishing and printing a score