Where we're at with the Sibelius 5 template

As many of you have been patiently waiting an update on the status of our VDL template for Sibelius 5, we've been toiling away with the huge project of getting things working properly. I hope it will help in understanding why this has been a longer process than usual if I could explain a bit what is exactly necessary in this transition.

[b]Sibelius Soundworld:[/b]
This is the new, redesigned system of playback in Sibelius. Those of you who may have found some confusion in this new setup, bear with it. Soundworld wasn't designed to work the way Sibelius' old MIDI system worked. So if you're one of the many who were used to the old way of setting up your playback environment, this new method will require some mental reprograming. The good news is that once you understand the basic workings of this system, I think you'll find that it may likely save a lot of time, and technical housekeeping with ins, outs, and various devices, that you may have become accustomed to. Long story short, you'll no longer have to worry about routing various channels, banks, patches as Sibelius will handle all of this for you automatically based on a few simple instructions you give it.

[b]In order for this to work properly:[/b]
There are a couple absolutely crucial elements for this to work properly. See below.

[b]Virtual Drumline Sound Set[/b]
First, a well functioning Virtual Drumline sound set that is installed into Sibelius will be crucial. There is a VDL 2.5 sound set that's included with the default installation of Sibelius 5, but by the time Sibelius 5 was first released, we didn't have the opportunity to test it completely for various bugs. The sound set format for Sibelius 5 is completely different than in past versions of Sibelius, and is much more important if you're planning to use VDL. The VDL 2.5 sound set for Sibelius 5 is a large XML file (over 4000 lines) which tells Sibelius about every possible function with every possible instrument and pitch in the VDL library. The good folks at Sibelius have been diligently working with us to ensure this sound set it functioning properly and that all details of the library are covered.

Please bear in mind that certain enhancements that are being made are reliant on a forthcoming update to Sibelius 5. We can not elaborate on that until official news has come from Sibelius, however please know that there is good progress being made.

[b]Virtual Drumline/Sibelius 5 Template[/b]
Also important to this process is our [b]VDL/Sibelius 5 template.[/b] This file will contain all [i]Instruments[/i] (formerly referred to as 'staff types') from VDL 2.5, and will be even more critical to ensuring that the proper sounds are loaded by Sibelius than ever before. With this new setup, when you set a staff to play using a particular ";instrument,"; Sibelius will automatically load that patch and all its various mappings. Defining these mappings is a much more involved process for us than it used to be. Certain instruments can take several hours to map properly, and every instrument in the library must be mapped. With over 200 instruments, you can imagine the size of this task. The good news is that this should be a big improvement in how sounds are selected than before, and should allow the user to focus more on writing their music instead of detangling the web of channels and technical setup steps that were formerly required.

The template project is somewhat two-fold. Essentially, we'll be making two templates available. A ";current"; template, and a ";classic"; template. With the current template, we are taking the opportunity to revamp the template from scratch for better notehead efficiency and performance with some new ways Sibelius can distinguish certain notehead/articulation combinations. Hugh Smith has bravely faced this project with tenacity, and has been making huge strides for many weeks now.

This will, however, mean that anyone wishing to import older Sibelius 4 scores into Sibelius 5 will need to use the ";classic"; template which will still conform to the specialty set of noteheads that were created for proper function in Sibelius 3-4. Bill Castillo and I have been putting this together. Since Sibelius 5 no longer uses the ";staff type change"; function (which was very important in our old template) there will be some adjustments necessary for anyone importing older scores into Sibelius 5. Namely, properly assigning instruments, and deleting the old staff type changes that imported from your older score.

In either case, there will be some documentation and guidance supplied to help understand the method in which to use the new system.

I hope that some of the information above will help you to understand the scope of this project so that we can ensure VDL and Soundworld in Sibelius 5 are functioning together as they should. We haven't forgotten that many of you are waiting for this, and hope you'll bear with the delay for just a little longer. We think it will be an important next step in how VDL is used, and hope that you'll find it worthwhile to wait a little longer to receive something that works well, rather than something that's thrown together and isn't very reliable. We will not place a firm date on this release yet, but do know that the light at the end of the tunnel is drawing near.

As always, thanks for your patience and support.
[quote author=anselon link=topic=1999.msg10677#msg10677 date=1194761738]
Jim,

I have Sibelius 5.0, and no earlier version. My biggest problem right now is just getting Sibelius to SEE VDL 2.5 OR Sibelius Essentials in the playback dropdown screen.  It shows only ";default"; and doesn't show that either of these items are ";available";.  I read both manuals for info on this, and it's as though these things should just POP up.  Do I first need to download the virtual midi thing, and then go into playback device settings?
[/quote]

Sibelius 5.1 is available, it is a free download from Sibelius.  5.1 fixes a lot of issues from 5.0 and will be needed to utilize the VDL:2.5 template.  Once you download you will bee that Essentials and Virtual Drumline 2.5 soundset will be available in your playback configuration.  Because Sibelius supports VST plug-in, you will not need to use the virtual midi cables anymore.

Gabe
Jim,

I have Sibelius 5.0, and no earlier version. My biggest problem right now is just getting Sibelius to SEE VDL 2.5 OR Sibelius Essentials in the playback dropdown screen.  It shows only ";default"; and doesn't show that either of these items are ";available";.  I read both manuals for info on this, and it's as though these things should just POP up.  Do I first need to download the virtual midi thing, and then go into playback device settings?
2rl,

One solution might be to ask the people with whom you're working to export their files as Sibelius 4 files then they can be swapped between the two. I haven't experimented with how well everything transfers with regards to playback, but that's an option.

Hope this helps with your problem.

I understand 2rl. We want nothing more than to have this in the world and have people using it. It's going to be very cool.

Right now, it's dependent on an upcoming Sibelius update and how well the sound set updates function within it. Once they release that, we'll be able to pick up much more steam on the final stages of the project.

If you need to be working in Sibelius right away, I'd definitely advise you to keep productive in v4 for now. I can't say for sure how many days we're looking at with our new template/sound set. I'd like to say it's a matter of another couple weeks, but as with anything development-wise, we can't say for sure until the materials are in our hands to work with and we've had the chance to finalize the testing.
Hey Jim,

I am sure that the Sib. 5 templates are a huge undertaking.�� I am just wondering if you have an idea of what time line we're looking at here.�� I read you can't give a firm date, and I appreciate that, but do you have an idea of imminent, weekly, monthly, 2008?

Most of the composers I am working with are on sib 5, and I would like to be able to integrate as much as possible.

as I said, I know that this must be a huge job... and I appreciate your dedication...�� I just need to know if we here at the studio need to downgrade our systems to sib 4....

thanks

2rl?
I think this new idea of eliminating the ";midi hassle"; will make VDL 2.5 more accessible to a lot of people.  I hope it turns out well...  Best of luck finishing it up Jim & the gang...we appreciate your hard work. :)

- OT
Jim, thanks for the details and to you and the Tapspace team for your dedicated effort.

Steve
Justin - With the bulk of the busy work of these mappings created already, tweaking the mappings to your own customizations may not be as daunting as it once was. The main area to pay attention to is the ";input note"; field which will change if you move notes up/down on the staff in the staff type designer. I wonder if this is a ";feature"; or not as it doesn't seem to accomplish much other than forcing changes to require more settings. But once you've learned the system, you'll find it's not difficult to make a copy of one instrument, name it to your own convention, then alter away.
Obviously the hard work you guys have been pouring into this project is appreciated, but I did have one question.

In the past if you wanted to change certain notation conventions (bass 6 on D vs. F for example) it was a significant undertaking to make it happen in the template.  With the new way Sibelius 5 handles these mappings will it be any easier to ";tweak"; certain instruments?  Or will the web be even more tangled and not worth poking around in.  I know in a lot of cases I've taken the path of least resistance (and most productivity) and just gone with the VDL notation schemes exclusively, but the further I go along the more I'd love to be able to tweak the look of things without maintaining separate print staves or scores since those get to be a maintenance pain.

[quote]The template project is somewhat two-fold. Essentially, we'll be making two templates available. A ";current"; template, and a ";classic"; template. With the current template, we are taking the opportunity to revamp the template from scratch for better notehead efficiency and performance with some new ways Sibelius can distinguish certain notehead/articulation combinations.[/quote]

This is exactly what I was hoping to hear! We can make great use of the articulation options now available with the staff mapping, and potentially save a lot of time, glad to see you guys are working on making that happen!

Thanks for the update Jim and keeping plugging away!
Awesome to hear about this update... seems like its going to be a big fix and a big help for alot of us... I just made the switch over to Sibelius 5, specifically because i heard alot of good things about it, and because of its integration ease of VDL2 and 2.5... I look forward to the best!
Thanks to Jim and the team at Tapspace working hard to make this a big reality for all of us!
Thanks for the 411 Jim and for all the work to make this happen.

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