Multipercussion Help!

I am writing a multipercussion quartet using Sibelius 5 (and VDL 2.5 for playback).  I have created instruments in Sibelius and chosen proper sounds under the edit staff type dialogue.

When I play the score back, though, each staff is mapped to ";General MIDI Set"; in the Kontakt mixer.

This means I do not receive accurate playback for, say, splash cymbal chokes or 5 temple block parts.

I have established that there are two ways to accomplish proper playback:

1) To load all of the instruments into the mixer and set each individual space to a different channel in the mixer.

2) To create my own MIDI set for each player that contains the accurate sounds.

Problem is--I can't figure out for the life of me how to do either one of these!  Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Edit: I should mention that I'm running the aforementioned software on a PPC Mac running OS 10.5.2
[quote author=benjaminacharles link=topic=2337.msg12341#msg12341 date=1204612823]

�� Can anyone point me in the right direction?


As far as I can tell, the Sibelius template is not exactly what I need.  The sound sets that VDL provides come as ";packages"; (here I go, making up terminology).  This works fine if one is going from one instrument to another--say xylophone to glockenspiel to bongos back to xylophone.  In a multipercussion piece, though, the player is not going ";to"; instruments, but rather playing multiple instruments at once.  For example, I need interaction between bongos, opera gongs, snare drum, and bass drum all on one staff.  This ";package"; does not exist as a VDL instrument.

I need a way to either create a new MIDI sound set using the VDL sounds to customize exactly what I need for a multipercussion setup, or a way to route each instrument within the multipercussion staff to a different Kontakt channel.  I can't figure out how to do either.
OK, I understand what you're getting out now.

The ability to do what you are wanting to do is dependent on the patch in KontaktPlayer2 - the ";packages"; you refer to are the combo instruments. The reason this works the way it does is because of the patch in KP2.

However, if you could combine the various patches into one big one, then make the matching instrument in Sibelius, that would work. But the problem is that Sibelius can only work with one patch at a time on a per staff basis.

This is just going to have to be a limitation for now. :(

If you really wanted to get deep into this sort of modifying, you could purchase the full version of Kontakt and do all of this yourself. I somewhat recommend against it though, unless you knew absolutely what you were doing.

My suggestion would be to do the following. It may not be ideally what you're looking for, but will serve your purpose I think. This would essentially involve having separate staves for each instrument in your multipercussion setup (i.e., separate staff for bongos, staff for opera gong, etc.). These are the staves that would play all the correct sounds. Then create a ";non-playing"; notation staff which will [i]look[/i] exactly how you'd like it to look on the music stand, and mute it in the mixer so it doesn't conflict with playback of all the individual staff instruments that are playing back. When it comes time to print the sheet music, simply select the ";notation staff"; (the one that looks how you want it to look) so it's highlighted, hit ";W"; to view its dynamic part, then make any layout tweaks to the part for accurate printing.

As Hugh pointed out, unless you're writing a Multi-Percussion piece which uses instrumentation only from one of VDL's ";combination instruments"; (in which case one staff in Sibelius [i]would[/i] do everything), using separate staves for playback and a non-playing staff for display will probably be your best option to keep everything contained within one score.

Hope this helps!
Thanks Jim! I managed to get myself on a one track thought about the patches themselves. What you suggest is definitely the cheaper way to go. :)
Hm...I guess that will have to do for now.  Things could get rather cumbersome, though, writing in this manner for a quartet with each person having 5-10 instruments.  Now instead of four staves I'm looking into 20-40 staves. :-(

If I could get my hands on a copy of Kontakt (or are there any other programs that would work?), would this be an easy process?  My university's music computer lab might have Kontakt (although not VDL, so I would have to pull sounds from the DVD, patch them together, then burn them...and this is starting to get complicated).

Thanks for all the help!
[quote author=benjaminacharles link=topic=2337.msg12354#msg12354 date=1204680166]
My university's music computer lab might have Kontakt (although not VDL, so I would have to pull sounds from the DVD, patch them together, then burn them...and this is starting to get complicated).[/quote]

hmmmm......I don't know a ton about the licensing of VDL but ";pulling sounds from the dvd"; (VDL dvd I assume) and ";patching them together"; and ";burning them"; sounds a bit suspect to might want to check in on that...


The only thing you will need to modify or create is the NKI file that Sibelius loads into KontaktPlayer2. From there KP2 ";knows"; where all of the actual samples are located, and will trigger them according to what MIDI data Sibelius sends to the player. This is one reason why it is called a ";patch";. I don't have the full version of Kontakt, but I do know just enough to be dangerous.

Now, if you did manage to create one of these NKI files with say, just 5 of the instruments you wanted to combine, depending on exactly how many sounds you are dealing with, would require you to possibly put each or a couple of instruments into its own layer (using keyswitches or mod-wheel values, or both ;) ). One possible resultant behavior of doing it this way is that you would not be able to double up sounds that are mapped to the same MIDI pitch, i.e. play them at the same time.

The next operation would be to enter a completely new listing in the XML file (sound set) containing every single pitch/sound that you defined in the new NKI file, whichever layers they are in, so that Sibelius will know what keys to trigger in KP2. The sound set would have to be setup before you could then...

From there you would have to make a new instrument (or modify one) in Sibelius and enter the note mappings that correspond to, you guessed it, each and every pitch/sound you have already defined in the NKI and XML files. From there you can begin testing to see if what you have done actually works. (Welcome to the party!)

I don't have any intentions of raining on your parade, but the above process might be more work than going with what Jim said. It's up to you. I only mentioned the bit about the full version of Kontakt because that was the first thing I thought of.

Oh, and like Dave said, be mindful in your choices regarding your license agreement.

Licensing wise, it's not an issue. You're allowed to customize VDL instruments in Kontakt. However, I think most VDL users will find this process something way more involved than they'll be interested in. I can't speak for everyone, so if you do decide to program your own custom combo instruments, proceed at your own risk and be patient. It will involve learning a lot about programming in Kontakt.

If that were your course, then phase two would involve creating drum maps in Sibelius to correlate to those customized instruments. With Sibelius 5, this is considerably more involved than it used to be in previous versions since Sound ID's and sound sets are so relevant in the success of your results. I don't want to dissuade you from trying that. It's certainly possible. I only worry about that aspect mounting a larger hurdle than the actual composition process itself.

If you do decide to take the multi-staff/instrument route, you can set playback staves to ";cue size"; (which is also customizable at a percentage of normal staff size). I only mention that because you sounded fearful of having to load 40 or so instruments. Realistically speaking, this isn't uncommon. As long as you have enough instances of KP2 activated in your Sibelius Playback Devices window, it's actually not that bad. Especially now since Sibelius loads all those instruments for you automatically. This process would have been much more cumbersome using the old method of assigning unique midi channels to each separate staff.

I sense that may not be the answer you're looking for, but it's probably about where the reality is at currently. Unless of course you seek to create your own customizations. Either way, good luck as you proceed. Sounds like you have some great music in the works, so I hope maybe we'll hear some of it when it's completed.

Yeah...I usually have 2 separate scores (although this happens less now than it did with previous versions of VDL): one for playback with VDL, and the other for actual printing/reading of parts & score.

I might suggest an ";old-school"; method of composition for your piece:  maybe sketch it out on paper first.  With so many staves, composing your piece in Sibelius may not be as conducive as usual since you can't necessarily ";see"; the line/phrase interacting between parts/players.  Maybe a sketch, then put it into Sibelius - and use the playback from VDL to ";fine-tune"; what you want to hear, and adjust the parts accordingly. 

Another way to go would be to do a ton of ";Instrument changes"; in each player's part, and use ossia staves above or below to supplement instruments that are not available for playback in the currently assigned instrument.  That would be a sort of scaled-down version of the multiple staff per player idea.  ***I know this feature works well in Sibelius 5.1 and you have posted that you have version update to 5.1 should be a free download from Sibelius.
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