Non-VDL instruments in the VDL template

Let me tell a story, and then talk about the solution I came up with.

Last week I got a marching band score from our arranger/director. It had complete wind parts and suggestions for percussion. The arranger was using Sibelius 5.1 (with Essentials on), and I was using Sibelius 5.2 (with Essentials + VDL 2.5) with the unofficial soundset and the 5.1 template (I have a new Sibelius 5.2 DVD with no option of using 5.1).

I imported a house style to the score that was exported from the 5.1 template, in order to make the VDL instruments show up. A few days later, when I finished working on pit parts, I emailed the file back to the arranger. A series of ";holy cow"; emails ensued because the playback on his computer was really screwed up. I realized then that the playback on my computer, for the wind parts, was not too good either; a lot of the wind instruments were playing back via GM sounds and not the GPO or JABB virtual instruments included in Sibelius Essentials.

Everyone updated to Sibelius 5.2 in an attempt to fix the problem. The arranger indicated that this made things better, but did not by any means fix it. In an attempt to simply listen to our creations, he pasted the percussion parts from the ";messed up"; score into his original score that only included winds. In this new, score, everything sounded fine.

So, we went back and looked at what may have gone wrong. I was about to export a new house style from the 5.2 template in an attempt to fix the problems, when we discovered what was going wrong. Look at the attached images; In the Sibelius install using only Essentials, and in a file that was built with no VDL template, there is a ";Piccolo"; instrument, as expected. You can't see this in the screenshot, but if you click on the ";Edit Instrument"; button for that Piccolo, you see the appropriate range, and most importantly, you see that the Piccolo instrument uses the ";Piccolo Solo (GPO)"; sound. If you compare this to the image from my Sibelius install using Essentials + VDL 2.5, in a file that imported a house style from the Sibelius 5.1 template, you see that there is no Piccolo instrument. The closest is ";Piccolo Solo 1";, and if you edit this instrument you will see that it is set to use the ";Piccolo (GM)"; sound. This was the case for every wind instrument used in our score; the house style in the VDL 5.2 Sibelius template did not include typical marching band instruments, and the closest matches (which is presumable where Sibelius is falling abck to when it can't match exactly) use GM sounds instead of GPO or JABB sounds.

I see the same lack of instruments in the 5.2 template, so I never proceeded with the step of importing a house style into the ";messed up"; score that was exported from the 5.2 template.

Ultimately the solution to this problem was to take the 5.2 template and create new Piccolo, Flute, Bb Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Trumpet, Mellophone, Trombone, and Tuba instruments. I had to put in the appropriate range for each instrument and set each to use the appropriate sound. When this tedious exercise was completed, I pasted in all of the notes from the ";messed up"; score, then transferred over a few rehearsal numbers and doubled up some barlines.

End result: a working full score with winds and pit instruments that sound good, on both the arranger's system and my own. I would presume there will be no problems adding in battery to this file. But the question is, why dis the VDL Sibelius 5.1 template not have these instruments included, and why does the 5.2 template have the same issue? This is a major problem - did I do something wrong to have them not show up?

Also, was there a better way to do what I did to come up with a working file we could all use?
1 Comment


Thanks for the detailed recount. This is indeed a problem that we'll fix for the next maintenance release of the template. I'm not exactly sure why those instruments weren't included, but I presume all the GPO/JABB ";non VDL"; additions that were floating around in earlier versions of the template, then removed from the 5.2 template may have contributed to some instruments being removed that weren't intended. In theory, those instruments should fall back correctly, but perhaps there's something about the new Sound ID format in 5.2 that's causing them to work improperly. I believe those were something of an experiment back with the 5.1 template and probably shouldn't be here. As you can imagine, the VDL development aspects of the template are pretty massive, which may be why some of the wind stuff went overlooked. I apologize for all the extra inconvenience this has caused.

At the very least, I'm glad to hear you were able to work up a remedy. There is a much faster way however, so if anyone else needs to do this before we get an updated template released, here's what you do:

1) Open up a stock, blank, vanilla, nothing-added score in Sibelius 5.2. Doesn't even need to have any instruments added. This should NOT be the VDL 2.5 template. Just a plain, stock Sibelius score.

2) With that score open, go to House Style>Export House Style, then name your new house style something you can remember like ";Vanilla House Style."; Once you've done this, you can close that score.

3) Open the 5.2 template, and go to House Style>Import House Style

4) The main thing we're doing here is bringing in the stock instrument files from the original file, so you'll wan to UNcheck other aspects of this window that aren't needed. Not all items can be unchecked, but be sure to uncheck what you can. See screenshot.

Once you've done this, you should see that the stock woodwind sounds are now there, and shouldn't require you to spend time manually creating them, or editing, defining ranges, transpositions, and such. Since you're importing them into the VDL template, your VDL instruments should remain untouched.

Thanks for sharing this here. I understand how frustrating glitches can be when you're trying to be productive.
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