VDL Note Input tips for Sibelius

Hey everyone,

I'm trying to find my working method for inputting drumline scores into Sibelius with VDL. I've been using step note entry on a MIDI keyboard with the keyboard ";keypad"; for switching between note lengths/articulations, etc. Its going pretty well, although it hurts the brain a bit trying to remember what is turned on/off, where I am in the score, etc., goes pretty slow in general, and I find the switching between ";pages"; of the keypad thing kind of cumbersome (it would be so much better if I could visually see everything that is selected at once across all the pages of the keypad palette).

I'm curious how people who have been using this for a while do note input.. are there tricks to make it go faster? Are there places in Sibelius where I can set up shortcuts for drumline specific items (for example, being able to really quickly switch from grace note to accented regular note would save like 3 clicks for every note).

Hope I'm being clear here - just want to get in good habits as I start using this really awesome sample library

I do exactly what Jim mentioned if I'm writing a chunk of music that is flam heavy or diddle heavy, with accents.  I'll input all the notes and accents, then go back in and select the notes with the diddles, then press + 2 times to get to the slashes, press 1 and BAM! in go the diddles.

You may also find that using the AutoRL instruments (when available) will save a little time.  It's less actual keyboard notes to worry about.  I don't use the AutoRL, but it's because I've always used the Manual settings and can zip through that.
Thanks you guys, this is really helpful. If Sibelius had customizable keypad configs that would be pretty awesome - or maybe if you could map them to a keyboard controller - like one of those ones with the drum pads on them. But yeah, it hadn't even occurred to me to work one element at a time - that will be much more efficient for sure.

Anyway, glad to see all the great stuff you are doing here - makes me wish I had these tools back in the early 90s. I remember Murray saying to the line ";if you have any questions give me a call, I'm sitting at the computer 14 hours a day trying to figure out how to get this stuff into Finale...";
I definitely agree with Jim that using the keypad to cycle through the various layouts is the best way to do it.

Repetition is the key.  Off hand I could immediately tell you that I tap the plus button twice (3rd layout) and the 1 button is a single slash (diddle) simply because I've done it enough.  Same with accents and grace notes (= on the first layout and / on the second layout, respectively).  Just like anything else, you'll get quicker and better acquainted with more regular use.

Just checked out your website. I'll never hear a phone ring the same again!
Hey Chris - Welcome to the forum!

You may want to experiment with entering only rhythms and accents first. Once you have your thought written out, immediately add the other things (slashes, grace notes, crushes, buzzes, etc.). Since those various ornaments are only accessible via other keypad pages, it can be a little cumbersome trying to enter all elements of each note as you enter it.

For example, if you're entering a part which uses several 2-height patterns, just enter the notes first. Once those rhythms are in, command-click (ctrl-click on PC) to select each note that needs an accent, then one click of the accent symbol on the keypad gives you all your accents in one click. Same would go for slash diddles, buzzes, etc. Grace notes may be a little more time consuming as you may wish to specify whether each is a LH or RH depending on the part.

This method is best used when writing in small chunks. Like 1-4 bar phrases. Anything more than that and you may end up losing your train of thought.

Be sure you're using the navigation keys within the keypad itself to toggle through various keypad pages. Force yourself not to click the mouse here. From keypad page 1, you'll get in the habit of knowing it's just a quick couple taps of the ";+"; key to access your slashes. And if you click the ";-"; (minus) key first, you'll know you're always starting from page 1. That may be a good habit for your brain to know you're always starting from page 1.

Others may have better suggestions, but I hope some of these thoughts may help. As with a lot of this stuff, repetition will help your speed increase over time.

Hope all is well in the big apple!
Login or Signup to post a comment