computers · info · Sibelius

Working with Sibelius 7, part 2

I spent some time yesterday trying to get Sibelius to find my Garritan sound libraries. I have both Personal Orchestra and Jazz and Big Band, and I still prefer some of those sounds. I wanted to run them using the ARIA player, but it wouldn’t appear in the Playback Devices pane.

I know what you’re saying…did you upgrade to the latest version? Um…no. I went back to the Garritan site and upgraded both the ARIA player and the ARIA sound engine (you have to do both, in that order) and everything was just fine. Duh.

One of the cool things about Sibelius is that you can mix and match sound sources in a configuration. Let’s say I’m setting up a big band and I really like the brass in JABB, the saxes in Sibelius 7’s own sounds except the bari, and the piano in Personal Orchestra, the acoustic guitar in Sibelius 7 and the bass and drums in JABB. You can set up a configuration that does exactly that – when you choose acoustic piano it loads it from Personal Orchestra using the ARIA player as the first priority, but it doesn’t use that sound library for anything else. I’ll have to see about that – I may find that I actually have a preference for these sounds enough to set this up myself. My new MacBook has the horsepower to handle the sound sources, I think. For small ensembles you can do this much more quickly, of course.

I’m using a new 15 inch 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7MacBook Pro with 8 GB of memory, at least when I’m not using the Mac Pro desktop. The drawback of using Sibelius with a notebook computer is that the Keypad is an integral tool, so you really need a numeric keypad to work effectively. For years I had trouble with a variety of USB keypads I tried to use, whether it said on the box it could be used with a Mac or not; each one usually had a couple of keys that didn’t work properly. Either the accent/staccato/legato row was set up wrong, or the tie (enter) key didn’t work, or the + and – keys didn’t advance keypad layouts as they should.

I finally found one that works correctly, hooray! It’s a bluetooth keyboard that is designed to attach to the right end of an Apple bluetooth wireless keyboard which, unlike the wired version, has no keypad. It’s from a company called LMP. It’s plastic, not aluminum, but looks a lot like the Apple keyboard. You can use it separately, of course.

It’s quite a bit more expensive than those $ 5.00 USB cheapie keypads you can buy at WallyWorld, but it works great and it matches the computer besides! I bought mine from Amazon for $ 45.00. (Other dealers had it a bit cheaper, but we have Amazon Prime so the shipping was free. That’s often what tips us to buying something from Amazon rather than another online company – that and no sales tax.)

The major complaint I’ve heard about it is that the plastic feels flimsy. I’ve not felt that yet. It’s not quite as heavy as the aluminum of the Apple keyboard, of course, but it’s not bad. From an operating standpoint it seems to be good.

More reports as I work my way through it. Except for the fact that the ribbon is kind of ugly, not fitting in with the usually pretty look of the rest of Sibelius, it looks pretty workable.

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2 thoughts on “Working with Sibelius 7, part 2

    1. I would find it very difficult to use Sibelius without a numeric keypad. After more use, the one I recommend seems to hold up well and works in both Mac and Windows environments without protesting, unlike a lot of numeric keypads out there. The full Apple keyboard works fine, too; but it’s kind of big to take with you on vacation or on an airplane. The added benefit of the Apple BT keyboard is you can use it with an iPhone or iPad! I use an Apple aluminum wired keyboard with my Mac Pro. It’s the best keyboard I’ve ever worked on. I love it!

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