Features

New and Improved Instruments

While the selection in Sibelius 7.5 is pretty good, and most of the sounds in the Professional Sound Library are fantastic, I have a few more new ideas for instruments. Some have told me to use a third party VST to supply these additional instruments, but check the comments on this idea for reasons why this is not an acceptable solution in my case.

 

Here are my suggestions for new instruments, as well as videos to demonstrate some of them:

 

-Soprano Sarrusophone

-Alto Sarrusophone

-Tenor Sarrusophone

-Bass Sarrusophone

-Contrabass Sarrusophone

These instruments are relatively rare double-reed instruments which have harsher and reedier sounds than Saxophones, which makes them better suited for playing ominous-sounding passages of music than Saxophones. I personally utilize the first four types of Sarrusophone listed here in one of my pieces, and the Contrabass Sarrusophone happens to be the most commonly used type of Sarrusophone as it is used by amateur players in several orchestral groups, not to mention that it plays a significant role in the score of the film "Tombstone". Here's a video demonstration of the Contrabass Sarrusophone:

 

 

This video is one of only three Sarrusophone videos I can find. You can also watch the movie "Tombstone" if you want to hear more of the Contrabass Sarrusophone, but the funny thing about this case is that some people who’ve actually watched “Tombstone” have actually mistaken this instrument for a tuba, I’m not sure you can say that about any other type of woodwind instrument. As for the other sarrusophones, you kind of have to purchase them on your own if you want good enough sound samples to use in Sibelius, since I don't have any videos for you on them; that said, having heard the Contrabass Sarrusophone, you may have at least the beginnings of an idea as to what the other sarrusophones listed here might sound like.

 

 

-Treble Violin

-Soprano Violin

-Mezzo Violin

-Alto Violin

-Tenor Violin

-Baritone Violin

-Small Bass Violin

-Contrabass Violin

While the names of some of these string instruments may lead some people to assume I'm referring to an obsolete instrument, the truth is that I'm referring to a group of eight fairly new instruments derived from the Violin, which, collectively, are fittingly referred to as the "New Violin Family" (for some of the technical details of these instruments, check out http://www.nvfa.org/8tet.html ). These instruments form the bread and butter of my strings sections, and I know of at least two professional ensembles that specialize in them. Here's a three part video series on them:

 

Part One:

 

Part Two:

 

Part Three:

 

-Hang

This is a pitched percussion instrument which was developed in Switzerland in the year 2000. I first learned of this instrument through Wikipedia, it's also pretty new, having been developed back in 2000. Here's a video demonstration of the Hang:

 

 

-Contrabass Recorder

A much more recent addition to this list, this one's for Andrew Noah Cap, as he basically said in the comments that he desperately wants this instrument, and I don't see why he shouldn't get his wish. Here's a video demonstration of the Contrabass Recorder:

 

 

-Record Scratching

I'm not totally sure as to whether or not this last instrument is currently available in Sibelius 7.5 as part of a drumset or not, but if it isn't, I hope it gets added as a stand-alone instrument, because it's called for in one of my pieces, in which it plays a rather prominent role.

 

In addition to these new instrument suggestions, I also have suggestions for improvements to some of the currently selectable instruments as well:

 

-Panpipes

While the sound samples for this instrument in the Professional Sound Library are of excellent quality in as of themselves, the problem here is that they all utilize the playing technique known as "vibrato", which is not appropriate in all situations, and so is best used only when specifically called for in the score. This problem could be remedied with the addition of sound samples of this instrument in which the notes are played with a basic, steady tone (these would be the sound samples utilized in general playback whenever the score is configured to use the Sibelius Professional Sound Library) combined with the implementation of optional vibrato in Sibelius, the latter of which having been previously proposed by other members of this community. Here's a video demonstration of the Panpipes:

 

 

-Ocarina

I personally own one made our of pottery, which was given to me by my aunt upon her returning from a business trip to China. While this instrument is selectable in Sibelius 7.5, it's lumped into the same channel with the Panpipes when the score is configured to General MIDI despite having its own sound samples; as a result, it doesn't use the correct sound during playback whenever both it and the Panpipes occur together in the same score (as is the case in one of my pieces). On top of this, it also doesn't have sound samples of its own in the Sibelius Professional Sound Library, so even if the score is configured to use the Professional Sound Library, it once again uses the Panpipe's sound samples during playback even though the channel-lumping is technically remedied in this format. Here's a short video demonstration of one type of Ocarina:

 

 

Note the subtle difference in timbre between the panpipes and the ocarina...

 

-Tin Whistle

I also own one of these, having purchased one in a music store for less than forty dollars. This instrument suffers from essentially the same problems as the Ocarina, as it doesn't have sound samples of its own in the Professional Sound Library, only this time, the mismatched sound samples from the Professional Sound Library used during playback are flute or piccolo samples. Here's a video demonstration of a Tin Whistle:

 

 

-Glass Harmonica

I use this in one of my scores, and I've noticed that like with the Ocarina and Tin Whistle, this instrument doesn't have sound samples in the Professional Sound Library, so it also uses mismatched sounds compared to the actual instrument. Here's a video of the actual thing being played:

 

 

-Gunshot

-Helicopter

-Telephone

-Reverse Cymbal

These and other Exotic Synthesizer-Generated Percussion instruments are fully functional when the score is configured to Basic MIDI; however, all four of these instruments, as well as a number of other instruments in this class, do not have sound samples of their own in the Professional Sound Library. The flaws with the Gunshot in particular posed a problem for me, because, as with the Record Scratching, it plays a prominent role in one of my songs.

 

-Synth Drums

I personally hope to see a downward range extension for this instrument to G1, as notes in this vicinity are called for in one of my pieces. Since I own a RadioShack MD-1700 Keyboard Synthesizer (which I have been told by some to be professional grade), and I know that modern synthesizer technology can generate such sounds in this range, range extension on the actual instrument should be relatively easy to accomplish.

 

-Synth Strings

Similar problems to the Ocarina, Tin Whistle and Glass Harmonica, as it lacks sound samples in the Sibelius 7 Professional Sound Library. Credit for the discovery of the issues with this instrument goes to Robin Walker, as well as my own personal thanks.

 

Finally, I have a few last comments to make. I know that some have objected to my proposal on the grounds that it may raise the cost of Sibelius for features that only very few people will actually use. While I do not deny that this is a risky proposition, my counterargument to that is that all it will take is one individual producing a hit song on one of these instruments and there will be demand for that instrument in Sibelius. Since Sibelius is already the best selling music composition software, I think the developers may want to consider taking this risk as an incentive to get avant garde composers, many of whom may be college students with little money, to actually purchase this software for composing pieces that utilize these instruments, especially since interest in some of the currently obscure instruments on this list is growing.

 

By the way, since Andrew Noah Cap mentioned that version 7.5 used Garritan sound samples, I would appreciate it if Avid found the right sound developer so that they could continue to produce top quality sound samples in the future, since Garritan has now been sold to MakeMusic, the makers of Finale. After all, it was the top quality sound samples that got me to purchase Sibelius in the first place... and I'd also like to point out that even a professional audio-producer like Andrew Noah Cap can't always get the sound samples needed, to say nothing of avant garde composers like myself who can't afford to spend all the time and money buying copies of every VST and DAW out there.

 

I would greatly appreciate it if these ideas and improvements were implemented in a later version of Sibelius, and I do hope that someone takes the time to seriously consider my proposal, whether on the development team, or simply in the community.

 

Thank you for your time,

 

Sincerely,

 

A Community Member

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Idea No. 504