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Topic: Stupid Freakin Newbie Questions: Keyswitching

  1. #1

    Unhappy Stupid Freakin Newbie Questions: Keyswitching

    HI, I'm sorry to bother you all with such an apparently simple technique, but I'm having a lot of trouble getting keyswitching to work. I have GS3, and I made a midi file from my Sibelius 4, and assigned each instrument to a different midi channel. I used "All articulation" patches, figuring this would be the way to get, well, sheesh all articulations. I took the midi file from Sibelius, and put it into Sonar Producer 5, and I *do* have GS3 playing the score--but not with the articulation changes I want.

    So here's my questions:

    1) Am I correct in understanding that to get a keyswtich to work, you have to simply add that keyswitch note to the midi line? And it should be a note before? Or is this better done via a midi controller (omg this stuff is like rocket science to me...oops did I say that out loud? sorry.). If so, what controller, or is there an easy way to specify this?

    2) If the above is correct, does that mean I painstakingly go through every freakin part, every dang articulation change, and add the appropriate ks note...or is there a way to get the ks notes or controllers or WHATEVER to make the appropriate articulation change, automatically.

    What other pieces am I missing? I read some post somewhere about a Sibelius keyswitch plugin...or this for something else. Sorry to sound so frustrated, but $5500 bucks later on all my gear and software, and I'm stumped to make a nice orchestration, from a nice midi score. I tell people, hey making music on the computer isn't rocket science...oh wait, it IS ROCKET SCIENCE!!!

    Thanks for your forbearance and patience with this newbie. I have trolled the posts and the two manuals that came with GS3 and I really don't know how to put this all together into a production workflow that is efficient and makes sense. I just wanna make some music please.

  2. #2

    Re: Stupid Freakin Newbie Questions: Keyswitching

    You have to understand that there is a difference of playback architecture between the way the Sibelius changes sounds and GS. Sibelius sends GM MIDI messages in the main whereas you are obviously trying to use keyswitching. Maybe there is a way to convert your patch changing to MIDI messages; I don't know. But in the short term you will have to put in the keyswitches yourself. However, be warned that it is never an easy fix; it always takes work.
    The best advice that I can offer is that in the future you have all your playback from Sibelius routed through GS, and then you will do your keyswitches as you go anyway.


  3. #3

    Re: Stupid Freakin Newbie Questions: Keyswitching

    Your question #1, yes. That's an easy way to do it. Since you're using sonar, it's not that difficult: select your entire line of midi notes. Copy them. Paste them two ticks LATER (they will become the musical line.).

    Your original notes should still be selected in the track. Use Edit-process to change the duration of these notes to be 1 tick long. Transpose them down a few octaves into the keyswitch range. Then -- somewhat timeconsuming now -- go through the line note at a time, delete all the keyswitch-range notes where an articulation change is not wanted, and modify the pitch of those remaining notes to be the right note for the desired articulation. Takes 5-10 minutes, or less after you get used to it, for a 5-10 minute line.

  4. #4

    Re: Stupid Freakin Newbie Questions: Keyswitching

    Here's one way to trigger keyswitches from Sibelius (I own S3) to Giga:

    1) Select the first note of the articulation change in Sibelius.
    2) Type "Ctrl-T" to create technique text
    3) Type "~N60,1"
    4) Hit the Esc key.

    Here's what "~N60,1" means...

    The "~" makes the following text invisible on the score.
    The "N" means "Note On"
    The "60" is the MIDI note value. 60 is middle C. Adjust accordingly.
    The ",1" means velocity of 1. I've found this (1 to 127) to be required by GS3. A velocity of 0 won't work.

    There are some things that can be triggered automatically. Look at iMIDI in your GS3 documentation. It can do round robins, legato and such.

    But lets say that you want to go between pizz and arco. GS3 could never predict that. So you need to write it into your score and send the info to GS3.

    You can type "pizz ~N27,1" over one note and "arco ~N24,1" over another. Sibelius has a dictionary feature that can simplify this, or you can just cut, paste and edit, once you get a few articulations in your score.

    It would be cool if Sibelius could send out midi messages for staccato markings and such, but I know that it didn't in version 3.

    All the best...


  5. #5

    Re: Stupid Freakin Newbie Questions: Keyswitching

    BTW, I've done works in Sibelius then Sonar. I've found that it's best to go as far as possible in Sibelius - including adding dynamics, articulations and tempo changes. After I export to Sonar, I mainly add expression control and tweak the timings of the notes.

    Alternatively, one can record the critical solo/melody tracks into Sonar by hand in real time, playing keyswitches along the way. If you can play the keyboard well, this gives the most realistic performances.


  6. #6


    Thanks each one of your for your insightful and patient responses. I'm sure it gets old hearing the same questions, but the tricks and tips you guys just gave me probably saved me weeks of frustration - thanks!

    I'm sure I'll have more questions as time goes on, but for now, I will take your ideas and go as far as I can with them! I'll post back again soon and let you all know how its working out for me. I had a thought the other day. I was thinking, what if Mozart or Beethoven had Sibelius and GS3 and all this wonderful hardware and software to make music. They would have put out so much more music! Then, I thought, sure it took them hours to write out their scores longhand--but how much time do I end up wasting trying to figure all this out...it probably evens out!!!

    Thanks again,


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