Page 6 - ACCENT Feb 10
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6 ACCENT Special Edition - February 2010

REWIRE - Working with Sibelius 6 and Pro To

A step by step guide to working with a score in Sibelius syn

Not that long ago, in order to hear music in               why ReWire is such a                                   The Host with the most
          a software application different to the one      useful tool. Sibelius is                               The first step, always, is to open the host program.
          it was created in, you’d need to export the      a fantastic scoring and                                So let’s open the ‘Filtered Dreams’ demo. We now
music from the latter in a format that was supported       notation package... its                                need to set up a stereo audio track in PTLE8 into
by the former and import it. For example, if you’d         features for scoring                                   which the audio from Sibelius will be received. To
composed an arrangement for strings in Sibelius            are second-to-none.                                    do this go to Track > New and change the default
and wanted to listen to it along with your audio           Pro Tools on the other                                 ‘Mono’ to ‘Stereo’. Then select Instrument track
recordings of organ, guitar, bass and sequenced            hand, is predominantly an audio recording and          in the next drop-down menu and click Create (see
drums in Pro Tools, you would need to export the           sequencing application. It does have its own score     above).
composition from Sibelius as either an audio or            editor, but its capabilities are nowhere near that of
MIDI file and then import it into Pro Tools... a labo-     Sibelius. Using ReWire essentially combines the        You will then notice a stereo instrument track added
rious task, to say the least. With the help of ReWire      strengths of both applications into a single working   to the Edit window and a stereo channel added to
the need to export and import can be circumvented,         environment, opening up a whole new realm of           the Mix window of PTLE8. If Sibelius does not
by allowing two or more applications to communi-           possibilities, whilst also significantly simplifying   appear in the Instrument menu, then the ReWire
cate directly with each other.                             certain other processes.                               connection between Sibelius and PTLE8 has not
                                                                                                                  been established. To rectify this, open Sibelius and
This article gives a brief history of ReWire and how       Let’s REWIRE...                                        go to Play > Playback Devices and click Audio
it works, the benefits of its use and guided practical     So, let’s begin with the practical example, in which   Engine Options. Click the Repair button to fix the
example to using ReWire to connect Sibelius 6 with         we will add a 4-part string arrangement to the         ReWire association. Then quit Sibelius and also
Pro Tools 8 LE (PTLE8).                                    demo song ‘Filtered Dreams’ that is included with
What is ReWire?
First released by Propellerhead Software in 1998           [Make sure you have installed the demo session
for use between Steinberg Cubase and Propel-               from your installation DVD. You will find this under
lerhead Rebirth, ReWire is a protocol that allows          Additional Files > Demo Sessions Installer].
audio and MIDI data to move freely between appli-
cations in real time. Think of it as a series of virtual
cables connecting two or more music software

If you have two software programs that show the
ReWire logo (as above) then you’re ready to get
ReWired. There’s no additional software to down-
load or install.

To configure, one of the applications must be desig-
nated as the mixer (also called host). This is usually
the digital audio workstation (DAW), which in the
practical example that follows will be PTLE8. The
other application will then be a device (also known
as slave or client). Again, in the following example
the device will be Sibelius 6.

Once connected, the two applications are syn-
chronized, so they can play back at the same time
– starting playback in one program simultaneously
triggers playback in the other. This can be activated
in both the mixer and the device. When playing
back, the mixer sends MIDI and tempo information
to the device, and in turn the device sends audio
information to the mixer, which can then be moni-
tored, recorded or effected by the mixer as desired.

Why Sibelius 6 and Pro Tools?
We have chosen to use Sibelius 6 and PTLE8 in
this tutorial for several reasons. First, Sibelius is the
most widely used notation program in schools, so
most will be familiar with it; and it is in Version 6
that support for ReWire was first introduced.

Secondly, Pro Tools is an industry standard and as
such is becoming increasingly popular in schools as
the DAW of choice. And with the parent company
of both being AVID Technology it makes good
sense to “keep it in the family” as compatibility and
stability issues will be minimised.

Thirdly, this combination is a good example of
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