Create an editable click track with audio cues using Sibelius and Max/MSP


Alternative constellations

The approach described here assumes the aforementioned setup of all players listening to the same audio channel, but other options are possible where signals are sent to several different channels. I chose not to cover these here in any detail for two reasons. For one, any such multi-channel constellation is likely to be unique in some way relevant to MIDI data filtering (not to mention that it would be quite a bit more complex), so I wouldn’t have been able to offer a “one size fits all” Max/MSP patch. And two, while the one-channel-solution, with all its disadvantages, can be implemented using widely available hardware, professional audio specialist’s equipment would probably be needed in most circumstances to have a reliable multi-channel setup. This might not be readily available to many readers, and those I did not want to exclude.

However, if you are interested in adapting the process to a multi-channel setup, here are some pointers:

Within the Sibelius score, it is important to distribute data to the right MIDI channels. This, by the way, limits the amount of possible single audio channels to 16.

Instead of putting your keywords into one “Cues” stave, you insert them directly in the staves of your players so they are automatically linked to their respective channels. Luckily, this simplifies all layout tasks significantly compared to the method originally described, as any cue is now just another stave text object:

This becomes possible by the fact that now only cues belonging to the instrument have to be indicated instead of all cues as before. Even the indication of clicks can probably be simplified by just using cue sized notes within the parts. Personally I would tend to keep the extra stave for rhythm cues though, as it minimizes the risk of errors sneaking in when making changes to the clicks along the way.

When exporting to MIDI, keep the box for “Omit muted instruments” unchecked.

Regarding the Max/MSP patch, it would have to be modified. A filter would be needed to sort out the incoming MIDI messages by channel, and the two audio players within the patch would have to be set up to send their signals to the appropriate audio channels, using the sorted MIDI data. Additionally it might be good to increase the players’ capacity to play several audio files at once. Both players, for clicks and for audio cues, are currently built to play up to five files at the same time. For a multi-channel constellation, the players should be amended to enable a higher number of simultaneous sounds.

Of course here is not the place to go into details of Max programming. The difficulty level of the patch though is really, really low and Max’s learning and help resources are excellent, meaning that even beginners would be able to implement the changes themselves, provided they take some time to study the basic tutorials. Also, the Max community is quite large, so it should not be too great a problem to find someone willing to help out.

If you have any further questions or are interested in a customization of this method according to your particular needs, leave a comment or contact me via my website


  1. PAOLO

    Very interesting and educating article! Thanks!

    Do you have an example of an actual click track finished, so that I could hear what the final product actually should be like? That would be very useful.


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