Video tutorial: Unpitched percussion in Sibelius 5


Unpitched percussion is one of the more complex parts of music notation, and although we have tried hard to hide as much of this complexity as possible in Sibelius 5, if you find writing for percussion instruments and getting appropriate playback difficult, you’re not the only one.

I’ve put together a short tutorial video (just under 16 minutes) that sets out to explain the relationship between the unpitched percussion instruments you create in your score, the Mixer, the House Style > Edit Instruments dialog, and your chosen playback device. The video is hosted on Vimeo, and you can watch it embedded here in low resolution:

To watch the video in full HD, visit Vimeo.

The video covers the following:

  • Choosing the appropriate playback configuration in Play > Playback Devices
  • Adding percussion instruments when creating a new score or later using Create > Instruments
  • Using House Style > Edit Instruments to see which noteheads produce which sounds
  • Using the Mixer to understand which patch is being used to play back each percussion staff in your score
  • Using Create > Other > Instrument Change to switch between different percussion instruments on the same staff

Hopefully you’ll find it useful! Leave me a comment if you have any ideas for video tutorials.


  1. Doug

    Very very nice. Simple but useful look at one of the rather head-scratching corners of Sibelius. Thanks, Daniel.

    — Doug

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