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Joel Roston Composer | Instrumentalist
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If You Start Me Up I’ll Never Stop

22 Nov 2015


Sibelius, apart from being the name of a steroidally self-critical composer, is a music engraving/notation computer software product. It’s used by over a jillion people every day and is an extra-vital part of my particular music-creating process (or, say, Alphabet Song transcribing).

While there are some bummers to every program, the main issue I have with Sibelius is the start-up sound — a sophisticated, soaring snippet from Sibelius-the-composer’s Symphony No. 7 Op. 105. My problem isn’t with the actual music. The music is great — it’s Sibelius-the-composer! My problem is that the selection is twenty-four seconds long and utterly distracting/disruptive.

Here’s the stock Sibelius start-up music:

(For the heads out there, here it is in context (if you’re late for something and just want to “listen and go,” skip to 5:32).)

I’m not sure what the equivalent situation would be for non-musicians — maybe, like, if you thought of the perfect ending for the story you’ve been writing and wanted to get it onto your hard drive as fast as possible. Imagine opening your computer’s text editor in anticipation of preserving your idea and being forced to listen to a famous author reading the dialogue from the end of one of THEIR stories for twenty-four-seconds.

Over the years, I’ve half-heartedly tried to get rid of or change the start-up music, but never found a solid fix. A few days ago, however, I discovered this 2011 video (created by a person so English that they pronounce “.wav” in a way that rhymes with “salve”*) which explains how to change the Sibelius start-up music. Interestingly, the person who made the video replaced Symphony No. 7 Op. 105 with his own original composition, which, itself, clocks in at eighteen-seconds-long; it takes all types, I guess.

The Process

If you watched the video, you know what to do. If you didn’t watch the video because you just can’t click another click to watch the video, here’s what you do (on a Mac):

Go to: Applications > Right click on Sibelius > Show Package Contents > Contents > Components > Resources

and replace “Startup Sound.wav” with whatever you want your new, special start-up thing to be. It’s important to note here that whatever you decide on needs to be called “Startup Sound.wav”.

I changed the filename of the original soaring snippet to “Original Startup Sound.wav” — that way Sibelius would ignore it, but I’d have it on hand in the off chance I freak out and end up wanting to change it back.

In the meantime, I recorded myself creepily whispering “Sibelius” and added some effects to it to create what I think of as a “haunting invitation to notate.”

Here’s what I now hear when I start up Sibelius:

*That is, it rhymes with how Americans pronounce “salve” (Chicago and upstate New York excluded). (back)

In Blog, Hard Bloggin', Just For Fun

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