Composing Digital Music For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Composing Digital Music For Dummies Cheat Sheet

By Russell Dean Vines

If you’re getting serious about writing your own digital music, look into a few magazines and online resources that can help you keep up with what’s happening in the music industry and offer forums, downloads, and even legal advice. Sibelius is the most popular software for composing digital music; check out some common keyboard shortcuts you’ll find yourself using often.

Frequently Used Sibelius Shortcuts

Sibelius is world’s best-selling music creation software. When you’re using Sibelius to compose, refine, or listen to your music, you soon realize that you use certain keystrokes more often than others. Here are the shortcuts you need most often when building your song:

  • Ctrl+Z: Undo

  • Ctrl+Y: Redo

  • Esc: Clears the last highlighted section

  • Ctrl+[: Rewinds playback to the beginning

  • Ctrl+Alt+K: Opens the Keypad

  • P: Plays back from anywhere

  • I: Adds instruments to your score

  • R: Enters the same note repeatedly

  • Ctrl+Alt+G: Jumps to any measure in your score

  • Ctrl+E: Enters dynamics in your score quickly

  • Ctrl+C: Copies the highlighted note or section

  • Ctrl+V: Pastes the copied section

  • Ctrl+1: Zooms the View to 100 percent

Magazines to Read as a Digital Music Composer

As you create music, keeping up with what’s happening in the music industry is important, and magazines are a great way to do it. All of the following magazines have associated websites, offering the latest reviews, news, and online forums:

Web Resources for Digital Music Makers

The Internet offers all kinds of info for digital music composers. The sites listed here are just a small sample of the educational journals, independent music distributors, professional music forums, and free music legal advice you can find on the web.

  • artistShare: artistShare allows artists to create a recording project, and then fans of the artist can invest in the music creation project.

  • CD Baby: CD Baby is the largest online record store that sells CDs by independent musicians. You send them your music; they warehouse and sell it and then pay you a share.

  • FreeAdvice: Online for over 10 years, FreeAdvice has an intellectual property and music law section, where you can find info on statutes, regulations, case law, and legal principles that affect the creation, production, distribution, and marketing of music.

  • GearSlutz: GearSlutz is an online forum for professional and amateur recording engineers to share techniques and advice.

  • has an impressive list of credits in producing R&B, pop, and club music. It has a huge collection of beats (background rhythm section tracks for producers) to sample, purchase, and download.

  • Another indie music connections site, Indie Music has been around as long as or longer than most. Here, musicians can find how-to articles, underground music news, reviews, interviews, and music-biz news. Its coolest feature is a search engine that helps you locate almost any contact or company in the business, from agents to CD replicators.

  • KVR Audio: This site features news and information about software audio plug-ins. It runs a searchable audio plug-in database, where you can find info on new releases, product announcements, and product updates for VST plug-ins, DirectX plug-ins, and Audio Units plug-ins.