Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

I not a Scientist or a Mathematician nor am I a Digital Engineer

Recently, as I have indicated I have tried to branch out to more modern form of composing. 

Up until recently, I used to compose in a very traditional and old fashion way. Get the idea, write it down on paper or Sibelius, and develop it.

Then I have downloaded several free DAW demos. To me every single one of them is like Egyptian Runes. Unintelligible, unclear, indecipherable. Only several DAWS are left that I still didn't try, the Albion and Cakewalk. The Albion to the best of my knowledge doesn't offer a demo, I'm not going to pay $500 and then not like the program and not use it. The Cakewalk, there is a demo through Steinberg, but it doesn't work on my computer. The only thing that I feel comfortable with is an online program called Soundtrap, I pay a membership fee of $12 a month and it gives me the tools to compose in the easiest and clearest platform that I have seen so far. The drawback on this is the quality of the sounds, though it is better then some, it is also less in quality then others. 

When I approach the art of composition, I want to concentrate on the melody on the actual content of the music, all those digital complications destroys it for me, as there are so many things one has to do in order to get one line of music mixed and recorded, what a shame.

The ideal thing would be, and this is for those who are looking to make a business out of this is to create something that has the simplicity of Soundtrap with the sound quality and flexibility of Albion and other famous high end sound libraries. What I also like about Soundtrap is that it does all the mixing for me which is amazing.

Until such an option will come, I will continue concentrating on Piano and also Sountrap. No other DAWs are good for me, until at least they simplify the process and provide the composer with the ability to concentrate on inspiration and music writing instead of becoming a digital engineer, which I am not and probably will never be.

For the love music, I have no idea how people are composing with things like Digital Performer and Reaper, and Studio One, etc, basically all of them, besides the ones I have yet to try.

This is not meant to be a debate, though I don't know which better thread this topic fits.

Cheers to all.

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Just my opinion but I sometimes suspect some composers get too interested in quick answers without getting deeply into the structural aspects of music - harmony (or not!) progression, tessitura, cadence, structure. Daws give them their chance, able to put pieces together quickly. Often it results in fairly limited harmony, forward motion depending on drum beats or a percussive bass of some kind. I'm willing to bet that few have actually studied scores or music theory enough to really allow them to experiment; more so, develop their inner ears. Theory is sometimes frowned upon but it does give composers more control over how they get results they want - and why they inevitably have to break the rules!

However, it's still making music and that's the satisfying part of it. 

(When I get more courage I'll post a mock-up of something composed and later put into the daw, and hope it doesn't sound too Daw-y. I haven't really been here long enough yet.)


Gav Brown said:

Just a quick note on this quite interesting conversation. I don’t use a DAW, but I do listen to everything posted on this site, a lot of which is composed on a DAW. I have noticed a quality of sameness about these works, enough to the point where I would say that if I heard a new composition without being told how it was composed, I could probably tell if it came from a DAW within a few seconds.

Hi

I can sometimes tell when a composition has been put together using something like Garritan's Instant Orchestra, VSL's Smart Orchestra or Albion's equivalent of the same. But I don't think it's especially the DAW per se that's responsible for this - I think the DAW is largely neutral.

I (and I'm sure many others too) use a DAW (Cubase Pro in my case) in the last stages of compostion to get a decent mix and a better produced end product. 

The quality of sameness I fine with Instant Orchestra and the like is the finished sound - to me it sounds like a hollywood film score which is probsbly down to the particular way the orchestra sections are mashed up to give the overall finished sound.

I have VSL's Smart Orchestra but I haven't used it in a composition since I can't access and control the individual sections & instruments directly from Dorico given the way it (SO) is put together.

Colin

Agreed about daw being neutral. I'm going for a new set of samples. Mine are primitive but software has helped enough to make something of them.

I'd think about VSL but there's a plethora of products which makes choice difficult. Once it was just the orchestral cube that I couldn't afford then. Now it comes as a 250GB download. That terrifies me. :D That's about 10 hours if it doesn't crash. One needs tuition to find out what one needs to know on their site.  EasWest, another choice. Both need these wretched hardware keys. They must think our laptops are sprinkled with USB ports. A hub extension...on a laptop on my lap? Purleeze!!  Anyway, I'll go on researching!  

I'll look up the technical site here to see if "smart" is interpreted in any way. The VSL site isn't helpful, just the same old blurbs about how wonderful it is. Smart-(technical gadget) usually means it's clever at anticipating what I'm going to do but in a creative splurge even I don't know that! If Mr Paperclip suddenly appears saying "I see you're writing a symphony. Can I help?" I'd probably say "Sure, make it sound good." :D



Colin Dougall said:

Hi

I can sometimes tell when a composition has been put together using something like Garritan's Instant Orchestra, VSL's Smart Orchestra or Albion's equivalent of the same. But I don't think it's especially the DAW per se that's responsible for this - I think the DAW is largely neutral.

I (and I'm sure many others too) use a DAW (Cubase Pro in my case) in the last stages of compostion to get a decent mix and a better produced end product. 

The quality of sameness I fine with Instant Orchestra and the like is the finished sound - to me it sounds like a hollywood film score which is probsbly down to the particular way the orchestra sections are mashed up to give the overall finished sound.

I have VSL's Smart Orchestra but I haven't used it in a composition since I can't access and control the individual sections & instruments directly from Dorico given the way it (SO) is put together.

Colin

= = = = = = = = = = 

Hi Dane

I'm a recent convert to Note Performer after some good reviews of it posted on this forum. it's pretty cheap and the samples it comes with sound pretty good and it interprets your score pretty accurately. Where possible I use Note Performer and once I have something just about right I then substitute it with my other sample libraries. Another benefit is that there is almost zero sample loading time - VSL SE seems to take ages  to load in Dorico.

One problem I find with Note Performer is that it can't exist alongside Steinbergs Padshop synth - you can use one or the other but not both at the same time. This doesn't seem to be an issue with VSL, Garritan of Miroslav.

Colin

Dane Aubrun said:

Agreed about daw being neutral. I'm going for a new set of samples. Mine are primitive but software has helped enough to make something of them.

I'd think about VSL but there's a plethora of products which makes choice difficult. Once it was just the orchestral cube that I couldn't afford then. Now it comes as a 250GB download. That terrifies me. :D That's about 10 hours if it doesn't crash. One needs tuition to find out what one needs to know on their site.  EasWest, another choice. Both need these wretched hardware keys. They must think our laptops are sprinkled with USB ports. A hub extension...on a laptop on my lap? Purleeze!!  Anyway, I'll go on researching!  

I'll look up the technical site here to see if "smart" is interpreted in any way. The VSL site isn't helpful, just the same old blurbs about how wonderful it is. Smart-(technical gadget) usually means it's clever at anticipating what I'm going to do but in a creative splurge even I don't know that! If Mr Paperclip suddenly appears saying "I see you're writing a symphony. Can I help?" I'd probably say "Sure, make it sound good." :D



Colin Dougall said:

Hi

I can sometimes tell when a composition has been put together using something like Garritan's Instant Orchestra, VSL's Smart Orchestra or Albion's equivalent of the same. But I don't think it's especially the DAW per se that's responsible for this - I think the DAW is largely neutral.

I (and I'm sure many others too) use a DAW (Cubase Pro in my case) in the last stages of compostion to get a decent mix and a better produced end product. 

The quality of sameness I fine with Instant Orchestra and the like is the finished sound - to me it sounds like a hollywood film score which is probsbly down to the particular way the orchestra sections are mashed up to give the overall finished sound.

I have VSL's Smart Orchestra but I haven't used it in a composition since I can't access and control the individual sections & instruments directly from Dorico given the way it (SO) is put together.

Colin

= = = = = = = = = = 

Had a preliminary look and it seems to rely on having notation software which I haven't got. I'll bear it in mind but don't think I'll be going anywhere near notation software right now. My new computer and a decent set of samples are going to take up the best part of £2000.  

Yes Dane, NP replaces the sounds in notation software. It also "interprets" your score musically. More like humans would. But it's a matter of opinion. "Musically" and "more human" according to who? I don't want software interpreting my intent. I want to do that. People tend to like NP. That's fine. Every now and then I go to the NP website and listen to their samples of scores. The tutti sections tend to sound OK. To me, the opening of 1812 sounds particularly poor. So much so that I entered that section in Sibelius. I thought Sibelius sounded better. Is that just because I'm used to Sibelius sounds? I heard no real Interpretation in the NP version, yet I was able to define hairpins and other things to get much more decent playback in Sibelius. Sibelius sounds are about 34 GBs. The entire NP download is 1.5 GBs. Everyone has different ideas about what sounds good and workflow needs. For me, I don't want AI to write my music or interpret my score.

As for real players? That's a different ballgame. That's real.

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