Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Said the DAW to the Notation Software.
Isn’t it interesting that anyone with a computer can compose music. They can also produce a movie. Communicate with anyone ( who also has a computer) anywhere in the world. My wife just got the new iPad Pro on which to do art work. She can draw or paint in most any medium with professional results. She’s a professional, so she’s hard to please in that respect. The arts used to be the perveance of a select few with the right skillset. Not any more.
But, I digress. There is no question that the output of a DAW will be better than that of notation software. The two have opposite goals. Notation is not a play back system. A DAW is not meant to produce a score. Both can (with great difficulty) do the other’s job. But, so far, the twain have not meant (to totally corrupt a phrase).
I’d like to start the ball rolling on this topic by dealing with two statements that have been made that I think need to be addressed.
1. Notation playback is flat, dull, and lifeless. I think that’s the gist of it, anyway. This is all too often true. Let’s look at why that is. I use Sibelius, so I can’t talk for Finale. Up through version six, the sound library for Sibelius was about 1.2 GBs. Not much. As much as I liked Sibelius, some projects languished for lack of excitement. When version 7 came out. A whole new sound library came out that was some 36 GB’s. Still low, but enough to allow for many more articulations and effects. Including mic placement for percussion, though oddly, not other instruments. Also, it is possible to place instruments upstage or downstage, though not in-between. And the pan control, of course. It is also possible to control the velocity of each note of each instrument. Minutely define the length of a hold and the gap afterward. The same goes for rit and accel. Adjust from 0 to 100% four different reverbs. Though not more than one per piece. For string sections, it is possible to control normal and legato attack and release (four controls). I believe all the standard string articulations are possible. I don’t use them, so I don’t know for sure. I have a hard-enough time just getting my string players to show up. All too often, users load default instruments and go for it. No wonder things sound dull. For example, let’s take default trumpet. What we really want in most cases is vibrato, or legato vibrato. Neither load as default trumpet. Most instruments have a similar story. Why aren’t all these things used more? I suspect that there are two reasons. First, I think many users don’t know they are there. Second, even if they do know, all they really want to do is get the notes down.
2. Notation play back gives novice composers a false sense of how instruments fit together. As a result, they will write what sounds good in the software and not at all what might really sound good. That thinking seems to be baloney to me. The only reason recorded sounds are included in notation software is so that the composer can get an idea of how their music sounds. What occurs to me also, is that if a beginner were to compose at the piano, they would have no sense at all how instruments fit together. Though they would see how notes fit together. What a novel idea. At least if a novice uses notation, they have to learn ….. notation. If they learn to use a DAW, they don’t need to know anything about music. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose.
More to come, I’m sure. What’s more important is learning to use whatever your weapon of choice is to its fullest.
I once belonged to a song writers’ forum. Monthly, people submitted songs they had written and recorded for a small prize. One time some guy submitted a growly country-rock song he’d made on a 4 track cassette deck (no Dolby) and a $40 dollar mic. It was awesome, sounded totally professional, and easily won that month over the much more polished offerings. He knew his equipment and what he could do with it.

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Believe me, if my situation changed and I needed to be able to produce quality demos, I would be all over a DAW. As things are, I can't justify the expense. 

Getting pissed off at a GM rendering seems as extreme to me as I'm sure my being taken back by your attitude toward NS is to you. If it bothers you so much, ask for a midi file, open it in your software, and export the result. Shouldn't take long. You don't have to fiddle with it, though I know you'll want to.  

If only it was that simple Bob. Importing a midi file would bear no realation to my template unfortunately. I'd still have to manipulate cc, allocate articulations, mix appropriately.
Perhaps we differ in our attitudes to music.
I'm not embarrassed to report mainly in the 90's making quite a lot of money from the production of GM files.
Everything from Scottish country dance tunes to OMD and Erasure. The manipulation of single sample instrument libraries is a great learning curve towards the multisampled libraries of today. Listen to the reference, tweak the vsti until it's as close as it can get. Real no? An interesting and entertaining challenge? Absolutely.

@Ray: this is the kind of know-how some of us here would love to hear more of.  I for one would love to know how to get more out of the (admittedly lousy) samples I currently have. Not that it replaces getting a "real" DAW, but I think I would learn much more from the process rather than just plonking down the dollars for something somebody else has done for me.

Is there more information in a music xml?

Depends on the instructions it contains and the ability of the app you load it into performing these instructions.

Bob Porter said:

Is there more information in a music xml?

Bob M,

No? If you feel that nothing you said throughout the DAW competition thread and related thereto can be spun or used against you, what's the harm? You have plenty to say normally if I say "fuck" or something. (Socrates said fuck earlier. I am expecting his banning forthwith, of course).

Go on, have a go. Sum up Mike's stated intentions for the competition. I will if you can't.

Hi Bob

I had posted these in a previous thread. Hope they help :)

Please see the following ( the second article has an example of an XML file)

Thanks Bob

Bob Porter said:

Is there more information in a music xml?

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