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Hello fellow musicians!

So I’m basically self taught and never really explored printing out sheet music. Using Logic X for many years now, I normally live 100% in “piano roll” view when composing. 

In light of the Animal Music Contest, I really would like to attempt to submit the written score as well as the audio file. I’m currently in the process of learning how to accomplish this in Logic X and I’m making some headway from a technical standpoint. However, I have some problems I need help with from anyone that has some experience in actual score notation.

My piece has 44 instrument tracks so it’s a bit unruly. I’m using East West Platinum Plus virtual orchestra as my main VI plugin. 

As many of you know, when mocking up an orchestra, we end up with several tracks that are only there to achieve a single affect. For example, a whole track might be dedicated to a single french horn crescendo that only happens once in the entire piece. I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that that articulation is simply written onto the main french horn section and does not have it’s own separate staff. FYI - I generally don’t use key-switch patches.

Another example: Separate tracks of the same instrument “section” (18 Violins for example) exist because they each use a specific articulation. So I actually have 4 tracks of an 18VI section (and others as well). Of course they almost never sound simultaneously. So how is this properly translated into the score editor so it’s not displayed as if we need an orchestra with 72 violin players? 

And lastly, in order for all my instrument parts to fit on a page, the paper needs to be 14” x 22”, that’s just crazy!! There’s no way a conductor is looking at sheets of paper that big! LOL. 

I’m not sure how to reconcile these problems. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks!

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I think simplification may be the right direction!  I don't know Logic, but I imagine if it's like many other DAWs, the notation abilities are either limited or rather complicated.  Better to use a dedicated notation program like Sibelius, which also has ready-made templates for orchestral sections and types.  

Some comments from someone who is not an expert but has some experience in this field: (please correct me someone, if I am in error!)

* yes, the French horn section would be written in one staff, with crescendo marked in where appropriate, as opposed to a separate staff for the crescendo horn.

* the same would apply to the string section you mentioned, unless there are violins playing different articulations at the same time, in which case you would need to add extra staffs, with indications of how many violins play each part (staff).

*using less staffs will also answer your third question.  Larger scores can be printed out at a smaller size if necessary.

Thank you so much for the detailed answer. I am now considering getting a dedicated notation program. The main issue really comes down to I don’t want to alter the way the sequence sounds when I play it after making the visual corrections. Thank you again for taking the time.

Well, the probability is that it WILL sound different, depending on the sophistication of the playback engine used by the notation program and on what instruments you have used.  Notation programs are great for keeping a written record of your music, and for printing out parts to be played by real instruments.  But i.m.o. they are not a substitute for dedicated midi sequencers like Logic, Cubase etc.  


You ask a very difficult question. Without knowing what instruments you have used, it's hard to know how to proceed. Or how to consolidate. 

However, in general, the string section of an orchestra alone will consist of five sections: first violins (all playing the same part), second violins ( different part, often harmony), violas (lower part), cellos (even lower part), and double bass ( lowest part). There may also be two( or so ) each of flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. Four horn players, each on their own part, is normal. There might also be a few trombones and a tuba, as well as three trumpets. Then there is a long list of percussion. 

I suspect that you didn't use all these instruments, and that's fine. But you'll want to consider the above parameters as you reduce your score. As long as you stick close to your original intent, you can use notation software. You don't need notation playback, you have it from your DAW. If you save your DAW output as a midi or music xml, you can open it in free MuseScore. You might get lucky and not have to do much work. But probably not. 

Good luck.

Unfortunately, you've hit on the major problem with existing technology.  There is no program that handles both notation and sophisticated MIDI playback at the highest level.  There are lots of compromise options, but many people who want both a great score and a great mockup end up working on separate projects (a notation program for presentation and a DAW project for mockup).  Of all the programs, Dorico has the most potential of the current line-up, but is certainly not there yet.

Daniel Krausz said:

Thank you so much for the detailed answer. I am now considering getting a dedicated notation program. The main issue really comes down to I don’t want to alter the way the sequence sounds when I play it after making the visual corrections. Thank you again for taking the time.

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