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Hello Colleagues,

In the past couple of years I've been working with traditional classical instruments, something which is new for me, I mostly write progressive-rock- and jazz- influenced piano music. Here is my latest venture along those lines. It is altogether a different prospect writing for an ensemble I have found than writing for a solo instrument, how one handles the interplay between instruments, the building of harmony, even the approach to melody, and I'm sure long-time composers of an orchestral bent could add to that list. In Blossom, I also was looking for a chance to test Finale 26 and NotePerformer 3.1, both about a couple of weeks old, and I composed the entire piece using those two programs. Unlike most of my compositions, which begin at the piano, this one began and ended at the computer, I don't think I could have done this before I started using NotePerformer, which creates in my estimation such a vastly improved output file that it gives me the kind of audial feedback I need in order not to have to resort to the piano to resolve anything. This piece also touches on a recent conversation here about AI, which since I didn't have anything to say pertinent to the thread, didn't comment on. I think the debate about AI touches on one aspect of how the computer has become part of our toolkit, not only in the realm of AI, but also in the realm of "Assistance," which is a lesser level of computer use than AI. In this piece, the viola is in the C Clef, but when I composed it I used the G Clef (Treble) and then just converted it to the C Clef. This way, I could compose using a familiar clef, and the computer assisted to move everything over to the expected clef. While AI is debatable, this is a more utilitarian/mechanical use of the computer which does not involve the computer making any decisions, and just made life easier. Score in the attached youtube and comments as always invited -

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Thanks Bob!

Out of curiosity, what do you use?


Hi Gv--

I have Finale Dorico and Sibelius--and I use mainly Ivory II and another sound library.

I do have NotePerformer but havent used it for a while. MANY people are very happy that it was made available for both Finale and Dorico.

The price, and support are EXCELLENT:)

Thanks Bob

Thanks for the reply Bob,

I've heard some of your stuff (e.g. Out of Darkness) and I would have guessed you were using a DAW or somesuch for output, if all of that is coming from a notation program, you are really doing a bang up job pulling sounds from it that I didn't think were possible -

Thanks again,


Hi Gav,

Well, it seems to work doesn't it, this fusion of Finale and NP combined with you writing away from the piano? It's a pleasing piece (falling blossom mayhap?) and there's nothing too complex about any of the parts that are, to my ear at least, well fused and nicely interwoven.

Some interesting harmony and a well constructed melodic line...I like it.

Thanks for posting and good luck with your continuing experimentation with the new tools at your disposal...and as an aside, I like what NP3 does to the sound production of my own works - although I'm aware of some people not liking it at all (NP3 that is, not my music ;)

All the best,


Thanks for giving it a listen and for your comments, Stephen! As a person who has written almost exclusively for the piano, I must say I’m pleased to be venturing into new territory with this and some other nonpiano instrumentals lately. It has something to do with the LKR sheet music site which I’m on, and its orientation towards classical. I’m writing for that audience. I’ve sold some other sheet music there for the French horn, and will be moving to some flute music before long. Note Performer I couldn’t be happier with, it is the biggest improvement to Finale since I started using Finale, over 10 years ago!
Thanks again!

Thanks so much Gav.

I feel a lot more-more than is realized by many--can be done in a Notation program, especially using really good sound libraries, And very recently Im realizing how very much more I can and should be doing. as up until now Ive done very little.

For myself Id much rather spend my time composing and ending up with a score in one fell swoop using Notation software, than composing in a DAW and then making a score out of that.

The DAW sound is usually better, in varying degrees than  the Notation program output, but at the cost of so much more work, and then attempting to make a professional score out of it.

To each his own, and whatever works for anyone ..USE IT!!! :):)!

Thanks Bob

Gav Brown said:

Thanks for the reply Bob,

I've heard some of your stuff (e.g. Out of Darkness) and I would have guessed you were using a DAW or somesuch for output, if all of that is coming from a notation program, you are really doing a bang up job pulling sounds from it that I didn't think were possible -

Thanks again,


It's time for you to do a MasterClass!


Thanks so much Gav--thats too kind of you! I really am no expert at this at all..

But some of the simple basics , using a Notation program without a DAW are, for me, the following:

1) use the best sound library you like and can afford, that excites you to compose.

2) use frequent dynamics, cresc and decresc, rit and accel, etc..

3) vary time signatures and tempo markings as needed,

4) use technique markings and idiomatic writing for each instrument

5) panning Left and Right (look at pictures of performing groups online and pan according to these). Also along these lines you can pan front to back by different dynamics, reverb room sizes etc.

With dynamics, some programs such as Sibelius let you set up your own scale of loudness and softness--and you can add more dynamic markings in between the ones given to have greater control over this.

For a partial example  instead of just using lets say p mp mf etc I use plus (+) signs on them to indicate values between them, which is explained in the p p+ mp mp+ mf mf+etc. This allows me to have greater dynamic control.

So it will be something like this in Midi values (0-127):

p 20

p+ 30

mp 40

mp+ 50

mf 60

mf+ 70..etc

I like this better than using piu and meno.

Finally I use headphones when composing due to noise restrictions here, but when you then listen with monitors on a computer it can sound really different. This is due to the absolute separation of headphones into a left and right, but without them you get crosstalk from each side into the other--hence left right and middle.

Im currently trying out a program which tries to closely simulate with headphones what you would hear with monitors.

And a quick solution for this is to specify that people should listen thru headphones, though you can never be sure who will or wont! :)

Again please know Im no expert at this, and Im sure there are many here who are more knowledgeable--this is just what I do, and my pieces coming out from now on, will show this much more than in the past as theyre chamber ensembles and without doing this, it becomes a HUGE mess.

Thanks again Gav


Thanks Bob, looks like good stuff. I'll have to check to see what Finale offers in terms of altering the built-in "p mp mf f" etc., long a pet peeve of mine 

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