I have yet to find a notation software that didn't drive me nuts from tedious process of using it for score development and charts. I can ALWAYS write it out faster than I can figure out all the extra steps required to program the charts.
Finale, Sibeilius and Lilypond all seem unecessarily complicated to me. They always print the MIDI glitches and I end up spending more time cleaning the parts up (using the hand written parts as my guide, mind you) than I did to transcribe the piece in the first place! So I ended up only using Finale to print "stepped in" parts for big budget sessions (it's been over 18 months since I had one of those!). The process seemed absurd to me. I'm spending 90 minutes copying in a part I already wrote on paper in 20 minutes!
But since I'm always seeing videos on the big film composers doing their 400 track MIDI mock-ups, built from $50K sample libraries and then printing their scores out with these programs, I keep thinking that since I am a composer, I need to be on top of this. Of course they've all got assistants and interns earning $15 - 30 an hour to crank these charts out for their sessions while they deal only with the composing/arranging side of the process. I'm doing all of this by myself. So it's not as much fun, ya know?
Anyway, in an effort to streamline this side of the process, I'm trying to learn how to use the built in Score Editing section of Nuendo 4.3+NEK. It's still tedious work but, they've actually got SOME pretty cool time saving features in the program. So as I'm plowing my way through the manual and developing some chops on this, I was wondering if any of you Cubase5 (same platform as Nuendo) guys, who have to do this a lot, could offer any advice on how to become a "power user" with this program.
Specifically, can I build any macros with some of the more repetitive tasks to shorten the monotony? Are there any tips to the MIDI recording process to give it exactly what it wants going in, so as to not waste so much time cleaning up parts and finally, how do you set the program to see the entire score?
I've got the MIDI instruments lined up in score order and I selected all of those tracks when I opened the score editor. But the labels on the staves seldom match the MIDI tracks (neither do the ranges for lots of the instruments. So, right out of the gate,you're having to waste re-labeling and re-assigning clefs on dozens of staves. Is there some way to get that right upon opening the editor?
The video tutorial on Cubase4 barely touched on the utilization of a fraction of the controls and you know how manuals are. You spend as much time figuring out what they meant to say as you do actually following those instructions. So any tips, advice, referrals to IN DEPTH video tutorials for Cubase/Nuendo score editing or personal experiences you guys who have to do this a lot would care to offer would be greatly appreciated.
I've gotten so used to looking at "piano roll" score over the years, I'm actually curious what some of them might look like on sheet...
Take the existing DAW project and save a new copy first!
On tracks that use keyswitches you can often set the MIDI to ignore it. That at least gets rid of any non-musical notes that are generated.
Now quantize every track so that any timing changes you've put in (either for feel or to compensate for the timings in samples) are removed.
Export this as MIDI.
Import into a notation editor. Sibelius seems more popular in Europe and Finale more popular in the US but they're both good.
Clean up as required.
I know this is a slow approach but I still don't feel the Cubase/Nuendo music stave editor is up to scratch for live players.
There is just no easier way, and I can see what you mean about wanting to do it by hand.
I personally have found that the best way is to completely finish the DAW recording so that although the production might not be be as good as I might like it, but it is as good as I can get it. At least I know that the composition itself cannot be improved. I then mould all the instruments together (for example, put all the legato 1st violins, pizz 1st violins, stac and trem 1st violins on one stave), on the score editor of Cubase. After ensuring that I have one stave each for each instrument or group of instruments, I print out the first ten pages of the score (with a full orchestra, it will usually be two lots of ten, say piccolos to tuba, and timps to double basses). This gives me enough information to set up the score sheet on the Finale wizard, and I work from scratch, copying the notes in. It may seem laborious, but you'll find that there will a lot more copy/paste than you think, and the process can move quite quickly, as the music is in your mind all the time, and quite often there isn't any need to refer back to the DAW because you instinctively know where the ''accelerandos'' and ''legato/crescendo'' passages are. For it is better to refer by listening to the .wav file than checking the DAW file.
James Semple said:
This may seem stupidly obvious, but you'll be amazed at how many translations can be made by different musicians if it isn't notated properly.
But the Nuendo notator actually had fixes that worked! I had a 12 bar section of triplets in common time that came out duple 8th notes (first note was fine, second note in chord). Nuendo actually let me highlight those notes and translate them into triplets. I told the translator that it was 12 8th notes in triplets in common time and voila, I had 4 triplets in my measure! This got me to thinking that if Nuendo was doing this, then the "Real" notator software must have some really slamming improvements! But, apparently, that's not the case.
As for getting the musicians to play it EXACTLY as I wrote it. I've spoken to lots of session players to ask them exactly what they need to see, and the majority of them said "JUST THE NOTES (and maybe the dynamics)!" They all want to write in their own bowing instructions, drummers only want the number of bars, etc. Only classical percussionists seem to want specific instructions written on their parts.
Of course it's all moot since nobody wants to PAY for real players anymore. I'm just turning in the MIDI performances as the fnal product, sigh!
GT Little, Jr. said:
If that's the case, then I wouldn't care too much about letting them play my music. If they are following just the notes (and maybe the dynamics), then a bar of eighth notes with dots on top of them would be played exactly the same as a bar of eighth notes with a curved line above them, I guess.
GT Little, Jr. said:
I agree with your "sigh" remark. However, I consider this situation less grave. If you perform live your MIDI from a MIDI keyboard using very good samples, taken from natural performances on natural instruments, you can do very very many interesting things. Furthermore, for a composer, to play his (her) own composition is only natural, and one can consider the modern technology from the positive sight, as that which facilitates this. It was almost impossible 20-30 years ago. There are many ways to play single instruments, instrument combinations, melodies vith countermelodies etc. Of course, some instruments sound good, some less natural; you need to be a sound engineer too. You can edit and develop your MIDI -- it will newer sound mechanical as the output of Finale or Sibelius. It will sound live -- and good or bad depending on your (keyboard) performance skills and the richness of the samples applied.