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Topic: Using various programs.

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Using various programs.

    In the original Star Trek TV show, the character of Bones said, "I'm a doctor, damn it, not an engineer." I am feeling the same conflict: "I'm a composer, damn it, not a computer programmer."

    I have been using Finale notation software for several years and like it a lot. I have all of the Garritan libraries and use them within Finale. But I am repeatedly told that I need to use DAW to make my computer music sound better.

    I just received EWQL Symphonic Choirs with Wordbuilder as a gift. It installed nicely and the Wordbuilder is a pleasure to work with.

    I also have Kontakt 5 with "Factory Library" and "Retro Machines" - all work great together.

    And I have Cubase Studio 5.

    All my composing is done by point-and-click.

    But -

    My goal is to compose the music in Finale and load it as midi into Cubase5 where I can assign the instruments including Garritan and EWSC to the various staves, thus to improve the final product. I have no idea where or if Kontakt fits into the picture.

    After nearly 3 months I have come to the realization that I simply do not how to do it.

    I have literally spent months watching tutorials, participating in forums, reading manuals and conversing with the publishers of the software. So far all I have found is an endless dialogue of terms and procedures that make absolutely no sense to me; and lists of files and folders to put them in that I cannot find.



    Can anyone direct me to an individual, a tutorial or a manual that in plain English, step-by-step, will tell me how in the world to use all this wonderful software together to create a piece of music?

    Tom

  2. #2

    Re: Using various programs.

    Tom, I hear your pain. I, too, use Finale for just about everything. And like Bones said, but in "our words," I'm a musician, not an engineer. I gave up on Cubase a long time ago, back when it was included with the original GPO version. It just didn't make sense. And, frankly, I'm a visual person when it comes to composing and arranging. I need to see the notes, not just hear them. That's just me. I know plenty of people here who live and breath in a DAW program.

    I have been using Sonar. With Randy's help and several others here I have finally gotten a handle on how to use it. I currently have both Sonar X2 and X3 Producer. My last couple of submissions for the Garritan Christmas CD were rendered in Sonar. I'm not suggesting you purchase a whole new DAW, but I know from my experience with Cubase it confused the hell out of me. Once I got a handle on how to use Sonar it made things easier. You might try downloading a trial version. And there are plenty of people here who can give you that step-by-step help you need. Then again, maybe someone will come along and do the same for you with Cubase. Just having a "visual" of how you go from importing a midi file to getting the Garritan libraries to work was my biggest challenge. I need visuals and not just someone telling me "open up this file, click here, import there." I think you know what I mean.

    I'm still a Finale guy, though. Here's something you should check out because I was very impressed. It's a website for Finale users on how to get more professional renditions using only Finale.

    www.symphonicsamples.com

    I've spoken with the author Matthew and I think this might be another avenue for you to check out. I certainly am. For what it's worth, Matthew is very proficient in Cubase. Here is a rendering he did using Finale only:

    https://soundcloud.com/symphonicsamples/the-hours-after

    Hope some of this helps, Tom.
    Serenity Musician Productions (Gary A.)

    Lenovo ThinksStation S30, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio Fast Track, Finale25, Sonar Professional

  3. #3

    Re: Using various programs.

    Serenitymusician:
    I have checked out the soundcloud example you showed and the piece sounds excellent. Maybe a bit too cinematic for me but excellent none the same.

    I also checked the website out but found no tutorials on how this is done. What I found was a service that will take your Finale scores and, for a fee, enhance them for you. I would much prefer to learn to do this myself. Am I missing something on the website that you included in your response to Tom?

    Tom:
    I know what you are saying and I appreciate your problem. I use Sonar as well as Finale and I have been able to develop a method that works for me. My brother has some of the same concerns and problems that you are experiencing and has had a harder time grasping the DAW world as well. As Serenitymusician said, I also tried Cubase many years ago and found it too confusing.

    Anyway, good luck to you, Tom. I have listened to many of your pieces and your composition work is very nice. Keep at it.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  4. #4

    Re: Using various programs.

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    Serenitymusician:
    I have checked out the soundcloud example you showed and the piece sounds excellent. Maybe a bit too cinematic for me but excellent none the same.

    I also checked the website out but found no tutorials on how this is done. What I found was a service that will take your Finale scores and, for a fee, enhance them for you. I would much prefer to learn to do this myself. Am I missing something on the website that you included in your response to Tom?
    I understand about the "too cinematic." He's using EastWest Hollywood libraries where as I have almost all of Garritan's libraries plus EastWest Symphonic Orchestra & Symphonic Choir and I prefer those sounds. Yes, you are right, he does offer what he's doing as a service, but apparently he's going to be offering some kind of package of library extensions that will explain how he gets his results in Finale. Have no idea what he's going to charge for that. In my continued dialogue with him I am hoping he will give me a few pointers on how he's doing what he's doing.

    One of my biggest challenges in working with Finale is changing the Human Playback settings, especially now that I have EW Symphonic Orchestra & Choir. I've never had to delve into it that much when only using the Garritan libraries, but now with EW I find I have to make changes in HP and I don't know what I'm doing. That's where I go back to needing visuals. Any suggestions you or Tom would have, especially in using the choir, would be really helpful.

    Gary
    Serenity Musician Productions (Gary A.)

    Lenovo ThinksStation S30, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio Fast Track, Finale25, Sonar Professional

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Using various programs.

    Gary and Rich,

    Thank you for your understanding and support. I believe you are correct in that visually seeing the notes is an important element. During the my first years of work I used pencil and score paper. It still sold.

    Then when I heard the Garritan GPO I really wanted to be able to hear each note as I wrote it (rather then having to run to the piano) and dove into MIDI. It was wonderful. I was told repeatedly that the music was good, but the sound bad. So I worked on it for a long time.

    Then I heard EWQL Symphonic Choirs and fell in love all over again. But now I find the paradox: I cannot intermix various software together. What I need for my own projects is the ability to bring the sounds from Finale, KonTakt, EWQL, and Garritan into one program and fine tune everything.

    I finally figured out that I had to export files as MIDI to get them into DAW. That now works. But I cannot get the various instruments to become available in DAW. And, as you pointed out, when I was presented with endless colored lines instead of notes I ran screaming back to pencil and paper.

    I will take a look at this Sonar and see if I can comprehend it.

    Thank you both very much.

    Tom

  6. #6

    Re: Using various programs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Davis View Post
    I will take a look at this Sonar and see if I can comprehend it.

    Thank you both very much.

    Tom
    Tom, whatever I can do to help understand Sonar please let me know. I'm no expert by any means, but I do know my way around the program enough to get the sounds to work.

    Gary
    Serenity Musician Productions (Gary A.)

    Lenovo ThinksStation S30, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio Fast Track, Finale25, Sonar Professional

  7. #7

    Re: Using various programs.

    Tom, I feel your pain! When I first purchased GPO, I just imagined I could run the software and start composing music. I had no idea that I would need to learn terms like ASIO, DAW, CC, envelopes, normalization, DC offset, EQ...... At the start, I felt like a complete ignoramus reading other people's questions and not understanding a word.

    I soon came to the conclusion that just as office professionals now can't get by without knowing computers, so it's difficult for today's composers to get by without technical sound engineering knowledge. Changing times, huh?! I've learned a lot, but I still feel like a technical baby and I'm sure there's much better ways of doing the work I do.

    Anyway, all I can do is share what has worked for me: When it comes to realism, I am a strong proponent of live recording - using a keyboard to play, in real time, each instrument in turn, then smoothing out the rough edges by playing around with those horrible colored lines in Piano Roll View. Not too much smoothing, though, since over-accuracy sounds computerized. But things like reducing the gaps between repeated notes on woodwind, since those players can repeat notes much more rapidly than my keys can respond. Oh yes, and making sure to keep that modulation wheel moving, and use the pedal to control the tongued vs legato.

    I have wanted for some time to try out a notation program, but I know what I would end up doing: Printing the whole score out, then playing each instrument in turn, recording in my DAW (Sonar). Results are good (if I say so myself), but I know it would be a frightfully slow way to do it.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Using various programs.

    [QUOTE=englishgent;757689]Tom, I feel your pain! When I first purchased GPO, I just imagined I could run the software and start composing music. I had no idea that I would need to learn terms like ASIO, DAW, CC, envelopes, normalization, DC offset, EQ...... At the start, I felt like a complete ignoramus reading other people's questions and not understanding a word.

    With Finale I started the point-and-click method, but soon went to using the computer keyboard instead - much faster and more accurate. I've tried using the music keyboard, but the results just aren't up to par due to my technical inabilities. (I was a brass major, don't you know)

    I can get a lot done in no time at all with Finale. (If you recall, last year I met a one week deadline for a Requiem Mass with full choir and orchestra) - With Sibelius not so much. There are just too many awkward applications in getting a score in Sibelius for me.



    Right now I'd even be happy if I could load EWQL Choirs into Finale as I do Aria and the Garritan libraries.

    Tom

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Using various programs.

    Quote Originally Posted by serenitymusician View Post
    Tom, whatever I can do to help understand Sonar please let me know. I'm no expert by any means, but I do know my way around the program enough to get the sounds to work.

    Gary
    Gary,

    Thank you so very much. A quick question, when using Sonar do you see actual notes when mastering or just lines as in Cubase?

  10. #10

    Re: Using various programs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Davis View Post
    Gary,

    Thank you so very much. A quick question, when using Sonar do you see actual notes when mastering or just lines as in Cubase?
    You can see both. You have that option for each track. I generally use the scroll view for most of my editing, but sometimes it really helps me to see the notes like we both discussed earlier.

    By the way, I see from your previous post you are having a challenge with EWQL Choirs in Finale as well. I only have had the library a short time and have barely had a chance to learn the ins and outs of using it, especially with the word building. That's still a challenge for me and I haven't got that part to work yet. I can get the aw's and oo's and eh's working, but I want to get actual words to be pronounced. I will try over the weekend to see if I can get this going and I will let you know.
    Serenity Musician Productions (Gary A.)

    Lenovo ThinksStation S30, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio Fast Track, Finale25, Sonar Professional

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