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Topic: From Midi to Full Score...

  1. #1

    From Midi to Full Score...


    I have sequenced several scores in MIDI that I need to have notated for musicians. This is surprisingly challenging since the midi scores are full of non-musical extras that are needed just to make it sound right. For example, the notes are slightly overlapped so there is more of a "legato" feel to them. Sometimes, they are broken across various articulations of the same instrument (especially regarding phrasing on the strings). In the end, if I was to load the MIDI into a notation program such as Sibelius or Finale, what I get is practically unreadable.

    So, I then try to notate while both the notation software and sequencing software are open, but find this very time consuming. Is this the best way to notate from sequenced music??

    I was wondering how do others tackle this problem?


  2. #2

    Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    To give yourself a starting point you may quantize your current project's midi and collapse various articulations for one instrument down to one midi track which will make it one notated staff. Then tweak as need be, this would give you a fast foundation.
    Lincoln Flesch
    Diva, GPO, GOS, LastLibs Bass, Scarbee's SID, BFD, Post Emperor and the MAG.
    "People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."
    --Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

  3. #3

    Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    I gave up a long time ago on trying to make my midi tracks work for real players. I do just the opposite. I orchestrate using just decent sounding synth strings, brass patches, etc. Once my score is done, then I go back and "perform" the parts with EWQLSO, etc.

    I have Logic set up so I can read the score as it rolls across on one track while I'm performing the part into a different track. You can come up with some very realistic tracks that way and you have your scores ready for the orchestra.

  4. #4

    Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    This is a problem I really know well myself. This is one of of the foremost reasons why I stick to VSL and cubase; because of its notation features. You never really know when you're called on to provide notation sheets of the piece you have delivered yesterday or 6 months ago. Try doing that with a piece put together by loops, audio recordings and several different sample libraries where the key strokes are spread out all over the "keyboard", and one will find that it is easier to start a completely new "notation" project based on the sounds of the composition = forget the deadline.

    Personally I prefer to have both options at once, both sound and notation, so I'm quite careful as to what sound sources I use and how the information is put into the seq. Unfortunately I have no miracle cure for you, Karimelm. Only thing I can do is to give a compressed run-down of what I do and hope you can pick something useful out of it. I don't focus on just the sound of the composition or just the notation; rather I focus on both at the same time. That means that both the notation and the sound of it - the realism of it - is going to suffer a bit. But if I wanted it perfectly real I wouldn't be using a computer in the first place.

    First of all, I make sure that all sounds and instruments sounds as notated and in the correct octave in correspondence to how it is notated. I never use notes outside the instrument's normal range to get variations of the instrument - such as tremolos or different articulations. Whatever sound is played, is played on the correct sounding note, no matter what kind of articulation or effect that is used. Percussion samples have a tendency of having lots of drumsounds and different articulations spread out all over the keyboard, so I took those Gig-files and re-programmed them to put all articulations of a particular percussion instrument on the correct note line for that instrument. Snare drum, (or kleine trommel) is most commonly noted on C2, so I put all articulations of the snare drum on C2 and I'm using keyswitches to change between the different articulations. I've done this with nearly all instruments I use. That way you never have to transpose anything, nor even think about it. And of course I put all the parts of each instrument on the very same MIDI track in cubase - no splitting one instrument into many midi tracks. I think of it as each midi track is one musician's part.

    Second, I don't record the stuff into my seq from my MIDI keyboard; I paint the notes in using the mouse - all notes. Anybody who records the stuff from a midi keyboard will almost always go back in and edit what they just played which takes just as much time as painting the notes in by hand. By doing so, you have perfect control over the exact rhythmical values of where a note is put, and also the length of each note - which is essential to turn it into an even looking score. I can still play some notes or passages in, but it all depends on the situation. An "ad lib" solo I may very well play into the seq, while in the score I write kind of "solo ad lib" and hide the notes I recorded.

    Third, I use tempo changes in the tempo track to make things come alive a bit more and those tempo changes - whether it being sudden tempo changes or ritardandos or accelerandos - can be inserted into the score from the tempo track automatically. I also you the marker track to markup the piece which can then be used to import as rehearsal markings into the score.

    Four, I do much of the editing in the score editor itself. Partially because I feel it is more musical to read notes, rather than square rectangles on a square grid system; and partially because you can use the pen and put things like accents or staccato/legato and also dynamical markings such as pp or FF for each note and also for entire passages. Whatever thing you write on to a note or series of notes will get translated into the correct control change value in the midi track so the effect gets played back. In cubase this is called "Midi meaning" - a ~~~tion which is editable.

    As for the rest, which includes program changes of a certain sound (kept to a minimum by re-programming the gig-files to use massive key-switching instead), and control change values such as modulation, expression and such, which might control numerous different effects and changes in the sound .. I have not yet found a way to automatically transfer those from the midi-track to the score sheet - or vice versa. Those things I still have to put in by hand into the score.

    There are also the layout templates which are great to use as a starting point. Those saves you alot of repetitious work because you can create your own.

    This is how I do it, and the ends result can always sound a bit more alive then what I get from doing this. But with the proper use of tempo changes, expression and control changes it usually sounds really good still. This got a bit lenghty but hopefully you might find something of what I do useful for your situation.
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  5. #5

    Red face Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    I know there are others who know more about this than I do. But if this helps...

    Make a separate copy for notation. Do a strick quantize on all parts. Merge any broken parts up into an individual track for each instrument. I then use the built in notation in my sequencer to make sure that the notes look like I want them to look like. Once this is complete, I then export midi file then open midi file in my notation program. Tweek from there.

    Oh, I also make sure that my sequencer template is in score order. Makes things easier.



  6. #6

    Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    My experience in transcribing MIDI files into notation is somewhat limited--I usually go the other way.

    I've found, in my case, that it's usually faster to just create a Finale file from scratch than to clean up a transcription from a MIDI file. In your situation, I'd probably import the MIDI file into Finale, then print it out, then create a new Finale file and start entering notes.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  7. #7

    Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    Having worked as an orchestrator I can say that some composers are experts when it comes to delivering MIDI files (and others are useless). In order to "clean up" a file the two most important things are quantize and delay.

    As long as the notes are quantized, overlaps can easily be dealt with, although some sequencers will shorten notes to avoid overlaps without much effort from the user.

    If a delay has been entered for an instrument, then sometimes this results in notes being offset when saved as MIDI and then imported into a notation program. Just set the delay for a MIDI track to zero, and there is no problem.

    Other things to improve the exported MIDI file are

    Re-order tracks to make the "new" score automatically open in the correct order.
    Add key signatures in the sequencer notation page as this can help to make the notation program spell the notes enharmonically correctly. They can always be deleted...!
    Don't save the MIDI file with anything other than percussion on channel 10 as this can cause problems with notes and noteheads.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    The new version of Overture being shown at NAMM may work for you. It now includes a piano roll view for fixing note lengths. There is a controller view that opens right over the notes for editing volume changes, sustain pedal, etc. It also integrates with VST plugins. With the new features, you may not even have to use a sequencer program.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    South Ken, London

    Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    I work the same way as Lee. Its flexible, quicker and not so fiddly. Trying to tidy up midi tracks and turn them into readable notation for effective performance is a pain the arse (double so if its for piano or keyboard) - unless you've just written a moto perpetuo for cello in 8th notes!.

  10. #10

    Re: From Midi to Full Score...

    I am working on a six to eight minute piece for a church dedication this April. It has choir, piano, strings, brass, and percussion -- all to be performed live. The mockup was done with Digital performer (2.7) and GigaStudio (2.5). My partner, who has an up-to-date copy of Finale, is preparing the sheet music for singers and instruments. The midi tracks have proved to be virtually useless for capture by Finale. I did some quantization and printed out scores directly from Digital Performer. My partner is entering notes by hand into Finale from the printout. The process is very laborious. You would think that someone somewhere would have created a process and the software to make this easy. Right now it's not!


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