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Topic: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

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  1. #1

    Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    Hi. This post is a little long, but I think a lot of people on this list will benefit from other members' comments.

    I'm using a Mac with DP 4.52 and GPO. Of course, because I have GPO, I also have Overture. I'd love to hear lots of members' views about this question:

    When and why would it be better/preferable/easier to use a notation program (such as Overture) to enter all the notes rather than using only a sequencer -- and vice-versa?

    Now I know a lot of you will jump to say:
    1. Use a notation program if you need/want a much better looking printed score.
    2. It really depends on the way you work and what makes you comfortable.


    But beyond these two obvious reasons, I'm looking for opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of using one or the other method.

    For example, I believe that Karl (for Peter and the Wolf) used his sequencer (DP) only, not a notation program (Karl - please correct me if I'm wrong ), and I think dpDan did the same for the Schumann Piano Concerto.

    Yet others here work primarily using Overture or Finale.

    Overture looks wonderful, but other than the above 2 obvious reasons, I'd love to know the various advantages/disadvantages of using a notation program over using only DP.

    Thanks to everyone for your opinions!
    David

  2. #2

    Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Collett

    Now I know a lot of you will jump to say:
    1. Use a notation program if you need/want a much better looking printed score.
    2. It really depends on the way you work and what makes you comfortable.

    It's kind of hard for me to give an opinion without falling into the category of no. 2, above. But, in my particular case, I click in all notes with a mouse--I don't use a midi controller. Therefore, I find it alot faster to use Overture rather than drawing in all the note durations in a sequencer. If you play in your music, then that may be faster. Additionally, I like to see the score for all the parts as it plays back, which is something I've not been able to satisfactorily accomplish with Cubasis. Maybe a different story with your sequencer?

    Rich
    Richard Galbraith

  3. #3

    Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    I really think that you answered your own questions. I also use DP with GPO and other orchestral sound plugs. I use Finale as well. When I compose and arrange I find myself using both entry methods. I am old school in that I grew up at the piano writing stuff down. For me it is a matter of speed. I get around Finale pretty fast. If I can input a lines faster in Finale I will. For pads, audio files, Etc. I use DP because it is faster and easier.

    I use both platforms and would not want to be without either. To answer your question, both methods work best for me.

    Peace

    Rik

  4. #4

    Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by rikp
    I really think that you answered your own questions. I also use DP with GPO and other orchestral sound plugs. I use Finale as well. When I compose and arrange I find myself using both entry methods. I am old school in that I grew up at the piano writing stuff down. For me it is a matter of speed. I get around Finale pretty fast. If I can input a lines faster in Finale I will. For pads, audio files, Etc. I use DP because it is faster and easier.

    I use both platforms and would not want to be without either. To answer your question, both methods work best for me.

    Peace

    Rik
    Talk about dejavu!
    I just was going over some other threads that deal with this same thing - Actually - Overture is BOTH a notation application AND also is a sequencer in that it lets you add, edit and adjust all the CC data, notes, and all sorts of other stuff in its Graphic Window (piano roll type interface) just like you can in a sequencer. I'm sure this has been said before, but I was either too busy with other threads or too stuck in my ways with Finale, but overture is really both. If that had dawned on me before, I would have gotten into it a long time ago. I prefer working in notation, and then editing for more realism in a sequencer - or if needs be, I like to record things live for even more realism. My process up till now has been to write it out in Finale, export the midi data and import it into Tracktion and do the editing there. With overture, you don't have to have a separate sequencer unless you are dealing with 70 staves or something and need to freeze tracks.

    As a dyed-in-the-wool Finale user, I never thought I would consider switching to another notation app, but when Overture 4 is released, I am switching. Finale for OSX is almost unbearable with large scores.
    I love Human playback in Finale, but it seems to be the only redeeming grace about it at this point - and with all the neato features Overture is going to have in v4, (including a humanized playback) it is gonna be the one to beat.

    My 2 cents

    Jerry
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
    Korg TritonLe & MAudio Oxygen 8
    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

    My Website!
    New Film Scores!
    Also, Ever think about having your very own personal documentary? See my new Website!
    http://www.mylegacyfilm.com


  5. #5

    Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    One way to go is the hybrid approach, for original works anyway.

    Step 1: Sequencer. Noodle around until you find the theme, the sound or the rhythm that inspires you. The sequencer recorded it, so you don't lose your ideas. (Conceptualize)

    Step 2: Paper. Map out rough ideas, form, a lead sheet, whatever. (Compose with the right brain)

    Step 3: Notation. Work out complex harmonies and counterpoint on, say, five staves. Don't worry about simpler stuff, like a melody over a simple pad, or ostinato. (Compose with the left brain)

    Step 4: Paper. Jot out ideas about orchestration, maybe right on your printed notation. (Orchestrate)

    Step 5: Sequencer. Create a click track. Play as much in live as possible. Slow down the tempo to play in hard bits. Mouse in the really hard bits. Tweak, tweak tweak. (Perform)

    Step 6: Sequencer or multitracker. Mix together the final product. Add effects. Volume maximize. (Mix & Master.)

    That's one of many possible processes anyway!

    -JF

  6. #6
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    Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    Jon,

    Good method you raise. We often overlook pencil and paper technology which sometimes can be the best way of capturing and working out ideas.

    Gary Garritan

  7. #7

    Wink Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    JF method is THE method!!

    But I can simply say that paper and notation SW (that is the virtual paper and the engraver copy all in one, but can also generate a good starting point MIDI file to export in the sequencer as my colleagues told) is a matter of "phisical/psycological" approach to the music.

    Usually who is trained as a natural performer (rock, pop, jazz, autodidact) use the sequencer as a multitrack recorder, editable, and time streching suitable: the notation is just an optional, and this is the reason for the low score view quality of big sequencer, even if really powerful to print music.

    Who is trained as a composer has the opposite instinct/need: he want first of all to see his score, and write every note inside, beside, after, before, contemporarly, over...other notes. That's all.

    The sequencer will be anyway the right (the only?) place to create a serious mix and the final bounce.

    (...even if the GPO Studio audio record option let you virtually directly bounce a final audio file from the notation program you are using! wow...)

  8. #8

    Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Jon,

    Good method you raise. We often overlook pencil and paper technology which sometimes can be the best way of capturing and working out ideas.

    Gary Garritan
    I still do this a lot. There was a thread a year or so ago about where we find inspiration when composing and the methods used while inspired. There wasn't a clear consensus there either.
    I use whatever methods are the quickest (and which best suits the situation) from point A to point Z.
    If I think sequencing will be faster and more productive, i do it - if I feel writing it first - I do it. If I want to start with notation software, I do it - if I want to work it out improvising first, I do it.
    But the question here was which is better? sequencers or notation programs? and unfortunately, it depends upon the who, the what, and the where's in life. Those questions and their answers have a big impact upon which will be better suited for a musically creative moment.



    Jerry
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
    Korg TritonLe & MAudio Oxygen 8
    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

    My Website!
    New Film Scores!
    Also, Ever think about having your very own personal documentary? See my new Website!
    http://www.mylegacyfilm.com


  9. #9

    Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    Another tool can be the audio recorder. Some people like to sing to bring out thier concepts. By recording the signing, the ideas are preserved.

    I tend not to work this way, but some others swear by it.

    -JF

  10. #10

    Re: Notation program vs. Sequencer - opinions?

    This is the kind of thread I really enjoy. I get ideas from you all and (hopefully) contribute ideas that are worthwhile for others.

    For me, I go through the following:

    1) Composition/doodling/idea generation happens on either the piano or on a synth, depending on what kind of music I am after. I've found that a single synth sound can unlock an idea that otherwise would never have occured.

    2) I use paper to write down the ideas and then to arrange the music. (Still at the piano.)

    3) Once I have the arrangement done, I move it from paper to Sibelius. (Overture is also great!) This gives me the music in a solid MIDI and score format.

    4) I export the MIDI from Sibelius and import it into Cubase SX. I then begin work on the audio aspect of the piece.

    There are crossovers at times, usually I come up with something in SX and I then have to add it to the score in Sibelius. Fortunately this is easy to do.

    In my case if I don't get an idea down right away I will, witout exception, forget it. So, if I get an idea while doodling on the synths I record the MIDI and then take that to the piano to flesh the parts.

    I also find that I need to get the bulk of each step done in a serial fashion. In other words, I have to compose until I'm done. Then, I move to Sibelius. i then work on the score until it is completely done. Then I move to the audio step in Cubase. Again, there is some crossover as ideas evolve while in Cubase.

    Is this process the most refined? No. That's probably why I don't get much done. But it works for how my mind works and that is what counts.

    -LFO

    P.S. I tried to and could not deal with the Cubase VST or SX score feature. To me, sequencing and scoring are two completely different worlds and should be kept that way.
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

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