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Topic: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

  1. #1

    Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    Hey guys, I am wondering if you can help me with learning what the best way to use Notation programs with GPO is? I've been listening to alot of your music and demos lately and it seems most everyone uses a sequencer like sonar/cubase etc, but I really want to use notation software and so I am wondering what is the best way to get realism out of using just notation software and no keyboard/sequencer/mod wheel.

    Is there anyone out there that composes in this manner, do you input all of the dynamics, tempo changes, etc manually like writing ppp and FFF into the score in your program?
    Is it possible to use a notation software to input the music and then still work on it in a sequencer and make it better?

    For those people (if there are any) that use notation software rather than sequencers with GPO...how do you do it?

  2. #2

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    Hi there,

    I wouldn't say 'most everyone', I think there are a lot of people here who use notation with GPO, with great success.

    From my limited experience (I'm one of the aforementioned Cubase users) with Finale, I set up GPO Studio with an orchestra, then set Finale up to play it back. Then I wrote notaiton in Finale as normal and the human playback (think that's what it's called) feature interpreted the dynamics and sent GPO controller data appropriately. Playback for me was acceptable for auditioning the piece but not for production. I guess you'd have to import it into a sequencer and tweak it for that.

    I slaved over the piece for three days solid but my notation is weak and it was taking so long (compared to playing it in live to a sequencer), PLUS the piece was for listening, not for score, I just gave up in the end.

    John Hawksley
    Composition & Arrangement

  3. #3

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    hi all,

    IMO Cubase is for production (it's a sequencer) and has powerfull, solid but sometimes awkward scoring functionality. And almost, once skilled, you don't have to learn how to use another software, you don't have to maintain your works from notation to sequencer.

  4. #4

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    For those people (if there are any) that use notation software rather than sequencers with GPO...how do you do it?[/QUOTE]

    I'm not using anything other Finale 2005b. My scores are covered with expressions and hairpins etc - but I'm very happy with the results. Some people keep a separate playback copy of their score.

    Human Playback has really improved and most of the problems I had with it have now been corrected. And GPO / Finale is set for even better integration with Finale 2006 due shortly. The biggest drawback for me is that keyswitches are not very elegant when using notation software. They are really designed for keyboard users.

  5. #5

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    I score in Finale without any expression then save as a midi file and do the final production in Sonar.

  6. #6

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    I'm very notation oriented. I'll do a complete score in Finale, with expression marks. Then I'll save the score as a MIDI file and open it in Sonar for editing. Sometimes I'll record a passage live if I think I can get a better result that way, but usually this isn't necessary.
    Dan Powers

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

  7. #7

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    I use only Finale for my GPO demos. With Human Playback I find that a well notated score will play back very nicely. And considering all of the GPO additions to Finale 2006, it can only get better.

    Both of the demos below were done using Finale 2006's new HP (human playback) functions. I have never used a sequencer program, and I don't really like to because it takes time away from actual composition for me. I also find HP to be a good litmus test for notation that I will eventually give to real performers. For instance, if I forget to put an "arco" in the cellos when they are supposed to be, Finale won't do the Key Switch and the cellos will keep on plucking.

    The only close to messing with MIDI I do is setting up the MIDI in Finale and adjusting levels in GPO. Not to say I can't do it, I just don't like to.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  8. #8
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    After toying and struggling with a way of using Cubase as a compositional tool for years, I gave up and always use finale first. I come from the paper world of composition, and my need to see a complete score as I sketch and compose. The only drawback with notation programs here is that they only allow you to visualize a screenful of information at a time; whereas, using orchestration paper for sketch material makes it easy to layout the larger construction of a piece.

    With Finale in particular, the controller and midi editing is horrible and shocking, so, I usually only plug in as much MIDI information that I need to conceptualize the piece. I then export the score as a MIDI file and import it into Cubase for demo or mockup work, including adding sweetener.

    If the score is for live players, I will take the notation much further, right down to bow marks, specific articulations, text and the like.

    With Key'd instruments, I usually use a hidden second layer for these changes.

    I definately like using a scoring program over any sequencer, and would love it if someone actually made a decent MIDI editor to go along with it. However, scoring programs are still short on basic compositional features for real compositional work...doing sketch materials where the composer is not generally interested in specific metric considerations or final formatting, but is working more from an abstract representation of the music he is writing....motives, little fragments w/o rhythms, larger overall pitch plan and shape...things you normally do with little scraps of orchestration paper...shuffling through them and laying them out on a table. Precomposition...or research (similar to doing research on a novel). It's not that easy to do locked to a softwares' demand for a time signature, or easy to integrate into the final score...

  9. #9

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    I'm pretty much on the same page as the guys above: after all these years I'm very "score-oriented" and hence I input into Finale 2005b first, and add my expression marks, etc. immediately. With Human Playback, it works quite well (without HP, I'd have to learn the arcane world of mod-wheels and CC#s, whatever those are...). I agree with the others that Finale's midi-manipulation options are pretty crappy, sorta surprising considering how many years they've been around. But the 2006 (bundled with a lite version of GPO!) might even address this issue.

    I'd also add one thing: in my line of work, a composition/arrangement frequently not only has to stand alone as an audio creation, but also as a printed score for musicians to read off of live. In those cases it's critical that I work from the notation software first, since I don't think i'd want to start a piece in Sonar 4 (my sequencer) and THEN move to Finale.... yipes!

    Steve Main

  10. #10

    Re: Best Way To Use Notation Programs

    Both of the demos below were done using Finale 2006's new HP (human playback) functions.

    Hey Jess, just listened to the Demos, and they're great may I say! But did you really mean Finale "2006" -- I've only been able to pre-order it... do you already have it? (drooling with envy here...)

    Steve Main

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