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Topic: OT: Working from notation

  1. #1

    OT: Working from notation

    I would like to conduct a quick survey. When composing, how many of you would be working from notation if you had the tools to do so?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but with today\'s current tools, working from notation is still not an easy thing to do. Finale or Sibelius only offer poor control over performance, and the traditionnal sequencers offer poor control over notation...

    Is it time for a new hybrid notation program/sequencer that would allow best of both worlds?

    What do you think?


  2. #2

    Re: OT: Working from notation

    I work with the notation in Logic Audio all the time. It\'s not as extensive as finale or other dedicated notation programs but for the most part it works great. I\'ve printed scores and used them in sessions with 20 string players and various other instrumentalist without complaint. I think Logic is the best \"Hybrid\" out there.
    John Angier

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Working from notation

    I certainly would -- I do everything on paper before getting near a sequencer.

    The notation program I use, however, is the ancient but renowned and marvelous DOS program called \"Score\", and, though it is still used by some of the leading large publishers for their most complicated projects, its midi capabilities are from the 80\'s.

    I occasionally debate buying Sibelius or Finale just for comfortable entry of notes into a sequencer, and NOT for their usual purpose, the creation of printed material.

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Working from notation

    Me too - i would love to have something like that. I use Sonar.. Overall I really like it, but the notation sort of sucks. I\'ve tried cubase and digital performer, and they don\'t seem to be any better. I can\'t see myself changing to logic - I just hope that Sonar improves that area some.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Working from notation

    It all boils down to how much time you have and how much understanding of how to get a score or whatever else to become as real/sensible/acceptable/attractive as possible.

    I remember having a long conversation with Ben Finn (of Sibelius) as to the fact that regardless of how good he perceived Sibelius to be, it still was incapable of translating scores and playing into a sensible musical result without considerable extra input.

    This has not changed and given the limitations of any of todays software and hardware, true musical results are only achieved by much hard work and much time coupled to understanding or even in some cases, a sideways shifted view of what was originally intended.

    I have been known to spend a whole day on one instrumental phrase just so as to get the required result (as far as the tools allow me) and I\'m sure that many others will have done the same.

    Of course there comes a time in any \"working\" where the creator/exponent of said work considers their results to be acceptable to most.

    However, there is always that someone who accurately critiscises the shortcomings of any work (ing). At that point one takes on board the remarks passed and either dismisses them as \"out of touch\", \"ignorant\", \"utopian\", \"valid\", \"devastatingly different\" or otherwise. What one then does to alter the original result is down to how much one respects the criticisers views coupled to how far the technology will allow you to achieve change in the given circumstances.

    I work off scores, I compose on the fly, I notate via step input and many other means but in the end, it comes down to how much you perceive the original as an accurate portrayal of what is required. Many scores have utterly precise instructions for their performance in particular situations. However the lack of some of the esoteric desires of a composer need not be mitigated by the same and valid musical performances may be achieved regardless of the original instructions.

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Working from notation

    I\'ve have never gotten musical results from playing back music that is \"Correctly notated\" in a sequencer. I usually have one file for performance, and One for reading or Notation purposes. When I get to use real players, I usually play in the parts to get the ideas down and when I\'m satisfied with the sequenced demo, I create a musically accurate Notated score for the real players to perform. Music played back from a sequence that is perfectly notated always sounds computer-like to me, no matter how many different sample articulations and tempo changes, accelerandos etc. In order to correctly notate music, the parts have to be quantized. If you play the parts in by actually physically playing and then look at the notation, you\'ll usually see all kinds of weirdness in the score, yet it sounds like music. Thats if you play the parts in as if using the sequencer like a tape machine. I always use a click but I don\'t quantize expressive parts. I suppose you can fix some of this if you quantize the score display and not the playing, but we\'ve got a long way to go before sequencers/ notation programs become this intuitive.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Working from notation

    *sigh* I was hoping there was a solution to that. Every work that I do, I never use a click track, so you can imagine the mess that is created with notation. I have pulled off creating full orchestral scores with these messes though, and don\'t ask how, it\'s as hard as it sounds. I HATE IT!!

    Isn\'t there a program where you can put the downbeat wherever you need to to somewhat give guidelines of where the measure starts and ends?

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Working from notation


    Beautifully written – an excellent job of detailing the (almost) mutually exclusive areas of notation and MIDI realization. I’ve had this discussion with many people over the years and most people would rather not hear the truth that notation is not going to be translated directly into a believable performance anytime soon. The acceptance of this truth is the first step toward getting the job done. Most things worth doing require an enormous amount of work – this is no exception, at least for the time being. Frankly, I’m not so sure I’m looking forward to the day that AI handles the interpretive decisions for me (even if I am dictating the overall approach). Call me a glutton for punishment but I like making the decisions myself, even if it does consume inordinate amounts of my life. At least the final results reflect my intentions as accurately as possible given the technological restrictions.


  9. #9

    Re: OT: Working from notation

    Martin, check out Overture 3 from http://geniesoft.biz/

  10. #10

    Re: OT: Working from notation

    The point of my orginal post was not to wish for software that will play a score accurately. I agree with most of you that this kind of thing is really far from being done.

    In fact, what I would like to have is an hybrid software that mixes notation stuff to input a score, and sequencer stuff to generate a good performance. Of course I had in mind that WE would have to work on the performance.

    The problem with today\'s software is that is focuses mainly on one of these two aspects while neglecting the other. Cubase, Logic, Sonar, etc. focus on performance. So you can create great performances with these tools. On the other hand, Finale and Sibelius allow easy manipulation of notation, but are pain in the a** when it comes to work on the performance.

    I\'ve heard many times people saying that they have two different versions of their work, one for performance and the other for notation.

    I just wish I had a piece of software that mixes best of these two worlds.


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