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Topic: Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

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  1. #1
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    Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

    Those involved in producing large scale virtual orchestral works know that the upcoming large symphonic libraries will play a major role in their quest for true realism in their own compositions, or mockups of existing works. They also realize however, that it this represents only half the battle.

    The next essential step is to be able to effectively drive the myriad of available articulations within a professional working environment, and in a fraction of the time that is now required to sequence such works. In other words, to finally stop being a slave to the programming and have the program do the programming.

    I personally believe the only real candidate for such a role is Sibelius, which I have been using for several years now for the playback of symphonies, chamber works, etc. Although a few significant issues, such as midi timing adjustments, are awaiting resolution in a future update, the potential of Sibelius is outstanding due to its inherent structure and intelligence and, as such, I\'m convinced it represents the best possible solution for virtual orchestration.

    For those Sibelius users interested in optimizing and enhancing the interface with GigaStudio, there is an article on the topic available as a pdf download at :

    http://home.tallships.ca/island/interface.pdf

    My intention with this article is to provide a framework for further discussion with people who share a similar goal in developing the Sibelius-Gigastudio interface to its absolute maximum potential.

    With so many huge orchestral libraries about to be released, now is the time that this aspect of Sibelius must be fully explored. If possible, I am hoping to create a group of advanced Sib-Giga users with various specialties to test the legitimacy of some of the approaches within this article, as well as those they may be currently pursuing themselves.

    Cheers,
    Gungnir

  2. #2

    Re: Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

    Getting access to articulations via an arcane notation process? Ugh! A distasteful prospect. In the midi age, notation is something you translate to, not work from. In this new age there needs to be a new way to streamline our labor intensive creative process to use this new plethora of articulations available. People are working on this problem, but they are not ready to say anything yet. The first steps have already been made, if you care to see them.

  3. #3

    Re: Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

    I\'ve been using Finale and Logic for years. Each serves its purpose, the notation aspect of Logic is simply not up to the task of publisher quality notation. Finale\'s MIDI capabilities are simply inadequate.

    I see your quest as perfecting the interface between midi/audio production and notation for live performance. The way I see it the two are too unrelated to allow a user friendly program to be developed that does both. I\'ve wrestled with the issue for a long time. Maybe I\'m just old fashioned, or just old. It would be very useful for the voicings I work out in Finale to be visible in Logic (which doesn\'t know the concept of alto vs. soprano, nor bass vs. tenor). The simple fact is that an application which did both would be very expensive and I like the modularity of the software I use. If I saw more performances my tune might change, but probably not. I\'ve worked out a way to do these things and what I have works.

    Steve Chandler

  4. #4

    Re: Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

    Originally posted by gungnir:
    Those involved in producing large scale virtual orchestral works know that the upcoming large symphonic libraries will play a major role in their quest for true realism in their own compositions, or mockups of existing works. They also realize however, that it this represents only half the battle.

    The next essential step is to be able to effectively drive the myriad of available articulations within a professional working environment, and in a fraction of the time that is now required to sequence such works. In other words, to finally stop being a slave to the programming and have the program do the programming.

    I personally believe the only real candidate for such a role is Sibelius, which I have been using for several years now for the playback of symphonies, chamber works, etc. Although a few significant issues, such as midi timing adjustments, are awaiting resolution in a future update, the potential of Sibelius is outstanding due to its inherent structure and intelligence and, as such, I\'m convinced it represents the best possible solution for virtual orchestration.

    For those Sibelius users interested in optimizing and enhancing the interface with GigaStudio, there is an article on the topic available as a pdf download at :

    http://home.tallships.ca/island/interface.pdf

    My intention with this article is to provide a framework for further discussion with people who share a similar goal in developing the Sibelius-Gigastudio interface to its absolute maximum potential.

    With so many huge orchestral libraries about to be released, now is the time that this aspect of Sibelius must be fully explored. If possible, I am hoping to create a group of advanced Sib-Giga users with various specialties to test the legitimacy of some of the approaches within this article, as well as those they may be currently pursuing themselves.

    Cheers,
    Gungnir
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">

  5. #5

    Re: Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

    It is interesting to point out that Finale\'s lack in the MIDI department isn\'t really so much in power or flexibility as it is in interface. With Finale, you can adjust start and stop times, scale tempos, record continuous data in real time, etc. The only thing I\'ve heard mentioned here that it simply can\'t do are the things related to the syncing, and for that you could probably achieve the same thing via a utility like MIDI Yoke, linking Finale to a sequencer and controlling the playback from there.

  6. #6
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    Re: Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

    BlueScreen: To achieve a more natural, human feel, one has to shift note values to start a little before or after the beat.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hello BlueScreen, as I mentioned above, Sibelius is aware of this encumbrance, and it will be addressed. Whereas I have had the same concerns as you in regards to the potential quantize effect, I have reasoned (possibly erroneously) that the inherent attack of the individual articulation recordings should provide enough natural variation to prevent this phenomena (versus using synths, etc.). Here are a few mockups using Sibelius. I may be wrong, but I am not seeing this effect jumping out at me. Do you agree?

    http://home.tallships.ca/island/scherzo.mp3
    http://home.tallships.ca/island/brahms33.mp3
    http://home.tallships.ca/island/brahms.mp3
    http://home.tallships.ca/island/andante.mp3
    http://home.tallships.ca/island/hebridesgigaversion.mp3

    Yes, the whole SMPTE thing is currently a limitation for film work, but you pay a terrible price for those features. The sequencer issue is, of course, a matter of personal taste. I have used Cakewalk, etc. for years, but the thought of having to use programs such as Logic, Cubase and so on gives me a virtual allergic reaction (have the demos). In my opinion, they are the antithesis of what a compositional environment should be, full of clutter and distractions. But more importantly, we must somehow get away from this programming and finally begin to use some basic artificial intelligence to anticipate the articulations used within a phrase. As outlined in the article, I feel that Sibelius is best suited for this task. The biggest problem with Sibelius right now is that its plugin language currently doesn\'t read articulation symbols (just text), even though the available filters do.

    Doyle: The first steps have already been made, if you care to see them.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hello Doyle: Oh yes, I wish to see them. To save the dreaded programming which will only be intensified with the hugh number of available expressive nuances coming up with the new libraries. I don\'t agree that \"notation is something you translate to, not work from\". It depends on how you think musically.

    Pantonality: The way I see it the two are too unrelated to allow a user friendly program to be developed that does both.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hi Pantonality: Well, how might one convince you? Why not quickly browse the article? Our software is a function of our defined requirements, I see absolutely no reason why a notation program cannot trigger samples effectively if we design it to do so.

    Astrt4, I guess what attracts many to Sibelius (versus Finale) is that it seems so organic and tactile, so un-Bill Gates and un-Mac. In my case, I zoom and drag with real paper feel and dab in a few notes and then dab in some expressive passion on them, like an artist fleshes out an outline. It\'s the feel, almost literally. I want to jot in a few cello inflections on that aged textured parchment and then hear Nick\'s or the Vienna celli come immediately to life below it as wriiten. And once you know your samples, it gets real fast and is a lot of fun.

    Libraries first, ambience second, programming next. And always remember: the latter costs you the most in the long run!

    Cheers, Gungnir

  7. #7

    Re: Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

    Gungnir,

    I applaud you in writing this in depth guide to interfacing Sibelius with Gigastudio. I am new to the giga world and have yet to achieve anything as convincing as what I\'ve heard from others. Part of my problem is the lack of tutorials not so much in how to use the products but in how to emulate an orchestral ensemble with MIDI. I have seen some that show how to use the expression controller or reverb, etc., but I still dont understand what it takes to bring something from sounding highly reverbed with volume changes to sounding like a living breathing orchestral ensemble (I know it can be done...I\'ve heard so many great results).

    I also understand that are two goals as I see it. One to effectively emmulate an orchestral ensembles sound and ambiance and two, to notate a score so it sounds correct. You mention in your reply that you don\'t care much for Logic, Cakewalk, etc., but how can one control the breathing and expression of the instrument without those types of programs? Sibelius alone can\'t do that, can it?

    What I would love to see and have yet to find is a tutorial that walks a composer through the process of taking their MIDI music and adding the steps to making it sound like a realistic orchestral ensemble playing it. How are the controllers added? What settings work well with reverb, panning, etc.? Can anyone tell me how to get this information? That would be so helpful.

  8. #8

    Re: Driving the upcoming libraries: SIBELIUS........SUPER SEQUENCER?

    Hi Gungnir.

    Interesting pdf. I used to use Sibelius for my notation needs, but switched to Finale a few months ago.

    Leaving aside the question of which notation program one chooses, I question the practicality of using a notation program to create realistic sounding scores using MIDI devices.

    To me, the single biggest issue is not the number of articulations one can trigger with a program, but, rather, the freedom one has in de-quantizing note attacks. Unless my memory fails, I do not believe Sibelius gives the user much flexibility here. Playing back a good-looking score means that note values are sharply quantized. To achieve a more natural, human feel, one has to shift note values to start a little before or after the beat. This results, unfortunately, in a messy-looking score with 32nd note ties before the beat and 32nd note rests after.

    For this reason (among others) I choose to stick with a standard MIDI sequencer instead of a notation program when creating my scores. The ease with which one can click and drag a note around the beat is great. In Cubase, for example, you can edit the note start times, length, velocity and expression right in the same window. I do not know of anything comparable in any of the notation programs.

    Another major shortcoming in my eyes is the universal lack of support for locking to timecode. Every major sequencer has been able to do this for many years, but neither Sibelius nor Finale can do so. For those of us working in film and TV scoring, the absence of this single feature represents a fatal shortcoming.

    Finally, the difficulties involved in creating accurate tempo-maps based upon using hitpoints (or \"markers\", as Digital Performer calls them) is greatly compounded by the notation programs\' lack of SMPTE support. What if you need to design your cue to change tempo gradually over many bars in order to nail that car explosion at the end of the scene? Doing this without SMPTE would be torture enough;-- how would you accurately draw those changing tempo curves otherwise?

    My take.

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