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Topic: Need scoring advice!

  1. #1

    Need scoring advice!

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    Hi everyone, I\'m new to this board. I\'m a musician and I just got my first scoring job for a very short subject film, however I have no experience using a computer to compose. I\'ve tried researching on the internet but am still totally confused by sequencers, samplers, etc. Can someone just tell me plainly and simply what I need in terms of software and hardware?

    What I need to do is write to picture from my synth, and through whatever process, the end result should be a professional sounding orchestral mock-up, completely notated. I know it can be done and I\'ve heard the awesome samples on the Vienna Strings and Advanced Orchestra websites, it\'s just that no one ever tells what the process is to get there.

    I\'m not interested in being a MIDI tech guru, I just want to concentrate on writing the music. Any info would be really helpful. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Need scoring advice!

    I\'m totally with Simon...

    Nevertheless, here are some ideas. The best way to go, is to focus on the several steps until the result. Each step may need additional gear.

    1. Composing and orchestration
    I don\'t know what are your composing and orchestrating skills, but of course, reading some books about orchestration will not warm you. From the gear point of view, you will need a keyboard (maybe a synth), a computer, a midi interface, and a sequencer software (like cubase SX or similar).

    2. Mock-up
    If you are a great composer, maybe you could compose and do a full orchestration just using the piano. If not (welcome to the club), you will want to hear everything. Of course, in the end you will need also the mock-up, so there is no escape. To do that you will need at least a full orchestra library (a good one). To play the libraries, you will need a software sampler like gigastudio or kontakt (some libraries bring already a sampler software). Of course, a good soundcard. The major problem, is that you will not be able to play the full orchestra just with 1 PC. You could play some instruments each time (and record them), or buy more computers.
    Even with great compositions, sampling will not give you that \"real sound\" out-of-the box. You will learn step by step, small tricks to get a more real sound.

    To end the process, you will have to mix all things, do some audio processing and mastering. From the gear point of view, you will need good speakers and headphones and maybe a remote control. Some good plug-ins could help you also.

    So, what was the question?

  3. #3

    Re: Need scoring advice!

    Sorry for the naive question everyone. The deadline is in February. My composition skills are good. A little less so for orchestrating. I suppose ay this point I will have to write out a piano reduction score and outsource. Thanks.

  4. #4

    Re: Need scoring advice!

    Originally posted by Tony M:
    Sorry for the naive question everyone. The deadline is in February. My composition skills are good. A little less so for orchestrating. I suppose ay this point I will have to write out a piano reduction score and outsource. Thanks.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">You can learn the basic computer skills in a matter of weeks. Experience will be the best teacher after that.

    You need:

    1. A fast computer
    2. A midi port (either USB or gameport)
    3. A midi adapter cord to connect from your keyboard to your computer\'s midi port.
    4. A software sequencer. I use SONAR and highly recommend it. Others use Cubase or Logic. You can get a low cost version of Sonar called Home Recording (I believe) that will do a lot.
    5. A software sampler. I highly recommend Kontakt. It\'s by far the best software sampler now available. It works as a plug-in within your sequencer.
    6. Orchestral samples to use with your sampler.
    7. Instead of buying Kontakt and orchestral samples, you might consider getting Gary Garritan\'s new Garritan Personal Orchestra which, based on the demos, should be able to handle the project you have in mind. GPO comes with BOTH built in (samples and sampler), so it\'s just a matter of opening it up in Sonar (or whatever) and going to town.

    Learning how to use all of these tools is just a matter of taking the TIME to read the manuals, do the tutorials and have PATIENCE. You\'ll be up and running in no time.

    From there it\'s just gravy.

    And don\'t let all the tech talk scare you away. It all starts to make sense after awhile. Setting up a computer music system is REALLY a simple process -- but a lot of people like to make it SOUND complicated....

    As for orchestration, I\'d suggest you listen to a lot of classical works and film scores. Orchestration is basically (and I know I\'m oversimplifying) figuring out how to break up that piano piece into several different parts, then finding the right instruments to play them.

    You might consider looking at the Classics Explained series on the Naxos recording label. Particularly the one devoted to Maurice Ravel, who was a MASTER orchestrator. The narrator dissects Bolero and Ma Mere L\'oye, and it\'s HIGHLY instructive.

    I\'m afraid if you outsource the music, you may not get what you want....

  5. #5

    Re: Need scoring advice!

    One way to go is to get the fast computer with a nice sound card and monitors, then get Sibelius. You then work in the world of notation, and can play your stuff back. If you decide to outsource, just save the MIDI file and print the score.

    Sibelius now comes with Kontakt Silver, so you get some sounds (the PC one is done, the Mac sounds will be out later).

    If you decide to do the performance yourself, you would then get GPO and a sequencer. Load the MIDI file from Sibelius into the sequencer, and then draw the envelopes for swells and such. You can play the lines that are \"exposed\" by hand for more feel.

    Starting on the notation side and moving toward the sequencing/sampling side is a good way to ease into this computer music thing.

  6. #6

    Re: Need scoring advice!

    Thanks everyone for the advice, especially robgb who made it all seem less intimidating and actually doable. But JonFairhurst\'s solution is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a million. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7

    Re: Need scoring advice!

    What you\'re asking is impossible. You can\'t avoid becoming a \"MIDI tech guru\" and get \"professionally sounding orchestral scores\" at the same time. I\'m sorry but this topic is so huge and I can\'t really give you any advice - it takes people many years to go from newbie to producing great sounding music on a computer. I guess that\'s why you can\'t find any source describing that process so you\'ll be able to pull it off in a couple of weeks.... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  8. #8

    Re: Need scoring advice!


    I have to agree with simon. It would be like someone giving you a 747 for christmas and you asking how to fly it. Become a pilot.


    p.s.good luck,it is worth the learning curve.

    p.p.s.You might want to check out gary\'s new GPO , from what I have heard it would be a great starting point.

    p.p.p.s. Geat yourself some books on film music too.


  9. #9

    Re: Need scoring advice!

    When is the deadline exactly?

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