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Topic: I hope I am posting this in the right place....

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  1. #1

    I hope I am posting this in the right place....

    Hello,

    I have been composing for several years now, but only recently have I become aware of how amazing the computer can enhance composition. But I have little or no knowlege of where to begin. I would appreciate it if anyone would be willing to outline everything I need to begin. Along with the best places to purchase these items.

    Thanks to anyone in advance to takes the time to help me.

    Cheers...

  2. #2

    Re: I hope I am posting this in the right place....

    There is way too much to be learnt here that can be summarized in one post.
    I can give you some leads.

    You need a Software sequencer, e.g., cakewalk sonar or homestudio which
    -can help you write in staff notation
    -can interact with an external keyboard through MIDI. The sounds you will hear will be those of the external keyboard.

    You can stop there but if you want mor erealistic sounds, you enter the world of software sampling. Now, you need a "software synthesizer" (eg Gigastudio, kontakt,halion)which
    -takes the role of the external keyboard but is totally inside your hard drive
    -can play any sound that you have in your hard drive. So you are virtually unlimited when it comes to sample size. ---enter the world of giga samplers that stream directly frm the hard disk.
    For samples, see for example garritan, sonic implants.

    You can basicaly search the web with all the keywords in my post and get all the information you need.

    good luck!

  3. #3

    Re: I hope I am posting this in the right place....

    Take a look at this website:

    www.audiomidi.com

    It is a virtual store, they list 80% of all the options you have to make music using your computer. Just look for the descriptions and you may get a good idea of what you need to start with.


    Good Luck!

  4. #4

    Re: I hope I am posting this in the right place....

    I'm still very much an amatuer composer/musician, but I've been using technology to aid composition for nearly a decade. In that time my tools have evolved vastly in terms of quality (not to mention expense), but the basic elements have stayed the same.

    All my setups have had three elements: a sequencer, a means to hear the music I make, and something to record the resulting finished piece (assuming you want to move the finished work off your computer and show it off or whatever).

    How you choose to take care of each of these elements is entirely up to how much you're willing to spend. Back when I was a young stupid 7th grader my tools were very simplistic. My sequencer was a (now) dinosaur piece of software called Encore, the music was played back through my trusty Soundblaster 16 audio card, and I never recorded anything so that step didn't even come into play. It's a very shabby system indeed, but one that could be recreated nowadays with relative ease and little expense (although I really wouldn't recommend it).

    My second phase introduced me to Soundfonts - a sort of beginners samples I suppose. These were a HUGE leap up in sound quality and versitility from the onboard sounds that came with the Soundblaster 16 and had the added advantage of being free and in large supply if you knew where to look for them online. Just about any soundcard from Soundblaster uses these including all Live!, Awe64, and Audigy series. To anyone looking for a introduction to music and technology I fully endorse them to get you started. It's very very cheap compared to the alternatives and amazingly easy to use. The disadvantage unfortunately is that they can't hold a candle to...

    Gigastudio!! This was the third phase in my growth with technology. Read around and I'm sure you'll find plenty about this amazing piece of software. Unfortunately its also the most expensive puppy to deal with and it can be a real pain for a beginner to get working. Originally I had Gigastudio and SONAR XL (another sequencer/recording software) on one computer. What the system lacked in horsepower it made up for in quality of finished product. The huge disadvantage though was just how damn difficult it was to get a good finished product created. This system was more work around than work, which made composition quite the chore sometimes.

    Two years later I finally got what I'd always wanted. I purchased another copy of Gigastudio and two smokin' new computers. My old computer became the nerve center with the sequencer and recording software on it and the two new computers became devoted to just running Gigastudio. This has made things infinitely more enjoyable and usable but it was certainly a costly move to endure.

    So obviously you've got options depending on how much hassle you want to deal with and how much money you're willing to chuck into technology. A few pieces of software for you choose from:

    As far as a sequencer is concerned, I really enjoy Sibelius 3.0. However there's plenty of recording software that have built-in sequencers (although they're not nearly as powerful or intuitive as a stand alone sequencer in my opinion). Such programs that I have experience with and can recommend are SONAR XL and Cubase SX.

    As far as a means to hear the sound, you've literally got TONS of options with varying degrees of quality and price. A really good place to begin is either with soundfonts (since they're so delightfully cheap) or with something like the Garritan Personal Orchestra or East West Symphonic Orchestra thing. I've used neither of the later two, but based on reputation alone they're certainly a good place to look. Advantage with all three of those choices is you don't need to shell out for Gigastudio and expensive libraries of sounds. They all in one solutions. Of course if money isn't an option go for the gusto and purchase Gigastudio.

    As far as where to purchase this stuff check the soundblaster website if your interested in finding more out about Soundfonts or go to Audiomidi.com or soundsonline.com to browse the various other sample library options at your disposal.

    Hope there was more useful stuff in there than ramble. Good luck!

  5. #5

    Re: I hope I am posting this in the right place....

    Musica142,

    How good can a soundfont get? I have fiddled with them a bit as a beginner to sampling, and I would like to get into making my own samples of various acoustic folk-type instruments; I'd like to do the kind of sampling where each note is sampled many times, from piano to fortissimo, so playback from sequenced notated music (e.g. finale or sibelius) is as realistic as possible. Excuse me I don't quite know the correct terminology for this. How, in your experience, is Gigastudio better than the Soundfont approach?

    Quote Originally Posted by Musica142
    My second phase introduced me to Soundfonts - a sort of beginners samples I suppose. These were a HUGE leap up in sound quality and versitility from the onboard sounds that came with the Soundblaster 16 and had the added advantage of being free and in large supply if you knew where to look for them online. Just about any soundcard from Soundblaster uses these including all Live!, Awe64, and Audigy series. To anyone looking for a introduction to music and technology I fully endorse them to get you started. It's very very cheap compared to the alternatives and amazingly easy to use. The disadvantage unfortunately is that they can't hold a candle to...

    Gigastudio!!

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