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Topic: How do YOU composer?

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  1. #1

    How do YOU composer?

    I hope this subject has not come up yet here.

    I was wondering if the process I write (and produce) music is correct.

    Of course I know that little can be done for me to change my mind as everyone has individual ideas and needs and whatever...

    Still I do feel that in certain aspects I've left myself behind and let me explain:

    In order to finish and deliver a track in audio format (mp3/wav) I have 3 phases:

    i. Composer/Orchestrate in manuscript. No computers, nothing. If the lights go out (and it's day time outside) I'm fine. I've always done that.
    ii. Copy the score to Finale (could be any program, just Iuse Finale). BTW, I use Finale 2000, that's 7 years away... brrrr...
    iii. Export midi from Finale, import to Cubase and work towards producing the final product.

    I find that for me this series works, and let me now explain:

    I need to compose on paper, because I want to see the whole (A3 many times) page in front of me and with a blink of an eye have nextto me all the drafts,notes and everything else. Coposing directly to a notation program would be nightmare for me and in a sequencer nightmare as well, granted that I don't have keyboard to play the music in.

    Inputing notes manually in Cubase is hell, so I use Finale for that, and anyway I find that Notatino programs, still make a better job making scores than sequencers.

    And the other way around, sequencers do a better job sequencing music, than notation programs do.

    But here I see a lot of people using notation programs to make their final tracks, and actually producing very decent (brilliant actually) results, for which I'm amazed. Still I mix everything in audio so for me that would be quite tricky.

    Anyway... that's me.

    How do you do it?

    Am I too traditional? Do I waste time like this?

    PS. I've done some tracks straight to cubase and all I can say ist hat I would never be able to produce the ellaborate and complicated scores that I make by hand this way. It's a matter of choice probably in the end...

  2. #2

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolas
    i. Composer/Orchestrate in manuscript. No computers, nothing. If the lights go out (and it's day time outside) I'm fine. I've always done that.
    ii. Copy the score to Finale (could be any program, just Iuse Finale). BTW, I use Finale 2000, that's 7 years away... brrrr...
    iii. Export midi from Finale, import to Cubase and work towards producing the final product.
    I find myself doing much the same, just a little different. I sketch things out in a sequencer sometimes or on paper. It can range from a melody to an idea/motif, to the full blown form of the piece. I then typically sequence/orchestrate the piece. And then if it will be performed by live musicians, I will notate it.

    I used to write extemporaneously, but once I started getting work, I realized that this can be dangerous, as that the piece can lack cohesiveness due to no solidified form or outline. Kind of like writing a paper or a speech. I felt that I needed to have some kind of guidance. It has helped me, and has even left a lot of room for creativity because it somewhat confines and refines the number of decisions I have to make.

    I could talk forever about this, but well...

    Hope this helps,
    Sean Beeson
    Sean Beeson
    www.seanbeeson.com
    Composer for videogames, film and television

  3. #3

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    In my case :

    1) I play all I hear on a midi keyboard with a piano sound.
    2) I take all parts and play with my virtual orchestra.
    3) I take all virtual instruments and export on Finale.
    4) I search for some error (chords, etc etc)
    5) I print and enjoy !

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
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    Grenoble - France
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    353

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    If it's a slow and melodic music :

    1) I play the theme with a midi keyboard on Cubase SX3. Then i arrange the durations of some notes and clean a little , with the piano roll so i have a very precise theme.

    2) Then i do the basics orchestrations by editing on the piano roll ( which i find to be quite efficient finally ... when i started composing i hated piano roll editor )

    3) When everything is finish i start to add ornaments like wind chimes, harp glissandos, bassdrum roll crescendo, and doublings..

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
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    357

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolas
    I was wondering if the process I write (and produce) music is correct.
    No such thing as correct - or incorrect. So long as you acheive the results you were after, you did it "correctly".

    Cheers.

  6. #6

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    I find things only come easy to me when I have an idea of what I want to do already.

    Then I just tinker in the sequencer until I get it going. Par-mixing and adding ornamentation as I see the need arise.

    If I have no ideas ready to go, then I sit and play piano until I get something going. For writing scores these days it seems pen/paper writers arent as useful, with how much pre and post production can go into making a contemporary sounding piece of music. It will still work for the song(Harmony and melody) portion of course, a classically trained music writer is of course at a huge advantage in that(To someone who is self taught like myself).. But different ways to achieve a similar goal. Either one could be "Correct' for a purpose.

  7. #7

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    I pace around in circles until I have everything worked out, then I write it down, unless the goal is a strictly virtual performance, in which case I move straight to sequencing. I play everything in live via keyboard.

  8. #8

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolas
    i. Composer/Orchestrate in manuscript. No computers, nothing. If the lights go out (and it's day time outside) I'm fine. I've always done that.
    ii. Copy the score to Finale (could be any program, just Iuse Finale). BTW, I use Finale 2000, that's 7 years away... brrrr...
    iii. Export midi from Finale, import to Cubase and work towards producing the final product.
    There are two steps missing here:
    - the human interpration of the score in dynamics etc.
    - the sounds and mix.

    One of my best clients if Manfred Schoof, 70 year old, famous tv-composer and jazz-trumpeter
    We work like this:
    - He writes the score on paper and sends it via fax to a college how is great in playing sheet music.
    - He plays the notes into the sequenzer and sends me the midifile
    - I arrange the sounds, mostly do the rythm part, mix and master.

    We do this for more than 10 years and it works great,
    because there is a human in every step.

    Sometimes, when we have a strong deadline, we all work at the same time
    and I send the finished production to Manfred Schoof via internet.

    If you'd like to work this way, I'm shure you find all the experts right here. ;-)

    Chris Hein
    Chris Hein - Horns / Chris Hein - Guitars / Chris Hein - Bass
    http://www.chrishein.net

  9. #9

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hein
    There are two steps missing here:
    - the human interpration of the score in dynamics etc.
    - the sounds and mix.
    Well the thing is that some of my scores can get qutie complicated, and although I would be able to play them (since I do play the piano quite, well and although I don't have a keyboard yet), still I would prefer to input the notes via Finale. Either way if I end up inputing 20+ instruments I', bound to start quantitising, so what's the use of human input at that part.

    By assured that I give my best to the tempo track to make the trakc sound realistic. And I do believe that I'm doing alright in that department...

    Sound and mix are in the (iii.) production of the final product.

    JohnCarter: Although I've done what you say, I dstill fail to decide if bass drum rolls and other 'effects' are just ornaments... I tend to try and use them a little mroe...

    RiffWraith: I'm mainly interested to see different approached. I had an interesting discussion with someone I value his opinion, and told me that he uses Finale for producing the final music, but yet I see Finale as a notation program and not sequencer. Just want to see what people think about that in the end. My process is time consuming,. but certianly it's worth (for me and the quality I end up with).

    Generally I have the idea that "difficult" or "ellaborate" scores cannot be written straight to the sequencer or piano/roll. I would argue even Finale for the reason I posted inthe 1st post, but that's juts a little far fetched...

    But I cannot see how someone could open cubase, go to piano roll in 20 instruments, even with colours and stuff, and make sure that he can make sure that he's doing the best he can do... At least however many times I've tried writting music straight to the sequencer, it ended up somehow...simple... (not a bad thing per se but for the argument here).

    That said I'm not trying to convince anyone, just seeing how people think about that.

  10. #10

    Re: How do YOU composer?

    Study jazz( the art of being spontaneous) leave everything until the last minute.

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