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Topic: Playback engine for live performance

  1. #1

    Playback engine for live performance

    I posted similarly in the Sibelius forum on Yahoo. I am a conductor involved in my daughter's annual high school musical drama. If you have ever been involved in one of these hairy productions, you know how stressful it can be just getting the musicians together, much less getting them to commit to the entire rehearsal and performance schedule. Varying levels of ability complicate the situation. While working on "Beauty & The Beast" this year, I began exploring the options for, (along with additional live players), pre-recorded orchestration augmentations that would follow a conductor via live tap tempo functionality. I looked at Notion and RMS's Sinfonia. Both appear to work well with an edge going to Sinfonia, as this is precisely what it is designed for. However, Sinfonia (also known at OrchExtra through MTI) is a proprietary, rental-only system for specifically licensed shows. That disqualifies it for original works. Enter Notion and its NTEMPO function. It works well, but cannot accomodate any third-party sounds such as GPO. Even more important is that, in its infancy, it doesn't adequately accomodate the inevitable emergency situation in musical theater (ie. vamps on the fly, cuts, jumps, etc.).

    So, to the heart of my question and request...

    I need the playback features of the above mentioned programs, primarily Sinfonia. Ideally, an engine built into Sibelius or Finale would allow me to create my orchestrations and not have to repurpose the data via a klunky and unreliable export-import process and another program. Both these programs already have working relationships with Garritan, but the live playback functionality isn't quite there yet. If a developer was to come up with an open solution that had serious control geared for live performance theater, I'd be in heaven. It could be either a plug-in for Sibelius and/or Finale, or a standalone program that would read their notation files natively.

    Is there any interest or information out there? Thank you all for your consideration.


    Steve Hudgins

  2. #2

    Re: Playback engine for live performance

    Hi Steve,

    I too do a lot of work supporting community theater and local high schools. I use a tool called Midi Maestro. It handles all the on the fly stuff you mentioned very well - it was actually written by a computer programmer that needed a tool to do live community theater support.

    There are several others who frequent this forum who do similar work. Here is a link to a great discussion about this subject:


    I give a fairly detailed description of Midi Maestro somewhere in the middle of that thread.

    If you search for Midi Maestro on the forum you will find several other similar dicussions. The tool is available for only $99.00. It is an excellent program and I highly recommend it.

    Kenny Long

  3. #3

    Re: Playback engine for live performance


    That's it, man! Precisely what I'm looking for. I'll be checking out Midi Maestro in just a moment. BUT, more importantly, I read in its entirety the other thread you referenced. What a wealth of relevant information. Thank you so much for pointing me in that direction.

    Oh, and congrats on a successful presentation of "Woods". It looks like you've figured out what I've just been dreaming about. I knew I wasn't the only one with these issues. I'll update the thread as to my progress.

    Thanks again,

    Steve Hudgins

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