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Topic: when you are sketching out a composition...

  1. #1

    when you are sketching out a composition...

    do you usually use the full orchestra patches to lay down strings? or do you go right into arrange them instrument by instrument?

    I tend to be meticulous about my arranging, but it gets in the way of my compositions speed, also often times when I lay down a full orchestra patch first I won't want to go back and change it. Yeah.. I'm weird.

    Just curious what you do.

  2. #2

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    I have a feeling a lot of people do it that way, like you I'm expecting "shrieks" but maybe not...

    I know a few people also who lay down the part on piano and arrange off that. I would like to do that but unfortunately am not the best piano player.

  3. #3

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    I (still) work with pencil and paper.

    I write down everything, copy it in Finale and transfer the midi file(s) in Cubase.

    I don't deal with strings first, not in my writting, nor in my rendering. I start top to bottom in the rendering, and from whatever in the writing (in more complex scores, I start with drafts, etc in piano 3-4 staff that needs transcribing).

    But since I have the score in front of me, I simply start with the flutes/picollo and then move on to the next (oboe/E.H.) etc...

    I don't think many people work this way, as it is really time consuming...

  4. #4

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    I almost never compose at the computer.

    Usually I build up the piece in my mind even before making a pencil+paper sketch.

    The arrangement generally comes with the ideas at the same time.

    Of course, what works easily in real life can be a major hassle or impossible with samples. I'm not quite at the point where I can get the samples to do the music justice, but I'm getting closer.

  5. #5

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    I'm afraid I tend to compose in the most tortuous manner possible. I start with an idea in an instrument and listen to it over and over, till I know what's missing, and I add the other instruments one at a time, one note at a time with the mouse. I never have a clue where the piece is going, so when I've finished a bar I start to think about what parts within it are prominent, and where I can hear them going next. I sketch them out into the next bar or two, then repeat the process of waiting to be hit by inspiration for the other parts. Possibly at this stage it turns out I hear more instruments and I add them - this process tends to result in a really random order of tracks in Cubase, with instruments being assigned to tracks in the order that they enter.

    I don't think I could sketch with a full-strings patch, since there is no plan at all.

  6. #6

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    Its good to know people are still using pencil and paper. I always considered that my "crutch" as it is time consuming, but I also get my best results that way, and get a clearer vision of where I want to go or what I want to do. If the piece stands alone I usually do a lot on paper, but if its to media then I almost never do.

    I really should get the new version of sibelius, I like that ideas bucket thing.

  7. #7

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    I generally have a melody in my head and I start sequencing on the computer from there. I really need to get in the habit of just sequencing a rough daft of pretty much the whole song first and then go back and perfect each passage while trying to make them sound more realistic and dynamic. Right now, I'll start with one instrument track and I'll lay out the passage and try to perfect it right away. Then I'll do a mixdown as my computer can only handle so many sampled instruments loaded at the same time. The problem is after doing a mixdown, I generally don't like to go back and change it later on. When I do, I tend to end up with tons of mixdowns that eat up my hard drive space.

    Anyway, I think it would be faster if I just sequenced out a rough draft of the song first while using temporary light samples. Sometimes though, I get the best results while sequencing right away with full sample patches as it helps me write for the samples so to speak.

  8. #8

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    Another vote for pen and paper!

    I will typically get the idea and work it out without even a piano, notate it, and sit in front of the piano and sculpt it into something I like. Once I have a nice theme and the small orchestration inserts I want, I'll run it into a notation program, orchestrate the mess, and bounce to Sonar for rendering.

  9. #9

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    It has always baffled me how some people can comfortably write music compositions with a pen and paper without the aid of a piano or any other instrument. I assume those who can must have perfect pitch?

  10. #10

    Re: when you are sketching out a composition...

    I'm sure it's easier if you have perfect pitch, but if you have decent relative pitch and at least one absolute pitch committed to memory you can still use pen & paper reliably. I've had to do things that way for various class assignments.
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

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