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Topic: Other Finale users out there?

  1. #1

    Other Finale users out there?

    I\'ve gotten a few interesting responses from folks who are running Gigastudio from Finale. My (now more focused) question is whether there is any persuasive argument for Gigastudio over modules & hardware samplers run from a MIDI time clock, as what I am tring to do is stay with Finale as my primary-use program. It sounds like if I am not taking the trouble to fine-tune levels, attack & so on (as I can do with ProTools Cubase, etc.) then I am giving up one of the main advantages.

    Or is that untrue? Is Gigastudio, accessing a high-quality orchestral library, going to blow away the competition, even with rough mock-ups of a score?

    I have a hunch that my life will be kept simpler (less mysterious problems to trouble-shoot) if I stay with modules. Feedback on this is also most welcome. I\'m trying to gauge the pain / gain factor.

    Thanks in advance ....

  2. #2

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    I use Sibelius rather than Finale with Giga. Sib lets me put program change commands on the staff, so I can go from arco to pizz to spiccato, etc. Works great. If you can do that with Finale, Giga will work well for you too.

    For the final version I export the MIDI from Sibelius to a sequencer and add the expression envelopes. I can either draw them in with the mouse, or record myself wiggling the fader. This makes a big difference in that I can round off the attacks and releases and add swells and stuff. The only limitation is that the notes are quantized, rather than played in by hand. Sometimes it sounds mechanical, but for most music it works okay.

    Just confirm that Finale can do program changes mid staff. If so, you\'re good to go.

    Regarding modules vs. Giga, both will benefit from expression control. The Giga libs will generally sound much better out of the box. Giga libs with many velocity layers will respond nicely to the dynamics in your score. If you take the time to select the best articulations for your parts, Giga will blow the modules away.

  3. #3

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    I know that Finale can do program/channel changes mid-measure. You can apply the changes to particular notes or positions in the measures.

    Good luck, definitely go with Giga over the hardware modules.

  4. #4

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    Well, I thought I was going to to be getting rather than giving on this topic, but here I can offer something.

    Yes, Finale allows you to switch to a different sound in a given stave for, say, pizz. strings rather than arco, or a ponticello effect, or legato as opposed to off-the-string bowings. This is done (in my experience) with the expression-assign tool. The missing piece for those worried about a score dotted with unsightly expression markings is that Finale gives you the option to check whether or not you want these markings to show up on the \"screen only\" or in the score. \"Screen only\" means it stays pristine on the printed page.

    I imagine Sibelius has a similar option, but I don\'t know.

    This is very interesting feedback I am getting about Gigastudio as a partner for Finale. I know that it isn\'t done much & that is why I am soliciting feedback. The reason I want to stay with Finale as my platform is that otherwise all changes to a given piece wind up in various iterations - some on the \"demo\" (in Logic, or Cubase, or what have you), and others in the Finale score. I\'d like to stay in one place, if possible.

    I know some composers write in a sequencing program & then dump it into Finale or Sibelius as a Midi-file. I\'d rather write a passage once - with articulations, dynamics & so on - and be done with it. The shortcoming, at this point in history, seems to be in the programs we are given: notation programs being so data-intensive that they don\'t leave room for sophisticated Midi & audio editing options: sequencing & audio-editing programs having only rudimentary notation capacities. I hope this will not always be the case.

    Meanwhile, I\'d like to be able to write in Finale, as I\'ve done for some years now, and be able to make great demos. I\'m just trying to see what the \"best case\" scenario is.

    I now own one of the new Akai samplers & will be exploring that in order to provide my hardware-based studio with some higher quality sounds ... with brass, for instance, which seems to be where every sound module falls down.

    But none of this is a done deal - I\'m still making up my mind what the best way to go is. I have an opera being produced here in Berkeley on 06 that will involve some Midi-fied orchestration in the pit. There, unlike in the world of my studio, I am interested in getting things as rich & true-to-life as possible. So I may become a Giga-user yet.

  5. #5

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    When it comes to real playback dynamics, you\'d probably want to use a sequencer to make mod-wheel adjustments, and to possibly humanize the midi with tools a sequencer will offer.

  6. #6

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    Yeah, I\'m strating to get the picture that natural-sounding dynamic & tempo fluctuations are pretty hard to achieve without dropping my files into a sequencing program.

  7. #7

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    Lee asked some great questions. I\'ll reply in the case of Sibelius...

    > \"How do you handle things like key switch data?\"

    Easy. I put a MIDI Note-Off message on the staff with the correct note value. For notation I prefer only using program changes, so I edit my Gigs to use them in a consistent manner. The keyswitches vary so wildly from program to program that I can never remember them.

    > \"Can all those non-sounding data notes be hidden but still play?\"

    Yes. Any note or MIDI message can be shown on the screen, but not printed or published.

    > \"Also, how do you deal with all the banks that deal with rapid alternation by mapping the same note range to two separate regions? What about all the special efx, gestures, runs, etc. that are not mapped to a correct pitch/rhythm?\"

    I can make any note or group of notes silent, and I can make any note or group of notes hidden. The flexibility is high, but it can be a PITA!

    I use both notation and sequencer programs, depending upon the task. For complex counterpoint I prefer to compose with a notation program. For less complex music I go straight to the sequencer.

    The main problem I have is notating for percussion. I need to spend more time working with percussion maps to find a decent solution. Fortunately, I\'ve done mostly quartets/chamber music with notation. I go right to the sequencer for percussion bits.

    > \"When one uses a notation program to do a mock-up, does one simply not worry about having accurate looking (for a human player) notation?\"

    Not necessarily. I like seeing my counterpoint on the staves together. My brain just doesn\'t connect piano rolls together the way it works with notated music. And writing by hand doesn\'t give me the musical playback/feedback. So I like using a notation program for *some* composition. If it\'s just a lead sheet type piece, I\'ll scribble something out and play it into the sequencer.

    Whether or not I want to make a fully notated score is a separate question. In that case the note playback is mostly just to proof it.

  8. #8

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    To Lee and others interested in this issue of \"Why are notation programs so clunky as regards playback, and when are these software designers going to get with it?\" I wanted to share some correspondence I just has with Finale; things are looking up , it seems.

    The pdf file I cannot steer you to here, but those who are interested could contact Finale & they\'ll share it with you. Basically, the (new) program looks for instructions like \"rit\" and \"crescendo\" and gives you something reasonably lifelike.

    Probably a big shrug for those whose home-base is a program like Cubase, but great news for us Finale & Sibelius addicts.

    Subject: RE: ? ? \'s regarding Finale
    Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2004 13:51:15 -0600
    Thread-Topic: ? ? \'s regarding Finale
    Thread-Index: AcQCEcUUYahEWOpvTCStr1Gpyb8hswAD10/
    From: \"WinSupport\" <winsupport@makemusic.com>
    To: \"clark suprynowicz\"


    Finale 2004 (which will be released for OS9 very soon, but is already out for OSX), has a feature called Human Playback. What is does is it reads the score when it plays back. So if you put in a tempo change, or a dynamic change (gradual or sudden), or you put in a trill or tremolo, Finale will automatically play it. Overall, this feature will respond to virtually anything that you put into the score. It even reads the parts to see what instrument they are written for, and if a effect is not appropriate, it does not play it. This feature also has several style settings, just as 21 Century, or Classical, or Romantic. There is also a Custom Setting were you tell Human Playback what to respond to. To give you an example of what this can do, here is the page on our website about Human Playback (http://www.finalemusic.com/finale/fe...n-playback.asp). It gives a side by side example of with or without HP. Note that all of this is done in Finale, without a sequencer.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Technical Support Representative
    MakeMusic!, Inc.
    Coda Music Technologies

    Subject: RE: ? ? \'s regarding Finale
    Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2004 14:42:52 -0600
    Thread-Topic: ? ? \'s regarding Finale
    Thread-Index: AcQCJ/4uJFzV2JKBQsCvajXH9bZuJAAARgig
    From: \"WinSupport\" <winsupport@makemusic.com>
    To: \"clark suprynowicz\"

    Hi, Phil -

    So - just to be clear - both tempo and dynamic markings are respected with what is called \"smart font?\" I assume, if so, parameters are adjustable (i.e. \"molto rit.\" can be adjusted as to howe \"molto\" it is?)




    Yes the parameters are adjustable. Here is a pdf file of all the text items Human Playback responds to.

    Technical Support Representative
    MakeMusic!, Inc.
    Coda Music Technologies

  9. #9

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    Hi Lee,

    I\'m on the PC platform, so Logic is a dead-end for me. I don\'t care for the Cubase UI much, so that leaves Cake/Sonar. My old Cakewalk program has horrid notation, and Sonar hasn\'t yet risen to the top of my spend-money-here list. Yet. Sonar\'s MIDI capabilities aren\'t substantially greater than CW Home 7, and it doesn\'t fix some of the complaints I have about the CW UI. I don\'t know about how good Sonar\'s notation is, but I *really* like Sibelius\' UI, so I\'m content for now.

    Regarding playback Sibelius has a plugin that translates hairpins and \"cresc\" markings into dynamic controls. While it works from a technical standpoint (and is good for proofing a score), it doesn\'t sound quite human. I prefer recording or drawing the expression into the sequencer to make it \"just so\".

    Regarding timing Sibelius 3 has a feature called \"Live Playback\". I can select one or more notes and adjust their timing and duration, so it\'s easy to compensate for slow attacks. I can also tweak the odd velocity \"thud\" with the Live Velocity adjustment. This is really cool as I will sometimes add a slide articulation into a phrase, and the velocity doesn\'t exactly match. I can tweak that one note\'s velocity as I need without having to screw with the dynamics text (pp-ff).

    Really the only thing I can\'t do is to paint my own expression envelopes into Sibelius. I\'m hoping that Sibelius 4 solves this. Then I can have a single file with all of the notation and performance data linked together.

    Even so, if I\'m doing a techno, pop or jazz piece, I\'m going straight for the sequencer. No need for notation, and the piano roll is just fine.

    The other thing I\'d like to see added to Sibelius for performances is synchronization. Sib3 doesn\'t do audio or video tracks. Sure, they could add A/V in the next version, but it would likely be feature poor. If I can sync Vegas, then I get the best of all worlds, and they can focus on notation, rather than A/V. VSTi support would be great as well.

    Oh, yes. For completeness:

    Person 1: Sibelius rules. Finale stinks.
    Person 2: No way. Finale rules. Sibelius stinks.
    Bam, bam, bam.
    Person 3: They both stink. My sequencer rules.
    Bam, bam, bam.

    Hey, we had to get that into the thread somewhere!

    But seriously, it\'s been great discussing what the tools do well and poorly or not at all - without the need to bash or fawn. When I find the perfect audio tool/sample-lib I\'ll let you all know. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Re: Other Finale users out there?

    This is really helpful, you guys - thanks for the chance to look at this question of noation versus sequencing programs & hardware versus software. Obviously if you just listen to the manufacturers\' claims you never hear about the downside.

    Interesting about the virtue of modules: people don\'t stick up for them much, it seems, once they\'ve heard what is possible with software. But I do get the sense from reading the many tear-your-hair-out notes on the message board that my life will be less complicated if I can get what I need from hardware.

    Is anyone out there using sound libraries in a harware sampler? I now have an Akai Z-8, which allows downloading of sounds from CD-ROM.

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