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Topic: A question about how GPO works with notation

  1. #1

    A question about how GPO works with notation

    I just listened to a few excerpts of music, rendered using Sibelius and using GPO. And I am perplexed.

    I REALLY don't want this to come out as a bashing thread, I'm simply curious as to whether there is some fundamental difference in how Sibelius treats MIDI information that it sends to GPO, compared to Finale.

    The music I was listening to sounded, to tell you the truth, like my sound card's synths - in other words, terrible. I would never have recognized any of GPO's sounds if it hadn't been mentionned.

    I'm wondering why this is.

    I didn't go into the act of listening with any particular bias for or against Sibelius, as a matter of fact, I didn't even realize the music had been rendered in Sibelius until AFTER I had finished listening to it. Come to think of it, I didn't realize it was GPO until I was reading about the rendering afterwards.

    I am wondering whether this was an inherant flaw in how Sibelius handles MIDI data, or possibly simply a lack of experience on the part of the person creating those particular renderings.

    I guess what I'd really like is to hear the exact same musical excerpt rendered with a number of notation programmes, or even with notation and/or sequencer, to see just how they differ.

    Would others be willing to take on this little task? If we could find an interesting single page of orchestral music, and all create a rendering of it, it might be interesting to see if experience has any hand in making a notation programme sound better. As you know, I am a devout Finale user, so I'm more than willing to take on the task from that end.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    NW Illinois

    Re: A question about how GPO works with notation

    I think this would be an interesting comparison.

    But in all fairness, I hear a lot of Finale/GPO playback that I consider really bad. I think it comes down to the user not taking enough time to put markings in their scores for HP to interpret.


  3. #3
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: A question about how GPO works with notation


    I would suspect pilot error. If one simply enters the notation, dynamics, slurs, etc., Sibelius will play back those elements. But we all know that performance is never that easy. I don't know how HP works in Finale, so I can;t say what is happening there. By default, velocities are set to 80 in Sibelius - these can, of course, be changed, and some do; some don't. Cresc/dim can be adjusted and scaled just about any way one wishes, but again, it requires attention on the part of the composer/arranger/Sibelius user. And so on...

    I agree: I have heard some Sibelius/GPO works that sounded horrible. But then I can say the same about Finale, Sonar, DP, and so forth. I don't think it is inherently inferior; but it does take work. And time. It is actually quite responsive, if one pays attention to the details.

    And thanks for asking the question the way you did. I didn't get any sense that this was a first volley in a flame war. An honest question, gently expressed.

    All the best,
    Ron Pearl





  4. #4

    Re: A question about how GPO works with notation

    "...you can't say, record the modwheel on your trumpet track and have Sib store that without typing in each individual fluctuation of the wheel (i.e ~C1, 26, ~C1, 25 etc.)"

    I never even thought of attempting that. I just use the cresc/dim plugin. It works fine, although you can't easily edit the mod wheel data after it's entered - it's better to delete it and start over.

    qccowboy - I like your idea to set up a way to do A/B testing of performance playback in Finale & Sibelius. I would suggest you start out with something really simple, so that we can start to really understand what each of the programs is doing.

    - k
    "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

    - Andy Warhol

  5. #5

    Re: A question about how GPO works with notation

    Hi Michael,

    All of my renderings have been done with GPO/Sibelius. I don't know how they would compare with Finale, but I am usually reasonably satisfied with the result after a small amount of effort.

    The soundsets in Sib 5 negate the need for manual input of MIDI messages. But it does take a well-trained sibelius user to know how to work within Sib for the best results. There can be alot of setup involved (especially where the Playback Dictionary is concerned) and if one doesn't take the time to do this, the result can be pretty ugly.

    If you like you can have a listen to some of my renderings and see how they match up to what you normally hear on Finale


    All three movements of "Death and Rebirth" are Sibelius/GPO. The first two are Sib 4. The last one is Sib 5.

  6. #6

    Re: A question about how GPO works with notation

    Quote Originally Posted by jjloving View Post
    Speaking of deleting the cresc/dim plugin data...one thing that frustrated me is that it can't be undone, or easily edited. I think that's somewhat counterproductive. Unless you know of a way to select all the data it enters and delete it all at once (if this is the case please share!).

    But I was referring more to the fluctuations on every note that keep things from becoming static...what would be the most productive way to do this in Sib?

    That said, obviously you guys who are willing to monkey around in Sibelius are able to get some really good results, and it's hard to argue with results. But I think getting back to the original question, why are a lot of Sib playback files weaker, I think it's because of all the extra editing that needs to be done in places that may or may not be familiar to the user.

    anyway, I'm open to seeing what you guys are doing within Sibelius, it can never hurt to learn some new tricks of the trade...but I'm still not a big fan of Sib playback. and if you gotta problem with that take it up with this guy...

    Uh. OH.

    In Sib 5, all plugins can be undone. If you're using Sib 4 Go to Edit>Filter>Advance Filter. Check the box that says "Text" (UNcheck the one that says "notes") and in the field that says "Text containing...." Type whatever you want: ~C1 will select all modwheel controllers, ~C64, all slur controllers etc. Then use Backspace to delete them. Just typing ~ will select all MIDI messages.

    Coninusous Modwheel variation is also automated in Sib 5. You can even use the "performance" tab to select the variability of the modwheel motion. "non espressivo" doesn't move it all. "molto expressivo" moves it be as much 50% In Sib 4, I believe there was a plug-in called "Continuous Controllers" but I never used it.

    Sib 5 has come a long way, I think, to cut down on extra editing. It has a bit of a learning curve (especially for Sibelius) but once you're used to it, its very effective.

  7. #7

    Re: A question about how GPO works with notation


    I have told you of some of my problems with Sib. I compose with a mouse 90% of the time and then add all the articulations, dynamics, midi messages, etc by hand as you do in Finale. I got tired of all of that and purchased Sonar. I haven't had the time to do a large project thru sonar from a midi from sib, but I can see that it will be easier than trying to do all of the work just in sib.

    Just by working with sib and the KP2 player on a solo piano piece, I did notice one strange thing. If I set the pan on the mixer in sib to full right and the pan on the kp2 to full right for the piano, it still comes out almost exclusively on the left. Whereas I take that same midi thru Sonar and KP2, I can put the piano anywhere I want.

    Legato in the strings from Sib just doesn't work very well IMO.

    For Brass, I have to always crank them up in KP2, as the mixer in Sib just doesn't suffice.

    My biggest concern about Sib is that when I need help with something, they always say that it is not their problem. They love to blame the computer, user or other program, and then they fix the problem that was theirs in the first place.

    All that said, I will keep on using Sib.


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