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Topic: What do you use your notation software for?

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  1. #1

    What do you use your notation software for?

    Seems like an obvious question, but considering the ever-increasing power of the personal computer and the "homogenization" of music composition and technology that the compositional process has evolved.

    Given the tools at hand where does your notation software fit in the mix? Do you use it for printing, audio production, pre-production for recordings, compositional sketching....etc......

    At this point I use mine (Notion...) as means to sketch ideas, Print parts out for musicians I'm playing with, utilize sample libraries and compose using notation (not a sequencer!!!). It's become an integral part of my music production and extended beyond just a tool to compose....

    Just wondering what you all think....

    2 cents,
    Kyle

  2. #2

    Re: What do you use your notation software for?

    I don't think it's an obvious question!

    I use Finale, and I use it a couple of different ways:

    My primary use is as a replacement for a pencil and manuscript paper for working out ideas. I tend to be most comfortable thinking about arrangements rather than banging them out on a keyboard or guitar. Not always mind you, but a lot of the time. In this mode I also take advantage of the playback, but I don't expect it to sound polished, it's the same as me banging it out on the keyboard<G>!

    Next up would be preparing parts, no matter how those parts were created. I guess really that still falls under the umbrella of replacing pencil and paper. If a piece was created in Finale then this is a pretty straight forward affair.

    If the piece was created in Sonar (my sequencer of choice) and especially if it uses a lot of audio tracks, well, then it's a lot of work!

    My biggest challenge is integrating Sonar and Finale. I fully understand, and appreciate, that Sonar is working with performance data while Finale is working with the presentation of a performance. They are different animals.

    If I start in Finale I'll usually import into Sonar to render, and I do my best to avoid having to send it back to Finale, I prefer to make my changes manually in the score, it seems to cause fewer problems.

    If I start in Sonar then I pretty much stay there until I'm ready to create a human readable score. Sometimes I'll use a "temporary" file in Finale to work out voicings and such, and when I do that I'll export the MIDI if I need to add it back to Sonar.

    What is really needed is NOT for Sonar to add notation tools, nor for Finale to become a sequencer, but rather, some intermediate language that lets one specify when a change in one domain should be reflected in the other, or better yet, Artificial Intelligence that does that for you.

    A composer can dream...
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  3. #3

    Re: What do you use your notation software for?

    I guess since you're using Finale you don't have access to ReWire huh? That would be my preferred method for connecting DAW's to other programs.

    I don't really care for some of the DAW's now trying to include "everything and the kitchen sink." I'd rather have the separate programs "speak to each other" more fluently and effortlessly.

    I will say that with the new version of NOTION this issue is addressed really well Especially in regards to DAW's like Sonar!

  4. #4

    Re: What do you use your notation software for?

    Wouldn't it be wonderful to use a notation program in exactly the same way you could use DAW, but instead of working with bars and colors and squiggles, you could actually work with music notation! Yes of course it would have to host VST'S and AU'S, yes of course it would have to have Rewire as both host and slave, it WOULD be nice to occasionally be able to "sequence" a part and a tap tempo feature would come in handy for rubatos and tempo changes.
    Kind of sounds like Notion 3

  5. #5

    Re: What do you use your notation software for?

    Quote Originally Posted by KylePoehling View Post
    I guess since you're using Finale you don't have access to ReWire huh? That would be my preferred method for connecting DAW's to other programs.
    When considering working with Finale and Sonar, to be specific, I can't see value in using ReWire - that is a protocol designed to let two programs share timing information, which doesn't help in my situation.

    While standard notation is a wonderful tool, no scoring tool I've tried can notate something one way and predictably play it back another, especially if I want to control that difference. This is why there is still a gulf between scoring and sequencing tools... or one reason anyway.
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  6. #6

    Re: What do you use your notation software for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kleven View Post
    Wouldn't it be wonderful to use a notation program in exactly the same way you could use DAW, but instead of working with bars and colors and squiggles, you could actually work with music notation!
    Wonderful? Yes!

    Pragmatic? No!

    Perhaps it is my approach, but I can't recall any piece I've written where the notation accurately reflected every nuance of the performance I was chasing.

    IF I could place a quarter note at beat one of measure one, and then somehow instruct the playback engine to start playback at tick 12, and apply various controller envelopes then that would be my ideal tool. But tick 12 might be just far enough along for the notation code to decide that what I really meant was an eighth rest followed by an eighth note... see what I'm getting at?

    There remains, at least for me, a substantial and fundamental difference between sequencing (where I am trying to capture a preformance) and scoring (where I am trying to represent a performance for myself or other players.)

    I've been using various software tools for music production since the mid 1980s, we are so far ahead of where we were, or even where we wanted to be back then that my mind boggles. Even the integration of MIDI and Audio, which was at one time the holy grail is common place now.

    But that pesky difference between notation and performance still plagues us. It will eventually be resolved!
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  7. #7

    Re: What do you use your notation software for?

    Quote Originally Posted by wst3ae View Post
    Wonderful? Yes!

    Pragmatic? No!

    Perhaps it is my approach, but I can't recall any piece I've written where the notation accurately reflected every nuance of the performance I was chasing.

    IF I could place a quarter note at beat one of measure one, and then somehow instruct the playback engine to start playback at tick 12, and apply various controller envelopes then that would be my ideal tool. But tick 12 might be just far enough along for the notation code to decide that what I really meant was an eighth rest followed by an eighth note... see what I'm getting at?

    There remains, at least for me, a substantial and fundamental difference between sequencing (where I am trying to capture a preformance) and scoring (where I am trying to represent a performance for myself or other players.)

    I've been using various software tools for music production since the mid 1980s, we are so far ahead of where we were, or even where we wanted to be back then that my mind boggles. Even the integration of MIDI and Audio, which was at one time the holy grail is common place now.

    But that pesky difference between notation and performance still plagues us. It will eventually be resolved!

    That seems to be a problem with notation and not with a program....maybe I misunderstood you, but it seems like you're saying that the notation is going to play back "as notated" and not "as performed." Then again I've seen some scores that are VERY meticulously written to emulate "feel" or "performance." That's just too time consuming to me....

    I've also found plenty of "workarounds" for implementing feel while using Notion....the NTempo feature in particular.

  8. #8

    Re: What do you use your notation software for?

    Quote Originally Posted by KylePoehling View Post
    That seems to be a problem with notation and not with a program....
    Absolutely. Notation in any form is limited to some degree. The example I use with my students is that tablature came about because standard notation can not EASILY tell us which strings and/or frets to use, nor does it do an elegant job of indicating guitar specific embellishments and ornaments.

    It's all about the best tool for the task! (Yes, I do strongly encourage my students to learn to read standard notation.)

    Quote Originally Posted by KylePoehling View Post
    maybe I misunderstood you, but it seems like you're saying that the notation is going to play back "as notated" and not "as performed."
    That is, in my experience, the case for any notation reading tool, including both hardware and humanware<G>! We can only read what is written.


    Quote Originally Posted by KylePoehling View Post
    Then again I've seen some scores that are VERY meticulously written to emulate "feel" or "performance." That's just too time consuming to me....
    We agree. I am far too lazy to even try to notate every little detail that is possible... even if it was possible to notate every little detail!

    I wrote a piece for two guitars a while back, and I needed the second guitar to delay ever so slightly to get this effect (that admittedly I discovered quite by mistake!). The problem was that if I had notated it using 1/64th notes or smaller, which would have been necessary, the second guitar part would have looked like the infamous flyspecks. I don't think the average player would have read it correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by KylePoehling View Post
    I've also found plenty of "workarounds" for implementing feel while using Notion....the NTempo feature in particular.
    Work-arounds tend to frustrate me<G>... oddly enough I really am quite happy using Finale to create a human readable score and Sonar to create a performance and ultimately an audible mock-up of the score.

    I fall back to the right tool for the job<G>, and while a better level of integration seems like it might be beneficial, I'd really hate to see either development team get bogged down with that when there are so many cool features to be implemented, and at least a couple of bugs left to be squashed!
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  9. #9

    Re: What do you use your notation software for?

    In the case of your guitar piece I can understand your dilemma, but in reference to elements like "swing" and "feel" I know that I can more often than not get Notion to playback as a player would interpret.

    For instance I was working on a New Orleans sixteenth note shuffle piece last year and by using the "Swing 16ths" feature I was able to get the piece to "feel" right....I was able to write the piece so that it could be interpreted by the players (meaning not resorting to the 64th note style micro-managing).

    Anyhoo...I often have to use a few programs to "get the job done," and I honestly don't think I'd want "one program to handle all the tasks" but streamlining is a good thing. NOTION3 has definitely done a great job of that streamlining

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