Proposed Terms:

Mockup – A piece created with sample libraries, etc., that is intended eventually to be played by live musicians.

Emulation – A piece created using sample libraries, etc,. that is intended as the finished product.


For a long time, the term ‘mockup’ has bothered me. I always think of this like an architectural or advertising piece that is not the ‘real’ thing. Rather it is intended to give a good representation of how the final product will look or sound or function.

In many cases, this approach doesn’t apply to the use of orchestral sample based works. Many people use this medium to create final products that are the ‘real’ thing. Still, somehow, the term mockup has come to be used for all pieces created using this technology. To my ears, this just doesn’t sound right.

So I propose that we try to differentiate between these by applying the term Orchestral Mockup to those works created specifically to demonstrate the sound of the music which will later be played by live musicians. I propose the term Orchestral Emulation for those works created as complete finished pieces. For ease of use we could just use the words, mockup and/or emulation.

I don’t mean this to imply anything about the quality of a work, just its intended use. Nor do we need to limit the terms only to purely standard orchestral instruments. Many composers today combine Pop, Rock, Synthesized and Orchestral instruments in their own ways. The terms would not apply to instrumentation or style, only to intent. IMO this can help clarify the creator’s conception and goals.

We might also consider the differences between a ‘Hall Emulation’ (or Mockup), intended to emulate the sound of an orchestra performing in a concert hall, a ‘Studio Emulation,’ intended to recreate the recording studio sound, a ‘Scoring Stage Emulation,’ for the film score sound and, finally, a non-specific Emulation based on the composer’s own unique conception.

So, that’s my proposal. I’m going to try using these terms and see if they work. I would love to know your thoughts. Thanks.

Be Well,