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Topic: Now I Know Why!

  1. #1

    Now I Know Why!

    I just worked in Finale with Full GPO for about 2 hours. At the end I realized why it has been over 2 years since I tried to compose anything or work on existing compositions. FAR TO COMPLICATED! I found that at the end I was extremely frustrated with the complication of trying to learn GPO and Finale all over again. Worst of all is trying to get full GPO loaded into existing compositions and have it sound satisyfing. Not all the instruments seem to be playing, even though they are the volume adjustments does not continue after being set. One of the most frustrating issues is getting the basic orchestra sounds to even play. Bells, cymbles and percussion instruments are barely audible. However, when I play the compotion using Finale's Softsynth sounds which I used to compose the piece, (before I purchased GOP), it sounds just the way I intended. I save the fine under a new name and trie the GOP sounds and only end with great frustration.

    Now I know why I stopped composing. the GPO sounds are the most awsome software created and the Finale notation software is the greatest tool a composer can have. Unfortunately, the learning curve seems to rob me of my creativity trying to learn the two pieces of software. Will this ever get any easier. Is there a way, other than quill and paper to compose using these monumental achievements and not use the alloted time on technical issues.
    Samantha Penigar


    Dream it! Then Do it! Good things come to those who work while they wait. [COLOR=purple]Persistence[/COLO

  2. #2

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    The tools are just conveniences. Composition can be done with a pencil, a piece of paper, a memory and an idea. You are a fine composer. Don't let the tools limit you.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  3. #3

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    Just load up a piano and a couple of grand staffs (staves?) in Finale and go for it.

    Worry about playback and orchestration later.

    Steve Winkler

  4. #4

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    Hey Samantha!

    I understand your frustration. I've been fortunate to have used Finale since the days of the old Mach II. I, too, have been frustrated with the audio level of, for example, the percussion instruments. Not sure what that is all about. I have gone into the midi editor of Finale and done some tweaking, which does help, but the midi editor for Finale is probably the least "user friendly" midi editors I have ever used (and they made no changes for the 2011 version...ugh!!).

    There is one other thing. I have found when I've pulled up old midi files and tried to work on them in Finale, it just doesn't work as well as a brand new file. I started working a few weeks ago on a symphonic movement I did years prior. I imported the midi file and found notes dropping out all the time, levels between instruments were wrong, etc. So I just printed out what I had and honestly re-input the whole thing. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it made a lot of difference. No dropped notes. No unusual sound levels. I know I hate like anything to "reinvent the wheel," so to speak, but sometimes that seems like the only way to get things to sound right.

    Please, don't give up on your composing. I've heard your music and it's wonderful! If you want, you could you send me one of your Finale files and let me take a look at it. Maybe I can come up with some suggestions for you.

    Gary A.
    Serenity Musician (Gary A.)

    Lenovo, Windows 10 64 bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio, Finale 25, Sonar

  5. #5

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    Hi Samantha,

    I understand your frustration. Most people I've talked to find Sibelius more intuitive to use than Finale (I'm proficcient with neither), but it sounds like your big issue is not with using Finale, but with using the combination of Finale and GPO. My personal approach in the past has been to compose using notation software, and then to map MIDI to sample libraries later. But, if you want to hear the results of orchestrations as you compose, this will probably not satisfy your needs (and it ignores perhaps the main purpose of linking GPO with Finale - which is to be able to hear your compositions as they evolve.... with real instrument timbres).

    My work and studies involve a fair bit of going between the analytical and the creative mindset, and it's not a very natural transition. When you are in the creative flow, you do not want to have to stop to troubleshoot something. While I can't give specific tips on what will work for you (you are probably much more experienced than I am in composition), and I don't have a "fix", this would probably be my approach if things were getting really nasty:

    • I would set aside some time for mundane set up pain... ideally if there is a time when your concentration is better but your creativity is less mighty (concentration/logic and creativity/intuition often like to battle each other in my mind, and the latter usually wins). Of course, tea/coffee can help out the former.

    • I would set up the things that I'm most likely to need in the future (But then, who can tell the future?), and then save those settings as a template, dummy file maybe called "compTemplate" in finale.

    • When creativite inspiration for a new project strikes, I would open up compTemplate, save it as a new file, and then get into the flow as soon as possible.

    But I'm not you. And you are right, that getting things working together is not as easy as it ought to be. And even if you have a template, things may be completely and utterly different between peices. You might even make several templates. The purpose is just to have something that allows you to compose when you need/want to compose, and then can be cleaned up later.

    Thanks for your feedback. Hearing about issues like this is crucial to help with the development of better, more user friendly software.

    "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." – Henry Thoreau

  6. #6

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    Quote Originally Posted by serenitymusician View Post
    Hey Samantha!

    I understand your frustration.
    Freaky---we both started our posts with the exact same 6 words. I swear that I did not read your post beforehand (I had opened the "reply to thread" page shortly before you posted).
    "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." – Henry Thoreau

  7. #7

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Perry View Post
    Freaky---we both started our posts with the exact same 6 words.
    Kind of eerie, eh? Makes you wonder what may be next, doesn't it?

    "There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can change to focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the 'Outer Limits.'"
    Serenity Musician (Gary A.)

    Lenovo, Windows 10 64 bit, 20 gig ram, 2 terabyte hd., M-Audio, Finale 25, Sonar

  8. #8

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    Well, Samantha, if it's any consolation, most of my freinds in the Cleveland Composer's Guild put the music on paper the old fashioned way and let live performers carry out the 'technical issues'. Finale's learing curve is steep and adding the learning curve in for GPO - alas you will need a pair of skis to get down that slope (it's the getting to the top of the curve that is most difficult.)

    Best regards,
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    NW Illinois

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    Finale like any sophisticated software does have a learning curve, but from what I understand there are more than 2 million users of Finale products. So it's certainly doable.

    I approach Finale much like learning an instrument. It takes time to learn, but when you become proficient it becomes second nature. And when you put this instrument down for a while, it takes time to get your chops back.

    Responding to Tim Perry's that most people he's talked to find Sibelius more intuitive. As someone who uses both Finale & Sibelius, (I prefer Finale) I don't find any notation software intuitive. Breathing fortunately is intuitive, software is not. Users should download demos of each if they're not sure and see what they feel most comfortable with.


  10. #10

    Re: Now I Know Why!

    I am with Jeff on all of this.
    I have been with Finale since 1988 and with Sibelius since 2008. I find Finale totally natural as far as creating notation and ESPECIALLY as regards playback and interfacing with Garritan products. I find Sibelius difficult in both aspects, especially to the extent that it makes many decisions for me in both areas that are frequently not the ones I'd make.

    Yes, I can undo them, but the marginal cost in time and effort does not justify the marginal benefits I gain. I can tell Finale what to do in the first place, and it does so. Finally, undoing what Finale does automatically seems easier and less time-intensive to me.

    I make a point to get well acquainted with the new features of each version of Finale, and that is always time well spent. I recommend highly doing all tutorials that come with Finale itself, and the few that appear here.

    I had held out hope for Overture as a hybrid composition/playback environment, but development has been too erratic.

    I am moving at a glacial pace towards moving my notation-based tracks to the DAW (Sonar 8.5) but life and the day gig are making this pace even more glacial.

    I encourage all users of Finale to adopt a model using one score for printing and one for playback OR use one score with a lot of invisible markings. I like the two-score plan better, since Finale files are not huge, I keep the "for print" score totally clean from stray markings that I forget to make invisible, and nothing happens to the linked parts. I never care what the "for playback" score looks like.

    The ARIA player makes adjusting individual tracks less arcane--it brings user control right up front as far as reverb, panning, etc.

    Another recommendation is to create invisible expressions in Finale that control vibrato depth and amount, VAR1 and VAR2, note tail length, etc. These are all controller messages in Garritan libraries that users can control via expressions in Finale.

    One additional recommendation is indeed to dig into the MIDI tool and do at least two things--randomize the note-on and note-off times by a few EDUs (ticks). It's a mid-level PITA, but goes a long way towards minimizing phasing and MIDI choke. Also allow changes you make in the MIDI tool to be mixed with HP; that also helps.

    IMPORTANT POINT: Whoever said Finale's MIDI tool was arcane and user-unfriendly, you are not alone, and you are perfectly right. I can tell people that many individuals in high and low places have asked MakeMusic numerous times about MIDI tool improvements. The MIDI tool has had NO updates that I am aware of since 1988.

    There was an appeal as late as earlier this week for MM to address the MIDI tool and its UI.

    MM logically directs its resources to requests made most frequently by users. Therefore, if any user wants improvements in Finale's MIDI tool, go to the MM forum and make an official request that goes through channels.

    DO NOT just post here and expect MM to recognize it.
    DO NOT just post on the MM forums and expect MM to recognize it.
    DO NOT just post on the SHSU Finale listserv and expect MM to recognize it.
    DO fill out an official form and let it go through channels there.

    More later...day job beckons.

    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

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