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Topic: GPO without a keyboard?

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  1. #1

    GPO without a keyboard?

    Garritan PO without a keyboard?
    I am interested in buying Garritan PO as I write mainly orchestral music, BUT I don't play keyboard. I compose by mouse. Can I still utilise the articulation provided by the mod wheel and sustain pedal without using a keyboard?

    I use a quad core iMac, and Logic 8 (with 9 on the agenda as funds allow).

    I am mainly interested in writing for string ensembles and the variety of different strings instruments in GPO would be an improvement on my current set up, but I'd really like to get more expression, more humanity into the pieces.

    Some advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Scott

  2. #2

    Re: GPO without a keyboard?

    Glabur,

    I am in a similar position to you. I have not yet bought GPO4 but plan to do so when it goes on sale shortly, reportedly for $99.

    In October I resurrected my Sonar-using days after a six year hiatus, upgrading to the latest version. In November I bought an Oxygen 49 keyboard controller. But I had to accept that my keyboard skills are just not good enough to lay down the initial midi-synth recordings I wanted. I did a little research and discovered how far notation programs had come in managing orchestral synths compared to my earlier days. They do a pretty good job of translating score markings into controller data for orchestral synths like GPO, EWQLSO, Miroslav Philharmonik, and the Vienna library.

    I downloaded demos of Finale, Sibelius and Notion. I ended up buying Notion because it was a little less money, but in my book any of the three will do. Because of the holiday season I have not been able to adequately explore using Notion (it comes with a set of London Symphony sounds), so don't take my word for it yet, but I plan on using it to do what I would like to be able to do (but can't) on a keyboard. Even with a keyboard you would want to do some cleanup and tweaking using a sequencer like Sonar, Cubase or Logic. So the way I look at it I will just do similar tweaking on tracks initiated by my notation program.

    I'm sure things would be somewhat easier and better if I had the keyboard skills, but since I don't I consider this path to be a reasonable alternative. I'm not a professional, just a hobbyist.

    Hope this helps, and I am always glad to hear the opinions of people who've actually been down this path and have some experience with it.
    John B.
    ------------------
    Sonar 8.5 Producer (64 bit)
    Notion 3

    GPO4
    EWQL Symphonic Choirs

    2.5 GHz Core2 Quad, 8 GB RAM, Windows 7 64-bit
    Audiophile 192

    Keystation 61es

  3. #3

    Re: GPO without a keyboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by John6448 View Post
    Glabur,

    I am in a similar position to you. I have not yet bought GPO4 but plan to do so when it goes on sale shortly, reportedly for $99.

    In October I resurrected my Sonar-using days after a six year hiatus, upgrading to the latest version. In November I bought an Oxygen 49 keyboard controller. But I had to accept that my keyboard skills are just not good enough to lay down the initial midi-synth recordings I wanted. I did a little research and discovered how far notation programs had come in managing orchestral synths compared to my earlier days. They do a pretty good job of translating score markings into controller data for orchestral synths like GPO, EWQLSO, Miroslav Philharmonik, and the Vienna library.

    I downloaded demos of Finale, Sibelius and Notion. I ended up buying Notion because it was a little less money, but in my book any of the three will do. Because of the holiday season I have not been able to adequately explore using Notion (it comes with a set of London Symphony sounds), so don't take my word for it yet, but I plan on using it to do what I would like to be able to do (but can't) on a keyboard. Even with a keyboard you would want to do some cleanup and tweaking using a sequencer like Sonar, Cubase or Logic. So the way I look at it I will just do similar tweaking on tracks initiated by my notation program.

    I'm sure things would be somewhat easier and better if I had the keyboard skills, but since I don't I consider this path to be a reasonable alternative. I'm not a professional, just a hobbyist.

    Hope this helps, and I am always glad to hear the opinions of people who've actually been down this path and have some experience with it.
    Yes, this has been my path as my keyboard skills are extremely limited. I've been using Finale since 1991, and my basic procedure is to write music in Finale first, then export it as a MIDI file into a sequencer for further editing. I know that Cubase and Sonar (and I'm sure Logic) have score displays, but they tend to be quite rudimentary, and I strongly believe that notation programs like Finale and Sibelius are pretty much a requirement for those of us who simply cannot create music in real time using a sequencer alone. I'm not familiar with Notion, but I can tell you that both Finale and Sibelius are superbly integrated to work with the GPO4 library. In fact, the GPO notation patches are designed specifically to interpret notated score expressions for playback.

    Although I can't play my way out of a paper bag, I have always used a MIDI keyboard because I find that it's the fastest way to enter notes into my scores -- even if it's one note at a time. There are inexpensive keyboards out there, and you really don't need anything fancy. I personally use an M-Audio Keystation 61es, which you can find online for $150 - $200. (I just looked it up, and the best price right now is at Amazon for $149.95).

    Scott, expressions such as the mod wheel, sustain pedal, etc. are MIDI events that you can add and edit in your sequencer. They do not require input from a keyboard. Although it can be rather time-consuming, you have a lot of power and flexibility there. And now, gentlemen, it's time for a shameless plug!

    I have two works-in-progress you can listen to if you'd like. Both were created with a MIDI keyboard for note input only, and all expressions were laid in and edited through my sequencer. To hear them, please visit my Virtual Concert Hall. The links to the audio files are on the homepage.

    Although I recently upgraded to Finale 2010 and GPO4, I really haven't had time yet to start working with the GPO notation patches within the score framework of Finale. Therefore, I offer my modest efforts so far as examples of a. how useful a MIDI keyboard can be regardless of one's keyboard skills (or lack thereof), and b. the extent to which expressions for playback are independent of the need for keyboard input.

    Steve

  4. #4

    Re: GPO without a keyboard?

    Hey, Steve,

    Thanks for telling us about your experience. Will listen to your efforts (not sure if I can today, so I downloaded them to my desktop) and give you my reactions. How blessed we are to have these capabilities at hand!
    John B.
    ------------------
    Sonar 8.5 Producer (64 bit)
    Notion 3

    GPO4
    EWQL Symphonic Choirs

    2.5 GHz Core2 Quad, 8 GB RAM, Windows 7 64-bit
    Audiophile 192

    Keystation 61es

  5. #5

    Re: GPO without a keyboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by John6448 View Post
    Hey, Steve,

    Thanks for telling us about your experience. Will listen to your efforts (not sure if I can today, so I downloaded them to my desktop) and give you my reactions. How blessed we are to have these capabilities at hand!
    Excellent, and I look forward to your feedback.

    By the way, this may be a bit OT, but after many years of using Cubasis, I'm about to jump ship to Sonar 8.5 myself. The version of Cubasis I've been using came bundled with the version of GPO I first purchased about 5-6 years ago, so I was "forced" into this decision because it is really showing its age now that I have a 64-bit computer and GPO4. I was looking into the latest version of Cubase as well, but I'm choosing Sonar because it's about half the price, and it should do everything I need and more. In fact, after I read about all the features in Sonar 8.5 it's pretty amazing how fast I went from "well, if I gotta, I gotta" to "I must have it NOW!"

    It also goes to show that you're right about how blessed we are to have all these capabilities at hand. I remember what it was like back in 1991, when I first started getting into computer-based music production. In those days high quality came at a very high price, plus synth technology was all pretty much hardware-based. What cost many thousands of dollars back then we can now do for a small fraction of that price, and I believe that we're certainly getting more bang for the buck, too. I think we're especially blessed to have someone like Gary Garritan, whose driving philosophy from the get-go has been to provide high-quality software instruments that even us working class schlub hobbyists can afford. That philosophy is what attracted me to GPO in the first place, and I can't say enough good things about the superb job the Garritan team has been doing with all of their instrument libraries over the years. Definitely worth the investment my friend, and I highly recommend that you go for it whenever you can.

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  6. #6

    Re: GPO without a keyboard?

    Hi Steve, and John B.,

    Thanks for your input.

    Have gone ahead with the purchase, still waiting for it to arrive.

    Hey Steve, have visited your concert hall, thanks. Well done particularly with the sonata, certainly sounds "played" to me. Encouraging to hear. It is difficult to have fresh ears on my own music and to hear something done with a similar process is, and sounding fluid, pleases me. Hoping to have some stuff up on the net soonish (dependant on someone else's web skills).

    I'm a patient composer, have always gone a note at a time (but hey it was good enough for Ludwig and his buddies) so having to spend time 'articulating' is not a disincentive for me.

    Once again, thanks you both.

    Scott

  7. #7

    Re: GPO without a keyboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by glabur View Post
    Hi Steve, and John B.,

    Thanks for your input.

    Have gone ahead with the purchase, still waiting for it to arrive.

    Hey Steve, have visited your concert hall, thanks. Well done particularly with the sonata, certainly sounds "played" to me. Encouraging to hear. It is difficult to have fresh ears on my own music and to hear something done with a similar process is, and sounding fluid, pleases me. Hoping to have some stuff up on the net soonish (dependant on someone else's web skills).

    I'm a patient composer, have always gone a note at a time (but hey it was good enough for Ludwig and his buddies) so having to spend time 'articulating' is not a disincentive for me.

    Once again, thanks you both.

    Scott
    Scott, your most welcome, and thanks for your kind words about what I have up at my Virtual Concert Hall. Once you start using GPO and you have questions, or you run into problems, you'll find that the forum here is a great resource for getting help.

    Now, when you're ready to put some music up online, I believe there is a place where you can do that without having to have your own website (or piggybacking on someone else's). I'd recommend posting a question about this on the General Discussion forum, and someone should be able to tell you what's currently available for this. If I'm correct here, you'll be able to have your recordings hosted online at no cost. Then you can just post an announcement with a link at the Listening Room whenever you have music for people to hear.

    Best of luck in your musical endeavors, and I'll look forward to hearing some of your music in the not-too-distant future!

    Steve

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