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Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

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Discussions about composing, arranging, orchestration, songwriting, theory and the art of creating music in all forms from orchestral film scores to pop/rock.

Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby FMiguelez » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:08 pm

MIDI Life Crisis wrote:Students get so surprised when they are asked to STOP jumping though hoops and start thinking different. I mean, how did classical composers create such great stuff without 800 tracks? Given the option, would they? I doubt it. Not to mention people like Beethoven who were also deaf. Talk about effing obstacles! Or blind composers, one-handed pianists, and generally crazy people. LOL.

Mozart and I think most others, if they were alive, would embrace the technology if they had no other choice.
What choice would they have? To renounce to music due to lack of budgets? Never!

Remember> SOME people do use obscene, and in my view unnecessary, amounts of tracks, but that's their style and it's by no means the only way to do it.
I use a fraction of what some composers use because I use articulations and CCs to keep ONE instrument per track (per library), but it's still A LOT, I admit.

Actually, no. It's as much as necessary. As much as it takes to be ready to produce a real-sounding orchestra on a day's notice.
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. That's what it takes, and that's what I use. There's no alternative, unless not working is an option.

Ignoring my template, which is huge because it's ready for ANYTHING, I can program my FULL orchestra with only 70-100 MIDI tracks, depending on how much detail I need (flutes I, II, III, or simply one flute or an a3 patch), how many percussion instruments I need, etc. That's totally normal and no big track-count deal.
It also depends on how I want to seat the orchestra, and if I'm going for realistic or "massive" sound (doubling horns with different libraries for stereo effects).


MIDI Life Crisis wrote:You guys have fun with your massive templates. I still say it is a terrible waste of your time and energy as composers. You are instrumental technicians, IMO.

No, we're not.

We're simply doing whatever it takes to complete the gig under the given circumstances, which are> 1)insufficient budgets to hire orchestras to score a season of a TV show 2) Given the usual crazy schedules and deadlines, it's simply unrealistic to use real orchestras even if there were money to do so.

I think you're comparing apples to oranges. You can't compare scoring commissioned silent films from the big studios to TV shows. Everything works completely different, from schedules to timetables to budgets to realistic expectations, etc.

MIDI Life Crisis wrote:Some of you also make great music and it saddens me to think of him much more a prolific mind could produce in the same period of time given better resources to work with. I tend to be pretty picky that way. You want an orchestra, you pay for an orchestra. Can't or won't afford it? Then go to the next lower bidder because I'm not interested.

But Mike, you sound as if we were doing this out of choice... At least I am not!

Don't you think I'd JUMP at the chance to score something with the real thing? Of course I'd do!

But it's either mockups with VIs or I simply don't get a job because in México there isn't a TV production company that has the resources, time or desire to afford a real orchestra for a show, let alone a full season. Even if they did, I don't think our orchestras are ready or experienced to do that kind of work. They are used to lots of rehearsal time, and I doubt they are brilliant first-sight readers.

And I sustain that, unless you have the best orchestra with the best players/sight/readers in town, the best-sounding studio with great capable recording technicians and mixers, I will produce a better sounding mockup than the real thing any day of the week.

I almost shiver remembering the results with amateur or student orchestras... Forget about interpretation! Forget about details and making nice phrases and nice music! No! You're lucky if they can play in tune for more than a few bars and the horns didn't crack their notes. It was the most disappointing and frustrating thing for me, every time.
O, excuse me, Mr. Clarinet player, was that little run too hard for you?
:shake:

I have even heard VERY MIXED results and stories from people who hire orchestras in East Europe much cheaper than London or Hollywood. I've heard good results, I admit, but mostly it has been not good enough (many intonation problems, timing problems, etc, that distract you from the actual music).

Consider this> There IS a reason as to why there has been such a ridiculous VI market boom... Because there's a huge market for it now. WHY? Because directors and producers know what we can do with these things and that's what they expect given their current small budgets.
It's the new reality for anything other than stellar-budget productions with great resources, and you should BE HAPPY it has not touched your niche (yet).

Do I like it? No. But if I sat on my laurels and refuse to work until someone gives me a gig with the LSO, or at least Mexico's Orquesta de Minería, I would have starved looooooong ago.

You must admit that, if you didn't have a choice, you would be programming VIs to make mockups as we do because at least that way you STILL would be making music. How real or engaging or satisfying it sounds would be only up to your skill at doing so.
Unless, of course, and I can't imagine that, you would rather do something else instead of music...

I also sustain that it is DEEPLY SATISFYING for me to make a computer sing and closely approximate the real thing.
I get to create, out of a metal box, whatever I can hear inside my head, easily and on my own. That was only a dream not long ago, and I think it is a WONDERFUL thing. A gift from technology, and I don't apologise for it.

Making music is the only important thing. It does not matter if I do so seated at the piano with pen and paper, or in Finale or in DP programming stuff. As long as I get to create out of nothing what I hear inside my head, real musicians or not, I will be happy and lucky to have the privilege of having such an amazing job that allows me to express myself shamelessly at the highest art form level there is: MUSIC!
Music that, without current technology, would be in my case, due to my current reality/situation, simply unwritten, unproduced, uncomposed, unrealized. THAT would be sad> A tragedy, I'd like to think.

The other day I saw in the street a fire-spitter. I could not help but thank my luck to get paid for playing with my amazing toys in the safety and tranquility of my own studio.

What matters is THE MUSIC, the resulting idea eternalised for one to enjoy. Who cares about the production method?
There are no limits and no barriers. Real musicians are no longer the only option! Different paths according to different budgets & current reality.
Actually, the only limit is our own skill level. But the potential is, or is getting to be, amazingly close to the real thing.
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby FMiguelez » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:49 pm

Oh, and regarding the Masters of the past, remember that, at least up to Beethoven, they were in the EXACT same situation as we are now, adjusting for time-period>
They depended on their patrons and their grace and their budget and their assigned resources to produce their art and create their master pieces.

Even later... What would Wagner have done without Ludwig II of Bavaria?
Without his patronage, he would NEVER have been able to realize his masterpieces. No Tristan und Isolde! We would probably find his unknown manuscripts some time in the future if we were lucky in the best of cases.

How about Bach? What would he have done without the church's patronage? And Mozart? No budget, no music. No Archduke or Countess ass-kissing, no resources (just ask Beethoven about this).

Yes, there were rich ones who needed no patrons or "bosses" like Mendelssohn, but imagine how much music we wouldn't have if Baroque or Classical masters, even Modern ones, didn't adjust to their current reality and refused to work unless their demands were fully met?
(not that I'm comparing myself to them, of course, but our circumstances are not that different. We depend on the same things).
We still depend on patrons such as the Church. It's just that they are called "producers and directors" now.

Even you, MLC. You wouldn't be able to write your music the way you do were not because your bosses'/collaborators' budgets allow you to. But if they didn't? What would you do with all the music inside your head? Let it die?
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---------------------------

"There's random genetic variation, and non-random survival, and non-random reproduction, which is why, as the generations go by, animals get better at doing what they do. That is quintessentially non-random". ― Richard Dawkins
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby MIDI Life Crisis » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:16 pm

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Motivated people get the job done under whatever circumstances exist.
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby mikehalloran » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:47 pm

When composing or arranging, I start everything in notation (not always Finale). I'm not big on VIs with Finale so, if I'm going there, I export as MIDI into DP.

Some DAWs have added MisicXML import functionality. I've played with this in Logic and it's a bit clumsy but, if MOTU adds it to DP, that could be huge for those of us who begin with notation.

Since my stroke, I don't get scoring jobs anymore. I work way too slowly. Them's the breaks.

That I've not been able to get a conducting gig is a major bummer, though. For me, there's nothing quite like being in front of a large ensemble or opera company with a stick in my hand to bring those black dots to life.

I recently got a couple of vanity gigs that I'm going to try using Band-in-a-Box. Sweetwater got me a good deal on the top of the line version. If it works as I expect, I will build the basic framework then bounce into DP for sweetening and to record vocals. The time savings should offset the $600 price. I hope.

We'll see...
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby artfarm1 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:04 pm

FMiguelez....good posts, thoughts, etc.

MIDILife... always informative, interesting posts and thoughts.

MHalloran... would like to hear what a real musician and tech guy like you can do with 'Band in a Box'!

This is all what make 'MOTUNation' the best forum on the internet for us musicians (and DP users, of course).

It's the one place where passionate, serious musicians of all kind can gather for discussions and philosophical musings that matter, as well as for truly helpful tech suggestions and solutions.
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby MIDI Life Crisis » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:35 pm

Amidst the cluttering humor... :unicorn:
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby artfarm1 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:25 pm

It's always worth tuning in to catch the latest humour and friendly jests... it all helps keep one semi-sane!
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby mhschmieder » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:31 am

I ALWAYS start with the score, but I'm even more "old school": I start on paper.

Partly this is to make sure I have backup copies of my work (I photocopy at least two right away, and put one in my office and another at home in a separate location from my main active work).

Also it is because I do much of my composing on the train during my daily commute.

I wait quite late in the game to program, as I often change instruments or split parts for more variety as an arrangement progresses, and like to give lots of listens with large breaks between, before feeling confident that everything sounds ideal with my initial instrumentation choices.

Articulations and other programming differs dramatically from instrument to instrument, I find -- at least when using VSL -- but I do often do some initial programming or performance patches.

I have no idea whether this approach ends up being faster, but I'm certainly happier with the results than "back in the day" when I used Yamaha ROMplers to do my composing, and when I carried the same general methodology forward to computer-based work.
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby Phil O » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:36 am

mikehalloran wrote:I recently got a couple of vanity gigs that I'm going to try using Band-in-a-Box. Sweetwater got me a good deal on the top of the line version. If it works as I expect, I will build the basic framework then bounce into DP for sweetening and to record vocals. The time savings should offset the $600 price. I hope.

We'll see...
I had a gig a couple of years back where a composer asked me to get Band-in-a-Box (which he paid for). He wrote everything with pencil and paper, much of it in a sort of short hand version which I had to translate into a score. BIAB was used for the solo sections as we needed to produce a demo of the entire score. And, there were many solo's as this was the score for a Jazz documentary. I found the BIAB sounds to be unsatisfactory, so I used BIAB to create the solo sections (and in many cases the drums for other sections), exported the sections as MIDI, and then imported that into Finale where the main score resided. Individual instruments were then exported for import into DP where all the VI heavy lifting was done.

Band-in-a-Box was certainly very useful, but I don't think we used it the way the authors intended. I think you need to think outside-the-box and get creative with it for best results. YMMV. Also, BIAB is not elegant at all. It looks and feels like a program that was written 15 years ago and is kind of clunky. It gets the job done but if you're working on a Mac, you will feel like you're running an old Windows program that was ported to Mac. (It probably is.)


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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby mikehalloran » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:17 am

artfarm1 wrote:MHalloran... would like to hear what a real musician and tech guy like you can do with 'Band in a Box'

So will i! :lol:

I bought the Audiophile version.
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Re: Notating first THEN programming? What a difference!

Postby terrybritton » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:40 am

Phil O wrote:
mikehalloran wrote:Also, BIAB is not elegant at all. It looks and feels like a program that was written 15 years ago and is kind of clunky. It gets the job done but if you're working on a Mac, you will feel like you're running an old Windows program that was ported to Mac. (It probably is.)


Phil


I had it on my Mac Plus back in '91 (alongside Performer!), so it will always feel like a Mac program ported to Windows to me!!! :wink:

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