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Which is a better way?....


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Which is a better to compose music?  

22 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • Use the computer with music notations.
      7
    • Compose music like John Williams...such as using the piano and pencil only...the only way to be as good as him
      14
    • Other
      1


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The way people compose music in general like using a computer so that you can use MIDI keyboard or the old way like not using a computer at all. But Which is better. The output of it i mean. How would John Williams music turned out to be if he start composing music by using computers?

Even thought John Williams grew up at the time where there is no computers at that time but just thinking though...now that people are using computers do think there some how there is lacking in the process of composing music when using music notation on computers?

Not all are skilled like John Williams and the use computers and letting the computers doing the work is easier for them which is a negative thing about it. To me that just show how unskill or unknowedgeable the person who composing because the person who composing should be smart enough like John Williams to not use the computers. I just thinking that the hard way is a better output just like John Williams how he compose his music.

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Um... well, the former is certainly easier. Or is it just more efficient?

I couldn't really say, as I compose in a strange fashion between the two, manually clicking in every note... when I try inputting passages with a MIDI keyboard, I get the quantitization wrong and end up with a lot of mistimed notes. It's very possible that I just suck at performance, or my MIDI keyboard at proper transcription. Regardless, I do things by hand... on a computer. It's like typing a letter rather than writing one. Of course, if I have the same passage for two instruments, I'll simply copy and paste...

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I mean by in terms of modern technology compared to the olden days. Some people are lacking in their skills in the use modern technologies then in past without them.

By that logic of archaic tools having superiority...then music over the last thousand years should be getting progressively worse and worse.

Yes John Williams writes at a piano. But it's not the piano or the process of putting note to paper at the piano that makes him great. It is that spark that is there, within his mind, that accompanies WHATEVER process or tool he uses to compose.

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Fat-Boys way is best, but unless you have his knowledge, better stick with computers and minions.

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Pencil and paper, definitely. Anyone who can't do that to some degree shouldn't be composing, or at least we shouldn't have heard of them. :(

Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, Paul McCartney, etc.

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I dont mind how the music is written as long as it eventually finds its way to real musicians. Cant stand a computer or keyboard trying to sound like real instruments.

Surely its the inspiration behind the music that really matters rather than how it is physically written. If a composer has no talent or inspiration will a pencil, piece of paper and piano help??

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Is it better to write with a word processor, a typewriter or a pencil and some paper?

Typewriter. It looks neat, and yet you still have to think about what you're writing. :(

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I think the poll should should have been

1. Sequencer

2. Notation programs

3. Pencil, paper and piano.

Reason is that anyone who has worked with notation programs knows that it's almost analogous to working with a full score. the only difference is that instead of plotting notes onto a page with ink or pencil, you're using the cursor button. It's as laborious a process as piano and paper IMO. I've used all three methods and for the best results, I find notation programs the best.

Here's why: writing at the piano will get the composer thinking in pianistic terms rather than a full orchestral idiom. Notable people like Michael Tilson thomas have spoken about this. Prokofiev wrote at the piano save for his Classical Symphony because he didn't want to rely on that instrument to govern his orchestrational ideas. In cases where you've got a fellow like Mahler or whomever who knew the orchestra initimately, then the piano simply becomes a pitch reference. But honestly, most of us don't have the background with acoustic ensembles like Williams to use the piano as that reference; we'll unconsciously voice chords in a pianistic way that might not be the best way to arrange that chord for a wind group or brass group or strings. The beauty of notation programs is that you have that blank virtual page staring at you with a bunch of instrument staves. Combining and doubling parts is easier as is part extraction. I'm a devout NOTION user now even though it doesn't have NOTE audition (meaning you don't hear the note pitch or sound when its placed onto the stave- you must hit the "play" button to hear the note back within the passage you've composed). this means I have to draw upon my university training to hear the parts or lines in my head before putting them down.

Jesse swears by Overture 4 (which I also own and use for full mockups using EWQLSO Gold Pro XP but not as a compositional device as I do with NOTION).

Sequencers on the other hand is a short-hand way of getting music down and is the least effective way to write for ORCHESTRA. for synth landscapes and such, it's excellent. But not for writing dense, contrapuntally involved music with correct voice leading and balanced orchestration. The pure graphics of a full score helps the composer to see in visual terms the density of passages. The doubling of rhythms or lines throughout the in instrument choirs allows the composer to better plan the development of a piece. With a sequencer, you're a slave to a plodding metronome with its fascist beat constantly reminding you to play in time. It's like painting with boxing gloves on. Of course, it's more immediately satisfying to play into a sequencer and compose a 4 minute work in 2 hours. Notation programs are slower but honestly more effective IMO. I studied a lot of Mahler scores in my youth so my full scores are painstakingly detailed. Writing 16 bars could take me 2 hours right there. But I do think the results are infinitely better than my sequenced fare.

Just my 2 cents on this matter.

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Not the collected works of Danny Elfman, or the scores by David Arnold.

I said Great film scores. :sigh:

Actually I said "most of the great......"

That would leave a few out there.

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Not the collected works of Danny Elfman, or the scores by David Arnold.

Well Elfman writes his scores down with pencil and paper, they're just not full orchestrations.

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#2 seems like the best way to me. I would say most of the great scores were written that way.

That's because most of the great scores were composed before music notation programs were available. I almost guarantee that had Williams/Steiner/Herrmann et all been born in 1980 they would be using Finale and Sibelius like everyone else. It's the future. It cuts costs on copyists, and is the most professional way to present a score to a publisher. I think most composers probably write at the piano, and then expand their ideas on notation software.

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Once again, the term "notaton programs" refers to ones that basically use the traditional methods of composing. Not a whole lot of people use them for composition in film scoring because they do require a lot of time. Seqencers are the proper terminology if we're talking about what most hacks...er, composers use today. Williams and Shore are the only one's I know of who rely on piano and manuscript although Silvestri professed to writing his scores out on a 12 stave master score. Broughton also writes using traditional methods.

I didn't mean that hack remark...well, I only half meant it. The best works of James Newton Howard or Elfman while being quite good do not approach the level the Williams writes at using piano and manuscript.

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If we go by the method impacting output logic...

Then imagine what Star Wars could have been if we took away John Williams' piano, and made him write the score on his own skin with his own blood, using his own nails as the tool for writing.

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If you are a young composer and do not use finale/sib/ etc you are unwise, not financially responsible. It is critical to know this. What u write *with* has nothing to do with the method, its all your brain

EDIT

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Which probably has more to do with the person's talent or level of skill then the method of composition.

that's true too. Williams professes that he didn't watch a lot of t.v or films growing up and concetrated on music- probably why he's a consumate musician. Less distractions.

If you are a young composer and do not use finale/sib/ etc you are unwise, not financially responsible. It is critical to know this.  What u write has nothing to do with the method, its all your brain

If your claim is true incidentally, than Zimmer has crap for brains. :sigh:

#2 seems like the best way to me. I would say most of the great scores were written that way.

That's because most of the great scores were composed before music notation programs were available. I almost guarantee that had Williams/Steiner/Herrmann et all been born in 1980 they would be using Finale and Sibelius like everyone else. It's the future. It cuts costs on copyists, and is the most professional way to present a score to a publisher. I think most composers probably write at the piano, and then expand their ideas on notation software.

excellent point!

Look, I'm not saying that if Person A goes out and buys a copy of Finale that he or she will compose better music than Person B who uses piano and manuscript. The tools WHEN COMPOSING ORCHESTRAL MUSIC do factor in. And anyone who aserts otherwise probably hasn't written for that form. I learned he traditional way (piano and manuscript) and use notation programs because they are a faster more efficient way of producing readable scores. Sequencers do not yield better results when writing for orchestra than the other methods because the methodology is inherent in the process of writing for orchestra. I have not heard a better orchestral piece written on sequencers than ones written either on piano/pencil/manuscript or else notation programs (which by the way are mostly used by copyists in hollywood not composers). Many concert composers use notation programs for the reasons pixietwinkle mentioned in his post.

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I won't pick one a I'm not a musician. But as an artist I may work with the computer, but will still use the old stuff to really work things out. It will help you think about the idea before putting it out there.

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Here's why:  writing at the piano will get the composer thinking in pianistic terms rather than a full orchestral idiom....

Really then how come John Williams does it and he write for full orchestra? Does John Williams think in pianistic terms?

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I did add later in the same post that composer's such as Williams who have a great deal of grounding with real orchestras merely uses the piano as a pitch reference. please note that even Williams himself said that he uses the piano more thn he should. He's remarked on this in vrious interviews.

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The way people compose music in general like using a computer so that you can use MIDI keyboard or the old way like not using a computer at all. But Which is better. The output of it i mean. How would John Williams music turned out to be if he start composing music by using computers?  

Even thought John Williams grew up at the time where there is no computers at that time but just thinking though...now that people are using computers do think there some how there is lacking in the process of composing music when using music notation on computers?    

Not all are skilled like John Williams and the use computers and letting the computers doing the work is easier for them which is a negative thing about it. To me that just show how unskill or unknowedgeable the person who composing because the person who composing should be smart enough like John Williams to not use the computers.  I just thinking that the hard way is a better output just like John Williams how he compose his music.

You bring a good point. I've heard so many reputable composer say they hate the computer because some people write using it. (ex. steve reich, poul ruders) They claim that people that use the computer to compose are significantly worse than those that do without. I think the idea as someone mentioned in this forum is that writing with pencil takes more time. Thus, you have to think more than using a comp, where you can just play it on a keyboard that is hooked up up to the comp via a USB cable. They've told me it is annoying because they've had people show them scores they've written, but it turns out to be crap. Too many people rely on stuff like 'Finale 2006' or sequencers without any regards for proper acoustics, so they write impossible lines for the trumpet (say, high Bs in pianissimo). course it sounds alright on the comp, but for a real orch, it's impossible. also, often, there's too much layering which can happen with cubase, but in reality would muddy up the sound too much. etc.

however, they also did say that there are people that compose with the aid of a computer, which is different. in that scenario, the composer is using the comp for simply notation or sound effects, not finale or cubase or watever.

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#2 seems like the best way to me. I would say most of the great scores were written that way.

That's because most of the great scores were composed before music notation programs were available. I almost guarantee that had Williams/Steiner/Herrmann et all been born in 1980 they would be using Finale and Sibelius like everyone else. It's the future. It cuts costs on copyists, and is the most professional way to present a score to a publisher. I think most composers probably write at the piano, and then expand their ideas on notation software.

excellent point!

But of course! :|:|

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Piano or synthesizer are merely tools. Everyone chooses one which is more comfortable to use for that particular person. JW does better with piano, others with computer. Each option is good. The only things that define better music are talent and skills, not tools.

Regarding the subject, I remember liner notes from "Blood and Wine" soundtrack (a movie with J. Nicholson and M. Caine) in which the director (Bob Rafaelson) describes his collaboration with the composer (Michal Lorenc). This was the composer's first assigment in the USA, he hardly spoke English, the time was running out. At times Lorenc was presenting Rafaelson some portions of his work on the synthesizer. It didn't sound reassuring so the director started to feel afraid. However, when the music was treated by the real orchestra, it flourished. The score was even pushed for the Academy Awards '98 by 20th CF, but eventually didn't get nomination.

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I use both. I find that staring at blank staves on a computer screen is not conducive to creating something.

I usually come up with new ideas/melodies at the piano and on paper. I think it helps me focus on what it's supposed to sound like, not look like.

I use Finale later on to punch in all the notes quickly, and to tweak how it looks on paper.

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for efficiency purposes I would say the computer having everything nice looking, My music theory teacher once made me rewrite a composition five times until it looked nice enough. However, for actualy musical quality just sitting their by the piano would be the best.

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