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Music Composing Programs?


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Hey all. I was curious.

I have Finale and I use to use cakewalk. I write stuff for school or friends and what not all the time. Problem is, it only outputs as midi.

I also have a keyboard where I can perform the piece and record that... then layer it together with different instruments but that just becomes time consuming and I don't feel it is as accurate as it should be.

I was curious, what sort of programs do you all use to compose--those of you that do?

And what programs you would recommend. Also maybe even how they work.

I was trying to find some programs but all I kept finding were MIDI programs like Finale and sound banks like Viena Symphony and such.

How does that all work? I'd really like to start writing music that people can listen to and not be thrown back into a 1980's video game.

Thanks for help.

PS:I know there was another topic similar to this(I couldn't find it) it was a while back. I'm not trying to double post, just want to know what people would recommend for someone.

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You want to compose digital music? I'm sorry to say I don't know too much about that. I do know, however, that most digital music does have a little of that "video game" quality to it, unless if you get into the REALLY expensive stuff.

Are you thinking along the lines of synthesized orchestral stuff? If that's the case, I don't know what to say...except that there is no true substitute for a real orchestra. Unfortunately, those aren't easy to come by. :D

Finale can output to audio files too, you know. Not just MIDI.

I use Finale to compose and arrange music with the intention that it be played by a real musical group (typically an orchestra). I've never actually had any of it performed by an orchestra (yet), but I'm currently having my arrangement of "Battle of the Heroes" played by a high school drumline. I don't write music with the intention of the final product being digital.

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Well, see, my brother works at a computer company... a video game company.

He said if I can walk in their with a portfolio of things I've written along with draws I--or somone else--made and have cd's of the music so they could listen to it, they would probably be very impressed and in some cases may hire on the spot.

I know that's kinda wishfull thinking, but the point is, I don't want to hand them a cd of MIDI sounding things you know? (I realize it can output other than midi, but it sounds midi I mean :-p)

I know there are people on the board who write music and they use some sort of... sample library or something to convert it from midi to sounding better.

Price isn't much of a problem as I probably won't be buying it any time soon, just want to know about it so I know what I need to save up.

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I see what you're saying. Like I said, I'm no expert in digital music, so I'll leave it to someone else to provide an answer. :)

However, I do know about music notation programs, and pixie, I find Sibelius much more difficult to use than Finale. Finale generally gives you more flexibility to change the notation itself, allowing for a more professional end product--if you handle it right. But either one can give very professional results, and if it's easier for you to use, well, more power to you. :D

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The sounds are dodgy MIDI

Yeah but there is kontakt player in sibelius which are better quality sounds then MIDI or even better get real instruments and record it. I have Kontakt Silver for sibelius 3 that im using and I use it for recording my composition as an audio file. But the it doesn't have all the sounds for all instruments unless you get Kontakt Gold.

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remember these are notation programs and are not composigng programs. u shud be able to compose without these. and orchestrate properly without them as well. (i must say the downside of people composing with finale is they 'orchestrate' things that are impractical or dont sound good, since u dont know the resonances that two horns can cause, etc.) but if u wanted composing programs, band in the box or cubase are pretty good. cubase is good for people that like layering things over and over to see how it sounds.

with respect to finale vs. sibelius, i prefer finale. its more professional and many notation companies use finale. finale can do much more things than sibelius, especailly in terms of contemporary notations. however, the main drawback to finale is that it is hard to use. i've had 5 years of finale now, so i am quite good with it, but am still learning the nuances of finale, so yes, it is difficult to begin etc.

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I don't agree that Finale is more professional than Sibelius. Both are regularly published. The end result is just as nice on each. I understand that Finale is supposed to be better regarding graphic notation as you mention Tony, but to be honest, that's just not the kind of music I write, and if I did I would probably be able to make a nicer job of it with pencil and paper. All of George Crumb's graphically notated scores look beautiful and were hand drawn. I'm sure they could be achieved to some extent on Finale but it would be a real hassle trying to figure out how to achieve each graphic, and ultimately some kind of compromise may have to be met. One should never compromise when notating music.

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See, tha'ts the problem

I hear things.

When I close my eyes at night, I can hear music playing... I've had dreams where I've conducted orchestras performing things I've never written--and since I forget them upon waking never will--but I'm an auratory person. I need to hear the tones...

And finale doens't do that. My keyboard does it well, but at the same time, I want something better.

Band in the Box

Cubase you say? I'll see if I can find these...Thank you all so much. Now, can these take midi and convert them? or do you write them right in the program?

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Problem is my midi chords don't work with my computer... never did... don't really know why. They just do not respond.

Though what I have done is taken a wire form the earphone jack and pluged it into the inputs on the front and recorded live form there...

But like I said, that seems so... clumsy if not innacurate... I want it to be there infront of me so I can see it.

I dunno... maybe something like that doesn't exist...

--The more I look the more I'm asking stupid questions lol...

Thanks for hte help everyone...

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I just use cubase

I had the chance to work with samples and I was blown away,

Still nowhere near close to sounding like the real thing.

I remember watching Walking with Dinosaurs (UK Documentary) After 3 seconds I knew this wasn't an orchestra.

You can really tell. It just sounds like all the players are surrounded by Plexiglas and recorded separately. I came across a book about the mathematical relationship of sounds in relation to the distance between them. It was basically saying that orchestral instruments don't just play their sound but they resonate with each other.

It's a living-breathing thing. Then you have the room and its natural reverberation and last but absolutely not least the recording equipment.

It's a mind field.

Personally I stopped trying to duplicate the orchestra a long time ago. I find it turns me in to a programmer -engineer and I want to compose, not look for better sounds all the time

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Get Gigastudio. It's a little bit of money, but it's well well well worth it. I don't have much money, and I've managed alright. I use a bit of a jerry-rigged setup.

Remember that old program Noteworthy Composer? Well I've always found that that program, when really familiar with all its ins and outs, is best for trying to make a natural sounding MIDI file.

So when I compose, I do so into Finale (which I love). Then I make MIDIs in Noteworthy Composer, connected to my Gigastudio. (Don't worry...all this is on one computer...if you really need clear details on my exact setup, PM me).

I use samples I've either bought or gotten from friends, and I make my MIDIs like that. Then I use a freeware MIDI to WAV program to great my sound files. Voila. It seems complicated but it's really not. And that, my friends, is the poor-man's sound studio setup lol.

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Overture boasts full customization of playback of all symbols, as well as VST integration. This means full integration with GPO, Eastwest, Vienna, etc. Sky's the limit. 8 separate channels per staff. There is built in sequencing, therefore, no need for using another program for a realistic demo. And for advanced engraving, it works perfectly. Finally, the price is much lower for a better product.

There is no comparison.

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I use the Edirol High Quality Orchestral Synthesizer (about $300). It takes MIDI files and makes them sound as if an orchestra was playing it. It's quite great. I've also heard great things about the Mac program Soundtrack, which costs substantially more.

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I use Finale Allegro ($200) Version 2005. It has everything Finale has except it lacks the teaching elements that Finale provides (synthasizing warm-ups and that sort of thing). With this program you can save your music as an audio file, which you may subsequently burn to a CD or load to your iPod. It's a great program and it's very easy to use, and also carries great midi voices. The only instruments I find annoying are the english horn and the bari sax because they tend to override the rest of the instruments even if you set them at a lower volume level. Anyway, for a good quality music program, this one is top notch for a low price and it will cease your search to find a program that saves AUD. files.

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