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  • Giving Up!

    Okay I'm getting to the point where I believe that Finale is not really able to successfully host VSL... the Sticking notes make it too difficult to work and so I'm thinking of going back to a scenario in which I send MIDI to an application which will host VE3...

    Is this a solution and any idea how best to go about doing this? If I use MaxMSP it won't remember anything so I need to configure VE3 every time anew (which might just mean saving a VE3 instance so may not be a problem.

    Getting very frustrated now!

  • I hear you!  I have Finale's 2010 update, and had these same issues you describe.  I also updated to Sibelius 6 recently, and I've got that working pretty well with VSL SE Extended, with Plus strings, and several VSL download instruments.  I've been with Finale since version 1.?, so I thought by now it'd be easier to make VSL work.  I think there are 'sounsets' for Finale, but Sibelius 6 is really beginning to work nicely.  So, I'm spending my time now in Sibelius.  I went through the Vienna setup video for Sibelius, and it was right on.  I still have a lot to learn, and I'll bet there are some who have Finale working just fine by now.  I hope you get a good answere to your issues!


  • You know, zentrumsounds, you might want to consider switching to a sequencer like Logic or Sonar instead of using notation software.  I guess the consensus on the forum is that Sibelius is the most user friendly notation software with VSL but with Sonar, for example, you can still enter the notes in the Staff view like notation software, if that's how you like to work, and then edit them in the piano roll view.  Granted, you probably won't have all of the same features that you would in your popular notation software applications but you might find that you have more editing flexibilty.

    I own Finale myself but I only use it if I need a hard copy of my score.

    Anyway, just a thought. 

  • That's a good point, jasensmith.  I use Logic and Pro Tools when I'm doing music that I don't need notated, and they both have a nice enough notation editor for some simpler things.  Much more editing with these programs.  I'm old enough that I really like using the 'old school' way of dealing with music.  Plus, I really just want these notation softwares to work more like a good sequencer, which they may never really do...or I'll be long gone when they do!

  • You'd think, by now, somebody out there would have developed something that has the best of both worlds, or at least some kind of bridge that enables you to compose in, say, Finale and all of your notes are automatically translated into MIDI data into your favorite sequencer, like Sonar.

    Man! I should have paid more attention in those computer programing classes I took back in high school.  I'd be sitting on a gold mine right now.

  • Hi,

    Finale is not really a writing tool (no matter how much Coda wants to advertize it for that).  I use Digital Performer, save the file when I'm finished as a standard MIDI file, import into Finale and then spend about a week tweaking the scoree (dynamics, articulations, etc.).  I know its a pain, but its better than pen on vellum.

  • Greetings, I am always struggling with this, so I empathize with your situation. I am a film composer and need to do things pretty fast, so Finale is definitely out of the question. Here's the solution: PEN AND PAPER. I score it out on paper then play in the parts on Pro-Tools or Logic. If I have to do parts for players I'll use Finale. I came to these conclusions after banging my head against a wall for 2 years!!! It's just too much of a headache trying to get all the keyswitches/articulations to work on Finale. I still struggle with the keyswitch thing, but try to 'perform' the keyswitches whenever I can. This may sound like a weird solution, but man pen and paper is still the purest way to express your ideas. Then just play the parts in. Finale is just a notation program and is not a sequencer. Logic has a nice integration with some score elements, but it's a bit obtuse, compared to the elegance of Pro-Tools. Does anyone have the new version of PT? Wondering if I should upgrade to that. All the best my fellow composers and headbangers!!!! -Peter

  • Hello pscart.

    I have PT 8.  The only real thing I've done with it so far, is a Big Band arrangement of a Charie Parker tune (Donna Lee).  The new Score feature is fine for some editing, but the MIDI page is still a lot better to work with.  I'm working with Sibelius 6 right now, learning how to use it with VE, and PT does have a nice integration with Sibelius, so one can work back and forth with the two programs pretty well, at least as I can see so far.

    The arrangement is not all VI instruments, and I haven't tranferred it to Sibelius from PT yet.  Sorry, but I don't know much about the technicalities of these programs, and I don't do any live recording things with my system.  I only have used PT 7.4.2 before PT 8.

  • Thanks for all the responses. Just back from a holiday so the headache's of technology were very far from my thoughts! Some very interesting thoughts here which clearly show the wide range of approaches of all those using these technologies...

    Some thoughts/counter arguments...

    I've been working with Finale since about 1996 when it felt like a fast moving ground breaking programme on the old Mac OS. Apart from my own activities as a composer I've had the honour of assisting a selection of some of the worlds most respected classical composers helping them to integrate electronic music elements into their compositions (the posh term I think is "RĂ©alisateur") and as such have looked over the shoulder at a vast range of composition/working methods. Some composers worked using a DAW like Logic but these composers were invariably of the minimalist variety. In most other cases it was Finale and very rarely Sibelius. And in each case each of these composers used all of the above as a fully fledged sequencer without hitch. (Finale is very much a writing tool! In fact its more a writing tool then Logic or Sonar.)

    Of course at the end of the day most composers were writing with acoustic instruments performed by humans in mind and therefore the sequencer function was nothing more then prototyping. Often these situations called for considerable imagination. Sul tasto was just a word not a trigger for a change of sample. However Finale could do all these things and from 2001 onwards I composed almost all of my own acoustic work using Finale with symbols triggering programme change message on my Akai S5000 sampler.

    Finale is in fact a very good sequencer. Its abilities to work with really complex rhythms has seen it implemented in research studies about the limits of perception when faced with difficult cross rhythms and the multiple irrationals one finds in the works of composers such as Brain Ferneyhough. The problem is not with Finale in terms of its concept, it is in short really the most capable and flexible tool (more below)... the problem is with the fact that it doesn't really work with VSL. If notes are still hanging or not playing in Finale 2010 as they have been in 2009 then that rules the programme out for most people. (Incidentally the reason why I need to notate in Finale and can't do it in Logic or similar is due to the nature of my music. I write using quite a lot of extended techniques and use some complex notation and writing directly into a score programme is both efficient and acts as a memory for ideas which would get lost if using a non notation focused sequencer)

    There is one other reason why I am beginning to think Finale is a 'cul de sac'. When I press play I must wait... and wait... and then it finally starts to play back. Okay that might not be a big issue if you are composing on a more casual basis but if like me you're an eight hour a day guy who earns ones keep by hitting that space bar those delays really mount up. If Sibelius 6 can do the sort of instant playback that we expect from a DAW then this is a big deal and it may just be the clincher for me!

    I've just received Sibelius 6 and about to give this a shot but here are the main reasons why I wish I could cut and past a bit of Finale and Sibelius to create my dream programme:
    Finale is more capable in terms of the range of notation abilities. To give you an idea of what I mean check out this useful link If you are not convinced then I'll be happy to pass on some more extreme examples from my own catalogue. Alternatively if you can show me a single useful link in which advanced notation issue and Sibelius are discusses then I'd be delighted.

    Finale allows me to access different channels from a single staff (1 per layer). This allows me to access VSL on layers 1+2 and the IRCAM solo instrument library I use on 3+4. This was never an issue before because of course when we first used samplers we had access to the actual samples. But with VSL and such these samples are all embedded and keymapped within the plugin. To clarify this further... I love VSL's VI sounds. But take the trumpet... there is no selection of mutes. So if I want to have a passage with the VSL con sordino trumpet and then suddenly put on the mute I need to be able to access both plugins. Sibelius can't do this (unless I send the MIDI data to something like MaxMSP and use a programme change message to flip) and in some ways the fault is not Sibelius' but rather the fact that VSL is incomplete in terms of its sound palette. However for now the hybrid approach I'd been working with in Finale seems near impossible to port.

    Finally, Finale and now Sibelius both are capable of synching up to a DAW. This is huge especially if one writes music in which electronic tape parts are combined with orchestral forces. I know there are probably few enough out there who need this but I can certainly imagine those writing film scores in which sound effects and orchestration are closely aligned getting great use out of this.
    The demands on today's composers are really such that very few still use pen and paper exclusively and a large proportion not at all. So getting professional tools to work professionally is so important. Finale has seriously dropped the ball of late presenting a bloated slow and highly bugged environment. It could be amazing but "make music" has in my opinion ruined things and in the process created great disappointment. Finale 2010's tag line is "The best tools are designed by the people who use them"... i would say not if those people can't programme a computer which appears to be the case here. Just go to the Finale forums and it appears that a vast amount of Finale diehards are extremely frustrated by developments in recent years.

  • Welcome back from your vacation Zentrumsounds and thank you for your very informative post. 


    I'm not sure where you're from but here in the states we have an expression we use that goes, "back in the day..."  It's usually a preamble to exaggerated war stories or barstool booze reminiscing.  I think we are currently living in "the day" when it comes to this technology.  Some time in the future we may sit in retrospect and say, "remember back in the day when you used to have to... Man! What a pain in the ass that was." 


    Like any other art form there really is no right or wrong way of working with this stuff.  My music knowledge comes from being a piano teacher so projects always start at the piano for me.  I progressed to the piano from synthesizer keyboards because I'm a big 80's New Wave and Synth pop fan.  For me, MIDI came naturally because I already understood how it worked and its possibilities from my synthesizer days (talk about "back in the day").  It's extremely difficult to be MIDI knowledgeable and not know anything about sequencers because they kind of go hand in hand. Subsequently, I prefer the sequencer approach.


    You’re right.  It's interesting to see how people use this technology.  There are those who are obsessed with creating the authentic orchestral sound and they fuss with details like the perfect reverb, dynamic samples and layering string patches.  I imagine they are the ones who like the notation software.  Then there are those who try and break new MIDI ground and create a 1014 piece violin section or feed their brass patches through virtual guitar amps to hear what it sounds like.  They would be sequencer users I suppose.   


    More than anything else, I think VSL is teaching me how to orchestrate or, as it more commonly refered to as, MIDIstrate which completely blew my expectations.


    Food for thought

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