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  • The Notated Score

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    I am asked occasionally why I don't put phrasing, bowing, breathing and dynamic markings in my scores. For a long time I did. But then I realized I am creating music that is realized via computer technology and MIDI, there are seldom live players involved. Since I embed all of the above information profusely in the MIDI sequence, it is redundant to include them in the score. Occasionally, when I publish a piece for live players, I add all of the necessary markings that players require.

    Do other composers do things differently or similarly?

    I am not interested in retrogression and I believe in complete scores, the more information the better, relative to the medium of performance. Sometimes I am not willing to work on something unless I see a reason. A complete score as an end in itself is fine, but a recording and score as a single interpretation is no less intricate or musical. When a composer tells a player to do a crescendo from m41 b2 to m50 b1 from pp to f, the notation conveys this clearly. The most complete scores I've ever seen are those by Mahler, his attention to detail in dynamics, articulation and phrasing is a great advance in musical thinking.

    Machine performance of music is a paradox, as music must be felt to be enjoyed, and machines don't feel. Composing for computer still demands that we not only tell the computer what to play, but how to play it. MIDI doesn't understand a hairpin, but it understands ctrl 11 from 127 to 32. A camera cannot "feel", yet it can convey the warmth, excitement and happiness of a decades-old wedding picture, and a paint brush cannot feel the emotion the painter is creating on the canvas. A computer-based performance can convey the subjective experience of the composer by programming phrasing, articulation, velocity, note length, note location and patch-set, at least those are the technical details.

    The score serves to help me find mistakes and correct them, it serves as a visual means to aid in my teaching practice and it also allows me, at a later date if I want to, get a live performance if that is what I want.

    Does this make sense? I know it goes against classical orthodoxy in terms of what a complete score requires, but who really cares? If someone finds one of my scores in a library or garbage can and really wants to perform it, they can interpret the dynamics and phrasing as it naturally feels to them. The tempi I have set. What's the issue?

    So why make a score at all? Having a visual representation of composition helps me to organize my pieces. I sequence in SMN, I edit the notation in Sibelius and further clarify my ideas and find errors before rendering to wave. I think it is a practical way to employ notation. Traditions are always in process, always changing, morphing, absorbing and being absorbed.

    Jerry
    www.jerrygerber.com


  • Rarely do I ever create a score for my music, hard copy or digital.  But when I do create a score it's usually just a piano arrangement comprising just the important aspects of the composition; a skeletal guide if you will.  I do this for two reasons:

    1.  Although I'm Classically trained on piano I come predominately from a Pop music background so my knowledge of orchestration is limited at best.  I like to keep things simple.

    2.  I'm open to interpretation.  I'm not a stickler for having everything my way.  I'd love to hear how others would arrange my compositions whether it be just a string quartet or a full 100 piece orchestra with a choir.  To me the ultimate compliment would be somebody rearranging my scores even with a virtual orchestra.


  • I think you may be 50-100 years too early Jerry.

    The problem for me is that despite all the programming, yours and my midi sounds just that. We both know what a live player can do for a work and although it is well-nigh impossible to get a performance, I for one, still hold on to the ideal situation and write accordingly. If you are intending to be a composer for midi instruments alone, all well and good and yes, I agree, it's a waste of time adding details.

    One day, there will undoubtedly be software that will incorporate programmable or default personality into the notes - imagine being able to buy a Rostropovitch vi (AI or viAi), or a Pollini piano player. Great musos will probably make a fortune selling their aesthetic performance proclivities to (say) VSL, who by then will have their own Quantum DAW for sale. You will probably be able to just talk to the DAW like a conductor would to a band and shape the performance and even dictate the music in, with live playback that is indistinguishable from the real thing, thanks to a never ending fractal drives, quantum entangled interpretation curves and multiverse bandwidth with Planck limiters (ok, don't know what I'm talking about now!) - that would be some modern amanuensis huh?

    Until the day comes though, I'm happy to be in control of how my music should be performed and to communicate that with a detailed score - I hear music with articulation and phrasing when writing and that is how I'd like it performed, not that you don't of course because you do it with attack and cc's etc., but I like to make the musics' intention clear to all in the score as I believe it aids comprehension. I will join your ethos Jerry when the above happens if I'm still around....


    www.mikehewer.com
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    @jasensmith said:

    Rarely do I ever create a score for my music, hard copy or digital.  But when I do create a score it's usually just a piano arrangement comprising just the important aspects of the composition; a skeletal guide if you will.  I do this for two reasons:

    1.  Although I'm Classically trained on piano I come predominately from a Pop music background so my knowledge of orchestration is limited at best.  I like to keep things simple.

    2.  I'm open to interpretation.  I'm not a stickler for having everything my way.  I'd love to hear how others would arrange my compositions whether it be just a string quartet or a full 100 piece orchestra with a choir.  To me the ultimate compliment would be somebody rearranging my scores even with a virtual orchestra.

    Sounds very reasonable to me.


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    @mh-7635 said:

    I think you may be 50-100 years too early Jerry.

    The problem for me is that despite all the programming, yours and my midi sounds just that. We both know what a live player can do for a work and although it is well-nigh impossible to get a performance, I for one, still hold on to the ideal situation and write accordingly. If you are intending to be a composer for midi instruments alone, all well and good and yes, I agree, it's a waste of time adding details.

    One day, there will undoubtedly be software that will incorporate programmable or default personality into the notes - imagine being able to buy a Rostropovitch vi (AI or viAi), or a Pollini piano player. Great musos will probably make a fortune selling their aesthetic performance proclivities to (say) VSL, who by then will have their own Quantum DAW for sale. You will probably be able to just talk to the DAW like a conductor would to a band and shape the performance and even dictate the music in, with live playback that is indistinguishable from the real thing, thanks to a never ending fractal drives, quantum entangled interpretation curves and multiverse bandwidth with Planck limiters (ok, don't know what I'm talking about now!) - that would be some modern amanuensis huh?

    Until the day comes though, I'm happy to be in control of how my music should be performed and to communicate that with a detailed score - I hear music with articulation and phrasing when writing and that is how I'd like it performed, not that you don't of course because you do it with attack and cc's etc., but I like to make the musics' intention clear to all in the score as I believe it aids comprehension. I will join your ethos Jerry when the above happens if I'm still around....

    It is hard to imagine the tools musicians might have 100 or 200 years from now.  But I am sure people will still be making music with animal gut, bone, metal and wood, and electrons.


  • I'll chime in with my two cents:

    When I began writing a few years ago, I had designs on selling scores to ensembles for performance (lol, talk about naive!)  Coming from a performance background, I was one of those that wrote very little down when learning music.  Many colleagues mark up their performance scores so much that you can barely make out the actual notation any more.  I find this especially true of string players (often out of necessity, not simply because they're OCD!) I was able to commit my musical choices to memory quickly, and also enjoyed the interpretive aspects of performance, which were actually easier to make without being influenced by a myriad of articulation/tempo/dynamic markings, etc.  But I digress... Recognizing the requirements of other musicians, my wife, Becky, and I did our best to dot our I's and cross our T's.  The first round of orchestral scores and chamber pieces were meticulous in their detail.  I told myself the extra time spent would be worth it.  It wasn't.  At least not when your "colleagues" expect you to put dozens of hours in to scores only to have you hand them the score for free and be grateful for a mediocre public performance at best.

    Since then, I found I'm writing faster than Becky can keep up with the copyist services (for which I pay her generously with food).  I also found that upon importing perfectly done up scores from Finale to Cubase, I'd still spend just as much time refining things for a midi rendition of the work, whether I imported a score complete with dynamics, articulation markings, etc. as one that was simply "the notes."  Actually, I found myself more liberated to interpret the music in Cubase by playing in passages in a way that might have been restricted had I been following my written instructions precisely.  In other words, I'm now doing what I've always done as a performer:  creating an interpretation in real-time; revising things as I go, also with respect to making decisions based on the idiosyncrasies of the virtual instruments.

    Now, many of my more recent scores sit in a state of "partial completion."  I will complete the midi-mockup to the best of my ability, but won't go back and polish up the score, until such time as a demand for it emerges (as in, never...oh the cynic I've become!)

    In my estimation, the recording of the work reflects the composer's musical sensibilities/interpretation, as it is necessary to make all those choices during the process of creating the mockup.  It's not that we "can't" put those instructions in the score, it's that we choose not to for reasons like you alluded to above.

    That said, Mike's arguments are equally compelling and if time were no object...

    Dave


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    @Acclarion said:

    Now, many of my more recent scores sit in a state of "partial completion."  I will complete the midi-mockup to the best of my ability, but won't go back and polish up the score, until such time as a demand for it emerges (as in, never...oh the cynic I've become!)

    In my estimation, the recording of the work reflects the composer's musical sensibilities/interpretation, as it is necessary to make all those choices during the process of creating the mockup.  It's not that we "can't" put those instructions in the score, it's that we choose not to for reasons like you alluded to above.

    That said, Mike's arguments are equally compelling and if time were no object...

    Dave

    I suppose one difference between my approach and others is that I don't view MIDI anymore as a "mockup".  In fact I dislike the term, because it implies something that is imitative, a substitute for something else, sloppily or quickly done, something that is clearly not an end in itself.  It's like saying a photograph is a mockup for a painting or a film is a mockup for a live play, when in fact both mediums stand on their own.  I realize that I am pretty much alone in my point of view, but I really do view MIDI, sample libraries and synths as a whole new musical medium, one in which composers are finally free to write complex multi-timbral music without having to depend upon other people and the political and psychological games that often involves.  To me, that is liberating.  What makes the world interesting is that we are each unique individuals, with our own interpretation of tradition, of how to use music technology and musical taste itself.   Each one of us is connected to a greater whole, a greater reality, a larger cultural context.  Yet the fact that every person has unique personality, unique identity, makes it all far more interesting and complicated. 

    If we took a sampling of 10 composers living in Vienna in 1755, we'd find some differences between composers, but all-in-all the composers back then were using the same major and minor scales, same cadences and instrumentation and very similar ideas about harmony, harmonic progression, and rhythm.  But today, if we took a sample of 10 composers living just in my district of San Francisco, we'd find 10 different approaches to composition, to aethetics, and to how music technology is utilized, probably part due to the fact that our cultural, social and intellectual influences as musicians are far and wide, much further and wider than a musician living in the 18th century could have. 

    Jerry


  • "sample libraries and synths as a whole new musical medium, one in which composers are finally free to write complex multi-timbral music without having to depend upon other people.  To me, that is liberating. " -jsg

     

    I really agree with that and have written the same thing in various drunken rants on this Forum.  I get irritated with that "mockup" term and how people assume the only purpose of samples is to do a crude version for the producer of a film, and then get a "real" orchestra to do it right. 

    The awesome accomplishment of VSL goes beyond that, and truly captures the orchestra and makes it available to a composer like fine art pigments are available to a painter.  He can then select the exact colors needed for his purely imagined creation.    Without going through the  process of cowtowing to music directors,  "getting to know" prima donna conductors,  competing with schmoozing, catering to aristocratics,  etc. etc.  - all the things that have oppressed composers for the orchestra throughout the ages and resulted in things like Schubert's Ninth being stuck in a desk drawer for ninety years, unplayed and unheard in any form.  Among countless other examples...

    Rant paused for now.


  • VSL is a cut above the "just for mock up" tag for sure. The main reason I have purchased virtually everything VSL has produced is because of their commitment to numerous articulations. Picking up on Williams' remark about fine pigments though does point out a weakness for a particular sort of composer when it comes to creating with VI's -  I mean the composer who has been classically trained and has studied enough scores to be able to imagine some of the myriad possibilities possible when writing for orchestra - in other words, being able to think orchestrally when/whilst writing, the orchestral sound being inherent in the act of creating and a lot of the time, an instigator of material. (this is the decisive factor in writing for orchestra and incidentally, when done well, will also be the most convincing in midi emulation)

    It is this composer who has the hardest time with VI's because none of the companies who produce them have gone far enough (yet) with velocity layers, attacks, techniques and all the other parameters that make up a real instrument. I am not levelling any accusations here against VI companies because as I have intimated in my first post, the technology is not there yet for such complexity and so for me, the implication and frustration of not being able to realise a particular and complex moment of scoring with VI's forces two issues.

    Firstly, if you accept Jerry' premise and utilise midi VI as an instrument in its own right,  you are restricting your creative journey in sound to limitations which you may well find acceptable to work in (and to be fair, good results can be produced ), but will not have (at this time!) the finery of pigment a real orchestra would have with which to create musical colour. This is assuming you want a pure orchestral sound of course. What Jerry has done (well in my view) has been to supplement on occasions his VI pallette with synths. This approach makes the orchestra look capable of only a few primary and secondary colours when it comes to sonic possibility and has a long fruitful path ahead in my view.

    However none of this helps a more purist (in terms of sound) approach. My second issue concerns actual composition and it is here where my opinion differs from Jerrys (at this time!). Whereas Jerry has embraced midi, I still see it as a limiting means to an end, because the score (on paper) has no limitation other than practicality and represents to me the totality of acoustic space - one that can be manipulated with artifice and aesthetic proclivity into a piece of music. I am free to express any whim I want to on this empty page and am emancipated from the lack of a particular attack or timbre hindering my creativity and influencing my choices.

    Until VI's begin to get close to the subtlies and complexities  of an orchestra I and many others in this dwindling niche of composers will struggle to get music heard, but its a price worth paying for me because (and this is just my subjective approach - not a condemnation of other approaches) I don't want to feel hindered nor compromised when writing music.


    www.mikehewer.com
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    @mh-7635 said:

    VSL is a cut above the "just for mock up" tag for sure. The main reason I have purchased virtually everything VSL has produced is because of their commitment to numerous articulations. Picking up on Williams' remark about fine pigments though does point out a weakness for a particular sort of composer when it comes to creating with VI's -  I mean the composer who has been classically trained and has studied enough scores to be able to imagine some of the myriad possibilities possible when writing for orchestra - in other words, being able to think orchestrally when/whilst writing, the orchestral sound being inherent in the act of creating and a lot of the time, an instigator of material. (this is the decisive factor in writing for orchestra and incidentally, when done well, will also be the most convincing in midi emulation)

    It is this composer who has the hardest time with VI's because none of the companies who produce them have gone far enough (yet) with velocity layers, attacks, techniques and all the other parameters that make up a real instrument. I am not levelling any accusations here against VI companies because as I have intimated in my first post, the technology is not there yet for such complexity and so for me, the implication and frustration of not being able to realise a particular and complex moment of scoring with VI's forces two issues.

    Firstly, if you accept Jerry' premise and utilise midi VI as an instrument in its own right,  you are restricting your creative journey in sound to limitations which you may well find acceptable to work in (and to be fair, good results can be produced ), but will not have (at this time!) the finery of pigment a real orchestra would have with which to create musical colour. This is assuming you want a pure orchestral sound of course. What Jerry has done (well in my view) has been to supplement on occasions his VI pallette with synths. This approach makes the orchestra look capable of only a few primary and secondary colours when it comes to sonic possibility and has a long fruitful path ahead in my view.

    However none of this helps a more purist (in terms of sound) approach. My second issue concerns actual composition and it is here where my opinion differs from Jerrys (at this time!). Whereas Jerry has embraced midi, I still see it as a limiting means to an end, because the score (on paper) has no limitation other than practicality and represents to me the totality of acoustic space - one that can be manipulated with artifice and aesthetic proclivity into a piece of music. I am free to express any whim I want to on this empty page and am emancipated from the lack of a particular attack or timbre hindering my creativity and influencing my choices.

    Until VI's begin to get close to the subtlies and complexities  of an orchestra I and many others in this dwindling niche of composers will struggle to get music heard, but its a price worth paying for me because (and this is just my subjective approach - not a condemnation of other approaches) I don't want to feel hindered nor compromised when writing music.

    Mike makes a lot of good points.  No doubt, technology is still evolving, and I too would like to see more velocity levels, 8 would be ideal (ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff).  All artistic mediums have limitations..  It's really a choice of which limitations we're most comfortable with, which ones inspire us to create.  There's no comparison that is meaningful between a live orchestral performance and a MIDI recording.  A much more reasonable comparison is between a MIDI recording and a recording of a live orchestra.  Some composers thrive and need the live performance, it is the whole point of composition, to have a live audience listening in real-time to a piece being played well. I started writing music around the age of 10 or 11 and started playing around with tape recorders at about the same time, so the union of music and the recording arts has been natural to me since I was a young boy.  Perhaps that is why I am inspired by the virtual orchestra, music and technology have always gone together for me.   When I do go to live concerts, I find that listening to an orchestra play is always more fascinating for me than watching.   Probably another reason why I hold the recording arts in such high esteem.   To each his own, as they say.  I also consider myself a practical musician, and it's more practical to produce my pieces with VSL than chasing down conductors and trying to get them to program my pieces.  

    Not much is perfect in this life on Earth, so we must make the very best of what we have to work with!

    Jerry


  • Some excellent, insightful comments to digest from Jerry, Mike, and William.

    With regard to the term "mock-up":  I confess to personally not giving it that much thought, nor seeking a deeper sub-text to its meaning, insofar as it can imply an inferior end product to a live performance.  I simply as a relative "newbie" to this world, used the vernacular of the common man (no pun intended, Copland!) to refer to an orchestral work rendered with virtual instruments.

    Mike, your artistic goals, and approach to composition in my estimation, is the result of seeing "beyond the notes"; afterall, the movement to more modern forms of musical expression is due to the need for composers to continue to push the envelope, explore new sonic landscapes, and go beyond the conventional ideas of form and harmony, so vastly developed already.  I completely respect this, but am to some extent grateful that my own personal proclivities are toward more conventional ideas of music, which is why I rarely explore extended techniques, and am inclined to write in a neo-classical/romantic style.  So, the current tools on offer via VSL and others, typically meets my requirements.  In fact, I am often daunted by the abundance of articulation offerings via the extended library, for which, if I ever get those extended libraries, may allow me to further explore areas of composition I'm not yet ready to explore.

    Jerry, it strikes me that composers in general are introverts, and that we are quite comfortable as such.  The problem with being "islands unto ourselves" as I see it, is that we may desire to control our own destinies and not rely on all those external social norms required to build a network and get our music performed publically, but in so doing, will limit the exposure our music receives to the few "fellow composers" that regularly comment on our music on forums such as this.  It's clear that by posting our music on forums, we're all seeking some form of validation/feedback/commentary.  In other words, we don't want our music to exist in a vacuum, or we simply would create it and never share it anywhere.  So with that ideal in mind, I was happy to see you mention the desire of many composers to get the live performance and share their work in a public forum.  This shared/communal experience is why people still go to movies, theatres, restaurants, etc.  It is a powerful, transcendent experience that elevates the music to new heights.  It's as addictive as a drug.  As performers, my wife and I can make hundreds of youtube videos and put out recordings, but our greatest feelings of accomplishment come from sharing our music in live concerts and interacting with audience members.  I want the same for my own compositions, which is why I continue to pursue this.

    I recently read a quote from a new music presenter that stated, "If orchestras didn't play Mozart in his lifetime, we wouldn't be playing Mozart today."  This is the only problem with not building an audience for our music in the "real world."  My fear is that no matter the fact that we're "documenting" our works via recordings and sharing them on forums, they are not being shared on a scale large enough to build a "buzz".  And further creating an alientation between composers and performers (for which I agree exists through faults on both sides of the coin) may do more long term harm to all of us (composers, performers, conductors, etc.) that will leave the overall state of the performing arts in ruin.

    I'm learning so much from you guys.  Thanks for continuing to share your poignant insights!

    Dave


  • One thing I didn't mention was that I still feel a need to put everything on paper, not necessarily before doing MIDI, but in many cases afterwards, as the music needs the old-fashioned reality of notes on paper for it to seem real to me.  Which does not make sense I realize.   


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    @Acclarion said:

    Some excellent, insightful comments to digest from Jerry, Mike, and William.

    With regard to the term "mock-up":  I confess to personally not giving it that much thought, nor seeking a deeper sub-text to its meaning, insofar as it can imply an inferior end product to a live performance.  I simply as a relative "newbie" to this world, used the vernacular of the common man (no pun intended, Copland!) to refer to an orchestral work rendered with virtual instruments.

    Mike, your artistic goals, and approach to composition in my estimation, is the result of seeing "beyond the notes"; afterall, the movement to more modern forms of musical expression is due to the need for composers to continue to push the envelope, explore new sonic landscapes, and go beyond the conventional ideas of form and harmony, so vastly developed already.  I completely respect this, but am to some extent grateful that my own personal proclivities are toward more conventional ideas of music, which is why I rarely explore extended techniques, and am inclined to write in a neo-classical/romantic style.  So, the current tools on offer via VSL and others, typically meets my requirements.  In fact, I am often daunted by the abundance of articulation offerings via the extended library, for which, if I ever get those extended libraries, may allow me to further explore areas of composition I'm not yet ready to explore.

    Jerry, it strikes me that composers in general are introverts, and that we are quite comfortable as such.  The problem with being "islands unto ourselves" as I see it, is that we may desire to control our own destinies and not rely on all those external social norms required to build a network and get our music performed publically, but in so doing, will limit the exposure our music receives to the few "fellow composers" that regularly comment on our music on forums such as this.  It's clear that by posting our music on forums, we're all seeking some form of validation/feedback/commentary.  In other words, we don't want our music to exist in a vacuum, or we simply would create it and never share it anywhere.  So with that ideal in mind, I was happy to see you mention the desire of many composers to get the live performance and share their work in a public forum.  This shared/communal experience is why people still go to movies, theatres, restaurants, etc.  It is a powerful, transcendent experience that elevates the music to new heights.  It's as addictive as a drug.  As performers, my wife and I can make hundreds of youtube videos and put out recordings, but our greatest feelings of accomplishment come from sharing our music in live concerts and interacting with audience members.  I want the same for my own compositions, which is why I continue to pursue this.

    I recently read a quote from a new music presenter that stated, "If orchestras didn't play Mozart in his lifetime, we wouldn't be playing Mozart today."  This is the only problem with not building an audience for our music in the "real world."  My fear is that no matter the fact that we're "documenting" our works via recordings and sharing them on forums, they are not being shared on a scale large enough to build a "buzz".  And further creating an alientation between composers and performers (for which I agree exists through faults on both sides of the coin) may do more long term harm to all of us (composers, performers, conductors, etc.) that will leave the overall state of the performing arts in ruin.

    I'm learning so much from you guys.  Thanks for continuing to share your poignant insights!

    Dave

    Music as a recording art, including VI, will not replace live performance, never in a million years.  There will always be performers, and always be composers who write for live performance.  Though one of the university libraries has accepted my entire CD and score catalog, when I am dead I don't think I am going to care much about whether my music is still heard by others or not. 

    As Woody Allen once remarked, "I don't want to be immortal through my work, I want to be immortal through not dying!"    ;>😉

    I enjoy working in the studio more than I enjoy rehearsals with groups.  I've done both and given my particular temperament and mix of talents, the studio suits me better.  I think the pianist Glenn Gould felt the same way, he was the first classical musician to embrace multi-track recording. 

    Jerry


  • This is an almost existential philosophical discussion about the sheer heart of music. I don't have any opinion on well or not writing of a traditional notated score, but I wanted to express my point of view concerning the conservation of music itself and its reason of being.
    Why do people sing? Why do they imitate birds? Why do they enchant in rituals? Why do they dance and therefore produce rhythms...?
    Birds can sing lovely (romantic) tunes, but are they in fact? Actually not. Most birds sing a fairly agressive song to let opponents know where their territory is and not to amuse human ears. All the-like forms of 'music' have a reasonable explanation. The question is: is that music as we tend to understand it? So many good composers have tried to imitate these chants and put every detail down in written scores. Why? It would have been a lot easier to improvise on appropriate instruments the calls of animals... But somehow, they wanted us to kow how it is done, to have us remember, to show their mastery or skill, or simply to create a repeatable and identical sound for many generations (almost scientifically).

    Is it absolutely necessary to make a written score? Of course not, but it is some kind of certainty that the creative work will survive (be it in dusty archives). Digital versions are always tied to digital means of performance and storage known today. For how long will that be the case? Look at the CD (disappearing). The MD long time ago forgotten... The sampling techniques we all praise today will eventually vanish and be replaced by entirely new ways of playing back on 'computers'. Even that magical instrument will finally be dusted under by history and evolution.

    My point is, that there is no real urge or necessity to write scores, but it seems (for now) the most reliable way to preserve your creations. It is indeed a rather slow and tedious job, but it remains the universal storage of music for later performance or study. I'm an old school musician, I even couldn't create a simple song within a DAW. Somehow I need the physical visualisation of staffs and notes to see (and hear) music. The dots and squares in a piano roll don't speak to me at all. And since I'm not a piano player, I can hardly use my limited skills to play directly in a track in order to have a lively performance... I just need my pencil and paper (computer keyboard and screen) to enter my ideas and emotions. Old fashioned or outdated? Maybe, but who cares. It's my way...

    Max


  • To me music does not exist unless it is written down on paper, preferably by candlelight while wearing a powdered wig.  Though jazz can't be and needs recording media.  The best  thing for that purpose is 78 rpm ceramic discs. 


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    @William said:

    To me music does not exist unless it is written down on paper, preferably by candlelight while wearing a powdered wig.  Though jazz can't be and needs recording media.  The best  thing for that purpose is 78 rpm ceramic discs. 

    :)))


  • Yes... by candlelight in the middle of the night... I've given up on wigs though--my hair is getting good in the back... More to the discussion at hand, my recent music is notated clearly and exactly, with nothing left to chance, unless there is a stochastic process in play, in which case the the defining handles on that process clearly define its behaviour and constrain the limits of that behaviour. The majority of it however is defined as a set of clear rules for acting on musical symbols. For example, meter and rhythm are specified by means of a grammar that produces a temporal hierarchy--meter--in which temporal proportions--rhythm--is represented as ratios--1:1 whole note, 1:2 half note, 1:3 whole note triplet, 1:4 quarter note, 3:8 dotted quarter note, 1:5 fifth note, 1:7 seventh note, this being an answer to suggestions made by Henry Cowell in his New Musical Resources of a few years back. Melodies are defined as figures--melodic shapes--mapped to scales or modes with rules for combining one or more figures under classical rules of transformation into longer phrases, periods, sentences. Orchestration--grouping, following, leading, tacit, tutti, etc. are guided by the same metric hierarchy, so, in a sense the main score might be thought of as that structure which can be represented in a variety of readable forms, machine or human. An example of one of these in human readable form is in the two attached images. The linear one shows the basic temporal hierarcy. The circular ones show the thirty-two possible unique combinations of compositional structure in such a five-level temporal hierarchy. So these are some aspects of my compositional notation practice. Once a MIDI performance is composed, that can, of course, be turned into conventional common music notation if there are musicians that would like to perform it. All of the dynamic and performace articulation details can be easily infered from that.

    Image

    Image


  • These are very interesting insights and quite fascinating thoughts! Well, I'm going to add mine, too.

    I'm making music with synthesizers and with samples for more than 25 years, and I've never fleshed out a single score. I've occasionally jotted down some ideas (like Schubert did in taverns), but my composing is too much "sound-bound", meaning: My aim while composing is to make something sound good, and especially with samples it's a lot about finding the right articulations and getting the whole mix to sound appealing.

    I consider myself to be composer, mixer and producer in one person, and as such I'm constantly switching between those roles. If an instrument blurs or deters my mix, I substitute it or let it play a different phrase - even if a real orchestra could do the trick. Whileas composers for real orchestra finish their score and rely on the score to contain all the musical information needed for the orchestra to play it according to their musical vision. I think this purpose is absent in midi composing and - at least for me - it's too much of an iterative process for score writing to be involved.

    To be honest, I'd love to have a full score of my works in my hands - just for the feeling of it :), but it's so much work and it would only pay if I had a real orchestra ready to play it. Or could there be another reason?


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    @William said:

    To me music does not exist unless it is written down on paper, preferably by candlelight while wearing a powdered wig.  Though jazz can't be and needs recording media.  The best  thing for that purpose is 78 rpm ceramic discs. 

    I wear my powdered wig every morning when I go to my studio.  Otherwise I don't get paid!   ;>😉


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    @Max Hamburg said:

    My point is, that there is no real urge or necessity to write scores, but it seems (for now) the most reliable way to preserve your creations. It is indeed a rather slow and tedious job, but it remains the universal storage of music for later performance or study. I'm an old school musician, I even couldn't create a simple song within a DAW. Somehow I need the physical visualisation of staffs and notes to see (and hear) music. The dots and squares in a piano roll don't speak to me at all. And since I'm not a piano player, I can hardly use my limited skills to play directly in a track in order to have a lively performance... I just need my pencil and paper (computer keyboard and screen) to enter my ideas and emotions. Old fashioned or outdated? Maybe, but who cares. It's my way...

    Max

    Max, you are aware I assume that DAWs do contain notation editors?   I've never used the PRV in the 26 years I've been using a DAW.  It's the dumbest thing ever invented, at least when compared to standard music notation.  If DAWs didn't have notation, I could hardly compose and produce the kind of music I do.   The following DAWS have notation editors:

    1.  Cubase

    2.  Sonar

    3.  Reaper

    4.  Pro Tools

    5.  Digital Performer

    6.  Logic