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-   -   Some questions about Composer. (http://www.notation.com/vb-forum/showthread.php?t=32331)

SysExJohn 04-08-2014 11:38 AM

Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi all,

A question from a prospective purchaser of Composer.

As a long time user of XGworks, and having more recently moved to using a variety of Garritan and other libraries for creation of classical music backing tracks for my wife, an operatic mezzo, I am wondering if Notation Composer may be of some help to me.

I like the idea of being able to draw in MIDI controllers in line with the notation as shown in the product description. As I'm sure many will know, e.g. GPO, JABB, COMB use a lot of controllers to refine playback. XGworks lets me adjust just 3 at a time in either staff view or PRV, and only allows access to the most commonly used. A definite limitation since many Garritan libraries use some obscure CCs.

I work primarily from notation (usually the conductors score) and from time to time create files that may have as many as 40 instruments and therefore sequencer tracks. Is Composer able to support this many tracks and view them on screen (with scrolling up and down, of course)?

To support this many tracks I use 3 or more MIDI ports with various MIDI channels, via different ports, going to different virtual instruments. How many simultaneously usable MIDI ports can Composer support?

I use an ageing EMU 1616m PCMCIA card with its excellent ASIO drivers for the audio.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Kind regards,
John.

Sherry C 04-08-2014 12:27 PM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi John,

Quote:

Originally Posted by SysExJohn (Post 65413)
I like the idea of being able to draw in MIDI controllers in line with the notation as shown in the product description. As I'm sure many will know, e.g. GPO, JABB, COMB use a lot of controllers to refine playback. XGworks lets me adjust just 3 at a time in either staff view or PRV, and only allows access to the most commonly used. A definite limitation since many Garritan libraries use some obscure CCs.

Composer lets you work on each cc by selecting to view it using the Graph Over Notes tab, and editing one at a time. Viewing multiple types at the same time is not yet supported.

Quote:

I work primarily from notation (usually the conductors score) and from time to time create files that may have as many as 40 instruments and therefore sequencer tracks. Is Composer able to support this many tracks and view them on screen (with scrolling up and down, of course)?
As long as you have enough memory (should not be a problem at all) and a large enough monitor, you should not have any problems as there is no "cap" on the number of staves you can have.

Quote:

To support this many tracks I use 3 or more MIDI ports with various MIDI channels, via different ports, going to different virtual instruments. How many simultaneously usable MIDI ports can Composer support?
No cap on the number you can use.

Quote:

I use an ageing EMU 1616m PCMCIA card with its excellent ASIO drivers for the audio.
As you probably already know, the only thing you'll want to be sure of is to switch off the GS Wavetable.

We do have a couple of video tutorials that you may be interested in on setting up Garritan Libraries and virtual MIDI cable (to communicate with them). You can find those in the Tutorial Videos section.

Please feel free to ask away if you have any further questions :)

ttfn,
Sherry

SysExJohn 04-08-2014 03:23 PM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi Sherry,

That was quick! Thank you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sherry C (Post 65414)
Composer lets you work on each cc by selecting to view it using the Graph Over Notes tab, and editing one at a time. Viewing multiple types at the same time is not yet supported.

Ah! I often find that drawing in one controller, e.g. after touch, whilst comparing it with another, e.g. expression, is very useful. I.e. as expression gets to its maximum vibrato gradually comes in.

Quote:

As long as you have enough memory (should not be a problem at all) and a large enough monitor, you should not have any problems as there is no "cap" on the number of staves you can have.
That's good, so far I haven't managed more than forty or so. It's surprising how quickly they add up when one adds e.g. a solo instrument above the group samples for extra realism. Strings instantly jump from five to ten tracks (or more) for example.

Quote:

No cap on the number you can use.
That's good, I have six Maple MIDI ports defined on my PC.

Quote:

As you probably already know, the only thing you'll want to be sure of is to switch off the GS Wavetable.
Yup!

Quote:

We do have a couple of video tutorials that you may be interested in on setting up Garritan Libraries and virtual MIDI cable (to communicate with them). You can find those in the Tutorial Videos section.
I took a quick look at those and maybe I'll revisit them.
I currently use Maple MIDI and VSThost with XGworks, then multiple copies usually of ARIA, but some others too.

Quote:

Please feel free to ask away if you have any further questions :)
Thank you.
Kind regards,
John.

Sherry C 04-08-2014 04:13 PM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi John,

We do have it on the "wish list" to be able to view multiple MIDI cc graphs at the same time, but it is not currently supported.

That said, you can view some kinds of MIDI data at the same time:
Piano Roll
Loudness
MIDI cc graph
I'll add a vote for the new feature :)

ttfn,
Sherry

SysExJohn 04-09-2014 10:42 AM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Thank you Sherry,

In case it's any help to your developers I'm attaching a picture of how a very old sequencing program (from '99) adds this feature to Staff View:

http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...psde041377.jpg

You may notice that any pane can be resized vertically, so in this case giving focus to pitch bend and expression as the sax player bends certain notes in.
The velocity controller pane (in this case) clearly shows the overlap by displaying not only the note velocity (vertically) but also duration horizontally. Especially useful for legato phrases.

If you would like an explanation of the set of controls at the foot of the window (or at the top come to think of it) I'd be happy to provide them.
Although I suspect most of them are self-explanatory.

Just some thoughts.
Kind regards,
John.

herbert 04-09-2014 11:02 AM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi John,

You seem to be in a similar situation, as I am. My wife Margaret is a dramatic Soprano, well trained in opera, Lieder, church music, but also sings operetta musicals and light entertainment. I have produced a lot of backing tracks for public performances and for rehearsals mainly for Margaret but also for others. We ( you and I) have the unique opportunity to tailor the backing, to suit the singer. This is an art in itself.

I own all current Garritan libraries and a few others. I have given up on VSThost a long time ago. My software setup is Composer, Loop midi and Bidule as the VST host. As you work with Composer, you will find that this software has a lot of depth. Though there is at least one shortcomings, from my point of view. Composer does not have a full set of CCs. I am told that this will be corrected soon. So I hope. My way out is to use Cubase 7.5, which I have on my computer, just for the occasion, when Composer will not do.

Composer does not limit the instruments you can use. It is the processing power of your computer that will slow you down. In any case, using midi orchestration will require far less instruments than employing a real orchestra.

Over past centuries orchestras grew in size, to cater for larger and larger audiences in larger and larger concert halls. It was not an attempt to solve the unemployment. By increasing a concert hall in size, you need to increase the volume level for the public to enjoy the concert at the back of the hall. To double the volume at the back of the concert hall, you need to employ four times as many musicians. It is different today. With an audio amplification system you only need to turn up the volume control. GPO has realistic sounding violin sections. To increase its size, you just turn up the volume level. The GPO violin section requires only one staff. Many sample instrument create a muddy sound.


Best wishes,

Herbert

Sherry C 04-09-2014 12:48 PM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi John,

Thanks for the screenshot. It is always helpful to see how some programs have handled a particular feature.

For Composer, you can try it out (if you haven't already) by using the trial version from www.notation.com/Download.php

Our MIDI viewing and editing has a "layover" presentation. You can view certain MIDI performance parameters by using the View options. Using the particular "tab" for those allows you to edit the parameter. So, for instance, you could View Note Velocity and edit the Mod Wheel at the same time, and see both of them overlaying the notation.

Herbert, thanks for your tips on the Garritan libraries. I'm always learning new things from you :)

ttfn,
Sherry

SysExJohn 04-09-2014 03:00 PM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi Herbert,

Quote:

Originally Posted by herbert (Post 65430)
Hi John,
You seem to be in a similar situation, as I am. My wife Margaret is a dramatic Soprano, well trained in opera, Lieder, church music, but also sings operetta musicals and light entertainment. I have produced a lot of backing tracks for public performances and for rehearsals mainly for Margaret but also for others. We ( you and I) have the unique opportunity to tailor the backing, to suit the singer. This is an art in itself.

How interesting. It certainly is an art all of its own creating suitable 'backing tracks', although that sounds very 'karaoke' to me!
I prefer to call them 'recorded orchestral accompaniments', it sounds much more 'up market'. ;) ;) :D

Quote:

I own all current Garritan libraries and a few others. I have given up on VSThost a long time ago. My software setup is Composer, Loop midi and Bidule as the VST host. As you work with Composer, you will find that this software has a lot of depth. Though there is at least one shortcomings, from my point of view. Composer does not have a full set of CCs. I am told that this will be corrected soon. So I hope. My way out is to use Cubase 7.5, which I have on my computer, just for the occasion, when Composer will not do.
I too own all the ARIA based Garritan libraries, and I'm well pleased with the quality of the files I can create with them. I own the Miroslav Philharmonic and a couple of the East West sample libraries, but I most consistently use Garritan.

I'm not yet a Composer user, but may well give it a trial. Until recently I've been using Mozart notation software but it is mainly designed for the printed copy not for creating playback files. I'm looking for a notation program that will take me further down the track of creating a reasonable quality MIDI file. I know that there are many at the high end of the market place but I don't want to lay out too much money for it if I can help it.

Until recently I've been using A copy of XGworks v4 to do the detailed MIDI editing, but have recently swapped to Sonar. I have a copy of v7 PE which offers a lot more, but has a relatively steep learning curve. It certainly allows editing of all the CCs.

I might take a look at Bidule as I'm pretty impressed with their ARIA player.

Quote:

Composer does not limit the instruments you can use. It is the processing power of your computer that will slow you down. In any case, using midi orchestration will require far less instruments than employing a real orchestra.
I find I can work quite well with a 2GHz core 2 duo and 4GB of RAM and a fast eSATA 2nd HDD. Of course faster with more cores and more RAM would be better but having retired, funds are not unlimited.

Other caveats with a real orchestra are availability and cost!

Quote:

Over past centuries orchestras grew in size, to cater for larger and larger audiences in larger and larger concert halls. It was not an attempt to solve the unemployment. By increasing a concert hall in size, you need to increase the volume level for the public to enjoy the concert at the back of the hall. To double the volume at the back of the concert hall, you need to employ four times as many musicians. It is different today. With an audio amplification system you only need to turn up the volume control. GPO has realistic sounding violin sections. To increase its size, you just turn up the volume level. The GPO violin section requires only one staff. Many sample instrument create a muddy sound.
With the GPO string sections I find that creating a second track with a solo violin played alongside often gives much more realism. Of course it shouldn't just be a direct copy of the section but separately articulated and at a level where it doesn't overwhelm the section, merely enhance.

I'm very pleased with the new convolution reverb in ARIA, I just wish that it were a little more programmable. I'm currently experimenting with the SIR2 reverb.

We have a small PA system which seems to provide plenty of volume within the kind of venue we get asked to perform in.

Thanks for your input.
Kind regards,
John.

SysExJohn 04-09-2014 03:29 PM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi Sherry,

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sherry C (Post 65431)
Hi John,

Thanks for the screenshot. It is always helpful to see how some programs have handled a particular feature.

My pleasure.

Quote:

For Composer, you can try it out (if you haven't already) by using the trial version from www.notation.com/Download.php

Our MIDI viewing and editing has a "layover" presentation. You can view certain MIDI performance parameters by using the View options. Using the particular "tab" for those allows you to edit the parameter. So, for instance, you could View Note Velocity and edit the Mod Wheel at the same time, and see both of them overlaying the notation.
One further question, if I may, when a phrase mark is entered in notation, do the affected notes (except the last) get automatically extended in length so that they overlap the following note. This is required e.g. by GPO in order to get legato playing. Additionally is cc#68 (MIDI Legato Footswitch) turned on after the first note of the phrase and off again after commencement of the last note? This removes the attack portion of the sample being used with non-percussive instruments in ARIA.

Kind regards,
John.

Sherry C 04-09-2014 03:42 PM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi John,

Quote:

Originally Posted by SysExJohn (Post 65433)
One further question, if I may, when a phrase mark is entered in notation, do the affected notes (except the last) get automatically extended in length so that they overlap the following note. This is required e.g. by GPO in order to get legato playing. Additionally is cc#68 (MIDI Legato Footswitch) turned on after the first note of the phrase and off again after commencement of the last note? This removes the attack portion of the sample being used with non-percussive instruments in ARIA.

Phrase markings ("slurs" in Composer parlance) currently are not automatically applied to the MIDI performance, but only as score annotations. (We do have a "wish list" which includes having all such markings and annotations be "smart" and automatically apply also to the underlying performance.) This is a case where you would use Piano Roll to select and lengthen notes, and can then also overlay the cc68 graph and edit that as well.

ttfn,
Sherry

herbert 04-10-2014 11:26 AM

Re: Some questions about Composer.
 
Hi John,

I have posted on the other thread for you and all my other friends some church music. This song is still under construction.

Stick around. I should have time on the weekend for further discussions.

Herbert


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