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Old 05-31-2006, 03:47 PM
Tim Fatchen (flyingtadpole)
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Default This is a wonderful piece of s

This is a wonderful piece of software. For those poor souls who think they got troubles, attend to this!!!

Ourlocal Mountain Theatre Company, for their first production, headed for "The Gondoliers" to get bums on seats and generate some money! but: the first musical director vanished taking with him the pianist. The next accompanist got dragged from the piano to take on a singing role (shortage of men!). The options: a terrible karaoke effort using existing recordings (which the Company couldnt afford, being both new and broke given the crippling financial burden of appalling public liability insurance in Australia)? or a DIY purpose-arranged score designed for a small company and recorded from scratch? No real choice there! Midinotate to the rescue!

Here's how it worked. The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive (Boise, Idaho) has MIDI vocal scores available in the public domain, which cuts a lot of time and effort otherwise needed for direct keyboard entry (but that could have been done if needed). So we gratefully used their midi scores as the starting point.

In real time, and with Midinotate Composer up on the screen, the Director and I spent several harrowing hours changing tempos, putting in appropriate breaks, shortening some pieces, changing the emphasis and volume of the raw MIDI files. Then recording, as piano, onto CD.

That MIDI piano rendition, which sounded pretty terrible, was used as early rehearsal backing track while I started the scoring. The idea, which worked, was that the scored (orchestrated) backing track would have identical tempo, pauses, breaks etc to the rehearsal track.

THe scoring was based on what one might hope for in a local orchestra/band: a couple of keyboards, one to handle piano and the other to substitute for strings, a clarinet, a flute, a bass (guitar or acoustic), and a sparingly used trumpet. With a couple of people on triangles, tambourines, snare drum and bass drum as needed. While the orchestration was mental agony, the mechanics of it were an absolute breeze, simple staff setup in Composer, simple cuts and pastes, volume, pan changes etc etc. Bear in mind this is for an hour and a half of music!

And lots of playing and replaying, with little tweaks along the way, especially in attack and duration of notes. It's easy to tweak in Composer. eg, the cheapie Medeli keyboard I'm currently using has lovely brass, but one has to persuade the MIDI notes to play as if they were coming through a trumpet. This is pretty well impossible to do in just about everyother notation program I've tried, but it's not only possible but simple in COmposer because of the varied attack and duration approaches and the simple note selection.

I had a month's notice to do the actual orchestration before the full rehearsals cut in and I cut out (for Europe, planned long since. WOuld have been Ok had I not been working 70 hour weeks at the day'n'night job. Not only would I never have done it without Midinotate, I would never have contemplated even starting it!!!!

Here's part of the score. Some will detect a bit of cheating in places. To hear what it sounded like on the intended keyboard (as distinct from whatever soundcard you're running, the same segment is up as streamable/downloadable mp3 on
<center><table border=1><tr><td>Gondoliers finale (karaoke!) excerpt
o212ex.not (491.0 k)</td></tr></table></center>

Tim Fatchen
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