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I've talked about it lots in the past, but haven't made a thread for serious discussion about it.

UNTIL NOW

I feel like writing with notation or notation software has somewhat gone the way of the Dodo. This make me a sad panda. As I think writing with notation has a lot of advantages. This blog post/article thing sums up most of my feelings on the modern DAW vs. Sheet music composing thing fairly well. http://tropicaltheartist.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/why-a-daw-might-not-be-the-best-song-writing-tool/

To quote Randy Newman, when you write it down on paper (or scorewriter) "You find things..." Does anyone else on OCR still use sheet music? If so, what are your thoughts on using it for composing, arranging and remixing in the modern day?

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I used to do all of my writing in notation, especially back when I was studying music theory. I wrote a lot of songs on staff paper during that period, and I still use it from time to time for writing down melodies that I think of while I'm away from an instrument or computer. I think it makes it easier to see how harmonies and supporting melodies line up, and can sometimes lead to happy accidents (like the time I accidentally pasted a drumkit into the bass guitar staff in Finale and kept it exactly as it ended up, heh).

I mean, in the previous millennium the only concern was writing the music so that others could perform it. Now, most often the goal is a recorded end-product which can be endlessly distributed. Therefore a lot of stuff is electronic now, a lot of filters and resonance and panning and EQ and whathaveyou are involved in writing and recording a piece of music, but still at the core of that are the tones which are heard. It's not necessary to write those down, but as you quoted, "You find things."

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I write most things in Finale before ever opening my DAW. I'd do it by hand on staff paper, but it ends up being extremely time-consuming to get an easily-readable orchestral score that way (no copy/paste or part extraction), so when I work on paper, it's usually no more than melodic/harmonic sketches.

The two main issues with working in a DAW for me are that I prefer to look at notation rather than piano roll data (and am already extremely comfortable in Finale, so using the DAW's score editor feels limiting) and when I try to write in a DAW, I usually get bogged down in tweaking the sound and messing with keyswitches to the point that the quality of my writing suffers. I find it works best for me to divide the tasks of composing, recording, and mixing with as little overlap as possible.

Edited by Moseph
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Pro Tools can seamlessly switch between Piano Roll and Score/Notation display.

I've never gotten used to working with staff paper. I had to transcribe some funk basslines I wrote to paper and doing that with all the syncopations, bends etc just made it feel a lot more convoluted than it really is.

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I'm... not exactly a remixer or vgm composer. Yet. I think along the way figuring out remixes I got sidetracked into the baroque side of things but I will be back!

I definitely start with Finale before bringing the midi into Logic. It will take far longer to figure out counterpoint in Logic etc as Finale provides a better environment to label chords and write notes, for example.

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Finale 2014 is out! And it's the first version since I started using the program in 2006 that actually makes me really want to upgrade. Backwards- and forwards-compatible saves! Intelligent handling of cross-layer accidentals and rests!

I'm hardly even annoyed that you still have to custom-define beamed slashed grace notes. :-P

Also, the competitive upgrade from Sibelius is now $140, which is the same as an upgrade from a previous Finale version.

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i was going to say that i only use manuscript paper if i'm writing for "classical" instruments/ensembles, but the truth is i have sketched out ideas for remixes that way before. when it comes to composing, though, i am always loathe to use notation software. i usually leave that to the very end, when im putting together the finished score/parts. unlike word processors, for example, notation software is just a pain in the ass, wasting a ton of time on formatting and spacing, whereas if im sketching/composing by hand, the process becomes a lot more like drawing.

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i personallly havent used staff paper or notation software, but i can definitely see the advantages when writing sketches for something. i think that it forces you to think differently/longer than the "just put something there to fill the gap until i decide on something better" mode people do with daws. with most art, the more you prepare, and the less you wing it, the better the end product.

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I use the Notation Software Musescore along with the DAW Reaper :).

Writing and notating can be fun, in that you can see what you are doing in actual notes. Although where time is concerned DAWs can be, sometimes, faster.

I tend to use notation software to see and play out faster note section (sixteenths and eighths), and to experiment with notes as well as unique time signatures.

I think it makes it easier to see how harmonies and supporting melodies line up, and can sometimes lead to happy accidents.

This, so much. Especially the happy accidents part xD. (I love it when that happens.)

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I prefer writing and reading notation while composing. I never have gotten comfortable with piano roll in any DAW. It's also easier and faster if I want to write ideas down while I'm away from my computer. Only exception when I'm not notating the music is when I'm writing guitar/riff-based music, then I'm recording everything to the DAW along with a scratch drum track.

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I used to do all of my writing in notation, especially back when I was studying music theory. I wrote a lot of songs on staff paper during that period, and I still use it from time to time for writing down melodies that I think of while I'm away from an instrument or computer.

This thread's really intrigued me. I've used notation software before (Guitar Pro), but with software you can hear what you're writing. Being able to understand what you're writing on paper without the notes being played to you however i think is amazing. Can you explain any methods you used to help you memorise what each note sounds like? I can recognise intervals ok but individual notes is a different story.

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This thread's really intrigued me. I've used notation software before (Guitar Pro), but with software you can hear what you're writing. Being able to understand what you're writing on paper without the notes being played to you however i think is amazing. Can you explain any methods you used to help you memorise what each note sounds like? I can recognise intervals ok but individual notes is a different story.

The answer to that is honestly just knowing your chords, scales, modes and intervals. You've heard it so often that you'll recognize it when you see it on paper.

For example, if you've memorized the whole and half steps of the harmonic minor scale and you see a melody written that you recognize as the harmonic minor, and beneath it are the usual chords created from that scale, it eventually becomes second nature to hear in your head exactly how it will sound.

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I think its become less appreciated and perhaps even legitimately forgotten. In our current generation of music, most songs don't have enough going on for one to spend time on notation. A lot of music is guitar chord writing worthy at best. One can figure out the music quite quickly if one is familiar with the sounds of keys and chords. Even in continuing forward into musical scores in present day film, the music itself has become more epic and large but with much more simplistic structure in order to please an audience which is much more abundant in people who are not versed whatsoever in musical knowledge. With that said, there are indeed musical scores like Uematsu's work that it would benefit the remixer greatly to write it on paper, analyze it and see how it functions. But in my opinion, until people begin to write original music that is more complex and intricate than what is possible in their minds, we won't see as much notation writing as we would like to.

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This thread's really intrigued me. I've used notation software before (Guitar Pro), but with software you can hear what you're writing. Being able to understand what you're writing on paper without the notes being played to you however i think is amazing. Can you explain any methods you used to help you memorise what each note sounds like? I can recognise intervals ok but individual notes is a different story.

it's actually not all that important to be able to write without any reference. most composers, generally speaking, use the piano to some degree when writing (which has its own pitfalls, but thats a different discussion). if you are hearing a melody or a harmony in your head, theres no reason why you shouldnt just go find it at the keyboard. you dont need to have perfect pitch to write, though if you find yourself in a position where you dont have any reference available, i like to reference certain pitches i can call up in my memory. A440 is a pretty good one to know, for example. or if i need an A-flat, i think of of 'I Will' by Radiohead.

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it's actually not all that important to be able to write without any reference. most composers, generally speaking, use the piano to some degree when writing (which has its own pitfalls, but thats a different discussion). if you are hearing a melody or a harmony in your head, theres no reason why you shouldnt just go find it at the keyboard. you dont need to have perfect pitch to write, though if you find yourself in a position where you dont have any reference available, i like to reference certain pitches i can call up in my memory. A440 is a pretty good one to know, for example. or if i need an A-flat, i think of of 'I Will' by Radiohead.

Personally, I just hear a melody or harmony in my head, and then hum it back, and find it on the keyboard, so I like that method. :)

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I think its become less appreciated and perhaps even legitimately forgotten. In our current generation of music, most songs don't have enough going on for one to spend time on notation. A lot of music is guitar chord writing worthy at best. One can figure out the music quite quickly if one is familiar with the sounds of keys and chords. Even in continuing forward into musical scores in present day film, the music itself has become more epic and large but with much more simplistic structure in order to please an audience which is much more abundant in people who are not versed whatsoever in musical knowledge. With that said, there are indeed musical scores like Uematsu's work that it would benefit the remixer greatly to write it on paper, analyze it and see how it functions. But in my opinion, until people begin to write original music that is more complex and intricate than what is possible in their minds, we won't see as much notation writing as we would like to.

This is a very good point.

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