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Best software for an aspiring composer

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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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@theaviv
Don't you think that your Serenade is way too simple? The "left hand" (imagine it as a piano piece) is using the same chord progression (consisting of only 2 chords) for 5 minutes!

[Start of Song] d minor -> c major -> d minor -> c major -> ... -> d minor -> c major [End of Song]

The "right hand" has some nice catchy melodies, but it alone cannot save the fact that for 5 full minutes the whole song follows this simple pattern! Again and again and again and again! No change of tempo, no change of chord progression, only d minor -> c major, from start to finish! And this specific chord progression is one of the most "obvious" ones and the most "basic" ones, there is nothing unpredictable to make it original or offer some surprise!

Maybe if your serenade was made to be as an "intense passage" taken from a 20 minutes piece, then I think it would be much more interesting! Imagine a 20 minutes slow/medium tempo song, relatively peaceful, and suddenly the surprise: change of tempo, and your serenade enters (from pp to ff), playing for 2-3 minutes! I think it could be more impressive if used in that fashion! Think of it!

But as a stand alone song, I think it's very simple, flat and monotonous: 5 minutes are too many for a chord progression with only 2 chords in a constant tempo!

I consider myself an inexperienced beginner composer, I consider my songs "not ready yet for the public", and all of them have many more different chords, some surprises in chord progressions, and I repeat I am new to this! I am just trying to keep my feet on the ground, and balance my confidence with humility, so I don't rush and publish something that is unfinished, or that it could be vastly improved if I was more patient and humble!

P.S. Check Schubert's Serenade. A beautiful, emotional, sad, melancholic piece of music. It's considered a simple song, everyone can play it in his piano (I mean, it's not something genius, complicated or advanced like some of Bach's or Mozart's pieces), and still in the first 10 seconds he already uses 4 different chords in his chord progression! And then more and more, so the song evolves and goes from "pure sadness" to "sweet melancholy", and back again!


Fair question. I appreciate your sincerity.

It would completely change the whole tone and intention of the piece if I were to add meaningless complexity. Music is not about how many chords you can string together or adding senseless surprises in chord progressions. Music (and art in general) is about meaning.
If you create something without meaning, is it really art or just a random arrangement of elements made by a sentient being?

The alternating two chords is what gives the piece its obsessive, passionate, and intense tone.

"This is deeply romantic music. In essence, it describes the growth of something beautiful - something magnificent and wonderful. It describes the most exciting part of a relationship, the beginning."

"The red rose symbolizes this something beautiful. It symbolizes this growing love as it slowly blooms in the dark."

"The red rose symbolizes this music."

I wrote about it here.

In a random sample of listeners, market research shows that 20% tap into the meaning of the piece and rate it 10/10:
ReverbNation Crowd Reviews

Serenade • 104 Reviewers • Classical (instrumental) • November 1, 2019

American audience

...

20% thought it was perfect
30% thought it was almost perfect
60% thought it was pretty good
80% thought it was good
90% thought it was not bad
10% thought it was bad


Here are some of the thoughts listeners shared...
 

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  • Crowd Review 31249609_195058.pdf
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  • 5239929-serenade-20191103123502.pdf
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OP
theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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Here are some of the thoughts listeners shared...

"This song is simply beautiful! I love everything about it. It's lovely to listen to, exciting yet peaceful at the same time. Amazing!!!" - female, 41, rated it 10/10

"I enjoyed everything about this song. I could listen to it over and over. It is just what I needed to hear this morning." - female, 46, rated it 10/10

"A beautiful classical piece. I was taken in my mind to a large, Victorian entertainment hall with ladies dressed in Victorian dresses dancing with eloquent men. The violin was heart piercing and I loved this piece of music." - female, 56, rated it 10/10

"I could not find anything wrong with this song. I really enjoyed listening. Instrumentals are very good and I would love to hear more." - female, 63, rated it 10/10

"I love the unique sound here and the way that the momentum keeps building. I think it would sound even better in person. Keep working on it, great job so far." - female, 44, rated it 8/10

"I have enjoyed listening to this classical song. It has very strong hints of mystery notes in it, that makes it so interesting to listen to." - female, 41, rated it 10/10

"I like the way this song starts and slowly builds throughout. The stringed instruments work wonderfully together. As I listen, the momentum continues to build, getting louder and louder. This is really enjoyable. Great classical instrumental song." - female, 59, rated it 10/10

"I love the sound of the strings! All the different sections blended well together. All the violins sounded as one. There was so much emotion in this piece. It became more and more intense! Absolutely beautiful!" - female, 53, rated it 10/10

"I loved the progression of the strings and the way they built up and swelled. It made me want to keep listening to find out where the song would go next! I could see this as the soundtrack to something deep and dramatic." - female, 31, rated it 10/10

"I very much enjoy the soft chill ominous vibes of this classical song. Love the droning violin sound. Great atmospheric sound. Cool mix." - male, 35, rated it 10/10

"I'm loving the beats, they are on key. The song structure is off the chain and the sound production is perfect. The instrumental is awesomely amazing. Keep up the great job and I'll keep an ear out for more." - male, 37, rated it 10/10

"It sounded like something that could be an action movie. I enjoyed the song, and thought that it was worth listening to again. The artist was someone that I haven't heard of, and I would seek them out again." - male, 23, rated it 10/10

"It's a beautifully composed song with instrumentals that merge together gracefully and fulfill the purpose of the song's title and purpose with perfection. Great job!" - female, 24, rated it 10/10

"Passionate song, the violin being the main component of the song creates an ambiance that is exciting, passionate, and relaxing all at the same time! I also like how the song begins soft and eventually gets louder and more intense with more violins joining in." - male, 35, rated it 10/10

"Song is done perfect. Existential feel, and instruments are amazing. Song structure is on point. Makes me feel like Christmas is near. Beautiful song." - female, 32, rated it 10/10

"The instrumental are well thought out and played very well. The song has a mystical feel to it. I could see this in a movie." - male, 32, rated it 10/10

"The song is really driving and relaxing. It's well written and there is no issues with it that are noticeable. It's a solid song all around." - male, 29, rated it 10/10

"The strings adds a rising aura to the instrumentation. I really love the way the song intensifies and then start to ease back down gently." - male, 29, rated it 10/10

"The strings sound great as well as the woodwinds. I could definitely sit through a concert listening to songs like this, they make me feel happy which I guess the title Serenate would indicate." - female, 60, rated it 10/10

"This reminds me so much of James Horner's stuff, and I love it! The music sounds like it's telling a story, and I feel involved in its development." - female, 24, rated it 10/10

"This song was beautiful, powerful intense, moving, immersive, and engaging. I was thoughtful, peaceful, happy, and nostalgic. The sound quality was high and clear." - female, 46, rated it 10/10

"I am loving this song. It sounds like it would be played during king henry the 8th grand entrances or during a dragon match in game of thrones.. I simply love it." - male, 25, rated it 9/10

...

"I enjoyed the swelling strings and how the melody built up over the song duration. It reminds me of traveling or the passage of time." - male, 35, rated it 9/10

"I like how it's reminiscent of Hans Zimmer's scores, with the cellos providing the active background and rhythm. The melody is smooth and makes me think of a ship sailing on waves that get stronger as time goes on. Very contemplative and beautiful piece." - female, 41, rated it 9/10

"I love the intense beat of the song as it begins and then how more mellow instruments are introduced giving it a more serene feel." - female, 33, rated it 9/10

"I really love the melody of this song. It is so soothing and perfect for a rainy Saturday morning. The instrumentation seemed perfect and fit well with the melody. I felt the song title also fit the song perfectly." - female, 47, rated it 9/10

"It's beautiful and powerful and inspiring. I really enjoy listening to it. I would love this as a soundtrack - I can hear it as part of a movie score." - female, 41, rated it 9/10

"The composition has a great rhythmical section and really plays well with the chord progressions in the song. A great piece for a film! The mix is really well done." - male, 26, rated it 9/10

...

"This song has a sublte intensity, like something big is going down and we should prepare, then as it builds it gives you the sense of a cautious hope." - male, 31, rated it 9/10

This is known as "Wisdom of Crowds":

"The Wisdom of Crowds is a powerful and proven methodology that states large groups of ordinary people organized under the right conditions (a "smart crowd") outperform small groups of experts in making decisions and predictions. The idea is not new. It’s the science behind Google and decision-making in some of the largest companies in the world. It has been proven time and again that collective wisdom consistently surpasses the experts. It also means that TuneCore Fan Reviews can guarantee 90% accuracy in track ratings. If you want to know more, we recommend you read "The Wisdom Of Crowds: Why Many Are Smarter Than The Few" by James Surowiecki."

https://support.tunecore.com/hc/en-...neCore-Fan-Reviews-Frequently-Asked-Questions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds
 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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  • #123
It's been half a year since I last posted here. I thought I'd share what I've been up to.


Given the favourable results from the crowd review reports, I am considering releasing Serenade as my debut single - sometime in 2020. I am looking at distributing it with either Symphonic Distribution or CD Baby.


I've been working on finalizing the album cover:





I've also been working on a draft video:





The draft video is part of the source package I sent to my video producer, who will be using it to make the finished music video.


You can take a look at the rest of my source package here:

The Aviv - Serenade - Music Video Source Package


The source package includes a treatment, script, as well as a libretto I have written:


The Aviv - Serenade - Libretto

A seawave splashes down the shore. The mood is right. The moon is bright. Stars are singing with delight. I wonder what's in store.

I feel it in the air. Every moment is with flair. Palmtrees dancing on repeat, seawaves washing down the beat. I wonder if there's more?

Well… she walks in, dressed in red. All eyes on her, enough is said. I guess my destiny's complete - and I am on the floor!

Sparks fly out. A rose unlike any other, only a bud, ready to blossom. Lightning strikes. Something stirs inside of me. Who would have thought? That smoke would be evaporating just in time for dawn.

There she is again! Embers are shooting out of me as I race across the vast ocean. The moonlight marks my destination. I become a lightning storm ready for romance.

She alights in fire and together we burn. Our flames, side by side, spin across the sky, leaving behind a trail of glowing ashes wherever we go.

The sun begins to rise as our love begins to bloom. The higher it goes, the stronger we grow. The beauty and the bliss… we go round and around till we drown. The whirlpool we create becomes inescapable. The vortex is all we can think of - and we would have it no other way!

It draws us deeper and deeper. Mesmerizing. Hypnotizing. The sun is climbing closer and closer to eternal light. Magnificent is the only word.

We soar above the clouds. Daylight invites adventure. The ocean begs for diving. The petals we shed blow in the wind. Life seems to just float by…

Until the clouds begin to roar and the thunder begins to speak - saying it is time for us to go.

Closer and closer, it looms in the horizon. We jump straight into it! Nothing can hold us back. Nothing. No wave is powerful enough to separate us.

We fall but we bounce up. The storm is strong but our love is stronger. We bleed, we cry, but we never give up. Boom. Splash. Her hand is still in mine. Roar after roar. Shake after shake. Rain pours down our cheeks but we embrace - we go along and face - the brutal cold and dark!

But alas…

All things must come to a stop. All things must reach an end. The sun will eventually set. The rose will ultimately wilt. Nothing can live forever - as they all like to remind.

But it was a good night!

So why do I feel so blue?

I guess because we must say our goodbyes…

'Tis time for the last lullaby…

…before we make way for the next night to begin anew…
 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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  • #126
How would you classify the

Primary Genre
Primary Subgenre

Secondary Genre
Secondary Subgenre

Mood/Style


of this piece of music?

Which famous artists (#1, #2, and #3) would you associate with it?

(This info is being asked by CD Baby for distribution.)





Here is a copy and paste from CD Baby:

Genres


Choose 2 genres and subgenres, plus a mood that describes your music

Genre #1:

Main Category: Please choose a genre
Sub Category:

Genre #2:

Main Category: Please choose a genre
Sub Category:

Album Mood/Style:

Main Category: Please choose a mood

Artists you sound like

Tell us which famous artists you sound like! Please enter up to three artists people say reminds them of your music.

Famous Artist #1:
Famous Artist #2:
Famous Artist #3:

Here is what I am thinking:

Genres


Genre #1:

Main Category: Classical
Sub Category: Orchestral

or

Main Category: Classical
Sub Category: Virtual Orchestra

These are the only two sub categories (of Classical) CD Baby offers that I think are relevant to the piece.

Genre #2:

Main Category: Easy Listening
Sub Category: Classical Pop

or

Main Category: Easy Listening
Sub Category: Orchestral

or

Main Category: Electronic
Sub Category: Virtual Orchestra

or

Main Category: New Age
Sub Category: Neo-Classical

Album Mood/Style:


Main Category: Instrumental

Artists you sound like

Famous Artist #1: James Horner

"This reminds me so much of James Horner's stuff, and I love it! The music sounds like it's telling a story, and I feel involved in its development." - female, 24, rated it 10/10, ReverbNation Crowd Review


market research reports:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/h94ym3mxgd8cjqo/AAAb8WH_C9mOqOPRfQTnto-9a

Famous Artist #2: Hans Zimmer

"I like how it's reminiscent of Hans Zimmer's scores, with the cellos providing the active background and rhythm. The melody is smooth and makes me think of a ship sailing on waves that get stronger as time goes on. Very contemplative and beautiful piece." - female, 41, rated it 9/10, ReverbNation Crowd Review

Famous Artist #3: Howard Shore

"I love the sound of this music! It reminds me of Lord of the Rings. I would definitely buy this album. Great sound and very enjoyable." - female, 40, rated it 10/10, ReverbNation Crowd Review

I am thinking of just doing this:

Genre #1:

Main Category: Classical
Sub Category: Orchestral

Genre #2:

Main Category: Classical
Sub Category: Virtual Orchestra

Album Mood/Style:

Main Category: Instrumental

Famous Artist #1: James Horner
Famous Artist #2: Hans Zimmer
Famous Artist #3: Howard Shore
 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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  • #127
These are the only two sub categories (of Classical) CD Baby offers that I think are relevant to the piece.

I was wrong about my initial assumption. Taking a closer look at all the sub categories under Classical, there are several options relevant to my track:

Contemporary
Minimalism
New Age
Orchestral
Sinfonietta
Tone Poem
Virtual Orchestra

I think it is important to first identify the era, especially since most classical music being recorded is still from the past:

Genre #1: (era)

Main Category: Classical
Sub Category: Contemporary

I think it is then important to identify the type of ensemble (or form as I like to call it):

Genre #2: (form)

Main Category: Classical
Sub Category: Orchestral

I ordered another crowd review report from ReverbNation (attached) - this time with all the advanced insights they offer. I was curious to see what genres and similar artists reviewers would list:

Regardless of how this song was classified, select the genre(s) you find most appropriate for this song.

Classical83
Instrumental40
Other5
Ambient4
Alternative3
Indie3
Holiday2
Dubstep2

(There were only 104 reviewers, but they were allowed to select more than one genre.)

Which well-known artist does this song remind you of most?

Hans Zimmer
Beethoven
Mozart
Bach
John Williams

Number of Reviewers who Selected Each Artist

Hans Zimmer8
Beethoven6
Mozart5
Bach5
John Williams4
Enya3
philip glass3
Howard Shore3
Yo Yo Ma3
Yanni2

(Almost everybody listed someone different, ranging from Joseph Haydn to Max Richter to Sia. Most listed a well-known composer, like Tchaikovsky. A good deal of them listed a film composer, like James Newton Howard. Just about as many of them were not able to pick one. They either said "none", "no one", "n/a", "N/A", "?????", "unsure", "Not sure", "Original", "The Aviv", "I don't know", "No one comes to mind", or "Not any off the top of my head" - which is a good sign, because it means my style probably comes across as unique.)
 

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  • Crowd Review 31249609_203495.pdf
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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  • #128
Here is a little Christmas gift for everyone! I finished writing my first string quartet. I think you would enjoy it! The title is Bliss. It suits the holiday season:



NotePerformer 3.3.2
Sibelius 2020.12
 

Attachments

  • The Aviv - Bliss - NotePerformer Playback (2020-12-18).mp3
    4.1 MB · Views: 7
Last edited:
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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My plan for 2021 is to keep composing and uploading score videos of my work.

This year has been a little slow for me.

My main accomplishment in 2020 was the release of my debut single, Serenade:



I spent a lot of time on the source package for the music video:



See https://www.dropbox.com/.../5d4.../AACNtX4jmM1WtaG31-KKzCn5a

I learned how to use my new iMac and Sibelius:


 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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As an exercise, I had typeset my favourite classical piece, Palladio by Karl Jenkins:



I am proud to have finished my first string quartet, Bliss, just in time for Christmas:



I intend to work intensely in 2021, composing every day and condensing ten years worth of progress into one!

 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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To answer the original question of the thread - best software for an aspiring composer...

For my purposes, as a classical artist, it is:

Sibelius + NotePerformer
(music notation software + full orchestral sound library)
(twelve-tone equal temperament + large-scale modern symphonic orchestra)

This is all I need to compose the greatest music imaginable - and I have it!

I can then work with a producer to create a mockup fit for release, or better yet, a recording.

Also, an iMac is well worth the investment. I do all my work on my desktop, so it made sense to buy a premium computer. I was able to upgrade my 2019 Retina 5K iMac from 8GB to 40GB of RAM. There is a slot at the back you can easily open to do it.

The reason I chose Sibelius (instead of Dorico or Finale) is because (at the beginning of 2020) it was the only notation software fully compatible with the best playback system available, NotePerformer, which was the most important factor for me. NotePerformer was primarily designed for Sibelius. Also, it is the only notation software (out of the three compatible with NotePerformer) with no big upfront investment (just an affordable monthly subscription rate). Plus, there seem to be more resources available for Sibelius than any other notation software.

NotePerformer is definitely a game changer.

Here is a NotePerformer playback of Palladio by Karl Jenkins:



NotePerformer 3.3.1
Sibelius 2020.6

Compare it to a recording:

https://youtu.be/32Ag0dBGbvc

Compare it to a 2019 mockup:

https://youtu.be/kVYayz9KBpU

Conclusion: NotePerformer does a great job representing the sound of a live performance!

For my purposes, as an artist, any money spent on sample libraries and virtual instruments would be better spent outsourcing the production with a professional. Likewise, any time spent learning and tinkering with a DAW would be better spent composing and performing. My ultimate aim is to make commercial recordings, not mockups. I see mockups as just an intermediate step. My ultimate aim is to conduct my music and tour with a personal orchestra.
 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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Happy New Year!

My first piano concerto - Takeoff:



NotePerformer 3.3.2
Sibelius 2020.12
 

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  • The Aviv - Takeoff - NotePerformer Playback (2020-12-31).mp3
    6.5 MB · Views: 0

justmjulie

New Member
I heard from those who compose on notation software (Sibelius and Dorico) They both LOVE NotePerformer. (It can provide good quality(not the best but good), go check demo on youtube see you like it or not)

If you are going to DAW (music library) there will be a lot of tech issue will pump out, you have to learn to manipulate the tech or have someone help you work on midi. But in DAW there is a lot of new sound you can smash on. ;)

Some people will export midi from notation software and give midi programmer to do the realistic mockup.

Ps. I remember Dorico can do mix inside the software, not sure this function work on Sibelius or not.

Hope this help!
 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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If you look up most "successful" living classical composers you'll notice that, for the most part, they tend to gravitate towards the "weird" side of the spectrum. I think the reason is that classical, unlike pop, doesn't just depend on the audience for success. Musicians and especially conductors play a huge role in what gets performed! Musicians tend to prefer pieces that offer a challenge or are at least entertaining to play (never met a player that enjoys playing ostinatos :laugh:). Conductors are a whole different beast! They have many of the same requirements as players, but also have high ideals of art, history and also their own image as an artist and what kind of repertoire they like to be associated with...

It's tricky, but personally I find it to be a much fairer system than just depending on an audience. Players and conductors are far more appreciative and loyal and also understand the art behind it better. Audiences are fickle and influenced by many external factors...



I contacted a local music school at the beginning of the year, and the director was really interested in both Serenade and my string quartet, Bliss. They are hoping to record both next week.
 
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Stringtree

membur
In the end, that which was sought by the OP was achieved. The Serenade is closer to Karl Jenkins than ever. I think many overlooked the composer's intentions and provided a solid hour of reading that...

revealed the depth and breadth of expertise here
showed the generosity and patience of our member family
rocked the women who really know what they're talking about
introduced us to maybe some new music that was beautiful
explored philosophy of music, history, and trajectory

Well worth it. Reading. In these times, it's terrifying to wonder to myself that I just know some highfalutin argot and am a crappy composer wannabe. I don't know. It's self doubt and dread. Just speaking for myself.

So the collecting of accolades is not something that your typical USA or British person would do, but the world is populated by cultures that hold different values. This is an unknown dimension.

Internet tone. It often doesn't come across. But I'm proud of all of the help given.

@theaviv is well on his way toward what he wanted to do in the first place, we all might have learned something, and I know for sure I'm too old to do acid again. Lol. It's all good.
 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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  • #136
You may find this interesting:

I composed a piano concerto last year (see my post from Dec 31, 2020) and I recently submitted

(1) the NotePerformer playback, as well as
(2) a mockup by @Chorny Serge

for ReverbNation crowd reviews:


Surprisingly, they both scored exactly the same:



Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 8.38.11 AM.png

2021-04-12 Takeoff (Mockup) market research

2021-03-17 Takeoff (NotePerformer) market research

(Serenade market research)

 
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theaviv

theaviv

The Aviv
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  • #137
If you think you can produce a better mockup, email me at [email protected] with a quote for the job and a link to your work.

Here is the original production source package (used for the mockup above):

2021-01-05 Takeoff production source package

It includes the

MIDI file (General MIDI, Type 1, 1920 PPQN)
PDF of the full score
Audio (MP3) of the NotePerformer playback
Video (MOV) of the full score with NotePerformer playback


exported from Sibelius.

Here is an updated production source package:

2021-04-30 Takeoff production source package

It includes a volume reference track in addition to an updated MIDI, PDF, MP3, and MOV.

I tweaked the dynamics a little and made the strings tremolo in bars 165 and 166.

The piano part has some sections where the left and right hands intersect. I wrote it that way because it was the simplest and most basic way to represent the sound I wanted. As it stands, the player has discretion on how to work out any conflict between the hands.

Also, in the score, I used ledger lines instead of octave lines, because playback for octave lines in Sibelius is not always reliable.
 
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