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Daw project to sheet music

Mr. Ha

Active Member
I write a lot of symphonic music in Logic Pro X using samples (mostly from Spitfire Audio). I have been asked by someone to show a score for some cues and as I don't have any finished sheet music. I don't have much experience with sheet music and notation for all instruments so was wondering if anyone here might have any tips...

I sadly don't own Sibelius or Finale (I own Sibelius First but that's limited to 4 instruments so in this case that won't work) so the score editor in Logic Pro X is my only tool.

How would you guys recommend working when making finished sheet music from a mockup in Logic?

Any help is appreciated!


Senior Member
Here are a few tips that I found to be helpful farting out....

- Quantize Everything (Starts and Lengths)
- Set Min Note Value in Sibelius to 16th/8th/etc.
- Remove all key switches, cc data, etc.
- Depeding on template, combined different article into single instrument track.
- *Resave project under different name* (I.e. "Project A - Score Prep")

Also, Sibelius offers month-to-month subscriptions for the full software. This way you can have as many staves as you need for a single project.


Score output is quite different from DAW-output.

Clean up your tracks as mentioned above and export in MusicXML to Musescore.
You'll typically prefer to work on a copy of the project.


I put dots and lines on paper.
Everything mentioned above is great, though I'm not a fan of Musescore. To each his own.

In Logic, you can set the pitch range that will show on the score for each track. That can be a quick way to get rid of key switches. Also, if it's an orchestral ensemble, set your page size to at least 11x17 or A3 portrait. That will make final printout easier to read. You don't want people squinting at tiny notes on letter/A4 paper.

Generally the standard is 4 measures per page, but you can sometimes squeeze 5 or 6 if the music isn't busy. Also think about page turns. They work best at the end of phrases if possible, which is why the standard is 4 bars per page.

Articulations and dynamics become important once you move to notation. You'll have to figure out all those volume/expression swells and which articulation to use for different parts. Not every note needs an articulation, but the important changes in force/duration should definitely have them. For dynamics, it's tempting to go with basic CC=dynamic X, but be sure to listen and trust your ears. Most sample libraries aren't set up with specific numbers attached to dynamics.


Senior Member
Logic works well for a finished score too. I made everything from lead sheet to orchestra in Logic. Most important is that you know how the score should look like. When I go from a DAW arrangement (including ensemble libraries etc) I add a complete second orchestra as additional tracks in the same song. Doesn't have to sound good, it's just for notation. Then I copy lines part by part from the mockup into the score, separating monophonic lines from chords (spreading 'string chords' to VL1, VL2 etc as one note per instrument/section). Cleaning note length is important. A lot of the final orchestration happens in that process as DAW and sample composing isn't the same as writing for musicians. When I'm done I switch off the mockup tracks and add articulations, dynamics, slurs, markings, multi-rests, line breaks etc.
If the mockup isn't done with notation in mind there is probably a lot to do. It often takes longer than the mockup/composition process. But that's the way it is.
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I put dots and lines on paper.
A lot of the final orchestration happens in that process as DAW and sample composing isn't the same as writing for musicians.

Oh how I wish more people understood this. Years ago I had to walk away from a project because somebody demanded they share orchestration credit with me because they already sequenced everything in Logic, so "technically it's already orchestrated". :emoji_face_palm:


Formerly Mike T
This is probably not as useful a tip as some of these others, but what I do is just transcribe the whole thing by hand. If it's the sort of music where I'm actually writing out a score, I most likely haven't done anything which is outside the abilities of real musicians, so I can usually turn to some of the notation that Logic has generated on its own to speed things along.

If you can get Logic to spit out decent notation in the first place by cleaning everything up, though, that's probably your best (and quickest) bet, but I like being forced to look at everything a second time, laid out in the "old" way on paper, since I've largely stopped actually composing that way. It's nice to still have pencil and paper as a part of the process.

I like doing it myself, too, and will always try for that no matter the time constraints. Copyists are one thing, but when it comes to "orchestration" (whatever that means now), I'd rather be on my own.

That may seem crazy to people who work in high-budget, high-pressure environments where everything needs a silky Hollywood sheen, but I want my music to be purely mine, weak points and all. I can learn from those weak points for the next piece, rather than relying on someone else to smooth things over again.

I'm not at all trying to knock that way of working; obviously it's pretty much the norm. I'm just fussy about my own stuff, and whether that's for better or worse, I don't mind. It's mine, both the good and the bad, and I like that.


Senior Member
I grew up with paper scores but would never go back, even if, for some styles of music, they are faster. Electronic scores offer a huge advantage because they nearly eliminate mistakes introduced by a copyist.

I don’t understand the argument that using an electronic score makes the piece any less “yours.” One can always print a score and mark it up or add extra grace notes or articulations or whatever. But maybe I misunderstood your point? Apologies

Having spent years with score paper, pencils and ink pads, I don’t think one process is artistically superior to another. But if you like it, so be it.


Formerly Mike T
But maybe I misunderstood your point? Apologies

Mine? Yes, I think you did.

As you said, handwritten vs. notation software scores isn't a competition; it's just down to what you'd rather do.

My point was about orchestration and having someone "touch up" what I've done, which I shy away from, though I completely understand why it's the way the industry works and wouldn't fault anyone for it.

Again, it isn't about one way or another being artistically superior or anything. It's just not for me. But I was just droning on and away from the point of the thread anyway.
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