Has anybody “regressed”?

Discussion in 'Workflow Tips & DIYs' started by kmaster, May 29, 2018.

  1. kmaster

    kmaster Just moved to LA! Let's get coffee!

    there are a handful of threads from the past 12 months or so that skirt around this, but none ask the question directly:

    Have any of you gone from composing straight into a DAW to writing first on paper (or into a notation program, I guess)?

    If so, why?
  2. Divico

    Divico Senior Member

    Guilty. Im a beginner though :D

    I realized that I get lost in my DAW when working on orchestration and harmony since it is harder for me to get the big picture visually. So for me its easier to write in a notation program where I can see all voices easier and than go to my DAW and try to "play" all instruments in, now focusing on performance, CCs and stuff.

    Also having a general overview on dynamics seems to help. When you know where to play piano or forte gives you a clue of the range your CC movements should stay in.
  3. muk

    muk Senior Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    It's not a regress (I guess that's why you put the quotation marks), just different ways of working. When I have to work quickly I work directly into a DAW. The same is true if the structure of the piece I am working on is fairly simple (a short piece in basic ternary form, for example). With a bit more time I sketch on paper first and then flesh it out directly into the DAW. This usually leads to sligthly more inspired pieces for me. For anything with more complexity - be it harmonically, structurally (sonata form, for example), or orchestration - I sketch with paper and pencil, then orchestrate in a notation program. As the last step I'll create a mockup from the score.

    For me working into the DAW directly is quickest. But it is not the most creative way of working for me, and if it gets too complex I get lost. Working with paper and pencil anything is possible, but it takes longer. I choose my approach accordingly, depending on the task.
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  4. d.healey

    d.healey Music Monkey

    Nov 2, 2011
    I've always started with notation but lately I've been trying to start in the daw, so I'm the opposite.
    Jaap likes this.
  5. robgb

    robgb I Have Strong Opinions

    Apr 6, 2016
    I'm not even close to fluent in notation, and my composing process has always been like painting. Start sketching on the actual canvas, then fill in the colors, making decisions as I go. The notation can come later, because, after all, it's merely a method of communication. For me, at least.
    ism likes this.
  6. Jaap

    Jaap Best audience ever...booh!

    Same here, back when I started at the conservatory I didn't had even had a computer and did only compose with pen and paper till my 3rd year, then I grew tiresome of players nagging about my handwriting :grin: and invested in a computer with Finale. Now look where I ended up :rofl:
  7. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    I use kind of a "lead sheet" approach if I'm writing song-type material -- melody with accompaniment. Much faster.

    After I write the melody and chord progressions, maybe a bass line, the DAW work is much faster.

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