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Seeking Spitfire Notation

ryevick

Member
I just purchased a few Spitfire libraries, the main one being BBC SO. I have been trying to find out what the best notation/scoring software would be and was/am hoping Presonus Notion 6 would be a good option, especially since I use Studio One 4.5 Pro. I contacted customer support at Spitfire and this is the response I received.

"We don't typically recommend using our products with notation software. There is a disconnect with the MIDI CC messages sent in notation software, against the messages that are sent in a DAW, which our plugins are designed around. I believe Sibelius will be the easiest to work around this, although the only instructions I can provide have to do with our Kontakt libraries."

A little discouraging but hoping I can find someone that has solid information regarding this.

Thanks!
 

ptram

Senior Member
For how easy it is to draw controller lines, I would have thought to Dorico instead. As someone who is using some of their products with notation software, I’m surprised by this answer. But I'm probably using them in the wrong way.

Paolo
 

Robin

Active Member
Yes, absolutely go for Dorico with this, the flexibility in working with Midi CC and Expression maps is definitely superior to all other notation software plus you can expect functional updates in this field in the future as this software is still actively being developed and not just maintained.
 

Jaap

Senior Member
I worked yesterday a bit in Dorico with BBC SO and didn't ran into any problems tbh.
 

wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
Moderator
Standard notation is a challenge for people using sample libraries. Things are improving, somewhat dramatically, but there really is a disconnect between what is written on the page and what is played. Live players make those decisions in real time, and we can make similar decisions with controller messages. Until Dorico and Notion the idea of modifying controller messages seemed deeply rooted in the sequencer world. The times they are a changing, and I would expect all the notation platforms to change accordingly, some more quickly than others.
 
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ryevick

ryevick

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Thank you for your replies, very helpful. I'm assuming Dorico is not meant to work or doesn't work well within Studio One... I hope I'm wrong. I've been wanting to upgrade Cubase as my second DAW. Between that and Dorico that's close to another $1000. Can't do it just yet. I just spent everything on Spitfire libraries and Kontakt. I hope they have some nice Christmas/New Year sales at Steinberg.
 

Robin

Active Member
I'm assuming Dorico is not meant to work or doesn't work well within Studio One
I don't quite get what you're trying to achieve by that or why you would want that. Dorico is a standalone program. As is Sibelius, Finale and also Notion. There is a closer connection planned between Dorico and Cubase in the (distant) future, however with the "DAW functionalities" of Dorico expanding it is not quite clear whether one would really need that in "our" world...
 
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ryevick

ryevick

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I don't quite get what you're trying to achieve by that or why you would want that. Dorico is a standalone program. As is Sibelius, Finale and also Notion. There is a closer connection planned between Dorico and Cubase in the (distant) future, however with the "DAW functionalities" of Dorico expanding it is not quite clear whether one would really need that in "our" world...

I'm new to and I've not used notation software. I have a lot to learn about it, obviously. I was under the assumption that you used it within your DAW and basically tell it to score finished tracks.
 

Robin

Active Member
No, that's not how things work with professional notation software. It is rather the other way around where you notate your music and implement Virtual Instruments to play back the scores. The way you're describing is what DAW notation functions (like in Cubase or Logic) have, however their functionalities are limited and are not really recommended to create state of the art notation that you would put in front of any professional musician.
 

JT

Senior Member
You'll get better results if you use the Spitfire software in the format it was designed for, a DAW.
 
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ryevick

ryevick

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You'll get better results if you use the Spitfire software in the format it was designed for, a DAW.

That's what I'm a bit confused on. What Robin just said makes sense but how would you score the articulations of the instrument your using that is running within Kontakt or do you have to compose it a second time inside Dorico using instruments it has, not your Spitfire libraries and articulations?
 
You can use sample libraries & articulations in both notation software or DAW software. (For Dorico, there are plenty of YouTube videos that show how to load VST instrument plugins: example). The tradeoffs can be tricky, so I'd say think first about your goals & any final outputs you need to produce:
  1. Composition Tool: sample libraries help you preview what the music you're writing will sound like. Level of realism required varies.
  2. Printing Scores for Musicians: if your music will eventually be recorded, you'll want professional notation to put in front of players.
  3. Producing Final Audio: if your final audio product (e.g. a soundtrack or demo) will use samples, you'll need it to sound as realistic as possible and to mix & master the audio.
Notation software has a lot of advantages for [1], in that you can work with melody, harmony, orchestration, etc. in musical notation and think about things analytically. It is more limited in creating realistic playback, but as others have noted, things are getting better and better in terms of support for articulation switching and continuous controls (for dynamics, vibrato, etc.). It probably can't yet handle [3] at a professional level (e.g. mixing multiple microphone outputs easily and automating volume & audio effects parameters).

DAW software can also be an effective composition tool, but to get better control over how it sounds, you lose a lot of functionality in terms of how it looks (in music notation). There is usually some notation support within DAWs, if you need to print barebones parts, but you'll hit limits pretty quickly.

So workflow-wise, if you need all 3 things, I think you'll eventually want both types of software. Whether you start in a notation program or DAW depends on which you prefer as a composition tool. Once your composition is complete, you can then export tracks to the other tool if you need both [2] and [3].

I'm greatly looking forward to a better integrated future where the switch (e.g. between Dorico & Cubase -- c'mon Steinberg!) works more smoothly in both directions.

- Eric
 

JohnG

Senior Member
DAW software can also be an effective composition tool, but to get better control over how it sounds, you lose a lot of functionality in terms of how it looks (in music notation). There is usually some notation support within DAWs, if you need to print barebones parts, but you'll hit limits pretty quickly.

Excellent advice, Eric.

As he notes (get it?? "notes?"), your choice depends on your objective. Most of the notation programs are feeble on the playback, and most DAWs do have limits on orchestration and part-production.

I use the notation function in Digital Performer all the time (for composing) and then typically export as MusicXML to a notation program to produce scores and parts. However, in a pinch, you can add by hand whatever your DAW's notation program doesn't include (or makes cumbersome). So if I have just a few parts for a soloist in a recording setting it can work. Much faster to add in dynamics and articulations by hand anyway. For a concert piece of course you want to be able to re-print parts so that's another matter.

Notation Playback

I'm watching Dorico closely, but so far I haven't found any copyists, and very few professional orchestrators (ok, zero so far), who use it. Nevertheless, many here on v.i. control and at least one avant garde composer friend -- a musical genius -- swears it's by far the best thing available.

Maybe in 2020...
 
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JT

Senior Member
Yes, John's advice is excellent. You need to define your needs and goals.

In a simplified explanation:

Notation programs primary purpose is to create sheet music. They also can playback but don't have all of the capabilities of a DAW.

The primary purpose of a DAW is to create recordings of music. Many DAWs also can produce printed sheet music, but their capabilities are less than notation programs.
 

BlackDorito

Active Member
I use Sibelius driving Spitfire all the time, and do the majority of tweaking in Sibelius. I generally export WAV for each instrument, load into Reaper or Cubase and do final track mixing. I'm generally adding just a Volume lane here and there. If I need to do a repair/patch-up, I can just overdub audio.

Other people will export MIDI for each Sibelius staff and that gives the flexibility to add controller lanes for the instruments themselves - particularly for complex or very long controller curves.

Once you get used to adding user-defined articulation markings, it gets easier. I tried Dorico, but it thwarted me (well-documented in other threads).
 
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