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Anyone using Noteperformer?

Discussion in 'Tips, Tricks & Talk' started by Michael Lückgen, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. I am currently struggling with virtually recording a piece I have notated in MuseScore. I am 6 bars in and already tired of it, while putting in the notes in a notation programm was infinitely more fun to me.

    So I wondered:
    Is anyone using noteperformer with say sibelius or dorico as a DAW replacement?
    I mean you would not have to think about orchestra balancing at all and it would already be fully notated. It looks way more efficient to me when the recording part and juggling around with samples can be avoided.
    Seems like a no brainer to use it instead of sample libraries, or am I missing something?
    Is it just that sample libraries sound a bit better?
    Are there any disadvantages to it?
    Like do I have to excessively mark the score with articulations, which I wouldn't for a real orchestra?
  2. Hi Michael,

    Yes, I'm still the fool who enjoys and loves writing in notation first before bringing into cubase. I used Sibelius and Noteperformer for the longest of times. Now, I'm the hugest advocate for Dorico and using my "Cubase template" in Dorico. I run my sample libraries all out of vepro (you don't have to you can load them inside Dorico but I find it's easier at the moment to do so in VEP). Dorico has an amazing powerful expression map and smart playback engine allowing to use third-party sample libraries. Even Noteperformer sounds better in Dorico than Sibelius. It's because Dorico is basically a powerful notation editor with a really shitty DAW inside it. Because, it treats the notation and midi differently you're able to edit the midi notes and change the length, velocity, or CC data to help perform the music better.

    Am I free from all my articulations and what not? No, but I'm free from most of it. The score gets me 80-90% there for at least the music that I write. I'm still improving & retweaking the Dorico expression maps to enable these difficult passages and have the best automatic performance it can give me with the sample libraries I'm using. The great thing about Dorico is you can set up different articulations based on the "articulation" + the "note length" which is a game-changer. As well, Dorico is still growing and I see much improvement and better functionality hopefully soon to come with the expression maps.

    Disadvantages are just some phrases/lines needs to be performed live. There isn't any way of getting around it. Another disadvantage is yes, you're still more than likely to bring it into a DAW and finish the mix or final midi tweaks that you weren't able to achieve in your DAW playback. Another disadvantage is writing in notation first and bringing into DAW is not the norm. I prefer it because I think better to read notation than working in a DAW. Overall, it'll sound better if you perform every line rather than a computer. I find with a lot of elements in the background that you can get away with performing some.

    Final thoughts:
    I dread and hate working in a DAW, but I treat it now as just a step in my mixing or final thoughts. All the inspiration, fun, and real work are always in notation for me. From a small sketch in notation to every single note written in notation before it hits the DAW, depends on my time constraints. Lastly, just choose your libraries wisely. I use infinite brass/winds because note length matters with the libraries and thus I can write virtually anything for them. Whereas, a library which a recorded length that can't be altered will deliver problems when you write something that's between a spiccato and staccato.

    Michael Lückgen likes this.
  3. That's my jam right there. It's all I use.
    Michael Lückgen likes this.
  4. Thank you for your answers!

    @Dillon DeRosa :
    Do I need cubase to use Dorico or can I use it as a standalone also?

    I had a look at infinite brass and winds a while ago and it looks really good! However I already bought BBC Symphony orchestra and do not want to spend any more money on samples really when the process of using them is so tiresome for me.

    @Doug Gibson :
    I assume you are doing it also since you hate working in a DAW right? (If i recall correctly you even said it somewhere around here)
    How does it work for you in terms of what Dillon said? How do you manage phrases or lines which do not come across on noteperformer?
    Or do you not care since your music will be performed by real musicians mostly anyway?

    I'm just a hobbyist and am doing music just for myself. So I would be totally okay with my music being 80% of what it could be if I the whole process is fun for me.
    I enjoy being at the piano and doing the orchestration in a notation program right now but in the DAW it starts to feel like chores for me. Especially since the piece is basically finished.

    Do you gus think that Noteperformer + Dorico/Sibelius could be a better choice for my goals than a DAW?
  5. Stand alone. Hopefully, in the future it'll be synced with Cubase but I think that's a far future from now...

    No worries! You can use any library. If I'm not mistaken they actually have a free expression map download for Dorico for the BBC Symphony Orchestra specifically or it may be the discover one? Dorico has a few expression maps ready to download. If anything, I suggest doing a trial of Dorico. I did a month's trial back in January and haven't looked back since.
  6. Here is an opening credits for a YouTube channel I write music to. This is all Dorico, I wrote it from start to finish (even had the film in Dorico). Just listen to first minute of this "opening credits" to this episode.

    Michael Lückgen likes this.
  7. Oh wow, I just understood what Dorio is really capable of!
    Using BBCSO with it sounds awesome. will definitely check out the trial version.
    Thank you :)
    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  8. That is true, but that is not my MAIN motivation. Even when I work in a DAW I always write out the piece first.
    I am a big fan of segregating workflow. I treat the DAW like a studio, and I only go in once I know how everything is going to go.

    But that is just what works for me. I am not an aspiring "Media Composer", and that there is so many lifetimes worth of study of music that
    I just want to focus on what brings me the most joy/interest. So it's a personal choice and not a value judgment.

    For example, with my Bass Clarinet Concerto, I added in the percussion and Harp/Celeste after the recording in my DAW at home.
    So it's 90% live. The cost for bringing those into the studio just make it impractical.

    I don't know. TLDR :(. Sorry.

    If you had a more specific instance in mind, I could say better. Really the two big downfalls for me with NP is true with all samples and that is Electric Guitar and Vocals.

    So for songs with vocals I will use a Cello or Trumpet etc. in their place so I don't hear the midi voice like in this piece below. All the Cello/Trumpet is meant to be a singer

    I have many pieces, like the Tango of the Dad bod, which may never get recorded. More accurately of how I think would be there is a clear separation of Production vs Composition.

    So I embrace its production flaws as I know I am not at that stage yet. It has its composition flaws too but that's another story for another day.

    I mainly use it to accurately check that my notation is producing the sound result I want. It's very good at that, and while not perfect I can confidently play a demo and know that if I went to a top studio I would get my desired result.

    Plus by not spending 2-5 thousand a year on samples and hardware upgrade it gives me the chance to hire people for passion projects.

    Michael Lückgen likes this.
  9. Thank you for the insight Doug.

    I totally agree with you here!

    Although my music will probably never be played by real musicians for me this process seems more fun for now.

    But I wonder, have you looked into Dorico or other Notation programs Doug? Is there a specific reason why you prefer Sibelius?
  10. Well, it is what I began on 20 years ago. So I know it inside and out. Additionally, for archive reasons, I will always have to have Sibelius.
    So many projects that I have been hired to notate that I would only be adding on another notation program.
    I still get clients who I worked for say 5-7 years ago want to do some kind of revision and there is no way
    I am going to go thru the whole risk/time of transferring everything to one new program.

    After 20 years Sibelius is "Old Betsy" to me. I know and understand it's flaws, and we have been thru so many battles together I just don't feel a need to change.

    Funny you should ask. Yes, I have. (See below)
    I have reviewed the guitar features since it was included.

    ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: Dorico did the annoying thing of launching their product before it was ready. They then took all the complaints and made updates.
    To their credit they have a very lively forum board, and the Dorico team has been amazingly fast at implementing the requested changes.

    So you are going to have a much different introduction to it. I would say the program is now ready for professional use, with the exclusion of electric guitar which will never be a strength of it.


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