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Back working with NOTION 3

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Back working with NOTION 3

Postby dcoscina » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:39 pm

Well, it's a good news bad news thing. The good news is that, like before, it's fast and intuitive. I can fly around on this program moreso than Sibelius and Finale put together. Also, doing complex time sigs like 2+3/4 is totally easy. Don't ask me how to get it done in Sibelius cause I still don't know!

The bad news. Some of the samples sound worse than N2. The flute in its low range sounds like an oboe. The oboe in its upper range has flute over tones. What the heck???

Also, and this is BIG, I don't know how to build crescendos on N3 with sustain tied notes. They don't increase in volume the way they did in N2. Why is this? Even GPO in Sibelius increases or diminishes in volume when I put a hairpin under a sustained note. The only way I can achieve realistic dynamics is to put a hairpin under tied smaller rhythmical values. Like instead of a whole note with a crescendo, I have to do 2 half notes or 4 quarter notes tied together for the program to realize i want t0 INCREASE VOLUME! Seriously, this hurts my enjoyment of using this program.

Also, and this is a little bit of an annoyance- I have to BUY expansion sounds even though I bought every expansion pack for N2. Regardless of whether they are new samples (see first paragraph about my sentiments towards that), I think some sort of offer to those existing Notion customers would have been nice. But I can sort of get over this one. It's the other two problems that really frustrate me when using this program.

to end on a nice note, I do love the interface and most of the sounds. I love the short string articulations and I love being able to hear almost any articulation or phrase realized by the program. I have to search endlessly through 3rd party libraries in Sibelius to get the same results and even then, I don't. Their default player (GPO) doesn't even have different samples for short string articulations, what the???? And something really retarded about Sibelius is how you have to go through hell and back to notate trills with an accidental. STOOOPID. So NOTION 3 gets some high marks for these things because it does them very easily and very well.

Lubo, have you also considered do A4 (or unison) expansions so say when I indicate I want 4 horns playing in unison, the sample changes from solo horn to an ensemble? Same applies to winds. I think that would be really cool. Probably not too hard unless no ensemble brass or winds were originally recorded. Then it would be hard and expensive.

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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby Surfwhammy » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:10 pm

dcoscina wrote:Some of the [N3] samples sound worse than N2. The flute in its low range sounds like an oboe. The oboe in its upper range has flute over tones.


The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) samples for Notion 3 (which includes some of the N2 versions) are very useful for certain instruments, but there is no separate control panel or whatever, and I tend to use the VSTi samples from Miroslav Philharmonik (IK Multimedia) when I want a very specific TONE . . .

On the other hand, my experience so far with brass and strings in Miroslav Philharmonik is that none of them do glissandi (smooth or step-wise, depending on the particular instrument), while more of the LSO VSTi instruments in N3 do glissandi, albeit in a different pitch curve or trajectory than I prefer, where they begin with a slow acceleration and then tend to zoom very rapidly toward the end, which works but would be nicer if there was a way to make it more linear or steadily accelerating . . .

Noting that all this stuff is a bit of a new experience for me, when I first started working with Notion 3 a lot of the brass, strings, and woodwinds I selected tended to sound more like a Farfisa Organ from the 1960s, but after a bit of experimenting I discovered that I can select very specific playing styles when I use the standalone control panel interface for Miroslav Philharmonik, which includes the ability to customize the presets with a virtual festival of special effects, and for the current genres I like (primarily DISCO, Flamenco, Heavy Metal, and Rock and Roll with a bit of Classical every once in a while), everything sounds much better when I select the staccato or legato flavors of the various Miroslav Philharmonik VSTi instruments, as you can hear in the "basic rhythm section" for the Surf Whammys song "Maríta de la Luna y Pablito el Petardo (No Es Tanto Lo Que Es Como Lo Que No Es)" that I reorchestrated and remixed for headphones over the past two days, where everything is done entirely within Notion 3, albeit with a bit of help from some of the T-RackS 3 Deluxe (IK Multimedia) mixing and mastering VST plug-ins, for sure . . .

http://www.surfwhammys.com/Surrealeria-1-7-2011-ST25-XP2-N3.mp3

For sure!

At present, my orchestral VSTi instruments are LSO (N2 and N3) and Miroslav Philharmonik, but I also use VSTi instruments from Sample Tank 5 (IK Multimedia) and Xpansion Tank 2 (IK Multimedia), since I really like the bass guitars, studio drumkits, pianos, and synthesizers . . .

In some respects, I am tempted to explore some of the EWQL stuff, but (a) I despise dongles and will not purchase products that require them (in any flavor) and (b) they are very expensive relative to my current budget . . .

Basically, the fact of the matter is that one can go VSTi library crazy, at least if one is very wealthy or well-funded, so my strategy is to wait until there are nearly absurd special discounts, which happened last year for a while with the IK Multimedia Xpansion Tank 2 add-on VSTi libraries, where IK Multimedia had a "group buy" extravaganza which maps to everyone who participates getting more free stuff retroactively as the number of folks who buy one product increases, which in this particular "group buy" extravaganza mapped to getting nearly all the Xpansion Tank 2 add-on VSTi libraries for a grand total of approximately $25 (US), since I had a few "JAM POINTS" accumulated from previous purchases at the IK Multimedia Store, with this overall saving me approximately $475 (US) . . .

[NOTE: Xpansion Tank 2 actually is a set of VSTi libraries from Sonik Reality that are packaged to work with the IK Multimedia control panel user interface and so forth, but so what . . . ]

The reality here in the sound isolation studio is that the way things are happening so far, if another person in Japan purchases a copy of the Surf Whammys first album, then worldwide sales will double, hence when one's gross sales on average are less than $2 per year, a piece of bubble gum is a "major purchase" . . .

In this respect, my current thinking is that focusing rather exclusively on Rock and Roll might not have been the brightest strategy, so I have switched my focus to composing, playing, and recording DISCO, Flamenco, and Heavy Metal songs that mostly are about ladies underpants, which I think has great potential to be wildly successful in the Armenian and Japanese markets, where for example the YouTube music video of the Surf Whammys hit song "(I Want) Angela Gossow's Underpants (Ya-Ya-Ya)" continues to be among the Top 10 Highest Rated "Armenian Christmas" videos on Truveo, where it is steady at number four, which among other things is a bit beyond mind-boggling, as well as being definitive proof of the fact that the principles of quantum entanglement apply just as readily to blurbs as they do to electrons and photons . . .

http://www.truveo.com/search?query=armenian%20christmas&searchtype=general#/type=videoresults&searchtype=general&page=1&query=armenian%20christmas%20sort:highestRated&advanced=0&sort=highestRated&searchbox=armenian%20christmas

Mind-boggling!

And after pondering everything for a while, I realized that for the most part nobody has any money these days, so instead of trying to make money selling songs, I provide free MP3 versions of Surf Whammys songs based on the thinking that sometime in the future perhaps a few folks will have some money and might actually purchase a Surf Whammys album, which is a "pay forward" strategy that is based in part on something Jeff Duntemann did when he first started publishing computer programming magazines, where he would put a few copies of his computer programming magazines in his overcoat and then surreptitiously put the magazines on the shelves at local bookstores in a strategy that he called "reverse shoplifting", which when a customer purchased one of the magazines then caused the bookstore computer system to be unable to find the barcode, which eventually resulted in the entire bookstore chain ordering copies of the magazine ("PC Techniques") for real . . .

I don't know whether to confess this one or not: I've been reverse shoplifting again, and I just can't stop myself. I go into CompUSA or Bizmart or someplace like that with three or four copies of the magazine I publish under my arm. I pretend to browse the computer magazines in the magazine section, and then when nobody's looking I slip the three or four copies of PC Techniques I brought in onto a prominent place on the magazine rack and then nonchalantly make my escape.


[SOURCE: http://www.drdobbs.com/article/printableArticle.jhtml?articleId=184408947&dept_url=/ ]

Summarizing, in addition to enjoying a lot of Massimo Zanetti Master Chef coffee made in the ratio of 1/2 cup of ground coffee to 12-ounces of water at the ideal brewing temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit, I think it makes a bit of sense to have as many VSTi instrument libraries as one reasonably can afford, since all of them are excellent for doing one thing or another, where the more flavors of instruments you have, the easier it is to find the sounds you hear in your mind, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)
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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby composer » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:55 am

Valid points, David.

The sample quality varies in N3. The brass are improved over N2, but the woodwind samples are quite poor. Combine the poor sample quality with a total lack of any dynamic control and you have saxophones sounding like kazoos and the entire sound environment sounding more like a midi rendering than anything that is sampled.

A sad reversal from Notion 2.

However, Jack Jarrett is no longer associated with Notion Music, and his vision for this software has been changed. His vision was about making the creation of scores for classical composers easier. And it was.

When Notion hit the market in 2005, it was vanguard software in some ways. However, not being able to use other sample libraries limited the potential of the software. Combine with this an economic downturn, and a change in vision and leadership and you have the hasty and flawed release of Notion3.

The problem lies not with the ability to use other sound libraries in Notion; the problem lies with the flawed rendering engine in N3. I have yet to hear anything rendered in N3 that sounds better than N2. I think the people from Notion threw the baby out with the bath water with N3 and got rid of almost everything in N2 that was wonderful. How bizarre. Even more bizarre is the fact that very few people seem to have noticed.

Hopefully, there will be a future release that will allow for the type of dynamic nuance present in N2 or the quality of samples expected from classical composers. When that happens, I may go back to working with N3. However, I am not holding my breath.
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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby pcartwright » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:27 pm

composer wrote:The problem lies not with the ability to use other sound libraries in Notion; the problem lies with the flawed rendering engine in N3.


Can you explain this? You touched on this in another thread months ago, but you never really explained what was wrong with the rendering engine other than "it doesn't sound as good," which is too subjective. I agree with several points made (like dynamics need to be assignable at more places - not just at the beginning of a note or measure), but to point to a process that is so far under the programming hood that users can't see it is a bit much.
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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby Surfwhammy » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:56 am

composer wrote:When Notion hit the market in 2005, it was vanguard software in some ways. However, not being able to use other sample libraries limited the potential of the software. Combine with this an economic downturn, and a change in vision and leadership and you have the hasty and flawed release of Notion3.

The problem lies not with the ability to use other sound libraries in Notion; the problem lies with the flawed rendering engine in N3. I have yet to hear anything rendered in N3 that sounds better than N2. I think the people from Notion threw the baby out with the bath water with N3 and got rid of almost everything in N2 that was wonderful. How bizarre. Even more bizarre is the fact that very few people seem to have noticed.


At the risk of wandering into a truly pointless discussion about which genre is the best, which has the potential to be even more pointless than a discussion about favorite operating systems, my general impression of the various discussions in this FORUM is that nearly everyone appears to be focused primarily on Classical music, which is fine with me, although my focus at present is on DISCO, Flamenco, Heavy Metal, Rock and Roll, and a bit of Classical, since here in the sound isolation studio my goal is to discover how to sell more records than Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, really . . .

Really!

As a bit of background, I had a good bit of Classical training as a child but mostly with respect to singing, which mapped to being able to sing soprano (treble clef) by sight for Liturgical music, which is a useful skill but was a bit confusing until about a year ago when I realized that my cojones dropped over half a century ago, hence instead of being a soprano I actually am a baritone or tenor . . .

And while music notation and music theory was interesting when I was a child, as soon as girls became fascinating (as contrasted to being stupid and yucky), I soon realized that being in a Rock and Roll band was a great way to attract girls, which pretty much ended my focus on music notation and music theory, at which time I switched to playing "by ear", which continued until six months ago when I discovered Notion 3 as part of a project to annoy all the Spanish speaking people on the planet with a patently silly Flamenco song, with the interest in Notion 3 primarily being to do the drumkit and percussion, since playing Flamenco rhythms on a real drumkit is a bit beyond my current abilities as a drummer, especially since drumming is more of a secondary skill for me, as is playing keyboards, where my primary instruments are electric guitar and electric bass guitar . . .

It took a while for all the music notation and music theory that I had forgotten over the years to reappear, but I am making excellent progress in this regard, and it is nearly entirely the direct result of Notion 3 being so completely and totally easy to use, as well as a bit of studying the Joseph Schillinger System of Musical Composition (SoMC) over the years, along with a lot of Mathematics in college, where my degree focus was in Computer Science . . .

For reference, I never used Notion 2 or earlier versions, so I have no observations about them, but my understanding is that Notion 3 has a new user interface, and if this is the case, then I probably would not have found Notion 2 or earlier versions very useful . . .

I found some YouTube videos of Notion from 2007 and 2008, which I presume are for earlier versions of Notion, and the user interface is entirely too busy . . .

From the perspective of Computer Science, my general view is that all software has problems in one way or another, so what matters the most to me is that I can devise a "workaround" whenever I encounter a problem, which with Notion 3 has been the case very consistently . ..

In other words, there are some quirks or "bugs" in Notion 3, but so far (a) I have not lost any work and (b) I have been able to devise a "workaround" whenever I encounter a problem or limitation, which gives me a stellar comfort level . . .

And while I agree that some of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) instruments sound a bit like a 1960s Farfisa Organ or a kazoo, it depends on the instrument, articulations, and so forth and so on, where for some types of TONE the LSO instruments are stellar . . .

However, I tend to prefer the VSTi instruments in Miroslav Philharmonik, and one of my most recent discoveries is that when I use the standalone user interface to select very specific playing styles, the Miroslav Philharmonik instruments sound the way I want them to sound, so in this respect I think that a lot of the overall TONE is highly dependent on the VSTi libraries and the way they are used . . .

As noted in a previous post somewhere, I had a bit of problem getting brass and string sections to sound good on fast songs, but I finally discovered the reason, which is that instead of using VSTi samples that were recorded and digitized from performances where the musicians actually were playing staccato, I was using regular VSTi samples and trying to make them staccato via articulating the music notation, which simply does not work . . .

Of course, I never read the documentation for anything if I can avoid it, so my entire experience might be based on having no idea what I am doing, but even if that were the case, then I think it is a bit amazing that I can use Notion 3 productively without actually needing to read the documentation, which in part is a consequence of the entire "play by ear" mindset . . .

If I simply cannot discover how to do something intuitively, then I resort to using the online Help, but this does not happen very often . . .

And as I learn more about the way VSTi instruments work, I am not so certain that some of the limits I have encountered in Notion 3 are due to Notion 3, itself, with one of the clues being something I read in the documentation for Miroslav Philharmonik that referred to loading one instance of Miroslav Philharmonik with 16 instruments rather than having 16 separate instances of it, which might explain a few things, except that I have no idea how to load 16 instruments into one instance of Miroslav Philharmonik, but so what . . .

So what!

The same thing happens with T-RackS 3 Deluxe VST plug-ins, and there is no way to load them into one instance, where for reference on the 2.8-GHz 8-core Mac Pro with 8GB of memory (8x1GB) and 5TB of very fast hard drive storage, the upper limit for T-RackS 3 Deluxe plug-ins in the Notion 3 Mixer is 10 or so, but while this is a tiny bit annoying, it is not a problem, since I record the Notion 3 tracks into Digital Performer (MOTU) as soundbites via ReWire, and I can have a lot of VST plug-ins in Digital Performer, although Digital Performer also has upper limits, where the general "workaround" is to do the digital universe flavor of what George Martin and Phil Spector did in the 1960s with 2-track analog magnetic tape machines, where they "bounced" tracks from one machine to the other, adding more stuff each time . . .

I did a series of experiments in this regard, and my general perspective at present is that I can have several hundred "heavy" VSTi instruments in Notion 3 and several hundred tracks in Digital Performer, but doing it requires working with cloned Notion 3 project files and doing a lot of "bouncing to disk" in Digital Performer, which mostly is a matter of doing a bit of planning for a song and doing a bit of ad hoc pseudo-database work for the Notion 3 project files, which is harder to explain than it is to do, really . . .

Really!

And while I certainly appreciate and enjoy Classical music, the facts of the matter are (a) that "Bad Romance" (Lady Gaga) has over 331 million YouTube views and (b) that the European Single of "Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus) has approximately 6.5 million YouTube views, which is nearly double what it was one month ago, which works for me . . .

Since June 2010, I have worked on Notion 3 songs at least for 1,000 hours, and it is starting to make a lot of sense, which includes learning more about music notation and music theory in a practical way, which also is the case with VSTi instruments . . .

Another fact is that there are distinct differences in operating systems, especially with respect to audio, and while Windows machines can have outstanding audio systems, it does not always happen that way in the real world, which is one of the things Microsoft discovered when they made a valiant effort in Windows Vista to enforce very strict audio standards as part of certifying 3rd-party hardware and software vendors, as well as computer manufacturers, which for the most part was a waste of time, since there is no practical way to have high-quality audio in a $300 (US) entry level Windows computer, if only because Microsoft cannot force all the 3rd-party vendors and computer manufacturers to do much of anything . . .

On the other hand, although I stopped building custom Windows computers over a decade ago, I think it is quite reasonable to suggest that one can build an excellent Windows computer with outstanding audio capabilities, so who cares . . .

Not me!

I am very happy with Apple computers, and this works for me, which is great . . .

Great!

I am very happy with Notion 3, which is also is great . . .

Great!

And after six months of diligent work in Notion 3, I can do songs like these, which is a huge leap forward here in the sound isolation studio, really. . .

[NOTE: Both of these are headphone mixes, which is the way I do mixing when I am working on a song. When everything is recorded, I switch to doing loudspeaker mixing, which curiously sounds better for headphones than doing headphone mixing . . . ]

http://www.surfwhammys.com/Im-Going-Goo-Goo-Over-Ga-Ga-11-28-2010-2-DP7.mp3

[NOTE: This is what I call the "basic rhythm section", and it is done entirely within Notion 3, where in contrast the first song is done in Digital Performer with the "basic rhythm section" coming from Notion 3 via ReWire, where it is recorded in Digital Performer as soundbites . . . ]

http://www.surfwhammys.com/Surrealeria-1-7-2011-ST25-XP2-N3.mp3

Really!

And if this annoys Classical and Flamenco music aficionados, then what could be more FUN, since my goal for this year is to sell one more copy of an album in Japan, which will double the worldwide sales of Surf Whammys albums, where my current thinking is that the combination of (a) lyrics about ladies underpants and (b) DISCO, Flamenco, and Heavy Metal music is a winner, for sure . . .

For sure!

And Notion 3 makes it both practical and FUN, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)
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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby Admin » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:48 am

Great to have you back David!

dcoscina wrote:The bad news. Some of the samples sound worse than N2. The flute in its low range sounds like an oboe. The oboe in its upper range has flute over tones. What the heck???


We knew that some folks would like some of the samples in N2 better than the N3 samples which is why we included them ;)

dcoscina wrote:Also, and this is BIG, I don't know how to build crescendos on N3 with sustain tied notes. They don't increase in volume the way they did in N2. Why is this? Even GPO in Sibelius increases or diminishes in volume when I put a hairpin under a sustained note. The only way I can achieve realistic dynamics is to put a hairpin under tied smaller rhythmical values. Like instead of a whole note with a crescendo, I have to do 2 half notes or 4 quarter notes tied together for the program to realize i want t0 INCREASE VOLUME! Seriously, this hurts my enjoyment of using this program.


This works for me very well (Just tested it). You have to make sure that the crecendo/decrecendo is associated with a dynamic for it to work, but this feature most certainly does work.
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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby Admin » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:54 am

composer wrote:Valid points, David.

The sample quality varies in N3. The brass are improved over N2, but the woodwind samples are quite poor. Combine the poor sample quality with a total lack of any dynamic control and you have saxophones sounding like kazoos and the entire sound environment sounding more like a midi rendering than anything that is sampled.

A sad reversal from Notion 2.

However, Jack Jarrett is no longer associated with Notion Music, and his vision for this software has been changed. His vision was about making the creation of scores for classical composers easier. And it was.

When Notion hit the market in 2005, it was vanguard software in some ways. However, not being able to use other sample libraries limited the potential of the software. Combine with this an economic downturn, and a change in vision and leadership and you have the hasty and flawed release of Notion3.

The problem lies not with the ability to use other sound libraries in Notion; the problem lies with the flawed rendering engine in N3. I have yet to hear anything rendered in N3 that sounds better than N2. I think the people from Notion threw the baby out with the bath water with N3 and got rid of almost everything in N2 that was wonderful. How bizarre. Even more bizarre is the fact that very few people seem to have noticed.

Hopefully, there will be a future release that will allow for the type of dynamic nuance present in N2 or the quality of samples expected from classical composers. When that happens, I may go back to working with N3. However, I am not holding my breath.


You are certainly entitled to your opinion on how the samples are rendered in N3 (although I'm not sure how you would even know how they were/are rendered as it is pretty "behind the scenes"). I would consider myself to be quite an audiophile and I don't even see the audio rendering in N2 to be in the same ball park as N3.

Interesting that you're not "holding your breath" for us to "fix" the program to your liking yet you have the time to come over to the forum and tell us all how much better N2 was than N3.....

You know what they say about "opinions." ;)
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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby piotr979 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:59 pm

This works for me very well (Just tested it). You have to make sure that the crecendo/decrecendo is associated with a dynamic for it to work, but this feature most certainly does work.


This doesn't work (just tested it). I've tried it with East west gold. notes (whole ones) entered by hand , then tied. ppp placed below first note and fff below last one. then hairpin. no reaction. Also I tried different ways, like first hairpin then ppp and fff, and more...
Notion doesn't interprets them properly. that's my conclusion.


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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby Zblogny » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:26 pm

This works for me with Notion3 sounds, but not with GPO Instruments for Finale.
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Re: Back working with NOTION 3

Postby pcartwright » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:06 pm

piotr979 wrote:This doesn't work (just tested it). I've tried it with East west gold. notes (whole ones) entered by hand , then tied. ppp placed below first note and fff below last one. then hairpin. no reaction. Also I tried different ways, like first hairpin then ppp and fff, and more...
Notion doesn't interprets them properly. that's my conclusion.


Image


Your conclusion is wrong. I was able to replicated piotr979's crescendo (or lack of crescendo), and I think I have a vague understanding of why this crescendo isn't working. I tried crescendoing and de-crescendoing; the crescendo, as mentioned above, started to increase but leveled out very quickly. The decrescendo appeared to work pretty well.

Notion.png
Notion.png (6.47 KiB) Viewed 8933 times


I exported the file as MIDI and then viewed it in Reaper's piano roll and this is what I saw:

Reaper Screen.png
Reaper Screen.png (26.73 KiB) Viewed 8933 times


I tried to replicated the issue in Reaper, and I was able to do so. It appears that EWQL will only increase volume to a dynamic equal to or less than the velocity dynamic; the main problem with this is that velocity level (per MIDI standards) only gets applied when a note is turned on... it can't change during a sustained note like other parameters. Since Notion sets the velocity equal to the dynamic marking, it appears that Notion can't crescendo past ppp on the referenced notes; however, this is a limitation with the EWQL patches and not with Notion.

I think there are two solutions to this issue:

1. We create presets and corresponding rules for the dynamic cross fade patches (DXF) supplied with EWQL which were made exactly for this purpose (crescendos and decrescendos through several dynamic levels). The downside to this is that (as far as I could see), there aren't many articulations supported with DFX patches by EWQL. Also, there's the task of writing rules files to support these patches (I haven't gone through all the rules yet, but I don't think there are very many DFX patches already supported by Notion).

2. The easier option is to manually adjust the velocity in the overlay view to get better results. The downside is that the crescendo won't sound very natural (at least to my ears) and it probably won't be as strong or fluid as most would prefer.
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