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Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

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Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

Postby wsc » Sat Aug 14, 2010 11:54 am

Hi All,

I'm a long-time Sibelius user that's become frustrated with the difficulties I encounter when trying to take full advantage of my Sample libraries (particularly EWQLSO Gold). Two items in particular: I want to be able to customize the instruments in my palette (which PLAY doesn't currently allow via keyswitching) and I want to be able to score-for, or control MOD wheel information so I can utilize the dynamic cross-fade instruments.

I write everything out - I don't use a MIDI keyboard for this and absolutely don't want to.

I came across some information on Notion3 yesterday and it looks like the idea/gist/direction of Notion might be just what I'm looking for. However, there's one catch...

I've read Notion3 does not currently allow users to "draw" on Sequencer Staves (or manually edit them, whatever you want to call it). For me, I think the value of Notion3 is wholly dependent on this one item.

Is this functionality planned? Is there an ETA? Is it in keeping with the Notion vision? (It would seem to fit perfectly and critically.)


I'm tired of scoring things in Sibelius, jumping through hoops to control the instruments (whether custom-word menus that are tedious to create in order to affect keyswitches, or using the buggy SoundSet creator to create custom maps that enable me to score for BFDv2... only to have to import the finished files (as MIDI) and then tweak them further in Cubase... It seems if I could simply set up the sequencer staff as I like and control whatever I want (MOD wheel, or perhaps MIDI channel switching to circumvent PLAY keyswitch limitations) it could be exactly what I need.

All of this difficulty is, in my opinion, totally unnecessary. Having a top-notch scoring program that simply allows the user to quickly, directly, intuitively control the underlying MIDI data seems a no-brainer: especially given the direction of sample libraries. A composer should be able to do it all - scoring and MIDI controlling - in a single program in a straightforward, intuitive way. Exporting to program like Cubase should only be necessary for recording audio alongside the MIDI parts, or perhaps high-end processing of some sort - but in any event, the MIDI files shouldn't need to be touched.

Please forgive the long post - I'm venting lots of frustration. ;)

Thanks for any help!
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Re: Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

Postby deanesque » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:03 pm

I came over from Sibelius for exactly the same reasons. I had high hopes but kept coming up against brick walls with strategic things not possible. I finally gave up when I found that Notion won't record cc64 Pedal up/down so I couldn't record a piano performance. I complained about it here and no one came on and said "it's coming soon". I didn't hear at all from Notion so I concluded that Notion 3 was not yet up to a pro level went back to Sibelius. If I had some hint of a time table for certain things I might have stayed with Notion but I have to get some work done. Very disappointing.
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Re: Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

Postby wsc » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:31 pm

deanesque:

Wow - really appreciate the reply. It's good to know someone understands where I'm coming from. It's frustrating because the end goal seems so simple and obvious to me. And all three of my software dependencies are frustrating this simple goal in one way or another: Sibelius lacks adequate controls over MIDI data (and they aren't hinting that's going to change), Cubase has all the control I need but the scoring program isn't anywhere near usable, and PLAY doesn't allow truly custom keyswitches (which I can hardly believe). Yet, Notion3 could bridge these troubled waters for me, IF this feature were implemented.

I read on some other forum post that being able to manually draw controller values in the sequencer staff was "on the list". That was just a forum post, of course, but I'm hoping when th Notion folks get back on Monday perhaps you and I can get a reply.

It seems like Notion3 is almost there anyway - this would be a small step. (At least based on reading about it and the videos.)

Cheers!
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Re: Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

Postby deanesque » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:25 pm

I feel your pain. I’m really frustrated as well. Notion feels solid, handles VSTs far better than Sibelius, works well with EWQL SO and is easy to use. There are just a few things that are showstoppers. Editing, (especially selecting notes to edit) is very frustrating. For some things I had to individually select each note to edit. Then, of course there’s the cc64 thing. Also, I teach guitar and the guitar facilities are really good but it won’t print the “o” for open strings and it won’t show bar chords – both necessary for teaching guitar students. Another real problem is no panic/all-notes-off function. If EWQL gets a hung note (which it is prone to do) I have to restart and reload everything. If I'm doing a full orchestra that's a 15 minute load every time I get a hung note! That's no way to get work done! In so many ways it was close but not close enough. I understand why they released the Jazz library – it’s a revenue source but why is SoundCloud more important than the ability to record a piano performance or print proper guitar notation? After all they market a guitar centered product!

I have been trying very hard to find a way to work with notation. I would love it if Sonar’s notation was half a good as Cubase! It’s pathetic! Sibelius is soooo cumbersome and complicated. Notion seemed like the answer. I could compose in Notion and import as XML to Sibelius for advanced engraving functions. But… Sibelius crashes on at least half of the Notion XML imports I throw at it. And I’m dealing/experimenting with all the 64bit workarounds as well since I need that for EWQL. It’s 2010. Orchestral libraries are huge. Why is there no 64bit notation app??!!! It seems like everything I do is a workaround. I just want to make music!
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Re: Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

Postby Erufailon » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:11 pm

What I do is I created my custom ruleset which allows me to insert a simple DXF command into the score that switches to the DXF instrument for that note, so I can do it by simply inserting a hairpin and nothing else (and the word DXF, but that can be removed if I wanted to print). As for further tweaking I use reaper now as my host, and record the midi from N3 to reaper then draw my curves there. Before that I used cantabile lite, but I found that very slow to load (meaning sometimes 20+ minutes), and reaper obviously has more to offer. Anyhow with cantabile I recorded my curves in N3 from my keyboard (had some stability issues with that as well). Imho expression and modulation curves are performance thingies, not composition, and can easily be done after I'm done with the score. I kinda expected Notion to eventualy have full midi editing capabilities, but not anymore, there are sequencers for that, and as for easy playback N3 is still the best for me.
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Re: Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

Postby Erufailon » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:14 pm

deanesque wrote:Why is there no 64bit notation app??!!!


Yep, I felt very strongly about that one too. Not anymore, even if n3 would come out with an x64 version, I doubt I would change my workflow as I don't expect it to ever replace a sequencer.
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Re: Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

Postby tubatimberinger » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:17 pm

Sibleius and Notion are actually Apples and organges. Sibelius (like Finale) is first and foremost; notation software. That is, its focus is on a final product of printed pages for people to perform live. I'm biased, but I believe there is no better tool available for this, the only exeption of good ole' MIDI-less SCORE. Playback has always been a secondary emphasis in the designing of notation software. If you do not require 'playable' parts, you might be using the wrong kind of tool to begin with since any of the pro level sequencers (I suggest cubase) are gonna totally own N3, Sibelius or Finale. Don't get me wrong; I love N3 (I loved N2.x) and I use it everyday. But it didn't take me long to figure out that there was no way it could be a substitute for Sibelius when It came to printing out my music for musicians to actually read off of.

Notion is (and I have posted this a couple of times here) not notation software. Not at any sort of professional level at least. It is rather an interface for your libraries and other vst's (not to mention the one that is bundled with it). What makes Notion innovative is that the interface (for the first time as far as I can remember) is a language composers can easily recognize: Standard Music Notation. This is where the confusion happens.

That being said, you are more than correct; Not being able to edit the actual midi data is makes the feature almost worthless. The same could be said of the mixer that you can't automate (that one puzzles me even more). I think I have read that both of these are in the works. ( I won't even begin to nitpick the notation weaknesses, they are numerous). In short, Notion is not a mature program YET. Think of it more at an adolescent stage. But it is a new kind of product with a new kind of thinking behind it. If anything, I would buy it now while it's affordable. Once it is mature, they will be totally justified asking for much, much more money. Notion Music is very good to it's loyal users :)

tim
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Re: Drawing on (Manually Editing) Sequencer Staves

Postby posssu » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:29 pm

I wish the guys at Notion would make Notion a GOOD midi sequencer and not just another notation software with only some semi-complete sequencer features. We already have so many of those...

Check out how this is done in Overture, just out of curiousity. It's simply amazing. You hit TAB to enter a data mode where the midi data appears below your staffs. You can draw and edit every CC and velocities. You even have a Graphic view, which is basically a piano roll, but I actually never used it, since the "Data mode" worked so well. Whenever I needed to access midi data, I'd just hit TAB to show/hide it and draw or record my changes. VERY effective.

The thing is, many companies use so much time re-inventing new fancy ways of entering and programming midi data. I never understood "Sequencer staff" - why does it have to be a separate "mode" you have to activate? Why not make one staff that is so intelligent you don't have to activate any separate checkboxes on it? When you eventually put these new editing modes/tools on a line with a piano-roll that every real sequencer has, the piano roll is almost always faster and more powerful (with the exception of Overture's data mode - it basically brings the CC-part of a piano roll straight onto your score).

What the users really want a software that improves the workflow instead of making it slower and more complex. Otherwise people will get tired trying circumvent the limitations and ultimately go either back to the old workflow or change their software.
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