Help with realistic mock-ups

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RedtideMusic
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by RedtideMusic »

dankreider wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:16 pm
I think I’m still going to look for a way to play these changes in and stay in Dorico from start to finish. Maybe I should just give up and switch over to a DAW...
Dorico will never be as good as a DAW obviously, and until we get a live link connection to Cubase, or ideally others like Logic too (unlikely) you'll have to put up with Dorico, which is really meant as a notation tool.

Fortunately there's a not complicated workaround. I spelled out how to do this with Logic on Mac, if you take a look at my post history you'll see it in the last month or so. Simply send all your MIDI over to Logic using the IAC driver, then 'print' the MIDI from your score when done, and then in Logic do all your performance twiddling. Should work as well on other DAW's. If you're on Windows there's probably equivalent approach.
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by dankreider »

RedtideMusic wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:11 am
Fortunately there's a not complicated workaround. I spelled out how to do this with Logic on Mac, if you take a look at my post history you'll see it in the last month or so. Simply send all your MIDI over to Logic using the IAC driver, then 'print' the MIDI from your score when done, and then in Logic do all your performance twiddling. Should work as well on other DAW's. If you're on Windows there's probably equivalent approach.
Is that different than just exporting the MIDI from Dorico? I imagine I’d just then humanize it in Studio One (my preferred DAW).
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by madsv »

odod wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:32 am
i am here for the knowledge .. very interesting thread indeed
#metoo :-)
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by ptram »

dankreider wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:16 pm
I think I’m still going to look for a way to play these changes in and stay in Dorico from start to finish. Maybe I should just give up and switch over to a DAW...
Dan, as in Paul's response in the other thread, there are things that Dorico does already, and that the developer of the sound library simply seems to ignore. You can already have a degree of humanization/smart randomization of the playback, and you can see it in the Velocity and CC1 lanes.

No longer being forced to exporting to a DAW for realistic playback is exactly what Dorico could finally avoid, and is probably already avoiding for most tasks.

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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by ptram »

RedtideMusic wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:11 am
Dorico, which is really meant as a notation tool.
I beg to disagree on this point. Or, at least, I would see it under a different perspective.

First point is that the MIDI editing part of Dorico is already very powerful. There are still many things to do, but it already allows for deep fine-tuning of the playback data. Many things are made in a more "musical" way than in a DAW (like choosing articulations or creating dynamic variations).

The second point involves considering what "notation" is today. We have probably grown in a world where the composer composed with pencil and paper (I've always used rollers), the copyist put it in Finale (or in better handwriting), and the publisher printed, promoted and sold it.

Times are very different, now. A composer is the main responsible for the final look of the score, but is also asked to let a jury, impresario or publisher listen to a prototype of the score. Architects have been asked for this for thousand years. And composers have always had to submit a mockup of their orchestral scores at the piano (either 4-hand or two pianos).

Simply graphical notation would no longer suffice, if not for personal use. Notation+everything needed to promote one own's work is the current requirement.

Paolo

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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by RichardTownsend »

dankreider wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:37 pm
Derrek wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:24 pm
More seriously, I sense that most of mducharme's helpful suggestions are going to be a lot more complicated unless you use a DAW.
I’m not sure about that. I usually record parts in live, so offsets would already be humanized (ooo... would be nice to have a random “humanize” function...). It’s pretty easy to add a reverb. And can’t you record in CC changes using a fader? I think this is all pretty feasible stuff.

At the risk of oversharing, I’m going to post a demo here, first in NP, then making some of these changes. Stay tuned!
Hi Dan, I have a mockup of my own I’d like some feedback on, in the spirit of this thread. Would you prefer I started a new thread for that?
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by dankreider »

No, please post it here. I’d appreciate learning from it as well. Thanks.
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by dankreider »

Here's the PDF of an orchestration I recently completed.

Here's the NotePerformer demo, m.15-83: https://www.dropbox.com/s/89r9g1h0vfb0z ... o.mp3?dl=0

I didn't do anything to it, just boosted by about 1.5 dB in Audacity. (I omitted the piano)

Here's an audio demo using Infinite Winds, Infinite Brass, and Cinematic Studio Strings: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dsgyh2cl0e793 ... o.mp3?dl=0

The audio levels were really low, so the brass and winds are boosted significantly. Strings are boosted as well. I have Vahalla reverb but didn't use it here, just wanted to start with a sort of "default" recording. I did make a few changes to the settings in the Infinite instruments in Kontakt:

- limiting the dynamic range of the brass and winds
- set attacks to 0, so velocity followed the score
- trumpets sounded terrible by default, so I increased the ambient micing for them and just lowered their volume a little.

I know a lot of this process is learning to "play" the particular VSTs you're using. I like Infinite a lot, but its creator has said it's intended for playing in, not notation. However, I think there's more I can do to make it at least as good as NotePerformer, maybe better.

Timing humanization is set to 40%. Some of the instruments I had played in via MIDI record, which is where Infinite shines, and some of them were written in.

I'm going to start recording in some CC changes next, as well as some reverb, but I'm posting this as an initial comparison.

Oh, and the CS Strings were waaaaay delayed because of their legato patch, so I had to put a latency compensator on that channel.

Feedback welcome!
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by mducharme »

It doesn't sound bad - the strings in particular sound really good. The biggest issues to me right now are that everything is not sounding like it is in the same room, so the entire sound doesn't really "gel". The reverb will help with that. The sense of depth is missing, so it sounds like everybody is the same distance from the microphones. Also, the brass is too quiet, and the winds are a bit too quiet compared to the strings. It is hard to comment on how they sound because they can barely be heard in places. As an arrangement thing, you might also want to check your voicings - a few times I heard these chords that I think you wanted to sound full but were missing the third. The piano probably supplies it, but you will get a better sound if you work it into the orchestra as well.

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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by David Tee »

I loved the orchestration Dan. I'd happily listen to that again and again.

I heard the NP version first and then the Infinite / Cinema version immediately afterwards. I fully agree with mudcharme's comments expect for one - for me the Cinema strings lacked the character that they had in Note Performer. The most obvious problem with the I/C version was balance, I wasn't ever really convinced I was listening to an ensemble playing together. The character that was there in NP version (I found it stirring) was also lacking in the I/C version. I would suggest that most of the tips being discussed in this thread are really aimed at dealing with both of those two issues - balance and character. None of these comments are in any way criticisms, I'm full of admiration for you trying to work your way to a solution on this.

As I said in an earlier post, I'd be interested in studying examples of files that take the tips suggested in this thread and show how they can work. Would it be worth your while posting the dorico file of "I Will Sing" her so that others, with different libraries, might want to show how they would tackle it - or parts of it?

PS - My wife has just stuck her head round the door and said "that was a lovely piece of music .."
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by RichardTownsend »

Hi all,

as Dan has kindly allowed me to share his thread, here's a mockup of a chamber strings piece that I would really like some feedback on. It's called 'Eyam' (pronounced 'Eem'). As some of you may know, Eyam is a place in Derbyshire Uk that took the decision, when there was a plague outbreak in the 17th Century, to completely isolate itself from other villages to stop the disease spreading. The piece tries to portray their changing emotions as they confront the reality of their situation and decide what to do.

Here's the score

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fiihc1fzzhflo ... m.pdf?dl=0

Here's the Cubase mockup rendered to audio

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pozcjwjbe3la4 ... 4.wav?dl=0

I have EQ'd the upper strings to remove some harshness and added some overall reverb. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to control the bowing on the solo violin that takes the melody at around 5.30.

All comments welcome!

Rich
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by Romanos401 »

I feel like this could be a terribly dumb question, but my default is always set to "silent" and I usually make recordings of my music manually elsewhere. As such, I've played around with Dorico's renderings very little, and even then, just with note performer. That said, what do you mean by "played in" the notes? Do you mean that you recorded them in with the metronome so it's retaining some midi data from your keyboard while parsing out the notation, or that you did the notation and went back and overdubbed with a human performance? If it's the latter, I would love to do this too. If that feature isn't available yet, I'd love to make it a FR.
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by dankreider »

Romanos401 wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:37 pm
I feel like this could be a terribly dumb question, but my default is always set to "silent" and I usually make recordings of my music manually elsewhere. As such, I've played around with Dorico's renderings very little, and even then, just with note performer. That said, what do you mean by "played in" the notes? Do you mean that you recorded them in with the metronome so it's retaining some midi data from your keyboard while parsing out the notation, or that you did the notation and went back and overdubbed with a human performance? If it's the latter, I would love to do this too. If that feature isn't available yet, I'd love to make it a FR.
A little of both. I've started orchestrating more by playing in lines to the metronome. I find it goes much more quickly, and I get phrases that sound much more natural to the instrument. In those cases, the MIDI data is retained.

The difficulty is when the resulting notation isn't entirely correct, and I have to clean it up. I agree, I'd love to be able to overdub a human performance on top of the notated one.
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by Grainger2001 »

You can actually do this, although with a big score it might get a little cumbersome. Certainly for a smaller number of instruments, it can work well - especially for piano renderings. Simply create an identical instrument. Record into the duplicate staff (They can share the same midi channel if you want)...put the notation into the top staff and use 'Staff Visibility' to hide your 'live' performance. Hidden staves still playback! You can 'Suppress Playback' on the other staff. If you use the same midi channel, you can mix and match between sections that you want to play in live, and sections that you are happy with when played back from the notation only.

The other element that can be useful on a solo instrument staff is 'Create Staff Below'. You can't record directly into such a staff, but you can copy material onto it, suppress playback on your main staff and then use 'Remove Staff' to visually remove your recorded material - It will still playback! This is not as flexible as the first method, but can be useful in certain situations.

This is the only way to get really realistic performances. Quantizing and other note editing can adversely affect the notated aspect of a recording, so basically just split it out into two tracks and and it will make life much easier!

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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by RichardTownsend »

dankreider wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:29 pm
Here's the PDF of an orchestration I recently completed.

Here's the NotePerformer demo, m.15-83: https://www.dropbox.com/s/89r9g1h0vfb0z ... o.mp3?dl=0

I didn't do anything to it, just boosted by about 1.5 dB in Audacity. (I omitted the piano)

Here's an audio demo using Infinite Winds, Infinite Brass, and Cinematic Studio Strings: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dsgyh2cl0e793 ... o.mp3?dl=0

The audio levels were really low, so the brass and winds are boosted significantly. Strings are boosted as well. I have Vahalla reverb but didn't use it here, just wanted to start with a sort of "default" recording. I did make a few changes to the settings in the Infinite instruments in Kontakt:

- limiting the dynamic range of the brass and winds
- set attacks to 0, so velocity followed the score
- trumpets sounded terrible by default, so I increased the ambient micing for them and just lowered their volume a little.

I know a lot of this process is learning to "play" the particular VSTs you're using. I like Infinite a lot, but its creator has said it's intended for playing in, not notation. However, I think there's more I can do to make it at least as good as NotePerformer, maybe better.

Timing humanization is set to 40%. Some of the instruments I had played in via MIDI record, which is where Infinite shines, and some of them were written in.

I'm going to start recording in some CC changes next, as well as some reverb, but I'm posting this as an initial comparison.

Oh, and the CS Strings were waaaaay delayed because of their legato patch, so I had to put a latency compensator on that channel.

Feedback welcome!
It's a lovely piece Dan. The Noteperformer demo seems to play the phrases better, and the Infinite / Cinematic strings demo has in most cases a better instrumental sound (apart from the trumpets, where I prefer the NP version). The low arco strings have the same characteristic mine always have, even with different sample libraries - they sound a little crude and clumsy. I wish I had a solution to offer here but I don't! The infinite sound also could benefit from some integration between the instruments - reverb could certainly help achieve that. In any event, it's a very moving piece and I really enjoyed it

Rich
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by robjohn9999 »

It's interesting to me that even in this excellent video on using Dorico to score films directly with BBCSO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Mk0PWJWZOE

Roland at some point in the video acknowledges that while it should be possible to achieve DAW-like playback, in his examples even he actually started by adding expression (CC1, CC11, etc.) in Logic first, and then exporting the MIDI to Dorico before continuing. I similarly have found that it's much easier to operate this way (even with Expression Maps and all the Play Mode functionality of Dorico) because it's so much easier to manipulate the all-important expression parameters like CC1 and CC11 in Logic editing-wise.

Part of the problem I've found is the slight confusion I experience from the hierarchy of the "Dynamics Lane" in Dorico vs. (the somewhat hidden access to) the underlying CC11 and CC1-type data in Play Mode, and in figuring out which takes precedence to control expression at any given moment (depending upon what was entered first and how the notes were originally entered, etc.)...Automatic Expression Map-based Dorico playback requires this sort of additional expression tweaking I've found, and so you also end up having to negotiate both the Expression Map programming (to interpret the notated symbols), PLUS still tweak the underlying MIDI further...So still sorting this out...
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by mducharme »

To clarify my earlier post, when I said the strings sound really good, I meant in terms of the samples, they sound much more like real strings vs. the NotePerformer ones, and quite nice. Everything needs much more shaping of course to get the emotion back. NotePerformer adds a lot of interpretation. Without that, if you just rely on the Dorico CC control to provide all expression, the virtual orchestra ends up playing in a rather timid, flat way, like they are afraid to get too quiet or loud.
robjohn9999 wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:28 pm
Part of the problem I've found is the slight confusion I experience from the hierarchy of the "Dynamics Lane" in Dorico vs. (the somewhat hidden access to) the underlying CC11 and CC1-type data in Play Mode, and in figuring out which takes precedence to control expression at any given moment (depending upon what was entered first and how the notes were originally entered, etc.)...Automatic Expression Map-based Dorico playback requires this sort of additional expression tweaking I've found, and so you also end up having to negotiate both the Expression Map programming (to interpret the notated symbols), PLUS still tweak the underlying MIDI further...So still sorting this out...
From what I understand, the dynamics lane by itself does nothing. However, it does add CC data into the CC lanes, which you can override with your own data. Obviously if you override with your own customized data and you change a dynamic or something, changing that dynamic won't have a playback effect anymore, because you have added manual CC data in the same passage.

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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by dankreider »

Thanks for the encouraging words, David and Rich.

Here's the original Dorico file. You can see I already had done what Grainer2001 had suggested, sort of: I added a second piano track and performed it in, pedaling and all (and played it through Keyscape, which I love). Anyone is welcome to monkey with the file as they wish (keep it CC BY-NC-4.0, please).

I do plan to return to this next week and try to incorporate both CC and reverb for greater realism (unfortunately this sort of thing is a "free time" pursuit for me, and I don't have any more of that this week...! 8-) )
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by robjohn9999 »

mducharme wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:17 pm

From what I understand, the dynamics lane by itself does nothing. However, it does add CC data into the CC lanes, which you can override with your own data. Obviously if you override with your own customized data and you change a dynamic or something, changing that dynamic won't have a playback effect anymore, because you have added manual CC data in the same passage.
That's nicely expressed! It just gets confusing for me when I've possibly performed things in originally (moving the mod wheel or expression pedal, etc. for a particular sound), or if certain data (but not other data) was originally imported from Logic with CC data already attached, etc. (vs. other sections where "automatic interpretation of dynamics" is happening), and also remembering where to look to tweak (Dynamics lane vs. individual cc lane). I'm actually teaching a Dorico course right now and ultimately had to write down the different ways things seem to work just to remind myself, including whether a dynamic in the score was actually played back, etc.:
Record live with CC1 set to control playback of dynamics in instrument’s Expression Map: adding dynamics to score afterwards will not further affect notes that also have CC1 data recorded

Record live with velocity set to control playback of dynamics in instrument’s Expression Map: adding dynamics to score afterwards will scale velocity appropriately to the dynamic symbol

Step enter score with dynamic symbols added to the score - automatic interpretation according to playback settings of all dynamics

Edit the step-entered score by drawing in points in the Dynamic Lane in Play Mode - affects all dynamics played back correspondingly

Edit the step-entered score by drawing (or performing in) CC data - takes precedence for those moments over all other dynamics

OVERALL: adding dynamics ONLY in Play Mode will NOT change what’s already notated dynamics-wise in the actual notated score (perhaps needless to say)
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by dankreider »

robjohn9999 wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:03 pm
Record live with CC1 set to control playback of dynamics in instrument’s Expression Map: adding dynamics to score afterwards will not further affect notes that also have CC1 data recorded

Record live with velocity set to control playback of dynamics in instrument’s Expression Map: adding dynamics to score afterwards will scale velocity appropriately to the dynamic symbol

Step enter score with dynamic symbols added to the score - automatic interpretation according to playback settings of all dynamics

Edit the step-entered score by drawing in points in the Dynamic Lane in Play Mode - affects all dynamics played back correspondingly

Edit the step-entered score by drawing (or performing in) CC data - takes precedence for those moments over all other dynamics

OVERALL: adding dynamics ONLY in Play Mode will NOT change what’s already notated dynamics-wise in the actual notated score (perhaps needless to say)
Thanks for sharing your workflow. The difficulty I'm having is that I don't always begin by playing it in. If I'm orchestrating, it's a combination of real-time entry, MIDI step input, and good ol' numbers-and-letters.

I'm wondering if, before starting my "mock up" phase, I should remove all playback overrides so I'm starting with all tracks on equal footing.

But then it seems that some instruments, like Infinite Brass Trumpet, simply have to be played in. I played around with it this morning. Played live, it sounds really, really good, but realized from notation, it sounds synth-y and obnoxious.
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by RichardTownsend »

dankreider wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:57 pm
Thanks for the encouraging words, David and Rich.

Here's the original Dorico file. You can see I already had done what Grainer2001 had suggested, sort of: I added a second piano track and performed it in, pedaling and all (and played it through Keyscape, which I love). Anyone is welcome to monkey with the file as they wish (keep it CC BY-NC-4.0, please).

I do plan to return to this next week and try to incorporate both CC and reverb for greater realism (unfortunately this sort of thing is a "free time" pursuit for me, and I don't have any more of that this week...! 8-) )
I’m wondering if the need to create a second ‘playback’ track is a sign that you’re stretching Dorico to its limit and it might be cleaner to do the realisation in a DAW - for a full orchestral piece, that’s a lot of extra tracks! That reflects my own personal workflow, so I am biased in that direction of course.
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by dankreider »

@Richard, that's what I'm starting to think as well...
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by kcnarf007 »

Hi everyone, very interesting discussion here (but I am sorry I didn't get the time to read in details all the post). This post I hope will add up some content to the community.

I think Dorico is superior in terms of efficiency, that is the time spent vs. the audio quality of the mockup. I used to use Cubase and then LogicPro and this has been always a headache in terms of productivity for those who write music instead of playing it / recording it live. So the followings does not apply to such "live" workflow. It you are writing music on a Daw (vs on Dorico) :

1. you need to "humanize" each entry (automated in Dorico)
2. you struggle with articulation to decide over which sample to use for a particular duration (automated with the Dorico expression maps)
3. you need to jump from one track to another one to balance the overall dynamic and cresc. / descresc.of each tracks without a clear overall view (Shift+D and all dynamic / hairpins are setup at once with Dorico)
4. you spent time playing with the CCs and drawing in most of the case linear segments moving up and down to articulate your phrase (and the hairpins of Dorico do the job perfectly - you can tweak a little the CCs in Dorico for micro-dymamics & vibrato adjustment especially for some long notes of the phrase)
5. you struggle to enter glissando, tuplets, grace notes, etc. (this is automated in Dorico)

So Dorico is automating all the tedious works required by Daws. The only requirement is first to spend a significant amount of time programming your playback templates and expression maps (it took me about 10 hours for a full symphonic orchestra with Spitfire audio orchestral libraries).

And to be frank, at the en,d I am 10 times more productive on Dorico for a similar audio rendering at the end. And really I want to write music not spend hours programming a DAW. Check this example of a composition #madewithdorico in few hours: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGYIofjq0w5 ... _copy_link

The only improvements I can see are three folds :

1. There is only one send effect channel for the Reverb (so no secondary Reverbs not delay)
2. Copy and paste notes does not paste CCs tweaks
3. It is not possible to add audio sample

A good mockup is 1) good samples libraries 2) good reverb 3) smart use of articulations 4) proper dynamic articulation of the phrase 5) tweak of dynamic & vibrato of long notes
MacBook Pro 8 cores / 32G RAM / 2Go SSD
Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra all packages

robjohn9999
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by robjohn9999 »

Excellent example! I'm really curious how you entered the notes originally - did you "perform" any of them in, or just use step entry? Did you use the Expression Maps to do ONLY automatic interpretation? Or, if you tweaked, did you use run into the issue of figuring out whether to tweak the Dynamics Lane (if you step-entered originally) or do directly edit the CC data (if you performed it originally), etc.? Just curious your workflow for this piece. Thanks for sharing -
- D.D.
2019 MacBook Pro with 64 GB ram; Apogee Ensemble 88; Mac OS Catalina 10.15.2

kcnarf007
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Re: Help with realistic mock-ups

Post by kcnarf007 »

Hi @robjohn9999 ! My answers hereafter :

Excellent example! I'm really curious how you entered the notes originally - did you "perform" any of them in, or just use step entry?

Thank you ! I write music, that is entering note by note on Dorico with the edit function (Enter+duration+alteration+A/B/C/D/E/F/G). I do not perform nor use step entry. I do not use a midi keyboard, just using my MacBook Pro.

Did you use the Expression Maps to do ONLY automatic interpretation?

I spend quite a time working on my expression maps, especially the duration to articulation functionality offered by Dorico : this is tedious but critical. I made an adjustment to the velocity curves as well to match my "taste" of what is the difference between ppp,pp,p,mp,mf,f,ff,fff. So I can at any time check the rendering of my composition when writing it and make adjustments.

Or, if you tweaked, did you use run into the issue of figuring out whether to tweak the Dynamics Lane (if you step-entered originally) or do directly edit the CC data (if you performed it originally), etc.?

The given example has no CCs editing, just using the dynamic markings and the hairpins

Just curious your workflow for this piece.

I devise a motive, then build a phrase based on this motive using classical rules of composition (see. William E. Caplin Classical Forms - the Best Buy for a composer). Then I decide over thickness of the phrase and orchestrate the accents, decide over the middleground and background (ostinato, basses, etc.) and orchestrate them. Then I create & orchestrate variations. The best orchestration courses can be found on ScoreClub.net : it is, with William E. Caplin, an absolute Must Buy for a composer)

Take care
MacBook Pro 8 cores / 32G RAM / 2Go SSD
Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra all packages

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