Let the music play

Black-Wulf

Spaceman
hi guys, I wonder if someone of you knows a good program to create own music. It could be MIDI but some kind of orchestral tracks like wing commander 3 would be better...thx
 

Edx

Spaceman
Ooh ooh, a subject I actually know something about for once.

Before I suggest anything:

1. How much money are you willing to spend?

2. Do you want to play the notes in with a keyboard or are you more of a "draw" the notes in with a mouse kind of person?

3. How serious do you want to get with this?

If these questions seem strange, its only becuase this kind of thing can go from using your computers general midi sound set and freeware sequencer and software, all the way up to spending thousands on software and equipment.

I am assuming you likely want something entry level, but I just need to get an idea where you're coming from.
 

Black-Wulf

Spaceman
nono sry pal I was away for some days...
to answer your questions:
1.money isn't the point, I got some nice connections...:p
2. I thought of some kind of program which doesn't need an instrument or sth. like that. so its the 2nd part of your question I guess.
3. well I want to create some tunes like the real wing commander 3 and 4 sequences, you know the intro e.g. with all the fantastic instruments playing...and I heared some guys...I guess from WC saga made a tune like that. If you whant to know what I mean follow the link.

https://www.wcnews.com/news/update/5154

and thanks for answering :)
 
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Needaham45

Spaceman
In order to do the actual notation, if you plan on writing stuff out, I HIGHLY recommend Sibelius. In my opinion, there is nothing that can do as much, and is so easy to use. The two major notation programs in the industry are Finale and Sibelius, and although Sibelius is a little more (I believe...), it does more than Finale and is easier to use. Also, if you don't want a keyboard, you can easily type in music using a computer keyboard if you learn the shortcuts. I don't want to get into specifics here as it would become an essay, but if you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer as to the differences between the programs, and why I find Sibelius the better option.

In terms of sounds, I've always leaned towards sampling programs, and although I don't own it, Garritan Personal Orchestra is top my wishlist--I haven't heard anything as impressively real as it does. The biggest drawback is there are no saxophones, but you probably wouldn't be using them with orchestral music anyway.

For something cheaper, and what I've been using thus far in UE and Standoff, you can get a synthesizer, or something along those lines. I use a Korg X5D, which is fairly cheap, gives you the advantages of a keyboard, and sounds very good compared to the other products in its price range.

Really, it depends very much on exactly what you want to be doing, and what your experience is.

I've done quite a bit of research into this field, and I'm majoring in music composition and education, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask--I'd be more than happy to help you :)
 

Maj.Striker

Swabbie
Banned
Sibelius is good, Cakewalk Music Creator in its various forms is good, Encore is good. They all are decent programs with similar options it really depends on what options you prefer.
 

maniac89

I love Wing Commander: Prophecy
I would suggest the newest version of Nero StartSmart, it allows you to edit audio and tweak your music to your liking.

Hope that helped,
The Maniac
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
maniac89 said:
I would suggest the newest version of Nero StartSmart, it allows you to edit audio and tweak your music to your liking.

Hope that helped,
The Maniac
Nero 7 ultimate does nothing of the sort. It has a wav file editor that is very similar to creatives wav studio. But Unless this guy need burning software he's going to be very disapointed with the 80 bucks he'd spend on this (70 if its an upgrade).

Unless I was looking in the wrong place, there's no program for notating what is essentially a Midi file and then getting the PC to play it with various sampled instruments in Nero.
 

eddieb

Vice Admiral
I've been using Cakewalk, but would not recommend it at all for notation only. Its fine for entry level audio recording with some simple midi.
 

Black-Wulf

Spaceman
thanks a lot guys! I will start looking for some of your programs in the internet or in some magazines, and then...well then I eill let the music play! :)
 

Edx

Spaceman
Black-Wulf said:
nono sry pal I was away for some days...
to answer your questions:
1.money isn't the point, I got some nice connections...:p
2. I thought of some kind of program which doesn't need an instrument or sth. like that. so its the 2nd part of your question I guess.
If money is no object then theres lots of options, but Im going to assume there is a limit to your connections :D. After you get started you could always find out the top of the range stuff by yourself. Its really just a case of upgrading what you have, if you can, and buying the really expensive libraries that you'll end up spending thousands on. Im going to reccomend some entry level stuff, which will get you started but also show you where to go and what kind of thing to look for.

(All prices are in British pounds because for some reason I cant seem to find US retailers in a quick google. )

Number 1 thing you need is a sequencer. (Im going to assume you're on PC, if not let me know). I would reccomend Cubase, simply because the top of the range version is very good and easy to use.
http://www.guitarampkeyboard.com/products.php?m=Steinberg&b=Cubase+Series
The entry level version Cubase SE is at a reasonable £99, but I use the full version so I dont quite know if it leaves out any important features I couldnt live without. Still, at a quick glace it should be great to start out with and especially when you're on a budget. Next up is Cubase SL at £249 and so on up to Cubase SX3. If your "connections" can get that and you're serious about this it will do pretty much everything you want sequening and audio editing wise.


Now the fun bit, what sounds do you use? You may have a flashy new sequencer but without decent sounds you arent going to get very far.

Everything depends on what your ears like best, but be warned some people are very skilled at using samples, mixing and engineering and if one or two demo tracks sound just too good to be true, IT PROBABLY IS. Theres one product in particular you need to watch out for for doing this and Ill point that out to you below. The point you see is that when you are just starting out you will not know how to use this stuff as well as these guys, so to buy based on a couple of amazingly good demos to your ears may just mean you will be frustrated in the end when you recieve it. Look at all the demos as a whole.

Just go down this list (which is in no special order) and check them out. Listen to the demos and see which ones you like the sound of best. In the end you may like some sounds from one, and some sounds from another, which is fine and most people mix sample libraries.

Kirk Hunter Emerald:
http://www.kirkhunterstudios.com/v2.html
(Note that this one does not come with its own player, so you'll need a sampler like Kontakt 2 to run this one. (For your needs I really wouldnt reccomend GigaStudio.) I believe he is either working on a stand alone player or there is already one but its not finished yet, not sure.)

Quantum Leap Silver:
http://www.soundsonline.com/sophtml/details.phtml?sku=EW-161PROB1
(This is the link to the bundle of the Expansion edition being sold along with the original. You can find links to each on their own on the page. This is the entry level version of the library in the Quantum Leap Orchestra range.

Garritan Personal Orchestra:
http://www.garritan.com/
(Beware. Go listen to all the demos before you make up your mind about this one. Its mostly not that great samples dressed up to look fancy, trust me. The piece playing on the front page sounds impressive but the guy mixing that is very good and is using a really expensive reverb (google: Altiverb) It is a very complete set of instruments though and comes with everything you need to get started with good support and community. If you dont mind getting results like the worst sounding demos there, you will probably be more than happy with this collection.)

Miroslav Philharmonik
http://www.philharmonik.com/Main.html?prod_MP
(An old library thats been remastarted and added unreleased content. Some really good stuff here. Also comes with a pretty nice choir!! Unlike the other libraries, this one used to cost thousands and thousands about 4 or 5 years ago.)


---

If you have enough money, I'd go with two of these sample libraries. Theres much more I could list but once youve looked through all this though you should have a pretty good idea at how to research this by yourself.

3. well I want to create some tunes like the real wing commander 3 and 4 sequences, you know the intro e.g. with all the fantastic instruments playing...and I heared some guys...I guess from WC saga made a tune like that. If you whant to know what I mean follow the link.

https://www.wcnews.com/news/update/5154

and thanks for answering :)
No problem. Its about the only thing I actually know a lot about so I dont mind sharing what I know.

I dont know what the guy used in that WCSaga track, I dont reccognise the sounds, but it might very well be from a hardware keyboard like some of the Rolands.

Honestly the sounds in Wing Commander 3 and 4 werent actually very good, especially Wing Commander 3. But what made the music so cool was how well sequenced they were and how well orchestrated they were. George Oldziey is a really really good composer! They are also mixed really well too, but the point Im making is that even good sounds can sound bad without good composition.

What Im trying to tell you is that you can have the most professional sounds and software and equipment in the world, and you can still make bad sounding music and you'll wonder why. Ive learnt this through experience, I used to blame my sounds when something sounded bad but almost every single time was my composition that was the one that sucked. If you are not musically trained it will be be very frustrating to start but if you stick with it you can make it eventually. It just means basically learning by trial and error. If you can learn some theory it will help tremendously. Its kind of like trying to understand a complicated program without reading the manual.

In other words, while pretty much any of the samples I suggested above will be able to make better "sounding" tracks than Wing commnader 3 and 4, it is your composition that will really make the difference. I hope I got that point accross. Making orchestral music can be very rewarding when you get it right, but you really cant cheat so easily as you can with dance based music.

Good luck !

Ed

PS: Make sure you have a decent PC. And I would still reccomend a keyboard if you can get one because its nice to improvise ideas once you get the basic hang of it.
 
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Edx

Spaceman
maniac89 said:
I would suggest the newest version of Nero StartSmart, it allows you to edit audio and tweak your music to your liking.
Yea, like AD said. An audio editor is not what is wanted here. Plus even most major cheaper seqencers will be able to edit audio as well.
 

Needaham45

Spaceman
Iceman16 said:
I use a program called band-in-a-box for my music, its a pretty good program and has a lot of features. heres their website www.pgmusic.com
Band-in-a-Box is ok. I use it for a lot of jazz things and to get a rough demo of some more of the pop things that I write, but I find it falls short in terms of classical music, but that's not what it's really designed to do.

There really is no program that does it all. Everything has its own strengths. Sibelius is wonderful for notation, printing, and everything like that, but I also use it to write all my ideas down (the more I experiment, the more I find the best music will sound is if you are writing for real instruments, in their real ranges, the way they would really be used in an orchestra, even if the ultimate result is that it will be synthesized), so for the step of writing the ideas down, I use Sibelius (which is also wonderful for printing music for real musicians, and every other musical need in that sense). As I mentioned about Band-in-a-Box, with certain types of music I will start by creating a demo in that program, on a piano, or whatever.

The next step is a sampling program/synthesizer to get the sounds you want. The best notation programs are not going to come with the best sounds--it's just the way it works. There are different programs/synthesizers for different things. Some are best with orchestras (Garritan, in my opinion--I know people who have used it to great success, and they are far from being experts at this stuff. It really was as simple as picking the sounds they wanted and clicking play, and their music sounded great--and we're talking about major published, respected people). Others are best with concert bands (I like Kontakt for this--the sounds are not that great, but not a lot of orchestral sample sets include the saxophones which are necessary for bands, and Kontakts sounds have the bright timbre of the band style of playing). Yet others are best for rock/pop/jazz sounds--it's really all up to your preference, what makes you comfortable, and what style of music you are primarily going to be doing.

At this point you can play with some mixing and editing--I don't deal with this too much. Generally I can get it sounding good enough through the use of notation devices (Sibelius is good about playback-there is a difference between slurred and articulated notes in the playback, the dynamic playback is good as it actually does crecendos and diminuendos, and different articulation markings are played differently--it really is fantastic. My video game scores, although they never will be played by an orchestra in all likelyhood look like real scores, with all the dynamics, articulation, phrasing, and everything else in there, and it makes a difference in the way the program plays it back), or maybe if I have to, playing with the player a little bit or using MIDI messages (also very easy to add in Sibelius--I do this with things like adjusting reverb, ect.). I'll often use an audio editor to equalize, if necessary use a compressor or normalize the wave form, but virtually any run of the mill audio editor will do that kind of stuff. If you're interested in recording real instruments, then it's necessary to get a better audio editor such as ProTools (I would not suggest mixing real instruments with synthesized instruments unless the real instrument is meant to stick out/have a solo. I play all the woodwinds, but to write something orchestral and have all the woodwinds real, dubbed into the rest of the orchestra synthesized doesn't work. However, in the jazz in Standoff, the saxophone is the lead/solo instrument, so the mixing of the real instrument with synthesized background works in this case).

From there you're pretty much set. For my most complex things I'll use:
Band-in-a-Box
Sibelius
Something like Garritan, Kontakt Player or my Korg X5D
Some Audio Editor
If necessary a program to record real instruments to overdub on the synthesized stuff (the saxophone in Standoff, for example).
Audio Editing and Mixing again (to get the real instrument in the mix)
An Audio Converter to get it in the format I need
 

Edx

Spaceman
ace said:
Finale NotePad is free and will do anything you need at this point.

I suggest that you download it, learn how to write music, and then worry about the other stuff later.
Hmm, while Im all for music theory you dont have to read music in order to make music. Its also pretty uninspiring learning with your suggestion. :) Its much more inspiring if you can hear the results, especially when it doesnt sound like cheese on a general midi stick. Eventually if you try to do it yourself you will probably get to a point where you'll want to learn music theory anyway so you can become better, or to put it another way, you'll want to read the damn manual to find out how things are supposed to be done.
 

ace

Pepper's Keeper - Administrator
Edx said:
Hmm, while Im all for music theory you dont have to read music in order to make music. Its also pretty uninspiring learning with your suggestion. :) Its much more inspiring if you can hear the results, especially when it doesnt sound like cheese on a general midi stick. Eventually if you try to do it yourself you will probably get to a point where you'll want to learn music theory anyway so you can become better, or to put it another way, you'll want to read the damn manual to find out how things are supposed to be done.
Oh I don't think a person has to immediately know all about music theory in order to make music, but it's kind of strange to say that someone doesn't have to know how to read in order to know how to write. If he's serious enough to want to learn what notes sound like, then I think this is a pretty decent start. If he isn't serious then I think this is also a quick and easy way to see how much effort he wants to put into it before wasting time and money learning 5 different complicated programs.
 

Needaham45

Spaceman
The whole music theory conversation is very interesting. Everything I learned about music theory until two years ago I learned from many many years of piano lessons, studying scores, an essential dictionary of music, jazz improvisation, and paying close attention. I started writing about 6-7 years ago, so I didn't know much of anything about theory when I started writing. Now I'm a composition/music education double major in college, and I've gone through 4 semesters of real theory, and I started writing using what I learned and I didn't really like what was coming out. Just recently I decided to throw theory out the window and just write and I'm liking what I'm doing now better than anything I've written in my past, but I'm finding some of what I learned in theory to have some influence on it. You don't need theory to be able to write music--not at all (in fact I'm a firm believer that anyone can write music, and music is inspired and not theoretically or mathematically derrived), but to have that knowledge in the back of your brain or to refer to certainly helps. Like anything, you learn the rules in order to break them, and be able to justify it.
 

ace

Pepper's Keeper - Administrator
How does a conversation about Music Theory always errupt every time people talk about composing music? It's always incredibly one-sided and formulaic. A bunch of defiant people run circles around this giant, vile beast poking at it with tiny spears of anecdotal tales about how they overcame the oppression of the establishment. I've never seen any posh proponents of Music Theory lurking in the shadows and ready to pounce on defenseless fledgling music lovers. If such cosmopolitan predators do exist, they're either harmless internet children who read about Music Theory on the Wikipedia or so absolutely pompous that they would never even accidentally talk to you.

I don't understand why Music Theory has become so vilified; it wasn't designed to add an additional layer of intellectualization to music to distance it from the common people. It's just a simple set of language and principles to help describe, teach, and convey the ideas of composers who came before. It isn't a book of commandments or series of rules that will make you write better music, it's just a way to say, "Look what Bach did there; that's nice." Beethoven wrote music the way he did not because of his Music Theory class, but because it sounded best that way and wasn't a complete departure from what worked before.

Maybe it has to be taught to younger children or have it not be a required college course. Bakers don't get really upset that everyone before them used eggs and measured things in teaspoons. They see what worked for bakers that came before them and do their very best to make it better.
 
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