John Middleton - Blog

John Middleton - Sound production from computer notation software

John Middleton - Sound production from computer notation software

John Middleton - Sound production from computer notation software

Sound production from computer notation software

I use Personal Composer for Windows v3. It is cheaper and less sophisticated than Sibelius, but i am used to it now. When I started doing this, PCs would not run large beasts like Sibelius.

After doing the main dynamics and tempos, I export as a MIDI file, which can be dragged onto the Digital Audio Work Station (DAW). The one I use is Acid Pro 7. Although it resets the tempo and key, they can both be restored. The key changes are easy, because all that is required is for me to reset the initial key, after which the original key changes in the rest of the score are preserved. Unfortunately, all the tempo changes must be put back in manually. It doesn t take too long with the score open at the same time.

First, I set the pan percentages for each instrument and adjust relative volumes on the multichannel console. Now comes the exciting bit!

Volume envelopes are inserted for each instrument and drawn as graphs throughout the performance. The points on the graph are used to change the volume for each instrument at each significant moment in the piece, and also to give the effect of playing phrases in an arc. This part is like conducting an orchestra in slow motion, or even more like rehearsing an orchestra - it is painstaking, but well worthwhile.

The instruments I use are from the Garritan Personal Orchestra, which sound great when you have learned a little about how to make them work. It attaches to Acid pro 7 as a virtual instrument and can be selected for all the tracks.

Finally, I render the Acid file to .wav and transfer to Sound Forge. I use this to adjust overall volumes, fading and reverb.

It is possible to combine vocal parts with the orchestral .wav file on Audacity (which is available as a free download.

There is much more to learn about this subject, I know, but the results so far seem good.