Composition interfaces

Discuss everything related to production, recording, composition, etc.

Moderators: luketeaford, Joe., lisa, Kent

Post Reply
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 524
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:50 pm
Location: PNW

Composition interfaces

Post by Koekepan » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:40 pm

I'm facing a bit of a question. Here goes:

I can compose in a number of ways. I can noodle on guitar, or (very incompetently) on keyboard or accordion and work out progressions and melodies in my head. I can use my step sequencer (Social Entropy Engine), and I can use various tracker interfaces on my computer (notably, sunvox and renoise), or I can use a number of other tools on other platforms (notably piano roll, step entry, direct recording on my Krome) but ...

None of the above allows for the combination of timeline density and parallel visibility of good, old-fashioned staff paper, or musescore. (Spent all my money on gear, don't have any left for fancy shit like Sibelius.)

Quick digression:

In stop motion animation, there's a technique called onionskinning, in which you can see a few frames forward and back at the same time, so that you can make sure that your animation is smooth and clear.

One could do very nicely using onionskinning of multiple pianorolls on multiple instruments in parallel, but I don't know of any product that does this.

The resulting problem of all the above: I crave the ability to craft long lines and complex harmonies that staff paper affords me, without then having to go and either laboriously transcribe things into another format, or export and massage (because it's never perfect) everything from a tool like musescore through standard MIDI files, which is the present default option.

Is there anything out there that better brings these various features together, or am I just screwed like an archimedean pump?

For what it's worth, the best compromises that I've found in software appear to be sunvox, given its combination of arranger view and per-pattern tracker interface, and Caustic, which has a similar (but slightly less flexible) arrangement interface, but also a piano roll on a per-instrument basis. An honourable mention goes to the Krome, because at least its step entry and direct recording modes are pretty immediate, while you can draw per-CC automation into it on the touchscreen.

Any thoughts?

Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3495
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:02 pm

Post by calaveras » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:49 pm

Logic and Sonar both do this.
You can assign each track a different color so it is easy to keep them sorted visually when editing the piano roll for multiple instruments at a time.
However I find that it is not productive to work on more than 3 things at once.
For starters trying to input notes on things that are 3 octaves apart means the note height in the piano roll ends up being microscopic.
Then there is the problem that most software I have seen doesnt have an elegant solution to switching between multiple tracks inside the piano roll view.
One often has to jump between tack and piano roll. Or use awkward right click interfaces.

Post Reply

Return to “Production Techniques”