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  • Writer's pictureRyan Corbitt

Dorico - Your Portal To the Music-Verse

Music notation, the most timeless, original method of recording music, is sometimes overlooked and forgotten, or at best an after-thought in a music production world where DAW's rule. If you are one of the lucky orchestrators, arrangers or composers that get to write music for live players and have been doing so for some time you are probably using one of the big two programs; Finale or Sibelius (sure there are others but these are the industry strongholds). I have used both through different periods extensively and found them to be quite effective at what they do.

The initial benefit of notation software being not having to copy out individual parts manually, but also the ability to hear what your composition might actually sound like. I should actually put the word "hear" in quotes because the midi rendering you typically get is quite crude by today's standards of what virtual instruments can do in a DAW. Sure, [insert your DAW of choice here] has a "score" or "notation" view, but its features are pretty limited if your intention is to make a proper score performed by live musicians.

Has your process of composing evolved to be more like a keyboard/synth session music than an old school pencil and paper composer? If you initially learned music first from notation and developed your knowledge of orchestration through the study of scores published in proper notation, doesn't a part of your soul long to put notes on a page and then hear it brought to life without having to perform it on the keyboard and edit the parameters endlessly as if you were doing your algebra homework on a TI-83 graphing calculator?

But I'm not here to tout the benefit of using live players, as that is out of reach for most projects and overlooks the entire reason why sample library companies (like ours) exist. The reason is certainly not to replace live players, rather it's to enable more composers, professional or the hobbyist, to compose the music they want (or need) and hear it the way they would like to hear it with minimal time and money. I know we all want to improve HOW we compose (the process) not just the final result, and perhaps return to our roots (notation) while still having all the benefits of a midi sequencer and the plethora of high quality sample libraries there are.

Enter Dorico by Steinberg. Finally, a full-featured and well-thought-out music composing application (through notation!) that also features a DAW-like sequencer view, full midi editing capability and integration for any sample library. Articulations like staccatos, marcatos, glissandi, all kinds of ornaments can be mapped directly from the musical symbol you enter to the correct keyswitch or other midi parameter. And I haven't even said the word "jazz" yet. I am here to tell you we have cracked that nut wide open. The notion to pair up our big band library Atomic Big Band! The Horns with notation and make it actually do all the jazz articulations correctly was exciting as it was daunting. Not just swing feel, but if you want a "scoop" just enter the symbol then hear it; a "fall," same. Want it super loud? just type "ff" you get the idea. How about a brass mute? Just type "Harmon" and voila!

But all this did not happen instantaneously, not by any stretch. Our goal with creating and using samples libraries is that we want to simulate the composing process itself and its playback to be most like the process and results of using live players. Meaning: you put notes on a page and then you hear a player perform it. The processes is not only the most liberating creative experience I have ever had, but also the most expedient. It wasn't instantaneous, though. It took seven months to build, tweak and optimize the Dorico custom expression maps for Atomic Big Band! The Horns (our most asked about product for notation) to work this way and give our users a seamless and gratifying composing process we would want ourselves. And this is just the beginning, we plan for all or our current and future libraries to be able work this way (in addition to our good ole' DAWs we know and love).

Ok, non-jazzers you can click away now. This next part is just for the four-way-close-alterted dominant bunch. Have I lost you yet? No? Okay good, so you know how to voice a big band and harmonize all the passing chords. You know the Basie basics, the Ellingtonia colors and Thad Jones' thick voicings. Well now the Sorcerer Supreme has just sliced a hole in the multi-verse where on the other side of the blizzard you can see a portal with a vision of how both your past and future will be forever altered (sorry I digress to Marvel-talk sometimes). A time has come for you to truly, write, arrange, orchestrate, scoop fall, shake, and yes, swing! All from the five-line staves you know and love. Take the leap, bring the music in your head to life. Your secret identity is safe with us. And yes, Peter, you can see this on YouTube.


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3 comentários

27 de mai.

Does the Smart Delay setting with Atomic Big Band work with Dorico? I've been trying to use "My Favorite Soprano," "Art of the Alto," "Tenor Colossus," and "Sophisticated Bari" with Dorico with mixed results. I can apply a Delay plug-in to all of the other non-delayed instruments to compensate, but then Dorico's green playback bar is 4 beats off and the final 4 beats are cut off completely. If the Smart Delay setting with Atomic Big Band is working seamlessly with Dorico, it would be great if y'all could be in touch with the Dorico developers to find a way for some of these other Smart Delay instruments to work as well!

27 de mai.
Respondendo a

I've put in feature requests before with the Dorico developers for user-adjustable settings to offset the display of the green play bar, compensate for the delayed notes at the end, etc., but it would be great if y'all could lean on them too! NotePerformer requires a delay as well (1 second IIRC), but Dorico has somehow automatically compensates for it so everything appears in sync. I think they worked directly with Arne to get that implemented back in Dorico 2 or so. Even if there have to be manual adjustments to playback settings, playback templates, expression maps, etc., it obviously would be desirable if Dorico could work more seamlessly with your Smart Delay libraries. If you currently have their ea…

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