How much time should we spend to make a template?

Hi,

Sorry for venting this, but after a major event in my life I’m reconsidering a bit everything. I can’t but notice how much time is spent to create a template, without even being able to write a single note.

And time to do something significant is getting shorter and shorter.

Yes, it’s true that Bach could find time to retune and modify his instruments, but even in this is shown the distance between the energy of the past greats and my personal smallness. So, I feel that all this time spent with templates, sound maps, channel linking, is just lost time that will never be recovered.

Please, tell me a kind word, to encourage me to continue editing my templates, and just think to how things will go faster and smoother after having completed it.

Paolo

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Are you talking about Playback Templates, or Project Templates (or other sorts of templates!)…?

If you don’t want to spent time tinkering with Expression Maps, etc – just use Noteperformer, plus-or-minus one of the NPPE libraries that it supports.

As for Project Templates, then I find it doesn’t take long to set one up with the Options I want; the Page … templates… that I want, and some ensembles. And once I’ve done that; I can use it instantly and get working.

Playback Templates. I’ve not used custom Project Templates, as of now, since I usually start by making the score grow depending on the instruments I need, or by manually adding the ones I need for a particular ensemble.

I’m now working to a Playback Template for VSL Synchron, that also include VSL Synchronized. I will later extract the Synchronized-only Playback Template from it. This will be an additional work: now, the Synchronized instruments have the ‘VSL SYzd’ prefix; when in their own template, they will have to get the standard name/definition.

It doesn’t work. I’ve tried to adapt to a NotePerformer-only workflow, but while it is great for previewing many types of scores, it isn’t for the particular requirements of my scores. There are too many fundamentals missing (from sul tasto, to aeolian sounds, to ricochet…).

I’m thinking to a hybrid solution, but I’m not totally convinced of it. If I have to invoke other instruments, I can as well work completely with those instruments, and only focus on a single approach.

In any case, a hybrid solution would required creating the definitions for the other libraries.

NotePerformer is also trained on particular styles of music. I can’t make it work well even on a score by Webern. Go figure more recent ones. They seem to be out of its original scope.

That’s what I’ll repeat myself for self-motivation. All considered, I’m over half of the work.

Paolo

Paolo,

You are someone I believe in completely. Whatever process comes out of it - it makes me think of how Christopher Currell worked 17 hours a day, more or less 7 days a week for three years programming Synclavier patches, creating and organizing a sound library for Michael Jackson to use, and I think that worked out pretty okay. :grin:

What we try to do is hard. It’s like, while I’m a sucker for real (or better than) vintage synths, the patience and work it takes to get a slightly musical, much less magical result is crazy. I think it’s the same as it ever was, cpu or no. Better tools maybe but we take on big challenges.

I don’t personally like big templates- I have a tendency to find something good, a nugget. But then lose it while messing around with something else. I’m always thinking oh I can redo that, or get back to that. That’s one reason that saving small independent things works best for me. I trade some repetition in setup for the freedom of a blank canvas - which is its own time suck - but seems to have a better ultimate reward. Again, that part is just for me.

I’ll be sure and trade you back the next time I’m feeling worn down or defeated. - that’ll probably be tomorrow or something. :slight_smile:

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I feel your pain… I’ve made so many hybrid playback templates for combinations with NP and other libraries, even for the sake of using a single instrument in a hybrid score -

I have to say lately I’m pretty sick of the process, it’s quite a chore to go through this entire process just to try a different violin library - only to discover after hearing it that you want to try a different one!

Most recently I’ve started making actual project templates, but the only real solution there is that it’s tidier. It doesn’t really help in the creative process of writing when you get a sudden idea. I wish it was much easier to simply import custom instrument/vst presets right to a track without having to fuss with switching over entire playback templates. So most of the time I just manually set it all up from scratch every time, which sounds tedious but honestly I find it a lot easier than creating full playback templates just to try out another VST on one instrument.

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Reading your thread, I can’t resist to recommend a completely different workflow: Use your (own personal) imagination and experience with the musicians/music you write for and try to get free from the sounds you hear in Dorico. Maybe even worse sounds in Dorico may help you with that. Dorico is still an app for notation, not (or only very rough-an-ready) for shaping sound. The last task is what conductors, musicians and DAWs are for, not notation apps.
If you use Dorico for sound details, you’ll waste a lot of time, indeed. Use it for notation, only use the play button as a fast check making sure you don’t write wrong notes or other heavy mistakes. If you think anything later in your musical (production) process will behave like your playback setup, you will be surprised, no matter how detailed you make it.

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(As a side note: I added some consideration on playback templates to an old thread:

)

Can you do this by creating endpoints and them importing them when you need them? An endpoint pulls together a VST instance, midi channel, patch, and expression map. That sounds like what you need. You can configure a number of these at once for a given VST in the endpoint set up dialogue.

If you just want to try out a library, you can also set up a VST directly in the Play editors and assign it to an instrument or instrument /voice and add an expression map. This data is just saved with the current project.

If there is no expression map, you’re a bit limited, but you can at least try out the natural setting and, if you want, you can create separate voices for different articulations and assign them to the right VST patches for testing purposes, using independent voice playback.

Playback templates, as I understand it, are best used to create a configuration you will use again and again.

I may be forgetting something, but Endpoint Configurations shouldn’t save instrument definitions and playing+playback techniques.

So, there will still be a need for something from which to get these data. In particular, there is the issue of not making instrument definitions from a project overlap those of another project when you need both.

Paolo

If you need to customise those, then, yes, endpoints are not going to store them. But I’ve tried out a number of string libraries myself without ever having to do that.

Paolo - my reply was to Wing, so it may very well not fit your use case!

Hey Paolo,

Sorry to hear about your major life event. Anyone who’s faced a life-altering event that triggers reconsidering everything can relate. I can relate.

One comment I would make as someone who has no idea what your actual situation is, is try to focus on two things. First, ponder what part of your projects you enjoy the most. Second, ponder what can you realistically do in the shortened time.

Let me add a third thing, pursue accepting your situation and be content with whatever the answer to number two turns out to be.

If you detest building templates, then by all means go all in for whatever allows you the best chance to focus on your actual music-writing. If you really enjoy the template process, there’s no need to dispense with it. The results will be what they will be.

Now it’s possible I’ve misunderstood your post, so if I’m addressing this in a way that’s inappropriate, please forgive me.

Anyway, just the comments of one guy who has walked such a path for 22 years and been granted by God much more time than he ever imagined.

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I would consider this advise the savviest one. If not for the fact that I’ve started blending music and computers at 17 years, and have never been able to really separate them.

Yes, I’ve written several pieces only with paper and roller pen (even pencil, but I hated the experience). I even started a short orchestral piece at the computer, and had to complete it (and all the parts!) by hand.

But then, I can hardly find someone who wants to perform my music. If I find them – maybe even some of the best performers – there is always very little time to rehearse, and no way to write a second version after rehearsal.

I’m making music strictly for myself. It’s a thing between me and the sounds that I hear before and after making them a physical matter. I like to go to concerts only where I’m sure I know nobody there. I don’t like when someone is playing my music, and I have maybe to also go onstage. I want to stay in my comfort zone in that dark corner. So, without computers I would only write for nobody. With them, I can do it at least for me.

(It’s funny that my first piano teacher, one of my aunts and the revered piano teacher of my village, never played in public; but she had the same family name of the most famous public plaza in a very social place like San Francisco…).

Computers are a complicate relationship with freedom from everyday matters, and with the heavy constraints caused by a limited (and limiting) technology. It happened to me to live in the heroic times when technology was still for pioneers.

With Dorico (and I would say VSL and Xsample) we are very near to see the end of these heroic times, and enter technological maturity. I don’t feel like I should give up right now, after so many decades of suffering. I want to resist and enter the golden age of composing at the computer, now that it is so close. I started with lists in Fortran, I’ll end up with music written the easy way.

Paolo

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Yes I know all about endpoint configurations – the issue is, as of now, you can only export them – there is no button which allows import. That is exactly what I am hoping for in a future release.

Currently they only serve playback templates but are pretty useless for when you just need to swap a single instrument/VST.

For example let’s say I have an oboe I want to use from Orchestral Tools alongside my otherwise NotePerformer project – the expression map and custom patch already exists and I’ve saved as an endpoint config – ideally on the VST page right where there is an “export endpoint configuration” button there would be an import one, too. The only way I know to bring it in is via creation of a new playback template. This is why I said just doing it manually is a bit less tedious and less messy, because I don’t have to deal with figuring out instrument overrides etc. Also if you’re far along in your project with mix settings, panning, inserts/sends/reverbs/efffects – and you switch project template, you’ll lose all of that mixing work, so it’s really not a viable solution to me.

I’ve dug deep on this in the past but if I am mistaken and the ability to import them into an existing project without adjusting the playback template does exist and is hidden somewhere strange, let me know!

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Ah, in that case my idea is a no-hoper. I think you’re right.

OK, this is really a special use case and overall personal scenario, thank you for sharing this background. May I ask why you use Dorico and not a DAW like e.g. Cubase? I‘d think those applications should do your work with sounds (instead of notes, which are mostly a way of communication between composer and performer(s), and Dorico‘s design reflects that fact even more than other engraving applications) much more effectively… if you aim for a good result in audio, a DAW is the tool that is made for this.

I come from a classical music background. Score and sound are on the same level for me. Experiments with score and sound are the same. On an abstract level: Ircam’s Open Music considers the score elements as classes and functions, exactly like the transformations on the sound and space. They are all part of a common workflow, where the score is the germinal part of the music, and may even react to the sound.

I would even go further, saying that I’m often a trobar clus type, rather than a trobar clar one, and I value the code very much. There are things that can be done by working and reworking the elements of the score, that you couldn’t do without the written text. Baroque poetry against street-poetry improvisation, maybe.

In any case, Dorico allows easy access to both aspects of making music. You can focus on score writing, either as a sophisticate game, or a transcription of playing on the piano keyboard. Or you can access the same parameters of a DAW, even if selected to match a score and not a drum machine.

Dorico is much better integrated with sound libraries than Logic or Cubase. Its expression map system is much more conscious of the score, and is a powerful bridge between a rich set of techniques and the equivalence in a sound library. So much to become labyrinthic, and demand for a good part of our life to be perfected.

More than good integration with sounds, I sometimes would ask Dorico a better integration with the graphic part (Engrave mode). But the Write mode, in page view, is for sure already near there. I not only ask for cerebral games in the score, but I also want madrigalisms.

A DAW would be my end. As has been for all these years, where even writing a glissando in the score page was considered an advanced feature.

Paolo

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Yes, this has always been the problem with Playback Templates. My first posts about this issue predate this new forum format so I can’t locate them, but the system is certainly limited for advanced users. I do understand why it was originally implemented this way because it makes things quite easy on one level, but not so useful if you are mixing and matching multiple libraries in a more sophisticated way.

I certainly have some sympathy with @Paulo_Trindade…My VSL VI Expression Maps took a huge amount of time to create, but once I had this template, I basically used it exclusively for everything because of the hassle of adding other libraries…I did add CSStrings along the way, but fortunately this was not too complicated because of it’s simple structure…however, circling back to the Template and endpoints conversation, I used the Silence Playback Template for everything and adjusted things manually. Now that I am using NP and have to use the NP Playback Template, it is far from ideal, particularly when, as you say, you might have to reapply that template and you then lose all the other parts that you have configured. Importing endpoint configurations which are linked to a specific library path is one possible solution, and you should not be limited to the number of Violin 1’s in your Playback Template, for example. Now, I guess you can actually do this in NP and have multiple 1st Violin libraries loaded up, but you can’t use NP as part of a Silence Template to enable the additional flexibility that we are talking about. I understand that NP is an enclosed system, and by opening it up in such a way would compromise all the internal balancing which is integral to the way it works it’s magic, but still, I wouldn’t mind having this option.

To answer @Waldbaer, I think many of us are using Dorico precisely to avoid using a DAW…We want to see our music on the page converted into wonderful playback, and this is why we love Dorico so much - It does allow us to do this, even if at times, it takes some time to configure.

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I personally don’t think of the only end of score notation as literally and exclusively preparing parts for live players and performances only. First of all, we can all only be so lucky to have access and budget to compose large symphonies and see them performed consistently – such a chance is incredibly slim, so having access to sounds which can at least provide a relatively convincing mockup is helpful.

It can also be a helpful learning tool for anyone without a music degree and who does not have access to live players, to grasp a better understanding of what these instruments can do, even if it’s an approximation.

There are other cases such as scoring to media, where they may not budget for a live recording. For some of us, it is far more helpful to work with notation so you can see your harmony and orchestration vertically and with immediacy, and then bring that into a DAW for final finesse and mixing. I for one really do not enjoy composing large scale works using DAW piano rolls which do not offer a clear and immediate view of harmony nor rhythm.

I’ve even gone so far to create templates where I write for electronics such as synths, drum machines, and various hybrid or synthetic instruments (i.e. unrealistic or processed). I love that I can do this in Dorico. Still being able to see all your notes on the screen offers greater and faster insight into your composition.

I am grateful that by 2024, the line between notation software and DAWs is becoming increasingly blurred, and I believe that Dorico is leading the pack in that direction with the Play tab and the advanced VST + automation capabilities. Using the key editor and some automation, I’ve been able to get mockups nearly as close as I can in a DAW, with the exception of advanced mixing automation which Dorico doesn’t really do.

I actually come first from the world of DAWs, and I have to say nowadays I prefer writing music in Dorico 95% of the time for all these reasons, even if it will never be performed by a live ensemble.

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Some sympathies here w PaoloT

After 20+ years away from it all I’m coming into this as a complete novice and somehow I expected it to be easier

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NotePerformer is particularly useful with long notes, where it can add expressivity to what would otherwise be a static pitch. This is much less needed with fast decaying sounds, like piano and harp. So, you can simply use the standard players alongside the NNPE instruments, and they will work perfectly fine.

Paolo

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