Jus' A Lil' Ol' Wish - User Sets Of Note Length Profiles Applicable For Selected Bars

This is just a wish to hope for somewhere down the road – like the road between Vienna and the moon. You know, version 243 or something.

We all know how notation duration means different things in different kinds and sections of music. Even within one work the way a musician would naturally interpret how to play a quarter note would vary depending on the context.

We can set a default play duration percentage for normal, tenuto, staccato, staccatissimo, etc., but that is like a one-size-fits-all shoe. It’s only going to work for the average foot. For a lot of passages the defaults might work fine. But for a lot of them they won’t.

In the current setup the only solution for a stretch of music where normal notes ought to be understood as playing shorter than default length is to attach a tenuto, or a staccato tenuto, or some such marking, or a special playing technique that would require further complicating Expression Maps. These is certainly doable, but they become tedious applying them to nearly every note in a section of music. And you’re constantly hiding and unhiding these markings because they would not show in any normal score. It’s just understood, or perhaps left to the conductor’s briefing.

I have a suggestion. What if the user were able to create and name their own set of note duration profiles that could be applied to selected bars? An applied profile would override the default note lengths for that stretch of bars (or a single flow). It could be identified by a flag. This way the user only has to modify any notes that don’t fit the profile, saving a lot of time and tedium making the score look much more like something a conductor would present to an orchestra.

This idea was prompted when working on a brass arrangement for a verse. To make playback sound the way I (as if I was a conductor) would want it played, I literally had to adjust the playback length of every single note individually. And the vast majority of those adjustments were exactly the same, shortening quarter notes to about 75%. It seemed pointless.

Any comments by the user base or developers?

Try using the Playback Options Overrides section of the expression map editor, and create different expression maps for different instruments or families.

You can use different expression maps for different instruments or instrument families in the same sample library, of course.

Thanks for your suggestion Rob.

I’m not so much referring to differences by instrument as I am differences by section of music with the same instruments.

An Expression Map would require a note modifier for each individual note in any section of music requiring it. What I’m talking about is a taking a slice of music containing multiple bars, however many bars the user desired, and applying a user-defined modification to the default playback lengths. This would mean that a tenuto in one section of music might apply a different percentage of playback value than another section of music.

As an example, if I set my default standard playback note length to 95%, then make tenuto 85%, staccato tenuto 75%, etc., etc., that applies across the entire file. If I want to reduce those percentages by 10%, or some other amount, I have to set up an expression map entry for each instrument affected reflecting the change percentage and then attach an expression to each note affected. If I want to reduce it more, or perhaps increase the percentage a bit, I have to go through the same process with Expression Maps. It can be done, of course, but to me it would be the hardest possible way to do it. This is the case because it would not be the particular instrument driving the change. And it really would not be the articulation driving the change. It would be the musical passage that requires this kind of adjustment for some or all note values in a particular passage (or others like it in the future).

If I could define and name my own set of playback percentages different from what I have set as default, and apply them to musical passages when it makes sense.

As I mentioned in my post above, I am certainly not thinking this is something the developers should consider now, when there is so many more pressing things clamoring for their attention. But I think it might be an idea worth considering at some future point. Perhaps I’m the only one who thinks that. If so, that’s okay.

Sorry, when you said “a brass arrangement for a verse” I assumed there were other verses not specifically for brass, but this one verse was different.

The easiest way might be just to play the parts in live and record the MIDI data, as you would in a DAW. IIRC in the Alan Silvestri video, he commented about getting the expression right recording the live data, and re-pitching all the wrong notes afterwards!

Thanks Rob