Forgive the cheesy intro. Bear with me.
Last night I had a dream that I was improvising on the piano. It was certainly a dream, because I was playing at a level that could only happen in a dream. But what was so striking was that, even as I was dreaming, I was thinking, “I wish there was a way to capture this.” By that, I meant “on paper.” Not a new thought, I’m sure.
To me, here are the things that make real-time MIDI unusable at present:
Smart Split-point. A “smart” split point would be incredibly, phenomenally helpful: one that interpreted music played with two hands and made decisions about which hand was playing what. Current split point functionality is basically never correct. This is the least crucial because it can be fixed afterwards with moderate ease, but it’s still a big time commitment.
Latency. Even a 30 ms latency makes it incredibly difficult to record (and current latency for me is much higher). I would dearly love the ability to hear the click but mute the VST, and instead use the local keyboard audio, which would have no latency.
Legato notation. The recording should fill rests by extending the notes to make them legato, except perhaps when the playing is distinctly staccato. Far easier to add rests later, which I assume is a much less common scenario (at least it is for me). 99% of the time, I want the notes to be notated legato.
Voice management. This is a tough one to parse what the performer wants, I imagine, but here again, 99% of the time I want one voice per hand. At present, Dorico (understandably) fills my recording with ties that have to be fixed individually (and I’m unable to edit the duration of a single note within a chord).
Editing. Dorico is already far superior in this regard, but a couple things would help. Particularly the ability to edit the duration of one note in a chord! Also, the ability to quantize (post-recording) a selection while in Write mode.
EDIT: I thought of another one, similar to voices. An option to limit the use of ties… if a chord or a note is being held and a new note is detected, the previous note is stopped. In Studio One I think this is called “avoid collisions.” It essentially removes the overlap of voices in the piano roll.
I didn’t include flexible tempo on the list, which is a whole ‘nother consideration. The list above all presupposes the player is striking the notes exactly with the click, but how many of us can do that consistently? There’s other software out there (albeit unusable in other ways) that listens to a performance and adapts to it, even making evaluations of anacrusis. The possibilities are exciting.
Forgive the rehashing, as I’m sure there’s nothing in here that Paul and the team haven’t thought of. I just want to reiterate how stunningly game-changing this functionality would be. The ability for Dorico to more smartly encode music would set it apart even further. This may be blowing smoke, but it’s no exaggeration to say that I would literally pay 10x the cost for these features, as the amount of time and effort they would save me would be incalculable.
The computing power is doubtless available, but I’m sure the time required to code such algorithms is daunting. Still, I do hope this will be a front-burner consideration for future versions. It would be revolutionary. Thanks guys.