(Preliminary note: This job post, being a bit unusual for the Dorico Forum, has been discussed upfront with Daniel Spreadbury.)
Synchestra is a Belgian company developing an app aimed at musicians who want to play / sing a work for solo and orchestra: the musician plays / sings the solo part live, and the digital orchestra is rendered with our app (which will run on MacOS, Windows, iOS and Android). Our development work is partially funded by the Flemish government (see Subsidies | Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen).
We are seeking the collaboration of about 20 score writers, who can write scores of classical concerto, according to high professional standards. Synchestra has chosen Dorico as its platform for score writing, and currently uses the Pro 4.2 version.
What we expect from you:
- you play classical music, or have been playing it (even if it is as an amateur, that’s ok), and if you play in an ensemble, or have been playing, that’s a plus;
- academic music studies are a plus;
- you have an understanding how classical musicians use their scores;
- experience with OMR (Optical Music Recognition) software is a plus;
- you are aware that the MIDI file of written score is not necessarily the same as the MIDI file needed for credible playback, and therefore you make the necessary playback tracks for correct MIDI rendering, that will not necessarily be visible on the paper scores;
- the following are musts:
you have proven experience in writing orchestral music;
you know Dorico Pro well, and use it as your primary music notation tool; you are willing to keep up with the latest updates ;
you are willing to respect high professional, scientific and musical standards for scores;
you can work very precisely, and make sure your score corresponds to your reference score;
when you have finished the score writing of a composition, you hand over the Dorico project file.
Please note that proper orchestration is not part of the score writer’s work. The work of the orchestrator is described here. The orchestrator receives your work output.
What you get to start with:
- first, we agree together which work you will work on;
- we start preferably from an Urtext edition; if several editions exist, we choose together what the reference(s) will be;
- you receive the orchestral score of a concerto or opera aria in pdf or printed format; AND/OR
- you receive a Dorico project file with an unfinished version of the composition (work in progress) (typically: the import of an XML file from an OMR program);
- you receive the Dorico project templates for Synchestra’s music editions;
- you receive specifications for input, and your deliverables.
What we offer you:
- the participation in an incredibly innovative project;
- you become a contributing member of the Synchestra community;
- the recognition for your contribution;
- a correct financial reward.
If you are interested, please send us your cv, your three preferred classical composers, information about the hardware and software configuration of your DAW, and a reference portfolio including at least two (preferably complex) orchestral works you created in Dorico (a list of URL’s is ok), to
Chief Musical Officer
Your application can be done in English, German, French or Dutch.
Please allow for a few working days to receive a reply. Thank you for reading this job post!
Sounds to me like it might be easier to hire a small orchestra, go into the studio, and record the accompaniment. It would not only sound real (it is real) but would offer performing musicians an opportunity to ply their craft. For too long, live musicians have lost out to crappy sounding digital and electronic based “music”. With the prospect of employing live musicians and citizens, perhaps the Flemish government might provide additional support.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Thanks for your reaction.
What you are suggesting is done by companies such as NomadPlay and Tomplay. Please have a look at their website, purchase a concerto of your choice (i.e. not a reduction for solo instrument and piano, but for solo instrument and a real orchestra). They do what you suggest. And do try to actually play with their app. And then come back .
You may find out:
- They do not provide orchestra scores. (It’s like playing in a theatre piece where only your role is written out, and the other actor’s roles are not written. Just try it.)
- If a score for the solo player is provided (by Tomplay, not by Nomadplay), it is from unknown source, without the quality checks professional musicians are expecting. And if you want to print it: one size fits all, you shall not choose whether you want a large print or maybe a smaller print with less page turns. The print on A4 paper contains the same notes as on A3 paper, although you normally would expect that the A3 score would contain roughly two A4 pages…
- The orchestra is, in the best case, a chamber orchestra. (Try Tchaikovsky piano concerto No. 1 with a chamber orchestra. Disappointment will be your fate. I did try.)
- The rendering of the orchestra without a particular instrument, for example the solo instrument, may contain artifacts, because the algorithms to do that are not perfect. (In the case of Tomplay, there are two different recordings, the problem does not exist there.)
- The tempi are at best three or four different tempi, for example 56, 70, 85 and 95 bpm. You want to play at 90, because you feel that is the right tempo for your musical expression? Bad luck, Tomplay will not give you something else. Nomadplay allows tempo variations around their recorded tempo, but beware: audio artifacts will be your share if you modify the tempo greatly.
- Back to Tchaikovsky piano concerto No. 1. After the majestic intro of the first movement, the pianist can show off already in his first cadenza. In real life, the orchestra will join, under the direction of the conductor, perfectly on time, because they hear - obviously - when the pianist reaches the “come-together-point”. Today that may be after 17.23 seconds. And at the next rehearsal; 5 minutes thereafter, it may be 17.89 seconds. And tomorrow it could be 20 and some seconds. Nobody out there can solve that problem with a digital orchestra in real time.
- Take Mozart piano concerto 20, second movement. It starts with the piano solo playing 8 bars, after which the orchestra responds with the same theme. In real life, the orchestra naturally joins in, because it hears how fast the soloist plays, and they feel how and when exactly to respond. How do other apps do it? You must sound the metronome, and then play exactly at the strict tempo of the metronome, otherwise your orchestra joins in too early or too late. We did try it at Synchestra. It’s difficult to find something more unnatural then playing a Mozart romanza full of singing expression, but with the computer precision of a metronome. Be my guest, and try it.
- You want to rehearse a few difficult bars, over and over again with your orchestra? The other apps let you do it. But starting at 50 bpm (while the nominal tempo is 100 pm), and gradually increase your tempo in steps of 4 or even 2 bpm (like I’m doing sometimes)? Forget it. You want to rehearse 4 bars 51 through 54, but with the upbeat of the last beat of bar 50, and without the last beat of bar 54? Forget it. You shall only rehearse full bars, not parts of bars.
The above problems, and quite some more, are tackled by Synchestra. And because at the heart of their development there are three musicians who happen to be three engineers with extensive digital data processing, live music, digital music and DAW experience, the Flemish government deemed that our truly revolutionary R&D work is worth being given a research grant.
And the musicians we talk to about our project are really amazed of the fact that our app will be able to follow the musician in his accelerando’s, decelerando’s, rubato’s, in real time. And to join after a solo passage or a cadenza, exactly on time (for us engineers-musicians, that means less then 30 msec difference, and preferably less than 20 msec).
So far, we received applications for the jobs of orchestrators and Dorico score writers from 21 persons, of which 14 have already been accepted. And we are absolutely impressed by the academic and musical level, and motivation, of the candidates: they are all professionally active in the music world, they all play at least one instrument at the level of conservatory, and they all are thrilled by the functionalities the Synchestra app will offer to musicians. And most of them tried the solutions like Music Minus one (which I did also many years ago) or Tomplay, Nomadplay, Musecore etc. And they are hungry for something better. That’s why they want to join Synchestra’s effort!
And so, dear Notewriter, and other Dorico users who follow this conversation: if you feel your are really strong in writing orchestral scores with Dorico Pro: you are still warmly welcome to send in your application . We think we need a community of 30-40 enthusiastic orchestrators and score writers.
And thanks to the Dorico development, for letting us contacting the Dorico community to find (indeed superb) score writers!
With warm musical greetings,
Robrecht H. Paternoster
Chief Musical Officer
@Robrecht_Paternoster, as you are already providing in-depth information so very generously, could you perchance elaborate a bit about this part as well?
I understand that you ask the question, and thank you for it.
I answer it to all applicants when they get their first interview. We do not mention the practical details of the financial reward because the passion for beautiful music should be the first motivation of candidates, not money.
As we want very high quality in our work (because our customers-musicians rightfully expect that), the logical consequence is that we should offer a correct financial compensation, otherwise this happens .
Kind greetings, Robrecht
Mr. Paternoster, thank you for your reply. I’ll let it go at that and perhaps be glad that some engravers in the digital domain are being given a chance to earn a fee for their expertise.
Good luck with your venture.