Who invented to put quarter note on shortcut 6 etc? whole note should be 1, half note = 2 etc

DAW composing is a horror show IMHO if you can actually read music. With Dorico I finally enjoy getting the music into the computer (been at it since the 80’s on C64), even though my music is just played by computers.

So far … some day I hope to get humans into the loop, and the odds they can play from a MIDI piano roll are probably not good. What clef is that anyhow, some kind of alto thing?

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Maybe. Dorico manages so much of the tedium - instrument setup, inits/resets that it’s a huge time saver. Better is it gets your out of the minutiae of sound production. Personally I think that much of what you hear in media music these days is due to not native abilities or desires, but time pressures and the mediocrity that the DAW encourages.

Composer-conductor-performer is all mashed together. In notation/Dorico, I just specify high level intentions, dynamics, articulations and so forth, and don’t care how it’s done. This way I can focus on the music only - so there’s a separation of concerns. I’m not performer-composer, I’m composer. And the output I get is pretty good actually, later I’m composer (really conductor) and just touch it up to get some stellar output.

My humble opinion - FWIW - if DAW is you’re cup of tea no problem with that but I’d question spending much time on a Dorico forum in that case anyhow.

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But can you say them in a family-friendly way? :grinning:


The bigger point here, which all of us have been guilty of, is that we see our own limited experiences and preferences as normative. We’re all more myopic than we want to admit.

I find writing music in a DAW unspeakably frustrating. I’ve watched Guy do it, and while it’s very impressive, it makes as much sense to me as notation makes to the OP here.


Yes, NP uses a short time to read ahead and interpret the notation. It’s baked in, and documented AFAIK

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Recently, there was an interesting link on this forum to a YT documentary about the big shots in film composing: The Score - documentary on YouTube


(And all those sessions had sheet music, lol.)

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All I will add is this: After 10 years of working nearly 95% in the DAW with sample instruments and no real musicians; all of my Midi-Orchestral or non-synth based music, when done in notation first, resulted in stronger arrangements and made it easier to program/input into the dAW - which lead to more placements in productions.

I believe the trouble people run into is trying to make one act like the other. A DAW is a different animal than a tool like Dorico. There is certainly crossover, but just like both a car and a bike can help you travel, they are completely different in the way they do it. There is a time and place for both, depending on your desired outcome.


ok then just make stronger arrangements(whatever that is?) in the daw?

Notation is the ‘alphabet’ for music. Yes, you can record your speech, or listen to spoken word recordings without knowing how to read; but being able to write, spell, and read words are essential skills – particularly for an author.


For me, notation utilizes a different part of my brain in creating. I love to improvise and it can inspire ideas but thinking through it and notating it opens up formal and contrapuntal ideas that I might not discover if I only laid down DAW tracks. Maybe that’s just because it’s how I started and learned.

@napjts its ok if notation is not for you. Use your daws to your heart’s content. But don’t yell at hammers for not being screwdrivers.



Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?

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any there any real evidence in form of studies etc. which compares notation vs. daw in terms of quality of the music?

Yes: the first 1000 years of western art music was all notated, and I think we can conclude from this data set that the quality of the music was pretty high.

Every single great composer whose name we still hail and who died prior to about 1980 scored their music the old fashioned way.


Possibly, but there will be great and awful music written with whichever tool you use. The point, I think that everyone is trying to make is that to be good at anything you’ve got to put an awful lot of time in. There are no easy routes to greatness in any field.

And part of that time is in learning the language and techniques of whatever you want to be good at and part of it is in learning the tools. We’re very lucky in our field to have a huge number of tools at our disposal. The easiest way is to pick the one that seems to connect you to the act of music making the best for you and get on with the difficult bit, which is learning the never-ending craft of musicianship.

Best of luck in all your endeavours.



I don’t believe that there are any studies… after all, music is an art. And ALL art is subjective.

As far as working in a DAW, many great film composers (Hans Zimmer, Alan Silvestri, etc.) start work in a DAW, and then finish into notation. There are other great composers who start with a piano, pen, and paper. And still yet, there are some wonderful composers who start with notation software. It all depends on what suites you best.

From my personal experience… I have seen MANY terrible examples of music created solely in a DAW. And that had nothing to do with the DAW process, but rather the “composer’s” lack of musical knowledge.

I believe there is a great insight that comes from learning to read music, getting to see how music is put together, and being part of rehearsals where you find your place in the music. You see the bigger picture and little picture all at once. People who learn only from DAWs sometimes lack that knowledge (not always of course… always exceptions), and the music they produce clearly demonstrates that of knowledge and understanding.



Here’s my final thought on this thread hi-jack ( for whatever it’s worth): Who cares? Who cares how you make the music that is to be heard?

If notation works, use it. If DAW works, use it. If both work in conjunction, use them. 2 sticks and a log? use it. It doesn’t really matter in the end. What works best for me may not work at all for you and so on, ad nausea.


Having come all the way from version 2 of Sibelius I simply reconfigured the number pad to the same configuration and carried on seamlessly. Job done!

Honestly, by the time I got to the bottom of the page, I forgot that was the issue that started the whole thread! LOL