workflow for computer realization

I’m learning to compose as a non-performer later in life. My end goal is to compose and produce electronica that incorporates Western classical styles in fusion with other cultural styles as well as modern electronic elements. My desired product is the computer generated audio file. I’m not writing for performers, though I have had a year of college theory and prefer writing in Western notation most of the time. (Though I’ll need to figure something else out when I venture out beyond quarter tones.)

To date, I’ve mostly written with Musescore, but am (modestly) investing in some VST libraries (I have VSCO2 Pro and plan to get full Kontakt in a couple weeks, not to mention sometimes I want to use a synth). I do hold a Reaper license and am considering whether I’d rather use Musescore to “play” midi to Reaper, learn Reaper’s notation editor, try Dorico, or something else.

So, if you wanted to write mostly in Western notation and produce electronic music that won’t be played, what workflows would you consider? I have a midi controller, but, not being a performer, I tend to write with the mouse.

I’d say your idea of writing your music in a notation program, and then exporting as midi (or audio) to a DAW to add the electronica is probably the best idea. I don’t know Reaper’s notation editor; I’ve worked with Musescore and I much prefer Dorico, but your mileage may vary. I hope this helps!

Last time that I used one, the score editors in Reaper or other DAWS are really “part editors”, not score editors. That is, you don’t (or didn’t) get to edit a musical work, you just edit the part for a given channel, and not very well in comparison to any of the notation software options out there that I’ve tried.

I’ve done most of that at one point or another. I think I’ve tried every possible way to connect several notation programs to Reaper (and its a lot easier with Reaper than Pro tools because Pro Tools is less flexible in its channel types and routing). But that was before Dorico 3+.

If you really want to hook them together and write with a mouse, then I’d suggest looking at Notion. It supports Rewire today and seems the most mouse intuitive to me.

But If you are willing to learn things like popovers and expression maps, you can get broadcast quality straight out of Dorico in a fraction of the time, and with less computing resources and pain of connecting to something like Reaper.

Hey, just because I’m passionate about it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. :slight_smile:

Could you please elaborate on what you mean by popovers? How do you use those for a more realistic playback?

Popovers are the pop-up windows where you can type input into Dorico, as an alternative to the dialog boxes in other apps. One advantage is they are small, and appear “attached” to the place where the input is going to be used. For example to enter dynamics, you can select where you want to put the dynamic(s), press shift-D to get the popover box, and then type p, ff, or something more complicated like the attachment. (For playback, the “dim.” is the automatically the made the right length to start at the sfz and end at the ppp).

Of course you can do the same thing by selecting dynamics from the right hand panel, but the popovers are quicker.
Select a passage and use the dynamics popover.png
The end result.png

Sure - My bad, I was mixing speed with broadcast quality in the same sentence.

Popovers are an example of doing things from the computer keyboard that are way faster for most people than using the mouse. Type Shift-P (for playing technique) and enter “shake”, “mute”, "pizz, “vib”. “wah”… Most of us I think experience that as being faster than hunting down the right menu or symbol to click on, and it speeds your learning because the Shift-P popover understands most of the normal words that you might use to describe a playing technique. If it doesn’t, you can teach it.

It DOES impact playback quality in the sense that Playing Techniques and articulations, dynamics and such get mapped to Playback techniques, so they are the key to avoiding a bland MIDI sound without a lot of drawing curves in the mixer or DAW. They let you spend more of your time thinking musically instead of technologically, Some setup is required to map them to the VST or CC’s that you use, but that work is re-usable.

Thanks for explaining, the pair of you! As a DAW “curve drawer” I’m looking forward to learning all about Dorico’s expression maps.

Thank you for the replies so far. I’ve downloaded Dorico SE and will compare writing a piece for flute (Kontakt: VSCO2) and harp (Pianoteq) in Dorico and the Reaper notation editor. I will also compare Dorico’s expression maps to Reaper’s Reaticulate extension, as I’ll want to build an expression map for VSCO2 in whichever system I end up settling on.