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#391319 - 07/28/06 09:56 PM Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
I just wrote lead sheets for a few songs, standard notation for the melody with words under them and guitar chords over them. I could have fired up the midi kb and printed them out on the computer, but I had started writing them at a friend's house and thought I'd keep going the old way.

So here's my question:

Does anyone transcribe or write by hand anymore? My cubase program makes nice notation, but my old purple Pentel .09 mechanical pencil is calling me.

How about you?

Mike

Mike

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#391320 - 07/28/06 11:50 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 276
Lady Fitzgerald Offline
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Lady Fitzgerald  Offline
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Tempe, AZ , USA
When I consider how lousy my handwriting is, how much longer it takes me to notate music by hand, and that I would have no easy way to check to see if I really got it down right, why would I want to do it by hand? Believe me, the singers in my little group really appreciate the arrangements I crank out using PrintMusic (a lowcost, stripped down version of Finale) over what I could do by hand.

As far as recording ideas that may strike me (yes, it's painful) when I'm away from my computer, I have a little digital recorder I keep in my purse where it's easy to get at. I can even safely use it while I'm driving, especially compared to trying to write while driving.


------------------
Jeannie


Jeannie

#391321 - 07/29/06 02:19 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Joined: Apr 2001
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Nashville Tennessee
Hey Jeannie,

When I started learning to transcribe music, it took me forever to crank out one measure. Gradually, over the years, it came faster, but it was necessity that gave me the skill. If we had Finale back then, I'd have never learned. I wonder how much this skill will diminish among the younger and future generations?

I need to get one of those recorders, I end up pulling over and writing lyrics on an envelope [Linked Image]

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#391322 - 07/29/06 03:12 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
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Lady Fitzgerald Offline
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Lady Fitzgerald  Offline
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My recorder is a tiny Sony digital with a 16 hour capacity I got from Radio Shack. It's small and handy but it is a battery hog so I keep a spare set of rechargeable batteries in my purse. I got it primarily for when I'm driving. It's supposed to be non-computer compatible (there are more expensive models you can download to a computer) but I found I can hook a patch cord to the earphone jack on the recorder and to the line in on my computer. Then I use a freebie audio recording program (Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) to record the playback.

I still use pen and paper for lyric ideas when I'm not driving. I find I can use PrintMusic for writing down music faster than doing it by hand (I tend to agonize over making my handwriting readable; without much success, may I add) plus it has the bonus of being WAY easier to edit and check if I did it correctly. Most of what I do are three and four part a cappella vocal arrangements and since I'm not an instrumentalist, having playback to check what I've written is really handy. It saves me a lot of that ephemeral (and almost fictitious) commodity known as spare time.


------------------
Jeannie


Jeannie

#391323 - 07/31/06 08:28 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Graham Henderson (D) Offline
Graham Henderson (D)  Offline

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Esperance. West Australia
Very occassionaly, and likewise slowly Mike.
More oftern i click it into a Cakewalk notation page with the mouse, but only if i really have to for somebody who is lost without sheet music.
Luckily, most I work with are lost with sheet music and pick everything up by ear from my plays or sings.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhenderson_music.htm

#391324 - 07/31/06 12:44 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
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Lady Fitzgerald Offline
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Lady Fitzgerald  Offline
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In my case, most of the people I work with do read music to some degree or another. Having music also makes sure everyone is on the same page (pardon the pun), especially when working with tight three part harmony.


------------------
Jeannie


Jeannie

#391325 - 07/31/06 03:30 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Anaheim, CA, USA
Mike, are you talking just about the art of writing down the symbols etc or about knowing enough music theory to accurately notate a song or arrangement as it is supposed to sound?

Playing in midi music to a notation program doesn't always end up with properly transcribed music notation even with Finale. You usually have to go back over the music and painstakingly make corrections. You still have to have adequate knowledge of music theory and be familiar with the limitations and possibilities of the individual instruments to do it properly. Notation programs are not a substitute for music study but can actually be an aid to learn it more quickly. On the other hand, some of the features like automatic transposition etc. might lead someone to take the easy way out. But even the automatic transposition has its limitations. In some cases, accompaniment parts need to be rewritten because they don't sound right when simply raised or lowered.

In the case of the art of music calligraphy, I personally have never seen a handwritten score which is easier to read than an engraved copy, even when artfully done. To me it's just like handwriting. I appreciate good handwriting but a typed page is still easier to read and takes up less space than a handwritten page. Like handwriting, being able to transcribe quickly and legibly by hand comes in handy when a computer isn't handy, or for last minute changes before rehearsal and performance.

If you are talking about knowing how to properly transcribe music as it is supposed to sound, then I would say in most areas of popular music, fewer people know how to notate because they don't know how to read standard music. Many if not most compose and play by ear. Band music, (not rock and roll, country etc.) orchestral music, movie scores choir and religious music etc., still require the composer to know how to read and write standard notation.

When I first started composing religious music, all the publishers required sheet music. Most of the big liturgical publishers still do. OCP requires it and isn't even interested in recordings of the music. They call them optional, but a staff member told me they rarely listen to them. Music which is properly notated and has decent lyrics and suitable content is sorted out from all the submissions and then given to a committee which listens to the music played by real musicians.

GIA which is a major publishing house even warns people not to submit sheet music done with a notation program unless they really know what they are doing. (Probably because of the midi problem I mentioned before.)

Anyway, enough with those boring details. There are still plenty of composers and copyists who don't rely on midi input to notate music. You just won't find many of them in country, pop, rock etc. For me, I rely on the sheet music. My memory isn't what it used to be and to top it off if I don't notate what I intend to play, I end up with spontaneous variations which works OK in Jazz but not in congregational singing, LOL.


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#391326 - 08/04/06 01:31 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
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Lady Fitzgerald Offline
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Hi, Jean! You reminded me of a joke I heard a while back. If two people sing (play) a note and they sound the same, it's in unison. If they are different but sound good, it's called harmony. If they are different and sound terrible, it's called jazz.



------------------
Jeannie


Jeannie

#391327 - 08/04/06 02:01 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
That's funny, Lady Fitz, I had a buddy, a jazzer, who used to say to the audience while tuning, "We tune up so we can play together in different keys."


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#391328 - 08/06/06 12:55 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
Joined: Dec 2003
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Jean Larson Offline
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Jean Larson  Offline
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I notate by hand on occasion. It's easier sometimes. I can just take down the rhythm first, with sticks, and get the notes after, by putting a blob on the staff. (Or put down the pitches first with a hash mark, and go back to give it a time value.)

If someone else has to read it...I go straight to my PrintMusic program. It IS a pain to clean it up, but sometimes it's much quicker to play a melody in than to write it or point-and-click it.

I guess I use hand notation for myself, when I want to write down an unfamiliar piece of music, and I use the computer program when I expect someone else to read it.

I am so glad that 90% of the time, all I need is a chord chart for the musicians I play with. They mostly think like I do---that the written notes are just a suggestion. Heh heh. --Jean

#391329 - 08/07/06 02:06 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
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Lady Fitzgerald Offline
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Lady Fitzgerald  Offline
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Tempe, AZ , USA
Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Mike Dunbar:
That's funny, Lady Fitz, I had a buddy, a jazzer, who used to say to the audience while tuning, "We tune up so we can play together in different keys."

</font>


Another one , told while tuning, is, "We are playing a Chinese song: Tu-NING."


------------------
Jeannie

[This message has been edited by Lady Fitzgerald (edited 08-07-2006).]


Jeannie

#391330 - 08/07/06 03:02 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
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Lady Fitzgerald Offline
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Lady Fitzgerald  Offline
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Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by AKA JeanB:
...You still have to have adequate knowledge of music theory and be familiar with the limitations and possibilities of the individual instruments to do it properly. Notation programs are not a substitute for music study but can actually be an aid to learn it more quickly. ...In some cases, accompaniment parts need to be rewritten because they don't sound right when simply raised or lowered.
</font>


You are so right about needing to have a good foundation in music theory. A notation program is a tool. A tool is only as good as the skill of the person using it. Better tools give better results only if the user has sufficient skills to use them. For those with those skills, better tools can give better and/or faster results.

I found PrintMusic not only gave me the ability to notate music more quickly and legibly than by hand, it has been a huge help increasing my knowledge of music theory and notation, especially the latter.

Because of a need for help with the PrintMusic from time to time, I found the Finale Forums (http://forum.makemusic.com/default.aspx?c=1) which both helped considerably to improve my limited knowledge of music notation (both in theory and in context with PrintMusic) and music theory. It was in the Finale forums (Windows forum) that I learned of another forum, Compose Music Forums (http://www.composeforums.com/forum/default.asp) which is primarily for Composers but deals a lot with music theory, including arranging which especially was of value since I mostly arrange vocal music. It was there I found out about Just Plain Folks from AKA JeanB. This group has been helpful for starting up my fledgling vocal band, the Singing Muses (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/singingmuses/).

Just as an example of how a music notation program is not a substitute for a knowledge of music theory, voicing, etc. ...I arranged a parody for my little group to use at the end of the act to solicit tips. At one performance, I gave the wrong starting pitch (stuff happens), the key of F maj instead of G maj as originally arranged. Upon getting home from the gig, I immediately transposed the music to F maj since we sounded so much fuller just by dropping a step (and still staying in the alto's range.

One thing Jean didn't mention about transposing music in a notion program is often the sharps and flats related to the key change gets hosed up resulting in unnecessary double sharps and flats, a sharped note being used when it would have been more appropriate to use the next note higher flatted (and vice versa), etc., which only an adequate knowledge of music theory would be able to sort out.

Something else that a music notation program cannot do adequately without a knowledgable user is arranging. There are some programs floating around, such a Band-in-a-Box that can churn out arrangements but I've heard that the output is somewhat boring and rather predictable. Even with my limited knowledge, I can do much better.


------------------
Jeannie

[This message has been edited by Lady Fitzgerald (edited 08-07-2006).]


Jeannie

#391331 - 08/07/06 03:05 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
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Lady Fitzgerald Offline
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Lady Fitzgerald  Offline
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Tempe, AZ , USA
Ooopsie. Hit wrong button. Sorry.

[This message has been edited by Lady Fitzgerald (edited 08-07-2006).]


Jeannie

#391332 - 11/03/06 10:53 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 21
Taura Offline
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Taura  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 21
New Zealand
Hi Mike and friends

I notated heaps of scores, parts and lead sheets by hand before midi moved into my life.

Then I went through a couple of decades of the leading edge macIntosh and PC sequencing and notation programmes and all the production palava that went with that.

Now that all that dust has settled, here's where I am on this pencil v computer question today.

For online notation and bookwriting needs and demands, where I'm writing volumes of notes that will be read by remote readers on paper or screen, I'll use Sibelius.

For face to face notation needs, for charts, music lessons and guitar lessons, I'll use a point 7 or point 9 pencil or a Rotring italic nib, notation pen to write on either score paper or guitar tab paper.

In face to face situations, musicians and students like seeing something being written out in front of their eyes.

I know that in on-demand situations, in the time I would take to fire up Sibelius, select the paper, font, various preferences etc, I've virtually finished the chart by hand.

In addition people seem to like watching you notate by hand rather than talking to your back, while you hunch over a screen. It's a bit more social.

Sometimes I really enjoy the old pencil-friction-paper sensations and marvel at what a pencil can do. ("Wow! Look at that chart my pencil just wrote! Technology!")

Cheers

#391333 - 11/04/06 11:40 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
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Softkrome Offline
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Mike, Before computers I anotated all my songs as lead sheets by hand. When I was working that way I always had difficulty getting the lyrics placed properly as syllables under each note because my handwriting isn't very good. I do have books of lead sheets written by hand. Now I rarely write in anything by hand. I use Finale to make my lead sheets. It not only gives a better picture of the song but it eliminates collision of lyrics, which was my problem when writing by hand. For short sections of a new song I will sometimes write in the notes by hand, but later convert them by Finale. I practically never transpose an entire piece of music anymore without using Finale, using it permits me to make an immediate change to the new key. Beside being able to listen to it in the new key. I still do write every composition down as a lead sheet because I believe that that's the true way to "write" a song. Frank V.


Softkrome
#391334 - 11/04/06 02:16 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore?  
Joined: Apr 2006
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kevingermain Offline
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kevingermain  Offline
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easthampton MA USA
cool topic!

neat to read that Taura uses a callgraphy pen still. About ten years ago I tried my hand at getting a home business running for music notation, but failed miserably. I wish had been born earlier enough to have been trained in the old school methods by a person who did it every day. But alas, this is the day of the computer... I come from a commercial printing background and have had the pleasure of seeing both the old methods go and the computer take over. Some good, some bad...

When it comes to transcribing music or composing I have tons of pages of hand written notes, I don't care for the influence that machines have over musical choices. I see it as akin to writing piano music while sitting at a guitar.

But, if I have a finished piece that needs presentation out and about, I certainly use Finale, theres no longer the need to beat ones head trying to do the math in figuring how many notes and measures per line to work out.

I love a sharp pencil, give me a piece of paper and a pencil and I'll be quite for hours [Linked Image]

------------------
Listen to some songs! or some Instrumental music
Read some thoughts!
Watch some youTube!

#491815 - 04/11/07 01:53 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: kevingermain]  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,601
Linda Sings Offline
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Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,601
Scorpio
I do! I do!
I use a composition notebook and a sharp pencil while I sit at the piano and scribble down the gist of a new song. I'll never love music transcription, but I like that tactile sensation of pencil on paper.

Plus I've discovered it's a lot harder to hunch over the piano bench and try to balance my laptop somewhere on the upright while I try to click into Finale Notepad.

I also discovered that if I just compose the lead sheet/arrangement in Finale, I wind up with music that sounds good on playback but is impossible for most human fingers to PLAY.

I go to NotePad (freeware from Finale) after I've made my rough draft on paper. I'm not excellent at figuring out the notation, so the computer helps me fix my screw-ups into what they were supposed to be, because of the playback feature... such as when I thought I was using dotted quarters, but they're actually triplets, or something like that.

I also use Finale so I can translate my scribbles into something other people can make sense out of. *I* like to play from my scribbly notebook. I know how my own song goes and which parts to repeat. But it's a mess--a total nightmare--for anyone but me to read. I don't always start writing at the beginning. So I'll have one piece of the song at the top of the page. The next piece at the bottom of page two. The chorus somewhere inbetween. I should scan a page one of these days to show you what I'm talking about. It's kinda funny. My lyric notebook is the same way... some pages are upside down, some I write sideways... I try to label V1, V2, chorus, bridge at least, in case I come back and can't remember what the flip I was thinking.

If I'm away from my notebooks, say in the car, I'll scribble the lyric on a scrap of paper and make funny dash-marks above the words to indicate whether the melody goes up or down. Usually I remember the melody, if I can get the words written. I recorded a melody on the beach once using the videocam on my hubby's cell phone. That's probably the strangest method I ever used. But it worked.

Linda


Last edited by Linda P. Adams; 04/11/07 02:00 AM.
#492443 - 04/13/07 10:09 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Linda Sings]  
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Tom Tracy Offline
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Yup - I sit in front of a computer all day, so try to avoid it as much as possible when I want to enjoy myself.

So yeah, I write notation by hand.
I tried to write notation by foot (see Mike Dunbar avatar) so I wouldn't have to put the guitar down, but it was just too sloppy to read. so I do it by hand.

#492579 - 04/13/07 08:53 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Tom Tracy]  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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LOL Tom.
When I have made the big decision to try and come up with something new on guitar, I have the recorder playing as sort of scat along as I play and simply mumble what chord I have changed to when, (and if) I do so I can remember where I went later and write them down into their correct bars, when (and if) I put the guitar down.
No matter how badly I play guitar, it has always been a relaxing thing for me to do, so it is all good and creative as I see it.
Graham

#492840 - 04/14/07 03:53 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Graham Henderson (D)]  
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Two Singers Offline
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Mike...

I would have even the faintest idea how to do it. I just play what I hear, or what my mind creates, and then record it. Now, I could do a chord chart for you, but no notation.

I guess it wouldn't hurt to learn...would save a few bucks on getting lead sheets done, when necessary!

Alan

Last edited by Al David; 04/15/07 06:51 PM.
#493008 - 04/15/07 02:46 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Two Singers]  
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Bob Young (D) Offline
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I used to...but there were just too darn many mistakes in my pencil..so..I found a guy with a better pencil

bob

#493020 - 04/15/07 04:47 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Bob Young (D)]  
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Lynman Bacolor Offline
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Not anymore Mike.

#493273 - 04/15/07 11:03 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Lynman Bacolor]  
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Nate Goodrich Offline
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Mike,
I still like to write any classically oriented ideas I have down on staff paper because I find it faster for me. I've used Finale and I find that it's great for playback of multiple instruments, especially when writing out string quartet parts and other things I can't fully "playback" in my head. I really believe that the skill of "playing back" music in your head as if you were a conductor looking at a score could be lost if students use Finale or Sibelius from an early age. Music notation is a great skill to have and practice. I get rusty if I'm not doing it on a regular basis...
Nate

#494189 - 04/18/07 11:01 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Nate Goodrich]  
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I'd have to agree with Nate, I use sibelius for my classical ideas and my ear training has gone to the wayside. I used to have a professor that writes out full classical scores straight from his noggin via the pencil to the page. But Sibelius is my crutch, and its ease of use will probably prevent me from developing my ear any more unfortunately (unless I go back to school and the force me to do it, always hated ear training...)

Mike


My name is Mike and I like to play guitar and I like to play the keys and I like to write music and I like to write long run-on sentences that use the word 'like' a lot!

http://www.myspace.com/mikeredwine
#496746 - 04/26/07 04:23 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Vondelle Offline
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I like to write it by hand, when I do notation.

#499674 - 05/04/07 02:14 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Vondelle]  
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MargoSE2 Offline
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I just spent several long days and evenings notating a song by hand by listening to the demo....then transposing it by ear and notating again, then writing a choral arrangement. I didn't take the time to write out the accompaniment. Typed the words and glued them under the notes. Now, who can tell me which program I need to make this all easier? I have a digital Roland Piano, and a PC. WHat program would print out the accompaniment from it being played from a keyboard? Thanks......Margo


MargoSueEdwards
#499808 - 05/04/07 02:04 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: MargoSE2]  
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kaboombahchuck Offline
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I do still notate by hand....
It's still my first step. I do use a simplified method tho... Kind of a short hand way of going about it.
I have found that with midi sequencing that utilizing a "piano roll" works.
In the end I use notation software along with midi sequincing to nail down the idea. Then it's off to the "real" thing.
Kinda cool!
Technology, either you love it, or you hate it.

So, Margo....
Look into a good midi sequincing program that can read and record your playing in real time and display it as notation.... I don't use a windows operating system, so not recomandations there.

Last edited by kaboombahchuck; 05/04/07 02:07 PM.
#505302 - 05/20/07 11:01 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: kaboombahchuck]  
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Dave Derbes Offline
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I do both hand notation and Finale. I compose at the piano and do most of the sketching there. I find that allows me to focus on music, not techology. Then I go to the puter and work things out there. I do not have a large midi keyboard so I use either a mini or just use the qwerty keyboard (which i've gotten pretty good at). Finale can be really tricky when it comes to all the nuances that make up a piece of music. it takes 2 seconds to draw a crescedo.....and 16 undo attempts on finale.

I really like using finale to score and playback what I've written. I usually do that for my choral pieces.

I don't write lyrics at the computer either. I just find it to be uncreative for me.

DAve

#543957 - 09/24/07 03:40 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Dave Derbes]  
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floridasongs Offline
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My first music notation program was Electronic Art's "Deluxe Music Construction Set".

It was on my Commodore Amiga 500 computer.

The first collection of songs I sent to the Copyright Office in 1966 were handwritten lead sheets.

The audio mediums of that age were vinyl records and reel-to-reel tapes. Cassette tapes were not invented yet.

#543967 - 09/24/07 04:12 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: floridasongs]  
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Hummingbird Offline
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Does anyone transcribe or write by hand anymore? My cubase program makes nice notation, but my old purple Pentel .09 mechanical pencil is calling me.

Yes, I do. I do tend to use the computer programs to create lead sheets, but often when I am composing I am at the piano with blank leger lines in front of me and a good sharp pencil.


Vikki Flawith: Songwriter/Composer, Singer/Voice Teacher

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#548023 - 10/11/07 01:00 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Hummingbird]  
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I often think up a tune from the top of my head.
When I sit down to try and figure out a song, it sounds derivative and forced.
The notation software programs would probably defect with what I do. I have an interest in film music also, which often does'nt have a strict song form. I'm here basically to learn to tighten up song structure doing the 3 to 4 minute verse chorus song, and learn more about recording.
I could do something of a standard blues song, learning the scale. Which really is'nt hard to do. But I would rather be off kilter because it starts sounding like something I have heard a million times before otherwise.
More like muzak than anything artistic.
I can write at a very simple level the particuliar chords and measures of a song.
I wonder how the notation software would read with something really off kilter?
Or if that is'nt even a factor.
There are some notes I hear I don't think I have ever heard before.
Maybe this is a dumb question, but has every note there has been been accounted for, and how would anyone know that?
In a lot of alternative rock there are all kinds of bent notes and the object often is making up chords.
Well, at least that was the case more in the beginning of the scene.

Matt

#548025 - 10/11/07 01:13 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: mattbanx]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Hey Matt,

Notes are all taken. What may be possible is microtones (hence the bent notes) but probably not. We've been playing the blues for a long time and that guitar neck is smaller than me. An infinite number of amp monkeys.

What could be new is in tonality. As we explore that, it will eventually dry up. Compared to the human genome or the newest prime numbers, music is child's play.

Hummingbird, I use a mechanical pencil with .009 lead. I keep it sharp by turning the pencil with the lead as an axis as I write. I don't like it too sharp, it doesn't copy as well. I like what draftsmen used to call a "paintbrush."


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#657329 - 10/05/08 02:04 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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markus-ky Offline
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just recently got Score Writer 4.1 from GenieSoft. cool so far. using it to do lead sheets, that's it. have done it by hand since taking music theory 16 yrs. ago.


#657463 - 10/05/08 06:01 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: markus-ky]  
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Marc Novoselec Offline
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Since a lot of my original stuff employs altered tunings, I find it takes too long to figure it all out to notate my stuff; typically I'll do a brief tab sketch of my own stuff, but really hardly ever.

With my students, I encourage them to learn to read standard notation, but tab always wins the day for ease of writing and speed of writing within the context of a half hour guitar lesson. For the few who do want their lessons etc notated, I always tell them I'm happy to do it but I also tell them it does take quite a bit longer for me to write out neatly and accurately.

I've tried some of those notation programs, but I really have no need for them for my own music, though I've heard tell of some guys who just start messing around putting down any random notes and then try to play it, I guess it removes the "writing habits" we all seem to have though!

#666365 - 11/09/08 02:20 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Marc Novoselec]  
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Samuel Harris Offline
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Samuel Harris  Offline
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I saw High School Musical 3 at Disney Land last week; liked what I heard and took my daughter to the HSM3 movie the next day and then on the following day saw the show again in Disney Land. Now, until then I had never really taken that series seriously- although my 14 year old son had watched it so many times on Dish Network that I thought it was a weekly series. But now that I have heard it, I am impressed by the orchestration and arrangement of all the parts. Somebody had to understand the music very thoroughly to accomplish what I was hearing. So for Mike Dunbar or others who may be acquainted with the level of talent that can pull of these wonderful arrangements, how do you learn to do that? What I am taking about is not just a melody line and harmony, but counter melodies, witty variations and instrument choices that make the piece come alive and allow the choreography jump off the stage. It is such an interesting marriage of music, story and choreography that it seems to be an entirely new form of art. I saw a little of this in Grease and Hairspray and of course Jackson's Thriller. It is so complex and interwoven; you know that it doesn't happen by accident. Someone is thinking this all out. Something magical is happening at the intersection of craft and reckless abandon. What is that craft?


"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
#666508 - 11/09/08 07:21 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Samuel Harris]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Joe,

It takes a combination of talent and learned skill.

Probably most who do it started out in grade school or high school band, where they learned the interaction of instruments. In college, they were taught the basics of orchestration: what is the range of different instruments; what instruments compliment each other; how do voices move. And, perhaps most importantly, they analyzed great works. From Gregorian Chant, to Respighi, through Bach to Beethoven, and on to Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikowski, and even Altschuler and Perez. A wealth of work by the Europeans. The Blues and Jazz developed by the African-American composers turned into Rock, which was affected by the Ragas of India and the Reels and Jigs of Ireland. All of these were being assimilated by orchestrators.

Greats, like Billy Strayhorn, who wrote arrangements for Duke Ellington, or Neal Hefti, Frank Foster and Billy Byers who arranged for Count Basie, all have been studied, copied and analyzed. Broadway brought in a whole crop of arrangers as well as an amazing work by a man who became the Nexus of serious symphonic music and the Broadway stage with his seminal work "West Side Story," Maestro Leonard Bernstein.

The modern composers and orchestrators include two of my favorites from the film world. Bernard Hermann, Hitchcock's "go to" composer of many of his greats including "Psycho" and my all time favorite film score, "The Birds," and of course John Williams, composer of the themes for "Jaws," "Star Wars," and "Indiana Jones."

Yes, it is the arranger or orchestrator, who may or may not be the composer, that is responsible for the magic. Knowing when too little is too little and too much is too much, knowing what will work and what won't all takes experience, heart, soul, and work.



You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#666531 - 11/09/08 09:01 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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If you don't have the time or money to take lessons you can learn to do at least some of it on your own. Although I did take lessons in reading music as a teen, I wasn't as strong reader and couldn't notate correctly until I was close to 40. I bought the academic version of Finale back then and through trial and error started to learn notation and am now composing using notation. LOL, at the time I should have used the less advanced version because it was a few years before I could use it to my advantage. Now that I have learned using the program, I am actually able to notate by to some degree and actually get it right. It has also helped me to learn to sight sing a little as well.


By the way, the new Finale Notepad 2009 now costs $10 dollars. It has a lot of really nice features and you can transpose with it now and select a variety of instruments. You can get the 2008 version which is still free but doesn't have the extra features. It's well worth the money.


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#666741 - 11/10/08 04:11 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Samuel Harris Offline
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Thanks Mike.

I have been in awe of the orchestration of music since watching "Sound of Music" in the 60's. I don't really watch opera but I can't help think that "West Side Story", "Oklahoma", "South Pacific", "Grease" and "Annie" to name some of my favorites, are American version of Operas. I know that some works like "American in Paris" are largely the work of one composer and that other works are collaborations.

I guess I have been humbled thinking that I was a pretty good songwriter turning out little tunes and lyrics when my stuff is just a little frost sitting on the iceberg of musical achievement.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
#670329 - 11/25/08 02:21 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Samuel Harris]  
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Cher Klosner Offline
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Oh Mike!

How I wish I could do that...I was never schooled in notation as a kid, and when it came time for me to have to write sheet music, I quickly became a a Sibelius girl - I started on Passport many moons ago, moved to Finale, but Sibelius made it so much easier.

Handwritten charts are always good practice for me - I just rarely have the time, but wow, are they ever gorgeous - what an art.

Cher smile

#675197 - 12/15/08 04:09 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Cher Klosner]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Denmark
Hi Mike,

I did reach the 'crawling' level of notation, and sometimes use it when I start writing from humming a melody acapella, to edit the notes. But more often I just work with notation when correcting the midi transcription software, which is not that often, either.

But I just loove the aestethics of a handwritten leadsheet. I have made just a few, and when I look at them I just can't believe that I have arranged the notes into something others can understand on paper.

Notation in general is a lost art, but kind of nice-to-know, if not need-to. It would be hard to share and work with theoretical insights in your editing, without notation.


Buzz Tracks
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#675410 - 12/16/08 11:48 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Kolstad]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Nashville Tennessee
Cher,

An old buddy of mine was an elegant calligrapher, and, man, could he make great notation charts! Mine look like they were done by a first grader. smile

Magne,

Musical notation is, as you said, aesthetically pleasing. It has a balance and a flow. I've seen many systems of writing music, from shape notes to guitar tab and gregorian chant. I've never seen anything as useful, accurate and elegant as standard notation.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#675456 - 12/16/08 01:57 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Jack Swain Offline
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Jack Swain  Offline
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Berwyn, IL, US
It is actually kind of fun to write out musical notation, taking the music from your head to the page, accounting for note values, time signature, tempo and all that. There is an art to determining note values, especially when you are writing to include blue notes, and syncopation. However, I have not done it in quite some time. I will probably write out arrangements for the instruments when the opportunity presents itself that I can go into a studio with a full band including horns, but all my money goes to college and I have none to speak of for recording right now, so it is not really a priority for me. As far as using software to do it, I have no problem with that, but I love the physicality and art involved in writing on manuscript paper by hand, just as I do writing lyrics. I never write on a computer until I have finished writing it out on a pad of paper. The computer simply provides an easy method for printing it out later that is easy to read.

#676147 - 12/19/08 02:19 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Jack Swain]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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I’m a dinosaur. I still use pen and manuscript. When I make mistakes, I just scribble over it and continue on. I’ve gotten use to reading my scribbling.

Best, John

#676575 - 12/21/08 07:43 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Quote

Musical notation is, as you said, aesthetically pleasing. It has a balance and a flow. I've seen many systems of writing music, from shape notes to guitar tab and gregorian chant. I've never seen anything as useful, accurate and elegant as standard notation.


Amen smile


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http://jpfolks.com
http://phillipmartin.com


#678056 - 12/30/08 02:35 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Sylvia Offline
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Sylvia  Offline
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CA
I often write my music "by hand" - especially when I am "on the road". I did learn in the old days - with pencil and manuscript paper, and india ink and "onionskin" / vellum paper for final copies.

I cut my computer teeth on some of the first entries into the computer notation field, and now am equally at home with both Finale and Sibelius, and can navigate most others.

I do pretty much (98% of the time) use computer notation for the final print versions of my music, and my performers appreciate the "readability". But as was said - you've got to get your MIDI right - and quantize properly, and go back and do very precise editing to make it all perfect! This is especially true when writing for film!

I do love the act of simply writing the music by hand - it is somehow freeing and inspiring, and I often draft pieces that way - just enjoying a park, or spending time outdoors with my dog, or just finding a quiet spot somewhere and writing.Then I save the computer for final print versions, or for creating MIDI/sampled recordings of what I have written.


Sylvia Lee Mann
Composer, Conductor, Violist
Music Director and Conductor
West Covina Symphony Orchestra
Director of Music, UU Church of Studio City
http://sylvialeemann.com
http://westcovinasymphony.com
sylvia@sylvialeemann.com
#678105 - 12/30/08 08:35 PM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Sylvia]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Welcome, Sylvia. Please post often.

Very nice music on your website!



You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#941900 - 01/23/12 02:31 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Pat Hardy Offline
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Over the last 40 years, the majority of which I did charts by hand, when I got my first computer 12 years ago, and then software to do lead sheets, and then software that mimicked the handwritten style ( like band in a box does with their jazz fonts ) , it is so much easier and faster that I can't imagining doing my hand, unless, I'm somewhere where a computer is not handy.

#941903 - 01/23/12 02:36 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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Meg Engell Offline
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Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 576
The Place to Be
I write notation by hand whenever I possibly can. I don't really use a computer for much involving my music minus JPF and recording. Now that I can do that. smile


Now writing as Orion Redgrave.

Check me out on tumblr @orionredgrave
#1010956 - 06/05/13 09:50 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Meg Engell]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,264
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,264
Indianapolis, IN USA
Hey Meg, where did you learn notation?


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1010964 - 06/05/13 10:24 AM Re: Does anyone write notation by hand anymore? [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 290
Sue Rarick Offline
Top 500 Poster
Sue Rarick  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 290
Springfield, TN
About arranging: My Mom and Grandma were both well trained professional musicians and they taught me.

Although it's been eons since I have had to do it, my mom used to hand me a lead sheet and then tell me to make it a jazz, rock, Motown, broadway arrangement. The next lead sheet may have had to be a classical orchestra or a blues and string quartet arrangement all off of the same lead sheet.

I never did do arranging as a job but it really came in handy when I'd do a session and the producer asked for a style of playing. It taught me the differences between styles such as progression, interval, accent and dynamic differences between each style.

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