Composers: What do you use?

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So I'm finding out that there's actually quite a few composers on this forum. More than I initially thought, anyway. So I wanted to know what everyone uses, mainly out of curiosity, but also to get some suggestions.

I use TabIt, because I started out on guitar and it was the first program I got. Sure, I can read standard notation, but I was really into guitar back then.  I still use it because of how much freedom it gives you. It lets you use the pitch bend and modulation whenever you want to, and however you want to. GuitarPro, for one, has a pitch bend and modulation feature, but TabIt lets you use them unrealistically, and I love that. :D It doesn't bind you to rules of rhythm or anything like that, it just lets you write and it's completely up to you to do it professionally. So if you don't know what you're doing, your song will sound like crap. For example, you could accidentally add a 1/4 of a beat into a measure (if you're an idiot :D ) and TabIt wouldn't correct you. I like that, because I can't even figure out how to change time signature mid-song in Sibelius.
Also, the other, more professional programs make you set everything up before hand. You choose your key, tempo, time signature, and instrument sets in the beginning, and it's a little difficult to add new instruments in or change time signatures and whatnot later on, so basically you have to know exactly what you're going to write BEFORE you write it. (Again, I'm saying this out of inexperience of Sibelius and GuitarPro, but that in itself gives TabIt another advantage: ridiculously easy of use. Especially for a person that started out on guitar.) Also, writing percussion parts in Sibelius and GuitarPro is an endurance trial through fire compared to doing in it TabIt. :o

But TabIt does have a few drawbacks. Much like in the way that TabIt will not make your song sound professional, YOU must do that yourself, TabIt also does nothing to make your song sound realistic. Again, that is something you must learn to do yourself. Both by using volume changes and mastering the art of bending to make things sound realistic, and taking into account the subtleties of real instruments, and also by getting a soundcard that has a good soundfont set. Right, TabIt has no RSE like GuitarPro does. It runs solely on the MIDI that you provide for it. This is the reason (pun) why I'm looking into other programs. Like Reason. My soundfont set is pretty decent, but it's not high-quality, and most people aren't able to look past the sound of the instruments in the song and listen to the writing itself unless they've also been in your situation. Also, even though you can make your song sound very professional in TabIt, the REAL professionals do not see TabIt as professional at all. I'm not going to get into a debate about this, but I can see why they think this, the major reason being TabIt is in tablature format, and has no standard notation format.

So I'm downloading Reason now, and I'm going to give that a try, because I've heard great things about it and what it can do for more modern-styled songs. What I may end up doing it writing in TabIt, exporting midi, and pumping it through Reason, but that all depends on how easy it is to write with Reason.

So, uh, what do you guys use?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 01:40:50 AM by HaloOfTheSun »

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I began with eJay Ibiza. It was more a messing around for fun than really good, but I began to actually like that. Later I got myself FruitLoops. This prog is more than great. You can make EVERYTHING, EVERY STYLE OF MUSIC and render it either to
« Last Edit: April 08, 2006, 08:23:53 PM by Blizzard »
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I use TabIt, and love it pretty much for the same reasons arlen does. What I make in it usually isn't actual guitar or rock stuff, more orchestral, but I like how even though TabIt is designed for guitar stuff, I can do my kinda thing anyway.

I've got no need to look for any other tool, seeing as I have the tools required to take the simple MIDI output from TabIt and make it sound awesome. I've wrote a guide answering most of the questions I was asked about it.

Poll Expanded ~

+Sticky, seeing as this is a general intrest thread.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 10:26:54 PM by Silverline »

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I started using Noteworthy Composer, which is better than most people think. If you can read standard notation anyway. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy and you can do almost anything you'd need to for a MIDI with it.

Now I use Finale, which does everything. Even if you can't read notation, you can just write in tabs, or a combination of both, or whatever. I'm actually teaching myself to read tabs this way: just write in notation, and then copy and paste it into tabs, and then I know what the notation would be if it were written in tabs. And you can do the pitch bends and modulation on instruments, like mentioned before. It also plays the music in a certain style, for example Rock. It will then play the song with all the
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I use TabIt, and love it pretty much for the same reasons arlen does. What I make in it usually isn't actual guitar or rock stuff, more orchestral, but I like how even though TabIt is designed for guitar stuff, I can do my kinda thing anyway.

I've got no need to look for any other tool, seeing as I have the tools required to take the simple MIDI output from TabIt and make it sound awesome. I've wrote a guide answering most of the questions I was asked about it.

Poll Expanded ~

+Sticky, seeing as this is a general intrest thread.
Heh, I was gonna add Anvil to the list, but I forgot if that's really what it was called. :o

Yeah, TabIt works for just about everything. I've used to it write orchestral, rock, experimental, metal, and even techno. <3 TabIt. :D
« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 10:27:16 PM by Silverline »

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i cant call my self a composer cuss i havent finished a song but i use finale becuase it does correct your mistakes and u can switch the tone of things the tempo has well has the key signutere when ever u want.theres many versions of finale-finale notepade <<free,finale 2006<<300 dolors free on limewire,finale orchestra<<free update.
u can write proffesional sounding orchestra music with the exstension and its production will never stop it lets u print your sheet music nicley with title and all.U can create midis <<thats a bout it.)More notes than u could belive download it.


i recommend finale for whoever is serious about writing music

(finale has my vote)
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TabIt, and only TabIt. It's so intuitive, and there's a bunch you can do with it. I'd like to try other programs, but I probably wouldn't use any nearly as much.

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As it turns out, Reason works really well as a counter-part to a program like TabIt. All you have to do is do ALL the writing you're prepared to do, and with all the detail you're prepared to put in, in TabIt. Then export the midi, and pump it through Reason with some sweet soundfonts, and even add some crazy effects, if you want. I even found the work-around to the "doesn't recognize bends" problem some people on TabIt have complained about. You just have to set the max bend to 24 for each instrument, and then everything's perfecto.

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So I take it reason is a program for playing MIDIs through Soundfonts and allowing the use of VST effects?

I use SynthFont, which does pretty much that. SynthFont recognises modulation/bends perfectly =D

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Well so does Reason, but there's a small amount of in-between-work you have to do, first, and I guess most people just expect it to be done automatically for them. :)

Here's a question for you composers: does there exist anywhere on the vast internet a distorted guitar sample that doesn't suck ass?

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If you know how to use VST instruments, then the FL Slayer included with FruityLoops is actually pretty awesome.

You can pick a track in SynthFont and make it be played through a VSTi, so it's all good.

As for guitar soundfonts, I went through Hammersound's collection of guitar SFs once and didn't find anything particularly good =\

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Lol, Silver, just use the FL Slayer. This is a hell of a guitar sound generator.
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Yeah, I've been disappointed by hammersound as well. :x

I might as well just record the guitar parts myself, heh.

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Finale does all of those things too, much easier I might add.

I had a distorted guitar soundfont once that was great. It was quite large though; it was a recording of a Jackson. But, sadly, I don't have it any more. I could have swore I got it off of hammersound, but I'm thinking now I didn't. They have a Jackson guitar soundfont there too, but it's not as good as the one I found.
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I also use audacity its pertty good for recording things
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I use a real guitar its called a Chevelle.

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I have 2 guitars. An acoustic Seagull, and a Fender Telekaster Electric. Im awesome!!  :mrgreen:
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I use a real guitar its called a Chevelle.
Hmmm. This post seems quite inflammatory. As if you're saying "who needs computer programs, I write music on my real guitar."
So I guess I'll show you up.

Washburn W1-24 electric.

Worth about $400.

Some crappy squire acoustic.
You don't need a picture of that.
Worth about $80.

A Taylor Acoustic. Tilt your head.

My uncle sent it to me. He's a bit of a collector, the rich bastard. :O
He said he knew someone willing to pay $3000 for it. It sounds gorgeous. :cry:


And aside from those, I have ...

An SX 5-string, fretless bass.
An upright acoustic piano. (But who doesn't have a piano?)
And an old Casio keyboard, hehe.



but if that's not what you were implying, then you have my apologies.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2006, 10:36:10 PM by arlenreyb »

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I play drums and my trusty harmonica. My brother has an original Fender Strat though.
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Why am I 'training wheels'??

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You are a very lucky man arlen. If I didn't have to move from apartment to apartment, I could have been one HELL of a musician at this point... :'(

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eh? My parents are divorced, and live 4 hours apart, and I've moved back and forth between TWO colleges. It didn't exactly stop me. :O

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Yes, but when you live in APARTMENTS you can't play at a reasonable volume, or have nice things like pianos...