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  1. #1

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    I may be the last one to realize this, but, just in case it would be helpful to someone ...

    Musescore is free notation software. If you can write standard notation, you can write out entire band arrangements and Musescore will play them back with the sounds of the instruments you choose.

    It's a computer, not the Basie band, so you might not love the rhythmic feel, but you will hear your arrangement.

    It's not hard to learn and most things are intuitive.

    Musescore will then create an audio file, like an mp3 of the robot band playing your arrangement.

    Hold that thought.

    Reaper is free-to-evaluate Digital Audio Workstation software. It will read the mp3 that Musescore generates. At that point, you can record another track on top of it, and another, and another, until, finally, you can silence the Musescore track.

    Recording into Reaper requires some way of plugging your instrument into the computer. I use a Focusite 2i2, which sells at GC for about $110. I believe that some FX boxes have the capability too.

    Some friends and I are working on tunes this way while sheltering in place.

    I don't love learning new software, and for a minute it felt a lot more like taking an unpleasant class than making music, but that didn't last long. Couple of hours to learn enough to record and do simple edits. And, since there are four different recording systems among the five participating musicians, there have been some phone calls.

    But, overall, it's been great. I've become excited to realize that I now have a recording studio and I'm capable of making band tracks by myself. Using Musescore for the instruments I can't play and using Reaper to record the instruments I can play. I have a mic and will probably do some vocals with my wife, who sings well, but has never pursued it.

    A couple of technical points -- a few years ago, the bassist and I both bought the focusrite boxes and decided to do duo recordings using the software that came with it -- Ableton. We found that version of Ableton difficult to use, to the point where the whole thing was unpleasant. Reaper has been better.

    One thing that happened last time. We're recording and another friend drops by with his alto sax. We then wished we'd bought the versions with more inputs.

    Small detail: Musescore's mp3 contained, at the very beginning, 40ms of silence before beat one. That had to be edited out for the tracks generated in DAW's to line up. Also, Musescore generates the mp3 at whatever tempo you wrote in the score. Best to set Reaper for that tempo before you import the mp3. With that 40ms gone and the tempo set right, everything lines up.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    .

    It's a computer, not the Basie band, so you might not love the rhythmic feel, but you will hear your arrangement. Musescore will then create an audio file, like an mp3 of the robot band playing your arrangement.

    .
    Small detail: Musescore's mp3 contained, at the very beginning, 40ms of silence before beat one. That had to be edited out for the tracks generated in DAW's to line up. Also, Musescore generates the mp3 at whatever tempo you wrote in the score. Best to set Reaper for that tempo before you import the mp3. With that 40ms gone and the tempo set right, everything lines up.
    Not exactly true the more accurately you notate the better things will sound you place a chord or note virtually anywhere in a bar, you can make things
    really swing, the real probably is notating swing, nowadays mostly indicated as swung, as on seeing "Swung" most players know what this means, even Classical players.


    Musecore can export files as mp3 wav & flac all
    mp3 have a space at the beginning this has nothing to do with Musecore. it is the way mp3 is, it is like a header, wav and flac do not,

    exporting mp3 from BIAB or irealPro its the same story the small delay. one way if you must use mp3 is to create an initial one bar before start with just markers 8 beats per bar generally makes it easier to sync up. This depends on whether you have a pickup before bar 1
    .

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by marvinvv
    Not exactly true the more accurately you notate the better things will sound you place a chord or note virtually anywhere in a bar, you can make things
    really swing, the real probably is notating swing, nowadays mostly indicated as swung, as on seeing "Swung" most players know what this means, even Classical players.


    Musecore can export files as mp3 wav & flac all
    mp3 have a space at the beginning this has nothing to do with Musecore. it is the way mp3 is, it is like a header, wav and flac do not,

    exporting mp3 from BIAB or irealPro its the same story the small delay. one way if you must use mp3 is to create an initial one bar before start with just markers 8 beats per bar generally makes it easier to sync up. This depends on whether you have a pickup before bar 1
    .
    Thanks. I didn't know that about mp3. I understand that Musescore can put notes where you want them, and it would be possible, I think, using Musescore, Reaper and a midi kb, to generate notation for a well-played track. At my skill level, I wouldn't know how to write one from scratch. But, you're right. It could be done.

    I'd added 8 beats of count-in to the Musescore score, so the 40ms was in advance of that. One of the players did a kb track using Logic, so he chose to align the Musescore reference track to his track by excising the first 40ms.

    I found, with magnification, that it could be difficult to precisely identify the beginning of a played note, depending on the instrument. I tried with bass and drums, because those two players recorded into a mic while monitoring the reference track on headphones. So they started the recording, then hit Play on their phones and recorded. Thus, their music started basically at random points in their tracks and had to be slid to align.

    Anyway, I took out the first 40ms ... and kept clicking the right arrow until the clock ticked from .04 to .05, then went left by one click. I'm guessing there's another and/or better way, but that little "procedure" allowed everybody (well, the bassist moved to Reaper and the pianist stayed with Logic) to get the same exact length removed, or so I think. The drummer has to buy an interface of some kind and learn garage band, so we're still sliding his tracks.

    Another thing I found helpful -- I turned the metronome on and slowed the track down by half (lowered the BPM to 50 in this case). This magnifies any discrepancy between the click and the note. Results are somewhere in the range of "educational" to "sobering".

  5. #4

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    Under Format/ Style/ Swing, you can add a variable amount of 'swing' to the playback, without having to notate it rhythmically,

  6. #5

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    But human imperfection can be a beautiful thing. Well if it's good imperfection.

    It's easy to trim and align audio (media items is the Reaper Term) in Reaper. Use the grid, I put the begining of the trasient to the grid line, and then let my ear be the judge after. Musescore audio should be right on the grid. Your own playing not so, you're a human.

    I start my tunes on measure 3 of Reaper and have a two bar click recorded before that. The performers can make some sounds right on some of those downbeats to help you line things up. When you render individual tracks or the entire project as part of the trading back and forth production, everyone should start the render from the very begining of the track, the 0:00 spot of the track. Then lining up should be easy (unless there is latency problems, Reaper corrects for latency when recording).

    These videos are great, here is one on editing media items

    REAPER | Videos

  7. #6
    I found out, again following the pack, that Musescore can output a MIDI file which contains all the information that is needed for a DAW to play your song, sounding like a band.

    Reaper can read those files. And, reportedly, Reaper can play it back with better sounds. And, gives you the option, if you learn how, to edit the individual tracks.

    I know that Musescore allows you to import better quality (in somebody's view) sounds. So, I'm not sure why I was advised to do this inside Reaper. And I wasn't that unhappy with the Musescore sounds.

    I downloaded the Reaper manual. 450 pages with numerous references to other manuals and topics beyond the scope of the 450 page manual. Deepest software I've encountered. Credits suggest that it was written all or large part by two people. That's remarkable!

    My point isn't about these details. Rather, it's expressing some awe as I learn what is possible with a laptop, a $110 interface and free or low cost software.

  8. #7

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    Just so folks can get an idea of quality, most band music publishers today use midi generated audio samples of jazz orchestra/big band and concert orchestra arrangements. It's been that way for quite some time.

    I play this chart in a band, and this publisher's audio sample is all midi audio, no real instruments. This isn't even using the latest tech.


  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Just so folks can get an idea of quality, most band music publishers today use midi generated audio samples of jazz orchestra/big band and concert orchestra arrangements. It's been that way for quite some time.

    I play this chart in a band, and this publisher's audio sample is all midi audio, no real instruments. This isn't even using the latest tech.


    Wow, just wow! I'm currently using Musescore to put together ball-park arrangements of some tunes, but this is something else. I do get tired of all the mousing involved for individual note articulation etc. Maybe I need to learn to use the keyboard.

  10. #9

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    Its usually a lot faster to just google a tutorial video on a specific subject on reaper than trying to figure out from the manual. And personally, if i know i wont be using a piece of software often, i tend to write some notes once i have something down, cause leave a program for six months and you need to relearn most of it...

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Just so folks can get an idea of quality, most band music publishers today use midi generated audio samples of jazz orchestra/big band and concert orchestra arrangements. It's been that way for quite some time.

    I play this chart in a band, and this publisher's audio sample is all midi audio, no real instruments. This isn't even using the latest tech.

    That sounds great! Thanks for posting.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Just so folks can get an idea of quality, most band music publishers today use midi generated audio samples of jazz orchestra/big band and concert orchestra arrangements. It's been that way for quite some time.

    I play this chart in a band, and this publisher's audio sample is all midi audio, no real instruments. This isn't even using the latest tech.

    MuseScore can't even come close to sounding like that. I like Nardis as a Bossa.

  13. #12
    And continuing the late to the party theme, today I learned that IRealPro, the phone app, will export files in several formats.

    I exported a tune in midi and found that it could be read correctly simply by loading into Reaper, Audacity and/or Musescore. That is, each one them can read the file.

    So, in Musescore, you can see the background part in standard notation and modify it.

    You can load the file into Reaper, pick the tracks you want, and record over them.

    I don't see what advantage Audacity has, but it will read it too. Well, it's free, which is an advantage if it does what you want.

    Stumbled across a reaper trick. I'm recording samba comping on guitar and was having trouble getting it to groove the way I wanted.

    I figure out to change the time signature to 8/8 and the beat pattern to BBAB BBAB.

    Then, the built-in metronome tapped (from a samba 2/4 point of view) 16ths, with an accent on 2. That's closer to a samba rhythm and was easier to play along with than the alternatives.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Thanks. I didn't know that about mp3. I understand that Musescore can put notes where you want them, and it would be possible, I think, using Musescore, Reaper and a midi kb, to generate notation for a well-played track. At my skill level, I wouldn't know how to write one from scratch. But, you're right. It could be done.

    I'd added 8 beats of count-in to the Musescore score, so the 40ms was in advance of that. One of the players did a kb track using Logic, so he chose to align the Musescore reference track to his track by excising the first 40ms.

    I found, with magnification, that it could be difficult to precisely identify the beginning of a played note, depending on the instrument. I tried with bass and drums, because those two players recorded into a mic while monitoring the reference track on headphones. So they started the recording, then hit Play on their phones and recorded. Thus, their music started basically at random points in their tracks and had to be slid to align.

    Anyway, I took out the first 40ms ... and kept clicking the right arrow until the clock ticked from .04 to .05, then went left by one click. I'm guessing there's another and/or better way, but that little "procedure" allowed everybody (well, the bassist moved to Reaper and the pianist stayed with Logic) to get the same exact length removed, or so I think. The drummer has to buy an interface of some kind and learn garage band, so we're still sliding his tracks.

    Another thing I found helpful -- I turned the metronome on and slowed the track down by half (lowered the BPM to 50 in this case). This magnifies any discrepancy between the click and the note. Results are somewhere in the range of "educational" to "sobering".
    what you have tried, many many times, i have got close, but not spot on , its tricky and a pain to do, re instead of exporting as mp3 export as flac or wav, if the program allows also large files, but you can once done always push down to mp3 at end, the only reason i said 8 beats its easier or more accurate, as you have seen magnifiing it.
    i laughing as i type, because i havr done that and it gets messy, quickly.

    Let us know how you get on, i am not an expert, but tried to this by myself,

    i write a lot, i try and line the live/recorded guitar up with the other tracks, they acid test is say a live recorded guitar playing with a notated version, it may start out in time it may drift over time, also remember sample rates.

    I have had many tunes professionally notated I am a player ) but cant do that)well + somethings are pretty good the notation, it is never spot on, but you can alter the notation to be close, obviously not the live recording, you can record but then you're playing the notation, when you want the notation to sound like what you play.

    i cant quite convey what i mean in words, anyway

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by marvinvv
    what you have tried, many many times, i have got close, but not spot on , its tricky and a pain to do, re instead of exporting as mp3 export as flac or wav, if the program allows also large files, but you can once done always push down to mp3 at end, the only reason i said 8 beats its easier or more accurate, as you have seen magnifiing it.
    i laughing as i type, because i havr done that and it gets messy, quickly.

    Let us know how you get on, i am not an expert, but tried to this by myself,

    i write a lot, i try and line the live/recorded guitar up with the other tracks, they acid test is say a live recorded guitar playing with a notated version, it may start out in time it may drift over time, also remember sample rates.

    I have had many tunes professionally notated I am a player ) but cant do that)well + somethings are pretty good the notation, it is never spot on, but you can alter the notation to be close, obviously not the live recording, you can record but then you're playing the notation, when you want the notation to sound like what you play.

    i cant quite convey what i mean in words, anyway
    What I did was this: I wrote out all the parts in Musescore in standard notation, including drums. I exported it as mp3 and brought that into Reaper.

    Probably that was a mistake. I probably should have done it in midi or wav, but at the time, I didn't realize it would make a difference.

    The mp3 came into Reaper with 40ms of crap at the very beginning, which I had to remove. Somebody posted that mp3's do that.

    Anyway, that became the "reference track". Later, when I figured out how to use the Reaper metronome, the reference track lined up ok.

    So, the various musicians contributed tracks. Initially, three of us recorded with handheld units. So, those tracks had to be aligned by sliding them to the right spot. That was harder than I'd have thought. Line it up one place and it's misaligned in another, because humans vary. Pick an average, and somebody will complain that it's off someplace -- which it will be, but not everywhere.

    The kb player used Logic, so his stuff lined up right away. He convinced two more of us to switch to Reaper, which is how I got to it.

    It was still a challenge to make the music groove. The bassist and I were helped by switching the time to 8/8 and I accented the metronome beats the way I wanted to hear them. That really helped. The new mix with the improved bass and guitar finally had decent groove. The drummer, still recording to handheld has to redo. He's going to buy a 4i4, mic his drums with 3 or 4 mics and learn garageband.

    I am told that the software sampling or timing (or some tech stuff over my head) affects the playback, so a track might be a little longer or shorter than you expect. There's a stretch feature for that. But, I haven't needed it yet. Maybe when our playing is less sloppy.

  16. #15

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    Not sure I fully understand the problem, but I’d have thought the easiest way to line up audio tracks contributed by different people, is to ensure that the ‘reference track’ is produced with some kind of count-in. E.g. a count on the 8 beats before the actual music starts. Could just be a single note, or a click, or strumming muted guitar chords, even grunting, anything so long as it’s on time.

    Then ensure everyone else plays something in time with those counts (or just the last 4, or whatever). Should make it possible to line everything up at the beginning much more easily. Then trim or silence the count-ins when outputting the final mix.

    Of course I may have totally misunderstood what the issues were!

    (Are you saying people started ok but then their time drifted off against the reference track? Not sure how you deal with that!)

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Not sure I fully understand the problem, but I’d have thought the easiest way to line up audio tracks contributed by different people, is to ensure that the ‘reference track’ is produced with some kind of count-in. E.g. a count on the 8 beats before the actual music starts. Could just be a single note, or a click, or strumming muted guitar chords, even grunting, anything so long as it’s on time.

    Then ensure everyone else plays something in time with those counts (or just the last 4, or whatever). Should make it possible to line everything up at the beginning much more easily. Then trim or silence the count-ins when outputting the final mix.

    Of course I may have totally misunderstood what the issues were!

    (Are you saying people started ok but then their time drifted off against the reference track? Not sure how you deal with that!)
    Should work, right?

    Here's what happened.

    There were 9 quarter notes in the count-in. Musescore played drum hits for them.

    The drummer hit three of them. Two were on the quarters and one was off. I dismissed it as an outlier and slid his track over until the two beats matched.

    Rendered it with the other tracks.

    Email. One of the players thinks the drum track is behind. Needs to be slid a little further to the left. Is it? Depends where you look. He's human. Magnify it enough and some will be early and some will be late. I moved it. So far, no more complaints. But, those two drum hits at the beginning are now off the quarter note count in.

    For some instruments, the wave form builds ... you can see it under sufficient magnification. Hard to tell where the note really starts.

  18. #17

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    Ok, makes sense. Ironic that the drummer was the one who didn’t match the beat!

    Probably you just have to go by what sounds right rather than lining up waveforms, ultimately.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Just so folks can get an idea of quality, most band music publishers today use midi generated audio samples of jazz orchestra/big band and concert orchestra arrangements. It's been that way for quite some time.

    I play this chart in a band, and this publisher's audio sample is all midi audio, no real instruments. This isn't even using the latest tech.


    I think this is pretty good, once you understand no computer based device or software can get close to real humans, if one looks close at the notation in the video, you can see there are no real swing elements, swing is not what one things it is, ie the triplets and 8th & 16th notes the and's of. It is also a case of the unevenness of lines.
    Slow C. Parker down, he does not play in absolute time, like a machine it is these differences that make it more realistic ( actually Real) combine that with sound sample that are thin, (or Crap) they do vary a lot, even take your fave record recorded it at 8bit 48k, see what that sounds like, Zero fat milk or cheese, Pizza with no cheese

    I think big band or more instruments help, i guess more like an orchestra maybe does not swing but can possibly sound better.

    I remember way back, when Roland made a Midi product Sound canvas, that i cant recall clearly, was the start of midi being a lot better, quantising started. seems like millions of years ago. In essence i think if one is aware of the limitations of what hardware or software can do its easier to be a little more accepting, frustrating i know,
    but can lead to one being able to improve on things rather than just stock. Much like recording, there are little tricks where you place a mic etc, But a Shure 57 wont sound like a large capsule Neuman etc

  20. #19

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    rpjazzguitar and grahambop. you both took elements of what i was trying to say, ( i was not too clear)

    sample rates of different tracks pulled into another program ie 44k & 48K can cause drift over longer piece, ie they may start in time and later may drift slightly.

    in Musecore try export your files as flac or wav. as i said you can always at end change it mp3 if size is an issue.

    this is tedious, but if things dont swing, delay some notes normal the second in a phrase is better than the first, make the second note 1/64 th later and say purely for example say the seventh note, why i mention this is it breaks up the unevenness of the mechanical phrase line or whatever, NO one plays in perfect time, let me be more accurate, it is also when a note is perceived to be heard, ie the decay of a note, the initially attack of when a lot starts, one can see this under magnification.

    All this is a pain and time consuming, ( and may lead to excess beer swilling)


    rpjazzguitar it sound like you are doing what i have tried to do, some results have been ok, others well just not there. there is no perfect solution.

    i amended this, just seen

    USB MIDI to my iPad Pro is still a problem. could be ipad issue i dont know i will do some investigating.

  21. #20

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    Would exporting only .wav files from each track creation tools, before importing them into reaper help addressing the mentionned drif problems ? if each tool handles the generation of the .wav file asking for common audio characteristics instead of a less accurate .mp3 format ?

  22. #21

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    I only work with WAV files anyway, want to keep the quality up and don’t want to be messing with mp3s.