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Compositional programs for PC - user friendly.

 
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Dave
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Joined: 09 Jun 2008
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Location: UK - Southampton

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject: Compositional programs for PC - user friendly. Reply with quote

Hope this makes sense: What I want is a simple user interface for helping compose some of my songs into a complete package in a draft blue print form (i.e not actually recording the guitars). What I want is a flexible ‘painterly’ visual interface so I can select a BPM (and change BPM in the course of a track if need be) and basically use an inbuilt synth or tone generator to add in the bass, guitar lines. Maybe even program in simple drums. Once I’ve constructed the overall tune I can then import that track into Acid and record the guitars, bass and vocals over it. The point is to be able to compose.

I seem to remember fruity loops might be able to do this? I don’t want a super whizzy program – just something I can compose the over all melodies etc. I did use a tab program a while back but composing in music notation was a pain in the arse (for me)

Any ideas?
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Bacchus
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure what you mean by painterly form. Do you want this to end up as sheet music that someone else can read, or just a general visual representation of what you've played?
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Dave
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Joined: 09 Jun 2008
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Location: UK - Southampton

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean in terms of the inteface rather than the final output. Final output i just want a brlueprint audio file with all the various instrument lines represented with basic synth tones or whatever that i can then use as my tick track/melody brlueprint for proper recording over.

When i say Painterly I really jive with being able to visually see the sounds and samples on screen so soemthing like Acid but with actual ability to put melody lines in via the keyboard. So I'll essentially see several tracks onscreen, one has the bass notes programed on, one the guitar, one track might be perfunctory drums or a tick track.
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lorez
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Joined: 16 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dave, check out ableton I think it would be ideal for what you need. it allows you to build up songs via samples, has in built instruments and also the session mode allows you to compose variations or work up ideas. I find it brilliant for working on ideas, layering things, trying out things and just generally jamming.

take a look at the free trial, although the new version is out on the 5th March so might be worth waiting for that to land

https://www.ableton.com/
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Dave
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks chris, i'll check Ableton out!
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James
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Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not used it for years but Reason is similar to what you're describing.

The other option is to use a more complete bit of software but you'd be sacrificing the user-friendliness a little because of the extra complexity/functionality. You can use it for the stuff you describe and ignore the other features until you want to do more complicated stuff with it later on. Think of it like only using photoshop to crop and resize images. Sure there are tons of extra things you can do with it but it's still fully functional for that purpose, you just might need to spend slightly longer working out how to do what you want. I realise that the extra time is the part you're trying to avoid but the advantage of it is you don't need to switch between bits of software. You might be completely happy with Acid other than it lacking this capability, and don't want to learn something new, but there are a lot of options for software that will let you do the just synth stuff with good visual interfaces as well as being able to use samples and record audio.

It will take longer to get things set how you like them, and you can easily spend an evening or two looking for and downloading VST synths and sample players before you're happy with the set up. Once you're there though it's so much better to have a complete, flexible solution. Still, having a simple bit of software for throwing ideas at is no bad thing.

By painterly I'm guessing you're talking about what is usually called the 'piano roll'? Both of the images below are from Reaper but are the type used for pretty much all software like this. The first is a MIDI piano roll and the second standard sequencer view (you can also see a mini piano roll type display on any midi tracks but there aren't any in the image)

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