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#702104 - 01/31/22 04:07 PM [Beginners Forum] What is the best way to write for several instruments?
Registered: 01/31/22
Posts: 4
AdimWit Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/31/22
Posts: 4
Hi,
I'm new (again) to Biab, because I had to stop using my Version 8 when I got a new 64-bit machine in 2012.
I've forgotten SO much in these last 10 years!

I would love to get advice from some of you experienced users regarding writing for multiple instruments.

I'm trying to write for 5 instruments, including drums. So I asked a chat person about how to create a conductor score sheet, where I could enter the notes for the MIDI instruments that are assigned to each staff.

The person in the chat session informed me that Biab cannot present more than the single treble and bass staves at one time.

But I need to hear all the instruments playing together as I go through the writing process. And they need to play exactly what I write for them to play. No styles, iow.

Has anyone accomplished anything similar to this using Band-in-a-Box? As I sit here, it occures to me that it might be possible to write each individual part here, and then export it as MIDI to another program which can present them all together.

Any thoughts on this? It's not ideal, but better than guessing thru the whole process how the mix of the instruments would sound.

It would be great to hear from anyone who's involved in this process. This is a dream I've had for years. Really hoping there's a way to accomplish it.

Thanks for your info and help!
Cheers,
-Ken

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#702111 - 01/31/22 04:42 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 15326
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
AudioTrack Offline
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Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 15326
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Welcome to the forums.

Maybe this might work for you:
You can write for instruments individually, and then print a score that includes multiple instrumentation.

Create the parts on each track, then in the Lead Sheet Window, add the instruments you want displayed by pressing the small '+' icon:


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#702113 - 01/31/22 04:44 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
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MusicStudent Offline
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As best I understand what you have said, I would have to say that this is not what BIAB can help you with. Do you actually write notation to the staff lines? If so, then best to use something like Musescore which is free. It will overlay multiple staff and allow you to write and play each individual instrument as one composition. Or, do you play-in and move midi notes on the piano roll? That can be done nicely in your DAW for multiple instruments.

Good luck

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#702121 - 01/31/22 05:09 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 15326
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
AudioTrack Offline
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Posts: 15326
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I'm inclined to agree with MusicStudent. There are other scoring programs that are far more suited for your requirements.
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#702129 - 01/31/22 05:55 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Mark Hayes Offline
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Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Ken, what they said.

But I'm curious why you want to do this in BIAB at all, since you don't plan on using BIAB-generated material in your pieces. You mention starting out in BIAB and finishing up in some other program, what makes you want to start in BIAB?

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#702260 - 02/01/22 01:28 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 01/31/22
Posts: 4
AdimWit Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/31/22
Posts: 4
Thank you all for your responses! You have helped greatly. Let me answer individually:

AudioTrack:
Your information above looks great! I don't think you mean that it would allow Biab to play back all the instruments from the score, but if at least it can create the multiple staves, I could add in the instrument names later for printing out and sharing.
Thank you!

MusicStudent:
I actually have been using Musescore, which I have found very frustrating to use. If I enter notes near the right side of a page, it flips down to the next line before I'm thru adding notes! To avoid this, I have to minimize the page quite a bit, too much for my "old, cataract eyes." (Sounds like a nice name for a song!)
I have a small, ancient keyboard, which I just discovered has a MIDI output! All this time I've been poking here on my computer keys. I tried Cakewalk years ago... for a day. Maybe I'm "smarter" now. Worth trying your suggestions. Thanks!!

Mark Hayes:
What I did with the old Version 8 was simply enter music I liked, some Bach pieces for example, and listened to what Biab could do with it.
I never tried to write my own things, nor did I try mixing instruments for combos.
But I have two new purposes now. I'm learning to write (Nothing professional! Never had music theory, but I can "feel" what sounds OK), so I had hoped this program could provide everything I need.

The other purpose, though, will work very well. I'll be helping my sister with her flute playing while the pandemic keeps her community band membership muted, iyw.
She needs to feel she's playing with other musicians. We think this is the way to go.

Thanks again folks! I guess I'll try to learn Cakewalk (my curiosity is revived), or just keep using MuseScore for the writing process.
Cheers!

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#702269 - 02/01/22 01:49 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 09/21/01
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Loc: Essex England
Bob Calver Offline
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Registered: 09/21/01
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Loc: Essex England
Have you tried Realband?

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#702286 - 02/01/22 04:22 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 05/30/00
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Loc: Mi., USA
rharv Offline
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^^ what Bob Calver said
Use multiple tracks, enter the notes any way you want (piano roll, MIDI, physical entry etc)
And if you set the tempo correctly you can still use BiaB generate features, though it sounds like you may not be, which again leads to the 'why use BiaB for this' question.

Anyway, Realband will likely make your described workflow better
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#702305 - 02/01/22 06:52 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Mark Hayes Offline
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Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Originally Posted By: AdimWit
But I have two new purposes now. I'm learning to write (Nothing professional! Never had music theory, but I can "feel" what sounds OK), so I had hoped this program could provide everything I need

I, too, aspire to getting back to part-writing. I even had fantasies of sitting by a big window at my local public library with a pad of music paper and a pencil and trying to begin something that way, but at this point the idea of reading in a library feels as ancient as the idea of smoking on an airplane.

Anyway, I am currently looking at Musescore myself as a notation editor, so I hope you're wrong about it. I do a lot of stuff in Logic Pro but it's not particularly friendly with notation.

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#702312 - 02/01/22 07:09 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 23529
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Offline
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This is not what you’ve asked, but in case it helps, this is how I work. I write for a nine-piece chamber ensemble and a 19-piece big band jazz ensemble.

I make the rhythm section parts in BIAB, record them to a .WAV file, and load that file into my notation program, Notion 6 by Presonus. Often I will write the melody in BIAB and often a counterpoint / harmony line, since I find entering those in BIAB to be easier than any other program. Then I export those as Music XML. But them I form the full arrangement with other parts in Notion.
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#702459 - 02/02/22 12:52 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 01/31/22
Posts: 4
AdimWit Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/31/22
Posts: 4
Bob Calver:
Thanks for mentioning Realband specifically.
I've spent most of my time searching tutorials to see how to enter more than just one "instrument" at a time.
And I'm so confused by the various modules in Biab, it's probably wiser now to start over "as if" I were a total newbie. I feel overwhelmed, to be honest.
As to Realband itself, when I read in its blurb about it being part of a "music production powerhouse", I naturally assumed Biab would do what I've described here as being my goal.
I will dig into it after I clear a few of my "basic-newbie" problems.
Thanks!

rharv:
Glancing again thru the Realband features, I think I see what you mean here. Not completely;-)... but this looks good. Thank you!

Mark Hayes:
Again, my problem with MuseScore may be due to how I need to zoom in so tightly to each measure that I'm working on. Musescore wants to flip you immediately to where it thinks you're next going to enter notes. With the screen homed-in on one measure, that often means the measure disappears before I'm done working in it!
It has positives. It's easy to balance the volumes of each instrument. Easy to change them, rearrange their placements, etc.

Matt Finley:
Wow! I took a quick look at the Notion 6 site. I'm not regretting getting Biab, but that program, on brief look-over, seems to be much more what I was looking for!
The two together? Oh yes!... Am I worthy?

Thank you for this! I don't understand why it didn't come up in my much-Googling.
---

Thanks again everyone! I didn't expect so many nor such helpful answers, nor so quickly. I look forward to reading these forums often. Lots to learn from you folks!

BTW - I'm "AdimWit" because I grew up with a Dad who was a musical genius concert pianist and French hornist, who played in symphonies and dance bands all his life, and a Mom who was not only an accomplished pianist, but a very respected artist and teacher in watercolors, oils, etc.
I never had the sense to learn anything from them. I couldn't gain interest in piano at age 6, so I quit, and am now trying to learn it on my own at 73, because of course they're gone.
And, I love diminished chords:-)
Cheers,
-Ken

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#702491 - 02/02/22 03:59 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 17383
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 17383
Loc: Hamlin NY
Originally Posted By: AdimWit
.....................

BTW - I'm "AdimWit" because I grew up with a Dad who was a musical genius concert pianist and French hornist, who played in symphonies and dance bands all his life, and a Mom who was not only an accomplished pianist, but a very respected artist and teacher in watercolors, oils, etc.
I never had the sense to learn anything from them. I couldn't gain interest in piano at age 6, so I quit, and am now trying to learn it on my own at 73, because of course they're gone.
And, I love diminished chords:-)
Cheers,
-Ken


I grew up in a family that no one played an instrument. Mom tinkered with a piano but never really played it. My uncle on dad's side was the only musician. My kids grew up with me and my bands/music for their entire lives and no one took up an instrument! My two boys got the mechanic's gene from my wife's side; Her dad ran Nascar Modifieds back in the day and her brother raced also. But that was OK as they saved me a ton of money by working on my car; far more than they would have given me if they played in bands wink
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#702538 - 02/03/22 03:22 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 10/03/17
Posts: 623
Loc: Ohio
DebMurphy Offline
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Registered: 10/03/17
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Loc: Ohio
I let "friends" convince me I wasn't any good. I quit.

Those friends are gone from my life - some died, some still living - and I am having the time of my life with my instruments. I started back to playing after a 33 years hiatus.

...Deb

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#702563 - 02/03/22 06:56 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 01/15/15
Posts: 800
Loc: Hampshire, UK
Gordon Scott Offline
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Posts: 800
Loc: Hampshire, UK
Originally Posted By: AdimWit
I actually have been using Musescore, which I have found very frustrating to use. If I enter notes near the right side of a page, it flips down to the next line before I'm thru adding notes!

FWIW, I use the keyboard entry method, digit for note length and A thru G, cursor up/down per semitone and ctrl-up/down per octave.

There are easy enough shortcuts for chord text, lyrics, section marks and so on.

Edit->Preferences->Shortcuts.

I personally prefer keyboard entry as I now have a long-standing wrist issue due to mouse use.


It may be only me and lack of practice, but I personally find BiaB's note-entry almost intolerable. I'm fairly sure sure others will feel the reverse is true. I'll do a few small changes, but for anything more I go to Musescore then Export->Import to BiaB, usually via MusicXML.
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#702573 - 02/03/22 07:52 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: Gordon Scott]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 17383
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 17383
Loc: Hamlin NY
Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott
...................
It may be only me and lack of practice, but I personally find BiaB's note-entry almost intolerable. ...............


You are not alone my friend.
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#702578 - 02/03/22 08:26 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 23529
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 23529
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Interesting. I’ve used most notation programs and served as a beta tester for two, but I prefer entering a melody into BIAB over all of them. In all of software, this might be the most personal of all preferences I’ve seen.
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#702592 - 02/03/22 09:41 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: Matt Finley]
Registered: 01/15/15
Posts: 800
Loc: Hampshire, UK
Gordon Scott Offline
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Registered: 01/15/15
Posts: 800
Loc: Hampshire, UK
A lot probably comes down to what one first learned and whether happiest with computer keys or mouse.

Playing and quantising should work best of all.
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Jazz relative beginner, starting at a much older age than was helpful.
Kawai MP6, Korg M50, Ui24R, Saffire Pro 40.
AVL:MXE Linux; Windows 10; Win8.1: Scarletts
BIAB2022 UltraPAK, Reaper, a bunch of stuff.

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#702634 - 02/03/22 12:50 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: AdimWit]
Registered: 01/31/22
Posts: 4
AdimWit Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/31/22
Posts: 4
It's always been interesting to hear about other musicians' experiences in developing their art. The posts here are likewise fascinating. Other than my sister, I don't know any other musicians personally.

For me right now, I guess I'll continue writing tunes and chord progressions, just to see what I can develop.

But what has sort of shocked me is how the 3 or 4 Bach pieces I've memorized on keyboard (because I can't read music in real-time!), those pieces have sort of burned into my hands a feel for where things should go. It's hard to explain. Maybe it's because I play them everyday... if I don't, I quickly forget various sections!!

I'm limited to keys of C or E mostly, because I converted the Bach pieces to those keys before learning them.
And I do have a few years, up to 1990, of learning fingerpick guitar. That helped with gaining a feel for folk styles and those simple chord progressions.
And the discovery of diminished chords (Bach 'taught' me!), has widened my options greatly. Although, I tend to overuse them!

So it's great to have Band-in-a-Box back again, this time with a bit more sense of where I want to go with it.

And I will take Gordon Scott's comments to heart, regarding how he uses a keyboard entry method. Yes, I've probably been making things a lot harder for myself than necessary.

It's fascinating to read everyone's comments. I'll be lurking around and add responses from time to time...
So many forums here to read!!!

Thanks again everyone!
-Ken

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#702652 - 02/03/22 02:05 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: Gordon Scott]
Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Mark Hayes Offline
Expert

Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott
A lot probably comes down to what one first learned

I'm forever searching for my new ConcertWare.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ConcertWare

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#709832 - 03/21/22 07:04 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: What is the best way to write for several instruments? [Re: ]
Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 23529
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 23529
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Originally Posted By: Urker
My friend uses ForteNotation for this purpose (I haven't tried it myself), he says that it is easy to work with.
Forte is among the easier notation programs to use. I think there are easier, but surely there are far more that are harder.

A lot depends on how much you need publishing quality of the printout. If that’s the goal, then Dorico is the easiest of the hard ones (over Sibelius and Finale). If all you need is quick basic notation for yourself, then there are different programs that will be better suited to you.
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