Programs to create music

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Nikola Tesla
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Programs to create music

Postby Nikola Tesla » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:55 pm

Hello,

I wonder if there is anyone who would know a program that would fit me. I am searching for a program where you could just put notes on staffs (not sure if the word exists in plural) like Noteflight* but with the ability to create sound files, to play around with volume of different instruments, but not recording anything. Does this thing even exist? I was searching for music programs, but they all look complicated with so many options, so I get lost.

In general, is it better to know music theory and create music on real instruments** rather than to learn how to use those kinds of programs?

Thank you.

*Noteflight - web-site where you just make printed music with the ability to play it. However, the sound is awful because the web-site is mainly made to make printed music.
**Basically, what I do.

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Scaveleon
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Re: Programs to create music

Postby Scaveleon » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:40 pm

I'll start off by saying this - no, I don't have any programs I can immediately recommend to you.

In general, is it better to know music theory and create music on real instruments** rather than to learn how to use those kinds of programs?

This is very individual, and unless you're a unknown music genius, knowing even basic music theory will help you a ton. Lots of musicians mess around and figure out on their own what sounds good to them by just listening, but how much musical experience you need behind you differs from person to person. ZUN behind the Touhou series comes to mind as someone who just bought keyboard and went ham without prior knowledge.

Here's what I'd say - try out some notation programs or an IRL keyboard, and if you can't make anything you feel sounds good by ear naturally, you should consider learning basic music theory just to get you started. Don't stop experimenting if you're determined to learn to compose - the most important thing is that you like what you make.

Nikola Tesla wrote:I am searching for a program where you could just put notes on staffs (not sure if the word exists in plural) like Noteflight* but with the ability to create sound files, to play around with volume of different instruments, but not recording anything.

The word is staves. :) There are a lot of 5-line staff notation software out there, which has an interface like real sheet music does. I myself am a long-time user of Finale, which is the industry standard for composers alongside Sibelius, however neither is free - but they can do as you said, adjust volume and have their own sound libraries.

By default most programs use the 5-line staff notation, which both Finale and Sibelius uses and it's what you find on sheet music. Certain other programs uses a keyboard either horizontally or vertically. FL Studio uses a vertical keyboard and if I recall correctly it has a free version - this program is mainly for electronic music, it's very powerful but may be too advanced to begin with. It's also a production software so if you learn this program you'll learn a bit of everything in the music field, and its community provides you with great sound, so it's an all-in-one.

But it's ruled out assuming you want 5-line staff notation software. Most of those programs work off of MIDI, which is basically sheet music that is playable by keyboards and computers alike. Most free notation software will simply use the MIDI sound banks which comes by default for your PC, so it's archaic and generally sounds "old". What programs like Sibelius and Finale offers are virtual instruments - or sound banks, which plays out the notation from the MIDI, but replaces the sound with (sometimes professionally) recorded sound libraries, and this is where the sweet sound comes from. It's essentially a virtual orchestra.

The problem is that free sound libraries (like SolMire) don't have that great quality, and the ones that do (like Garritan) are recorded from actual professional orchestras and as a result super expensive. You can make yourself poor real quick while searching for a way to produce great sound without real instruments.

Depending on your own standards, realistically you'll probably have difficulties to get a good sound without some spending. Your options are free notation software that work off of MIDI like Anvil Studio, then use something like SolMire to convert it into decent sound. Your other option is FL Studio which is quite advanced and doesn't use 5-line staff interface, but it's an all-in-one and can do everything.
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SBG
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Re: Programs to create music

Postby SBG » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:04 pm

Anvil studio does what you want it to do, but it's rather limited and extremely oldschool and obsolete compared to other programs.

I strongly recommend a program called Mixcraft. It's super easy to use, even compared to Anvil. Easier than FLStudio also, and cheaper. Plus it has plugin support(VST) which is ESSENTIAL if you want to make any sort of 'real' electronic music. Straight up, I got a record deal using this software with my Dust Collective project.

I've been playing guitar for about 25 years now, and I took a music theory class in high school which helped me quite a bit, but when I started making synth music using midi notes on a piano roll in Mixcraft, that's when I was truly set free musically.

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Nikola Tesla
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Re: Programs to create music

Postby Nikola Tesla » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:23 am

Thanks guys! I'll try what you have recommended me.

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Wonderland
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Re: Programs to create music

Postby Wonderland » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:32 am

I second Mixcraft. I've used it - made some cool stuff with it.

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Re: Programs to create music

Postby fma_lvr » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:30 pm

I'll go ahead and recommend LMMS, because it's free, and it's what I use. It's very meticulous, requiring you to craft audio loops by selecting base instruments and putting forth a sequence of notes, and you decide their pitch, tempo, volume, timing, time signature...you can really customize it a lot. I mean, it's a long, tedious process to make something that sounds really wonderful, but if you actually want to create music with a program, you'll have to expect that.

I haven't used Mixcraft or any of the others mentioned, so I don't know how they compare, but I really like some of the results I've gotten from LMMS.

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lectronice
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Re: Programs to create music

Postby lectronice » Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:32 am

Try Bosca Ceoil: http://boscaceoil.net/. It's made by a game developer who thinks most music software is too complicated.

It's very simple, yet quite powerful, and it's free. And you can even use it right in your browser.

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Re: Programs to create music

Postby engtadin » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:56 pm

I tried out boscaceoil. it's awesome!
Add me on steam, i really really really want acquaintances with gg maker/engine001: eXiGe_88


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