Start off your Monday morning with a fresh cup of coffee and a summary of a few items from the world of music notation software and technology.
Several weeks ago on May 21, Wallander Instruments updated its NotePerformer sound library to version 1.5.0. NotePerformer is a third-party integrated library and playback product designed for automatic integration with Sibelius.
We covered the February update to NotePerformer 1.4, which was more extensive than one would ordinarily expect for a “point release”. The detailed comment thread on this blog and elsewhere demonstrated strong user reactions to the update, which included new sounds but also replaced earlier NotePerformer tuning and reverb algorithms. In addition, 1.4 replaced 1.3’s string sounds with a new section-building technology.
The net effect was a significant change to the nature of the sound produced by NotePerformer using a default score. As Arne Wallander acknowledged, “I did indeed anticipate mixed reactions to this update. It’s inevitable when you make considerable changes to the sound, because users get accustomed to the existing sound in their compositions. Had the versions been released in the opposite order, there would be someone here right now asking why the new version made ‘everything sound mushy and out-of-tune, and why there’s a chorus on everything’.”
Still, Arne did not rest and took users’ concerns seriously. According to Arne, there are now “several thousand” users of NotePerformer, and he incorporated much of their feedback into the 1.5 update, as follows:
- A new real-time version of the room sound technology from version 1.3.3 has been incorporated. This allows NotePerformer 1.5.0 to produce a sound with the distance and depth of 1.3.3, while preserving the sonic detail of version 1.4.2. Additionally, you can scale this effect using the lower settings of the reverb sliders in the mixer. With the reverb sliders left at their default value of 39%, the Small room setting in Play > Performance provides a full room sound but no reverb. Reducing the reverb slider additionally gradually lowers the room effect, until the sound is completely dry.
- Solo strings now come in two flavors: soloists and section members. The soloists play with a dynamic range and volume more appropriate for solo passages or string quartet playing. The section members, on the other hand, have the same dynamic range and volume as the individual players in NotePerformer’s string section sounds. The default sound is the soloist.
- Trills are now played legato automatically, when using a technique in Sibelius which specifies the +trill sound ID.
- Flutter tongue is now automatic when notating a buzz roll or a tremolo with at least 4 slashes (woodwinds and brass only).
- Other small tweaks and fixes affecting individual sounds, tuning, balance and musical interpretation.
NotePerformer 1.3.3 is still available for users that prefer the results produced by that version. A license costs $129 and a free 30-day evaluation period is available.
NotateMe 3 stealth release?
If you own NotateMe, the pioneering music handwriting app for Apple’s iOS and the Google Android OS, you may have noticed an update to NotateMe 3 appear on your device in the last few weeks, along with several subsequent updates: The most current version stands at 18.104.22.168.
One of the most noticeable new features is the option to write music directly into the score, as opposed to a separate handwriting area. This is called Overlaid in NotateMe. There is also a Bar by Bar option, officially in beta mode, where the handwriting is automatically converted to printed notation as you move from bar to bar. The latter method of handwriting entry will be familiar to StaffPad users, although NotateMe has retained its conventional separate handwriting area as well.
A transposition feature is also new in NotateMe 3, with an option to write all the instruments in the score at their transposing pitch. This is a permanent choice when you set up the score and cannot be changed later, although you can make a copy of a transposed instrument with a different transposition later if you wish. Handling and recognition of multiple voices are also much improved in NotateMe 3, according to Neuratron.
Interestingly, notice of the NotateMe 3 update is all but absent from Neuratron’s web site and Facebook page, save for an April 19 post demoing the update at MusikMesse. Perhaps a more official announcement is planned in coordination with the release of what will effectively be Sibelius 8, promised this month. The PhotoScore Lite software from Neuratron that comes bundled with new versions of Sibelius will include support for NotateMe Now, and the upcoming PhotoScore Ultimate 8 will include the full suite of NotateMe features.
Summer music workshops with Mike Klinger
Registration is open for a variety of summer 2015 courses at The Synthesis / MIDI Workshop in Carson, Washington. Mike Klinger, the instructor of the courses, has been teaching music technology and helping educators and institutions make the most of music technology for more than 40 years. The courses are:
- Teaching Music Using Technology in the Classroom
- Teaching Music in a Connected World Using Music First
- Sibelius for Beginners
- Sibelius for Advanced
- Finale 2014/Smartmusic for Educators
- Digital Audio Recording/Editing Using Pro Tools
- Digital Songwriting & Production Workshop
- Music Production with Ableton Live
- Private Study at the Retreat Center
In addition, Mike is offering several courses available online:
Pricing and details are provided at the course web sites.