Hi from Italy!

Why not tell us a little bit about yourself? Welcome to the community!

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Rainmak3r
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Hi from Italy!

Postby Rainmak3r » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:59 pm

Hi all,

I'm Lorenzo, and I'm writing from beautiful Napoli, in the South of Italy.

I've always been a music lover, especially hard rock, metal of all kinds and progressive: I've been playing guitar for almost 25 years, but never consistently enough to be REALLY good I'm afraid :wink: My real hidden love, though, is late romantic symphonic music: from my absolute favourite Tchaikovsky, to Rimsky-Korsakov, Dvorak, Liszt and others. Needless to say, whenever rock and orchestras meet somehow, I'm usually in heaven!

In my late teen years I tried playing with some of the existing tools to create my own music. I still remember my first scores using Deluxe Music on Amiga, and how I then switched to Cakewalk when moving to a Windows machine. I wrote a lot at the time (I still have most of those MIDI files in a folder) but rarely in a very structured form: meaning the vast majority of the compositions where ideas I had that never fully developed, apart for a few cases. For a very short time I tinkered with Sibelius, to work on an idea I wanted to develop as a Symphonic Poem, but unfortunately that didn't last much due to lack of time. When I finally switched to Linux I started playing with Rosegarden for a little bit (which at the time where the closest thing I could find to Cakewalk), before study and work got the best of me and I had to put that side of me on a hold.

Now that 15 years have passed, I decided to give it a go again, and I was amazed when I recently "discovered" Lilypond! I immediately fell in love with the syntax and the approach, as it's very similar to LaTex (which I often use at work for my own documents and presentations) and quite easy to get into (although I guess much harder to master). I never formally studied music, I'm mostly self-taught, so while in time I learned how to write music the "proper" way using visual score applications, I still can't really read music if not very slowly: Lilypond made the process of writing ideas and music down incredibly fast and effective, especially if you know the fundamentals as I do. At the moment I'm experimenting with Frescobaldi as a frontend, and simply using Timidity++ in interface mode for playing it out: I've downloaded a few soundfonts here and there to try and get some better results, but I already know that won't be enough, which is why I'm sure I'll come here often to improve my knowledge and eventually prepare a proper setup! The LinuxMusicians wiki has an article on the best composer's toolset, which is how I found out about you guys.

The main objective is quite "simple": finally write that symphonic work I've had in my head this whole time! I've already started writing the first movement of what I think will be a symphony (hold for laughter), written down a dozen more ideas just waiting to be developed (hoping they won't end up as last time!), and I plan to revive that old symphonic poem attempt as well soon. Once that's done, I'd love to focus more on my other musical side, and experiment with rock/metal/progressive again, hook my guitar and Pod pro, and so on, but I already know the process will be completely different than the one I'm going through now, so one thing at a time!

Apologies for the extremely long intro... I promise my next posts will be much shorter! :mrgreen:

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Michael Willis
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Re: Hi from Italy!

Postby Michael Willis » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:31 pm

Hi Lorenzo, your story sounds remarkably similar to my own. I also love the work of composers from the late 1800s and early 1900s, like Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Prokofiev, etc. I started out in the 90s playing an instrument (clarinet in the school band) and making my own midi arrangements with a cheap yamaha midi keyboard. Then I spent a couple of decades growing up, and just a few years ago got back to my music hobby. Over the last few years I've been learning about virtual orchestration, audio on Linux, how to use Ardour, started practicing clarinet again, and then somehow things got a little out of control and I developed a concert hall reverb plugin.

Another forum that you could join to specifically discuss virtual orchestration is Scoring Central. I have to warn you though, most of them think that us folks trying to do orchestral work on Linux are kind of crazy (I can't really disagree :lol:).

I can suggest that to get started, it might be easier to do some stuff with your guitar, that way you're not trying to manage the dozens of midi tracks and virtual instruments and multiple reverb busses. I consider the first "complete" project I did on Linux was a prog rock piece that I worked on with another member of this forum, and a lot of the things I learned transferred directly to the orchestral stuff that I'm working on now.

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Rainmak3r
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Re: Hi from Italy!

Postby Rainmak3r » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:27 pm

Hi Michael, our stories do sound similar indeed!

Thanks for the tip on Scoring Central: I'll definitely pay it a visit when I'll have to deal with all that! I have to admit that for the time being I'm less interested in the virtual orchestration per se, than in the pure orchestration aspects. At the moment I'm focusing more on how to orchestrate the instruments in the score to get the idea written down properly: I understand that without a proper "virtual orchestra" that won't bring me far, but that's a step I'll have to take anyway, and until then the soundfonts I've found will do the trick. Once the work there is done, I'll get to the virtual orchestration itself, which I can already anticipate will be quite a challenge! (I've glanced at the document Peter Schaffter wrote on that and it's quite intimidating already)

It's for this same very reason that I only plan on working on my other ideas, the one involving my guitar playing and stuff like that, to a later moment: while I'd probably still use Lilypond to write down everything I wouldn't play directly myself, I know it will force me to dig much deeper in a probably completely different direction, and play more with tools like Jack, Ardour, Hydrogen, Guitarix and the like. Still incredibly fascinating, but not what I want to dive in right now. It's quite likely that by the time I'll look into virtual orchestration for the former, I'll pave the ground for the latter too!

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Michael Willis
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Re: Hi from Italy!

Postby Michael Willis » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:58 am

I see. You might also try Muse Score, another notation app with playback capabilities. Whatever you work with, let us know if you have any questions!

Basslint
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Re: Hi from Italy!

Postby Basslint » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:35 am

Benvenuto Lorenzo!

I second Michael's recommendation, if you plan to use MIDI to play your music then MuseScore is a solid choice.

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Rainmak3r
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Re: Hi from Italy!

Postby Rainmak3r » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:45 am

I tried MuseScore recently, but any time I started out it would break audio on my system for some reason. I'm pretty sure it was an issue between Jack and Pulseaudio on my Fedora, even though starting Jack is supposed to suspend Pulseaudio automatically, but I didn't investigate much.

It would be hard to get back to WYSIWYG notation after playing with Lilypond though! I guess that one thing I might do is write everything with Lilypond first, and refine with MuseScore after, as I don't know if Lilypond alone has as much control on MIDI aspects as velocity and other properties of individual notes for instance. Would this make sense?

Thanks for the warm welcome and for providing suggestions already! I can't wait to work on all this more, and hopefully have something for the community to listen to soon enough :)

Basslint
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Re: Hi from Italy!

Postby Basslint » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:12 pm

Rainmak3r wrote:I tried MuseScore recently, but any time I started out it would break audio on my system for some reason. I'm pretty sure it was an issue between Jack and Pulseaudio on my Fedora, even though starting Jack is supposed to suspend Pulseaudio automatically, but I didn't investigate much.

It would be hard to get back to WYSIWYG notation after playing with Lilypond though! I guess that one thing I might do is write everything with Lilypond first, and refine with MuseScore after, as I don't know if Lilypond alone has as much control on MIDI aspects as velocity and other properties of individual notes for instance. Would this make sense?

Thanks for the warm welcome and for providing suggestions already! I can't wait to work on all this more, and hopefully have something for the community to listen to soon enough :)


MuseScore allows fine tuning MIDI notes via the Inspector (https://musescore.org/en/handbook/inspe ... rties#note)


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