Software for Writing and Producing Music Digitally | Coursera Community

Software for Writing and Producing Music Digitally


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Hello,

Could anyone suggest some software for:

  1. Writing sheet music
  2. Producing digital music (such as by programming)

Thanks! :musical_note:


13 replies

@Archisha Bhar , excellent question! Most composers I know use either Sibelius or Finale.

This is an interesting article about them both:

https://www.cmuse.org/sibelius-vs-finale/

Just make sure your computer can take the enormous downloads these programs have.

Also, after you compose, you need to hear what you have written as accurately as possible. The programs that are created with real instrument tracks sound so much better than the digitally created ones, which to me all sound the same. 
People often give me digital recordings to listen to when they have written a part for me, so I can hear what it sounds like.It’s often challenging to think of what the music sounds like with real instruments on some of these programs.

There are many levels of need and interest to consider : are you looking for professional-like results? Or are you looking to do this as an amateur/hobby/personal pleasure? You will find programs for each. 
 

Anyone else find success with a good digital program?

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Hi @Judith

That’s amazing! Thanks for your suggestion and explanation.

I had taken the Guided Project Compose and Program Music in Python using Earsketch, sp I was wondering if there are any similar options available (like Earsketch). It uses Python to create music. I love how it combines programming and music together! :smile:

For me, it need not be very professional, but yes, the quality matters.

Thanks a lot!

Hi @Archisha Bhar , Yeah you are absolutely correct, As a programmer, i have compiled many series of music using different programming languages like python, Ruby , java script and so on... Have taken this guided project it's similar to other IDE'S but the only difference is you don't need any dedicated hardware or CPU/ GPU for compiling a solid beat or whatever you want to compile. 

 

Even nowadays live music performances are given ( that's called Live code )  the performer creates music by programming and reprogramming a synthesizer as the composition plays. The synthesizer code is typically projected onto walls or screens for the audience to inspect as they listen to the unfolding sound. Live coding events are sometimes known as algoraves, and at these events it’s common to see visualizations of the evolving music projected alongside the code. Often, these visualizations are created by a second performer manipulating graphics software in tandem with the live coder.

 

The most popular software for live coding appears to be Sonic Pi. This is an open source project originally created by Sam Aaron for the Raspberry Pi, although it is also available for Windows and macOS. Sonic Pi’s basic interface is a text editor. Apart from some performance-specific buttons, such as for starting and stopping a piece of music, it looks pretty much like any integrated development environment (IDE), in this case for a version of the Ruby language. Like Python, Ruby is an interpreted language that can run interactively. The Ruby-powered Sonic Pi IDE provides a friendly front end to the powerful SuperCollider sound-synthesis engine, which has been used for over two decades as the basis of many electronic music and acoustic research projects.

 

“No matter how technology evolves but still can't replace the real art of the music created or composed manually, even AI or ML can't beat that out”

 

Hope this was informative :)

 

Regards

Rizvi Syed

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That was some great insight, @Rizvi Syed

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Hi, a online composer using music sheets is Noteflight -- the basic version is free, yet too complex for me. I think you could enjoy it as you master keyboard shortcuts.

It’s a very nice question. I myself am diving in this field discovering very different tools.

You know, two notes make two different projects, so any tool may suggest you new ideas: A workflow may be made up with more than one tool. 

First of all, you have to find out what your composing style is.

You may find excellent free “Sequencers” such as LMMS or Hydrogen, or, https://onlinesequencer.net/ but I personally discovered I have no patience at working with those things so I started sampling on my own, then working waves out with Audacity, which is a very big tool that will help you enter Sound Engineering concepts. Audacity is the best.

Enthusiasm then made me insanely curious so I downloaded any music program from Sourceforge, among which you could find things like Frescobaldi (https://frescobaldi.org/)… but I don’t really know how it works.

If you then have a closer insight in the web, you may discover interesting experiments that combine graphics and music to let you play drums or synths, and make you pose the ultimate question:

  • how could I myself create something similar with my own samples? 

I think this job is mostly based on Javascript, but I myself personally arrived to SonicPi with the idea of combining loops that you may download for free, using code (which is my answer to Sequencers).

So, as in the thread I wrote about this situation, there’s no focusing without exploration and there’s no exploration without focusing. Just have a problem to solve and you’ll be fine!

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

  

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Thank you so much, @ATP. You never fail to impress me with your knowledge and experience!

I will definitely try them out, and I’m sure they’ll be great!

Thanks a lot!

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Hi @Archisha Bhar and everyone,

at the moment you can get a free copy of Dorico SE, which is software for writing sheet music, by a very reputable audio engineering company, Steinberg. You could try it and see if it meets your needs, as it is free!

Dorico SE - by Steinberg

 

As for producing digital music (eg via programming), I think what you may be after is more of what we call “Generative Music” (maybe google this for yourself?), which is basically using computers to generate non-repetitive music, as opposed to playing a synth or instrument in a way that follows rules.

Here are two links to get you started, if in fact generative music is what you were thinking.

Wikipedia - Generative_music

Nodal Music Software

Hope that is of use for you.

Regards,

Justin

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Thanks, @jsl. I’ll surely try them out.

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@jsl thanks! what else do you know?

@Archisha Bhar thank you too for the flattering comment;

this afternoon I googled for a problem I had and see original hints, but I realized my solution was already better, so I made a fast video to publish my way; But now I have this thing that I make my own soundtracks -- briefly it took me two hours to music a 42 sec video !

100% using Audacity built-in tools, I made something that could be called a psy-trance dark-africa atmosphere, and I enjoyed it very much,,

however I have some troubles at creating loop variants such that the rhythm doesn’t always sound the same, but I partially solved this issue using Wahwah and Phaser filters that may output an asynchronous pattern over the basic BPM, still I need to add sometimes random drum-shots and Audacity is not really the tool for that...  

So I welcome this idea of Generative rhythms and I want to deepen the topic. I’ll search for some video to see how these things work  

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Thanks, @ATP.

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@ATP 

thanks for the reply. I only know a little bit about Generative music, I’ve come across it as an idea over the years of writing and recording my own music, but for me, I typically write music in the more usual way, using chord / harmony structure. That said, the idea of Generative music is a cool one, and I am open to using it in my compositions in the future. If you google “Generate music software” you might find a few different pieces of software that can help you create generative music, and possibly including generative rhythms as well.

Thanks! - Justin

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@jsl  Hi, I made a search right off and I found more 100%free things (like Google Magenta), or also huge projects in the field of Animation/Data Visualization -- which is what I said above as for building one's own interactive tools.

Any musician knows that each instrument is an inspiration on its own, so let's just have a taste on anything. Thanks for the hint then!

@Archisha Bhar  See the following video 

 

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Thanks, @ATP.

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