Choosing my first notation program, playback?

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micmac
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Choosing my first notation program, playback?

Postby micmac » Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:14 am

Hi guys,

I've just registered on this forum. I'm a guitarist/saxophonist and really enjoy writing music (jazz, blues, baroque even). I triple boot Linux, Windows and OS X on my PC, and as a result willing to use terminal. Linux is probably the OS I'm least experienced with, though I know how to install software and all the basic terminal commands (like sudo)

Which leads me too... notation software. I'm looking for an application to notate music with that can play back the entered music through the computer's speakers. I thought this would be a fairly standard feature in all notaation programs, but it seems not. So far I've installed Denemo, MuseScore, NoteEdit, NtEd and Rosegarden (on my Ubuntu Studio 9.10 x64 installation). I've searched and searched for the right options in the menus and preferences, sifted through various manuals and had a look round this wiki but I still can't get anything to playback. The button's there, in some progams the notes even light up as if playing, but I can't hear anything. I have no special audio equipment, just onboard sound and some leads to connect my guitar.

SUMMARY: How can I notate music and have it played back through computer speakers rather than a MIDI output?

Thanks so much for helping out,
I know I'll feel like such a noob when I see how easy the solution is.
Thanks again :)

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raboof
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Re: Choosing my first notation program, playback?

Postby raboof » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:40 am

micmac wrote:I'm a guitarist/saxophonist and really enjoy writing music (jazz, blues, baroque even).


Welcome!

So far I've installed Denemo, MuseScore, NoteEdit, NtEd and Rosegarden (on my Ubuntu Studio 9.10 x64 installation). I've searched and searched for the right options in the menus and preferences, sifted through various manuals and had a look round this wiki but I still can't get anything to playback. The button's there, in some progams the notes even light up as if playing, but I can't hear anything. I have no special audio equipment, just onboard sound and some leads to connect my guitar.

SUMMARY: How can I notate music and have it played back through computer speakers rather than a MIDI output?


Thanks for the clear description of your challenge. Let's see if we can help.

Denemo

The relevant section of the docs is http://www.denemo.org/doc/denemo-manual.html#playing . Denemo can currently playback using an external MIDI player, CSound or JACK MIDI. CSound and JACK MIDI are experimental (and indeed don't seem to work ;) ), using an external MIDI player would be the way to go for now.

In the 'Playback'->'Externals' menu, I see 'playmidi' is used as the external MIDI player. 'playmidi' plays a MIDI file into a midi-capable device - indeed, when running 'playmidi' on the commandline, it tells me 'No playback device found'. Changing that to 'timidity', it's still silent.

Things to improve:
- have a newer version of denemo in debian/ubuntu - playback has much improved in recent versions

MuseScore

Playback worked out-of-the-box for me here. Under 'Preferences'->'I/O', 'Use internal synthesier' is checked, the soundfont is /usr/share/sounds/sf2/FluidR3_GM.sf2 (from fluid-soundfont-gm). How is this configured for you?

Things to improve: we'll know when we know why it doesn't work for you :)

NoteEdit

On startup, NoteEdit registers itself as an ALSA MIDI application and connects itself to timidity. Do you have timidity running? Do you also see NoteEdit connecting itself to timidity? When playing back, indeed there is no sound. I connected NoteEdit to KMidiMon and noticed it's not emitting any MIDI events when playing the score. http://noteedit.berlios.de/doc/playing.html suggests it should work

Things to improve: we'll have to dig deeper here I guess

Nted

On startup, Nted registers itself as an ALSA MIDI client, but does not automatically connect itself to anything. When conneting Nted to timidity, playback works.

Things to improve:
- show an error message when 'play' is pressed but the MIDI client isn't hooked up to anything yet.
- perhaps optionally autoconnect

Rosegarden

Rosegarden can either use a builtin synth or ALSA MIDI. Best results can be achieved using MIDI. This is documented, but Rosegarden is very powerful, so that can be hard to find - see section 2.1.3.2 of the Rosegarden handbook.

Basically, you just fire up QSynth, load a suitable soundfont library (such as the fluidsynth one), and connect the Rosegarden ALSA MIDI device to QSynth.

Things to improve:
- Make the Rosegarden Handbook more easy to navigate, put the common use cases first
- Warn if a MIDI output is not connected

I hope this helps a bit. I'd like to take action on the 'things to improve', but that'll have to wait a bit I'm afraid :).

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nathan
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Re: Choosing my first notation program, playback?

Postby nathan » Tue May 25, 2010 3:18 am

Great summary, raboof.

My I think that Rosegarden probably offers the most control of the playback, but I think that NtED and Musescore are the easiest to use in terms of input. NtED is wonderful, but lacks some advanced features -- MuseScore ends up being my all-around favorite notation editor.

collinm140
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Re: Choosing my first notation program, playback?

Postby collinm140 » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:50 pm

Ii too am having these same problems with every one of these programs. I am new to the world of linux, and also digital music composition, as i have always used pen and paper. I have no idea how MIDI works or even what it is, i would just like to be able to digitally scrawl some musical ideas and have them played back to me through my computer, i have ubuntu 10.04 with little to no modification, please help :|

drancope
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Re: Choosing my first notation program, playback?

Postby drancope » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:57 am

I'm using Jedit with lilypondtool, and I can hear the music.
I installed TiMidity, it's the standard software midi instrument. LilypondTool needs it.

Shadow_7
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Re: Choosing my first notation program, playback?

Postby Shadow_7 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:18 pm

I think that the main issue is that if you don't have a midi capable soundcard, you have to emulate midi with timidity or fluidsynth, which apps like rosegarden don't configure and/or launch when it launches. So basically all of your midi events are played back as silence by default. With various means to bridge that gap. Timidity is probably the most basic and easily obtainable.

In short, before running rosegarden you have to launch a few things first. Plus have your soundcards configured for that sequencer stuff. modprobe snd-seq-oss

The shortest IME:

Code: Select all

$ timidity -Os -iA
$ rosegarden


Before coming to know Fluidsynth:

Code: Select all

$ jackd -R -d alsa
$ timidity -Oj -iA
$ rosegarden


After coming to know Fluidsynth:

Code: Select all

$ jackd -R -d alsa
$ fluidsynth -C no -R no -o
  audio.periods=2,audio.jack-autoconnect=1,audio.jack.id='custom',
  audio.driver='oss',synth.sample-rate=48000,
  midi.driver='oss',midi.oss.device='/dev/midi3'
  /home/user/media/midi/soundfonts/merlin_gmv22.sf2
$ rosegarden


Most of those options are to lower the latency of my keystation 49e. Otherwise you only need to pass the soundfont. The options there are basically to mimic the differences between qsynths defaults with relation to fluidsynths defaults on my system. FluidR3_GM.sf2 is the general midi soundfont that comes with fluidsynth. Found in /usr/share/sounds/sf2/ on my system via packages. Running debian Lenny.

OpenOctave is another option. Basically a stripped down version of Rosegarden specificly geared for midi ONLY stuff. And be sure to get the latest versions of whatever. Managing midi devices and such is a lot easier / intuitive on the newer versions. I just got a midi keyboard figuring that it'd make the data entry portion easier. And I'm still just figuring that out. Although at this point I'm looking more at wav to midi apps since I'm a trombone player and have recording gear. My key skills suck.


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