Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

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PeteFine
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Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by PeteFine »

Don, I would like to suggest a future feature,admittedly lacking programming knowledge and what is involved from your perspective, but if implemented this would make OV a clear choice in producing playable parts for large works (symphony orchestra specifically). It is a fact that producing parts is the most tedious (and non-creative) aspect of finalizing any symphonic performance.
OV5 already excels at producing Master Scores and virtual playback.

In a post some time back, I detailed the issues I (and other OV users) have had with OV's method of producing parts for real players. Here is the link
https://sonicscores.com/forum/viewtopic ... 53&t=20905" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There are workarounds but very time consuming. I have since talked to a couple of other composers who use other notation software and they gripe about the same tedious methods of achieving parts for multiple players on a single staff, etc.

I have had 8 full orchestra works performed, a few as long as 40 minutes, using Overture over the years. So I speak from experience.

Again, not having programming background, this is merely a USER'S suggestion.

The Part Extraction expressions a1, a2, etc should, if possible, act as intuitively and accurately as articulations act- that is, a1 should "trigger" OV to automatically notate all entries following it as Voice 1 only, until another part extraction expression is entered, just as pizz is in effect until arco is entered (for example). ( I realize keyswitching is a different process ). "a2" should automatically enter all notes following it as both Voice 1 and Voice 2 with the same ease.
Then, when choosing the active parts, there should be not only a list of the tracks, but of the voices, so that one can easily select which voice to extract,edit, or print as is. (An additional Paste as Cue choice "On All Voices" would be nice as well, so that a cue only needs to be pasted once on one of the voices to be present in both player's parts.)
I have worked with the present method of adding another instrument to a part, assigning voices extract to the various part extraction expressions, using the divisi popup menus. It is really confusing, and non-intuitive. a1, a2, etc. are not obscure, esoteric functions. They are extremely frequent in symphonic scores and should be functional as default.

In short, part designations such as a1 and a2 should work easily and as expected once entered into the master score, either right "out of the box" or with very minimal tweaking, just as any other expression does. Producing and printing individual parts should be as easy as playing back a master score.
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by PeteFine »

Yes! That was great having the issue addressed and my joy was evident!
Having used it, I am suggesting a more intuitive and "automatic" way to make the a1, a2 etc. work, by default, the way they should when one later needs to extract parts...if it is possible for the next version of OV.
Last edited by PeteFine on Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by PeteFine »

Here is another limitation with the current part extraction method...
When working with an Active Part, one cannot currently use many editing features (multi rest, etc...) until the active part is saved as a new score. So this eliminates being able to add multi rests to both voices on the staff, with is very common (clarinets resting for many measures, for instance...). Instead, I have to create a new part for the 2nd clarinet (2nd voice), add divisi preferences for both, save both parts as new scores, then add multi rests to both parts individually. Same with cues, which are commonly the same for both players on a staff... I would have to save each part and add the cues to both individually (I suggested in an earlier post a future improvement- a drop down menu for selecting multiple parts to add the same cue to. Another very common need.)

When I said that the part extraction method currently implemented, though functional, was tedious and cumbersome, these are just a couple of things I was referring to.

Admittedly ignorant of what is possible from a programming perspective, I just feel that when creating a orchestral score, where many staves have 2 or more instruments, the a1, a2 expressions (which are as common as pizz, arco, and Tempo changes in a score) should have powerful, global, intuitive functions that allow an easy method of finalizing the individual parts.
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by jim j »

well we are all a work in progress.
I have always had a hard time with parts and score.
and somewhere I re call don saying yes active part to score needs wk, although I am not going to take the time to copy and paste that comment.
Sadly, (really don't want to) but I make the move to dorico, just for the ease of parts and score..
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by PeteFine »

I have yet to find a notation program (I am not familiar with Dorico but tried Finale, Sibelius...) that compares to Overture's ease of producing good looking and great sounding Master Scores. But the parts production/extraction capabilities are miles behind.
The lack of sophistication in OV5's part production/separation/extraction area is made more glaring by how good the Master Score abilities are.
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by Don »

I'll give you all a test.

Tell me exactly how you would want the part extraction to work, and then tell me the program that does it like that.
I am not talking about making changes to the extracted part, just the extraction itself.
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by PeteFine »

Thanks for asking, Don. I'll gladly take the "test". But first let me state that I cannot say, and never have, that any other program does it better. What I HAVE said, repeatedly, is that if Overture could succeed in making these processes easy, intuitive, and quick, it would be the undisputed choice for producing performable large ensemble works, from start (Master Score) to finish (individual parts). As most of the discussion on this forum seems to be about midi playback and other functions involving the master score, I understand that these aspects have not received as much attention and are not as developed as the Master Score features.

Here are my suggestions for improving the part extraction, followed by what I consider critical (most frequently needed) editing improvements.
I know you (and most on this forum) are quite well versed in notation practices but I'll ask your patience in allowing me to state even obvious things, for the purpose of clarity.

1- When entering a1, a2, etc, the program should automatically enter the notes following as voice 1 only (a1), or both voices (a2), etc. in the same manner that it would if I hit Ctl 1,entered notes, then copied and pasted those notes as Ctl 2. (Tutti, solo having similar functions). When entering 2 non-unison parts one would of course have to use ctl 1, ctl 2 to enter them. (a keyboard Shortcut for a1. a2 would be nice as well)

2- There should also be Part Extraction symbols for I, II, III which would automatically enter the notes following in only that voice without having to hit anything. (I have never seen an orchestral score with more than 3 instruments sharing one staff and 2 is the most common by far). This voice assignment would stay in effect until another part extraction symbol was entered, so all notes following the a2 would be seen as both voices/parts/players until a1 is entered, etc.

3-When extracting the individual parts (call it voice 1 and voice 2, or player 1, player 2... All notes entered as a2 would automatically be extracted to both parts and all notes entered as a1 would automatically be extracted to only the 1st voice/part, including the dynamic markings that were entered in the master score while their part was active.


I realize there are other part extraction functions that are occasionally needed, and those options are in the Part Extraction menu, but the ones I have outlined are the most frequently used "part indicating" symbols in any orchestral score.

Now- for the improvement of editing and time-saving... a few suggestions...

1- A checkbox drop down menu for "paste as cue" so that a cue may be pasted into multiple parts (staves) with automatic transposition for that particular instrument. Currently, if I need to give a cue to 20 staves while their is a long clarinet solo, I have to paste it 20 times.
2- The ability for the master score to reflect the edits made to changes in the part (minus cues of course). This should be globally selectable in case you don't want the Master Score to reflect these changes.
3-The ability to perform multi-rests in the active part BEFORE extraction so that both players/voices can have the same multi-rest (extremely common).
4- A Part Extraction menu or Active Parts menu that shows each stave/track followed by each voice on that staff.
5- The ability to extract multiple staves onto a single part (if this is already available I apologize for my ignorance). For instance, having the percussionist be able to see the timpani part as a separate staff underneath the percussion part.

Thank you for your attention. I can truly say that, as a composer who fights hard to get a performance of a large work, I always enjoy composing with Overture, until the task of producing printable parts. That task is not creative and satisfying like composing and hearing playback of a score, but still necessary, and anything to take the tedium out of it would be a blessing.

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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by Don »

then tell me the program that does it like that.
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by Merv »

Perhaps Overture can be the first one … maybe not now, but sometime in the future … just like Overture was the first notation program to include DAW-like capabilities in a meaningful way (and made other substantive changes to the way music could be notated).

When I perceive that part extraction might be an issue when rough sketching a composition, I don’t allow two of the same instruments to share a staff. This avoids all shorts of potential issues when it comes to part extraction and printing. For example, instead of Trumpet I having its own staff and Trumpet II & III sharing a common staff I just use 3 individual staves – one each for trumpets I, II, III. This way I avoid using more than one voice, and can more easily blend different library samples to achieve a more robust section sound. This works fine for small ensembles, but obviously would be unacceptable in the large orchestral scores that Pete works with – my needs are far more modest.

Anyway, I just thought that I would contribute to the topic.
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by PeteFine »

Don,
I stated in the first line of my response that I do not know a program that does it better. I am amazed (the word doesn't do justice) at the level of programming genius, coupled with understanding of music that you have in order to create this program.
The fact that no program does it better is irrelevant. The request, and SPECIFIC suggestions I made, would be a huge improvement to Part extraction and editing functions, which lags far behind the ease, shortcuts, and intuitiveness when composing a master score.

Literally EVERY composer I talk to who has worked on a large ensemble score says the same thing about preparing parts. It is the worst part of finalizing a work for performance, specifically because no program "does it better".
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by jim j »

I am glad folks are creating a conversation in this regards and I do feel Pete is articulate with his thoughts Thanks for taking the time to write, Pete (and Don and Merv!).
I know Dorico doesn't even use extracted parts, but when I get free time later this month I will be happy to do a screen recording on how Dorico, Finale are stable between parts and score. If my video does not seem to justify composers and educators needs than I will assume OV will be focusing on other areas of dev.
thanks all!
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by walt »

Hey Jim, I'd love to see that Dorico/Finale score-to-parts video you mentioned, if you still feel inclined to make it.
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Re: Part Extraction Overhaul in Next OV version

Post by PeteFine »

Hi Walt (and other users),
I have tried Dorico and I'll say two things- the method of composing, editing, and hearing a playback is far more logical and intuitive in Overture. I admit that I did not give it enough time to be proficient and learn all the keyboard shortcuts that are so different from OV. However, for producing Parts from the score and also producing a Master Score with the correct divisi symbols for the wind sections , Dorico is much more successful and easy. To do this, you do have to create the master score with a separate staff for each voice, as Merv said he does in OV. To be honest, I think the conductors I have worked with would stare in bewilderment if I handed them a score with the entire woodwind/brass sections on individual staves. That score would look like the Dead Sea Scrolls..However, there is a simple menu function where Dorico takes those individual staves and then creates a master score with those voices combined on to a single staff which automatically enters a1, a2, proper rests, etc, So you have end up with an original temporary score with way too many staves but also a real-world score with the correct number of staves that looks like a traditional published symphonic score, with far less work. The parts can then be extracted and printed from the original score since each staff is a separate player, and the "combined" score can be handed to a conductor. Also, when you make an edit to a part, it is automatically reflected in the original score, another wonderful feature as edits are almost always necessary when proof reading parts.

What I suggested in this thread was something even more advanced, where the a1, a2, etc. symbols would do all this automatically and a separate score with a crazy amount of staves wouldn't be necessary. You would just compose the master score in the same way you would if you were using pen and paper- and parts would extract correctly. OV could be groundbreaking in this regard.
I talk with orchestral musicians and symphonic composers, not just here on the forum, and they all say that a feature like that would be worth dropping their other notation programs for one that did this. Part production from a large orchestral score is the biggest headache of any real world performance.
We have all gotten so deep into midi playback that printing parts for a large score is not discussed often. I too spend much more time on VST playback because I am not a professional composer and obviously do not get all of my works performed (I wish!). But whenever I have had the blessing to hear a large work of mine, the amount of time spent getting OV to end up with printed parts has been extremely tedious and way too time consuming.
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