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Composer283

What does your workspace look like?

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Hi again,

Here goes another ridiculous thread by Composer, but anyway-

Where do you compose and what is the state of it. What do you use? Is it messy?

Personally, my workspace is behind the couch in my living room. There is one of those folded tables so it's like one and a half feet across and almost six feet long. I have big 14-stave manuscript paper and the Clavinova against the wall to the side. I, being a traditionalist when it comes to music, write with a green-black quill pen (real, as far as I know) with blue or black ink. It's a mess and my manuscripts are kind of untidy.

It's pathetic.

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I'm oscillating between biggest table that is not too filled up already that I can find in my apartment and the piano (to try out some chords etc.), which is usually in a different room. Of course something smaller would be more practicable than a piano for that reason, so I could have it where I'm actually composing, but for some reason I hate keyboards/digital pianos. No idea, I simply have a "mechanical-tone-creation fetish" (as long as I'm not writing electroacoustic music).

That's why I'm also looking for some mechanical keyboard type thing to use for composing, particularly at night when I can't use the piano because of the neighbors (and I mostly compose at night). I'd particularly love a clavichord, but I haven't seen one that I can afford yet, so I've set my mind on a clavinet (which is awesome because it combines the benefits of mechanical tone creation with the advantages of electric instruments). I just have to get one on ebay now.

Anyways, the state of the table I compose on starts out to be tidy and ends up being filled up with huge sheets within minutes. The tidyness of what I write depends a lot. First drafts are pretty much unreadable for anyone but myself, but the final clean version tends to be quite neat (well, sometimes I do that on the computer anyways, depending on the instrumentation). I rarely write with anything but a pencil (mechanical) though. I need to be able to erase stuff. (And the table is usually quite soon filled up with these tiny rubber threads you tend to create while erasing. I often think I erase more than I write. But I guess that's not true, or I would have written a negative amount of compositions.)

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I have a study, it's sort of off from the rest of the house, the most private section, anyway. At the moment it's quite tidy, when I've been working in there for a while, though it's incredibly messy. Becomes a nightmare to clean.

I compose using manuscript and a pen or pencil, then once I've got my drafts done I'll type it up into Finale. I occasionally hand-write my finished pieces, but only if it's a requirement for something or if that's actually easier than using computer software for the piece.

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I like big spaces, like Gardener. My desk is usually filled with all sorts of things, from paper to cds to electronic circuits (I took apart a computer last week..) to juggling balls. I can do most of my drafts and stuff like that, if I just put away anything that's below the paper I want to write on. But when I want to do some serious composing, I absolutely have to clear the table up and have my stack of re-used paper ready for any drafts (I save every single page of paper that has at least one side blank, so I re-use it for drafts, quick drawings, lists etc so I don't have to buy more paper for that) (and I also nick A4 and A3 paper from the school's printers so I don't have to pay for paper at all, actually) (and since we have free printing at our university, I design and print my own manuscript paper there, single or double sided so that's sorted too..).

So yeah.

(don't tell anyone the things I mentioned in the brackets)

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My apartment is sorta small so I always write either directly on the PC or outside whenever/whereever. I've written plenty of things on trains, buses, etc... Dunno, I don't care much where so long as I can hear myself think, lol.

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I used to write on trains on buses, but they're a bit too big to put on note stands, so the performers always complained.

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I used to write on trains on buses, but they're a bit too big to put on note stands, so the performers always complained.

THEY ARE NOT HARDCORE ENOUGH.

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Untidy computer desk.

That's pretty much it. Occasionally I wander elsewhere with manuscript.

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Generally I compose on my desk, here I have my computer, a keyboard next to me and many papers. Other places where I may write stuffs are at my college or any other place outside home. I have tried to write things down in the buses, but I would get sick doing it. Another place and the most important is my mind, since all come from there, and all start there; later is when I write it down, test it or forget it.

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I have these notebooks and legal pads I compose laying on my bed... I write stuff out WITHOUT manuscript paper forever... like just rhythms and stuff... the pitches... or chord arrangements just come to me... or I do something at a piano or my viola.... or I just think about it technically... But that's how I roll.

I kind of like this method. I personally prefer to have my ideas on manuscript paper in case I have to jot something specific down.

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Here's where I work. (Well... this is my home set up anyway. I have another somewhat nicer setup at work too.)

MySetup.jpg

When needed I'll use another desk to actually write out manuscript, but since so much of my work is for digital media anyway, I find it faster to score mostly at the computer. Just makes my work flow faster.

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Aren't this mouse and keyboard awefully high up to work with comfortably? Or does that just seem so because the chair is low and you're really big?

Cool setup, though!

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Aren't this mouse and keyboard awefully high up to work with comfortably? Or does that just seem so because the chair is low and you're really big?

Cool setup, though!

Nope, you're right on the mark! Unfortunately, I had major problems when purchasing my work desk. The model I wanted was being discontinued, so I pick up one from Guitar Center. The box comes out beat up and ripped but the rep assured me that everything was in perfect condition and no parts were missing. I get it home and find that it only has the large parts. Nothing else. So there is no way to assemble it. I return it to Guitar Center and then I ordered one of the last ones from musiciansfriend.com. They place the order and then I wait. And wait. And wait. Nothing. So finally I call them two weeks later and found out the order was canceled and nobody told me. Ugh. (Yes, they reversed the CC charge.)

So finally, I go to another Guitar Center that said they had this model in stock and the manager gave me a great deal on it. I get it home, open up the box and it's the wrong model. By this point, my gear has been sitting on my floor for three weeks and I'm just eager to have it set up and working. I figured- screw it.

So yes- the mouse and keyboard are somewhat uncomfortable. I'm waiting for my wife to graduate with her masters and get a job then I'm going shopping baby! New desk. New computer. :D

PS- the chair is a bit lowered in this pic though.

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Here's where I work. (Well... this is my home set up anyway. I have another somewhat nicer setup at work too.)

MySetup.jpg

When needed I'll use another desk to actually write out manuscript, but since so much of my work is for digital media anyway, I find it faster to score mostly at the computer. Just makes my work flow faster.

That's a nifty setup. I believe I have the exact same computer case (chassis) as you (only mine has a mirror finish, maybe yours does too I just can't tell). Did you build your own machine?

I have a roland digital piano next to my computer desk. I've been meaning to get a cord to hook it up to the computer so I can actually play things in but I never seem to get around to it (plus I don't know what chord I need.)

But I use Finale, J-edit, and Lilypond/Adobe acrobat to compose these days. I have an extra wide moniter so I can run jedit and adobe side by side when I am typing stuff into lilypond.

You gotta have a good soundcard too! None of that Sound blaster crap.... just kidding. sort of.

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You gotta have a good soundcard too! None of that Sound blaster crap.... just kidding. sort of.

Hahaha, yeah Sound Blaster doesn't work for professional level audio work.

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Yeah... I like putting the thought back in composition rather than putting the, "LOLZ I LOVE JOHN WILLIAMS AND WANT TO SOUND LIKE HIM," into it.

Just because you have a different method or practice (which actually I've done before myself) doesn't mean every else doesn't put thought into their pieces or only aspires to sound like John Williams. Please.

Side note: If that was a joke- then okay. Hahaha. But it's kinda hard to tell with the caps and the lack of comical context. If it wasn't a joke, then you'd do yourself a huge favor to avoid making such obvious blanket statements and can easily be proven false. Just saying.

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Dude, I could stick anyone's name into that sentence and the results would be the same.

As long as you think about what you're doing... you're good.

I'm not going to start a flame war with you- but you've proven my point. It doesn't matter if you say "Yeah... I like putting the thought back in composition rather than putting the, "LOLZ I LOVE COMPOSER X AND WANT TO SOUND LIKE HIM," into it." it still implies that many don't put thought into their compositions and that they only sound like and aspire to just be like other composers.

My point is that there are many composers that strive to find their own voice and put tons of thought into their works. There are also composers that strive to become clones of others- for whatever reason. Other composers put a ton of thought into their works, but perhaps they're just not very talented or knowledgeable at composition so their work suffers. I have nothing against your method- mainly just with the last part of your statement. That could have been left out because to me, and perhaps I'm wrong here, it reads like its putting all of the other composers in that box.

But let's not derail the thread any more. Back to workspaces and Corbin- you can PM me if you feel the need to discuss this any further. From my end- we're cool. :)

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I recently had to get rid of my marimba which was the main source of my chord and melody testing but I rotate around two computers. The desktop has a guitar with various effects run into an amp and an organ behind it, this was my first real set up and i recently got a laptop so i can be at any of my many instruments and record on the go and I'm hopefully getting an 88 key synth to use with soft synths and sibelius at home and a 25 key to get tons of free tones and to use on the go and at school when i get a chance. I also like to blow off the easy parts of class by keeping staff paper in my backpack so i can write without people notice as much.

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Wow... I completely know what I meant and that wasn't it.

Witness the mysteries of the Internet. :D Perhaps I just misread you completely. That's the hard part about only reading text on a screen without voice inflections and facial expressions. Let's get back to the main point of this thread, shall we: work spaces.

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Sound blaster has decent cards at their upper level - even for recording. They may not have as many inputs /outputs but how many of us are recording multiple tracks simultaneously anyway?

Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum

Technical Specifications

24-bit Analog-to-Digital conversion of analog inputs at 96kHz sample rate

24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of digital sources at 96kHz to analog 7.1 speaker output

24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of stereo digital sources at 192kHz to stereo output

16-bit to 24-bit recording sampling rates: 8, 11.025, 16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz

ASIO 2.0 support at 16-bit/44.1kHz, 16-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/44.1kHz 24-bit/48kHz and 24-bit/96kHz with direct monitoring

Enhanced SoundFont support at up to 24-bit resolution

Audio Performance (Rated Output @ 2Vrms)

Signal-to-Noise Ratio (20kHz Low-pass filter, A-Weighted)

Stereo Output

109dB

Front and Rear Channels

109dB

Center, Subwoofer and Side Channels

109dB

Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz (20kHz Low-pass filter) = 0.004%

Frequency Response (-3dB, 24-bit/96kHz input ) = <10Hz to 46kHz

Frequency Response (-3dB, 24-bit/192kHz input) = <10Hz to 88kHz (Stereo only)

On-Board Connectivity

FlexiJack (Performing a 3-in-1 function, Line In / Microphone / Digital Out) via 3.50 mm minijack

Line level out (Front / Rear / Side / Center / Subwoofer) via 3.50 mm minijacks

AUX_IN line-level analog input via 4-pin Molex connector on card

One AD_Link (26 pin) connector for linking to the X-Fi I/O Console (upgrade option)

I/O Drive Connectivity

Two RCA jacks for coaxial SPDIF input and output

Two RCA jacks for Auxiliary input

Two optical connectors for optical SPDIF input and output

Two mini MIDI female connectors for MIDI input and output

Headphone output and volume control via 6.35 mm (1/4-inch) stereo jack

Shared line-level analog Line/Microphone input via 6.35 mm (1/4-inch) stereo jack

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Well, the pure specifications don't tell you much how the preamps and A/D and D/A converters actually "sound". (Not saying it sounds bad though, as I never heard it.)

As for inputs: Yes, most people don't need lots of inputs or outputs, but at least two balanced inputs for stereo recording (XLR) and similar outputs would be nice to have. And phantom power for the mic input.

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I think there's nothing wrong like wanting to sound like "composer X," just that it shouldn't be the ONLY THING you do. :>

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I think there's nothing wrong like wanting to sound like "composer X," just that it shouldn't be the ONLY THING you do. :>
Like the Generic-Classical-Composer-Clone wannabes here who have kittens if there's an unprepared/unresolved dissonance? (or for that matter, any dissonance) Ohhhh, the atonality, THE ATONALITY!!!!!

!>

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