From DAW to Sheet Music?

This is a question mainly for those who write music in a DAW. If you are needing to turn your composition into sheet music what is your process? I’ll sometimes scratch out a part on paper before I record it in if it’s a fast run or a complex chord progression. But once it’s on a track I’m focused on how it sounds because an audio file is usually my end goal. So I’ll layer different articulations together in ways that aren’t really “realistic” but I do it because it makes it sound realistic. Or I might need to offset midi events to sound like they’re on the beat because they have a slow attack.

My point is, there’s a lot of stuff that I do in the DAW that would make a mess if I just exported the midi from the DAW to a notation program. And that’s not even getting into percussion. So, those of you who print your sheet music, do you export it and fix it in the notation editor? Do you make a separate prep project in your DAW to clean it up for exporting? Rewrite it in the notation software? Hire someone else to do it?

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Well, I write in notation first, then export it to the DAW (Studio One) as MIDI sometimes. Hard doing it the other way since I end up with all the keyswitch notes in the score😩 So, if necessary, I’ll just take the time to make a separate score.

Hi Mike,
In Mixcraft, there is an option to save your tracks notations as pdf.

I think Logic has the same kind of feature. I’ve never tried it. But I’m sure it would output quite a mess. Logic apparently has a whole set of advanced notation features that I’ve never even activated in the preferences. I should probably investigate that sometime.

As an additional question: what about the instruments that are not printed at concert pitch (saxes, trumpet, clarinet, etc)? If you record them in the DAW, do you make a separate prep project in the DAW where you transpose tracks to where they need to be printed? Or do you transpose after you get it in the notation editor? Or do you just rewrite in the notation editor in the key it needs to be in?

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If Logic works anything like Studio One (my DAW) it should automatically set the clef and transposition. Taking a look at a piece I’m currently working on (fun Legend of Zelda-ish) opening the notation editor in S1, all the instruments are recognized and correctly transposed, though it still inputs keyswitch notes annoyingly. I DO know, however, that sending the MIDI data to Presonus’ separate notation program, Notion, it places all instruments in G-clef :expressionless: But, I use Dorico Pro anyway as it’s a much, much better scoring software.

I have to say, a very cool aspect to Studio One’s notation editor is that it allows the input of actual traditional notation markings in the DAW, like dynamic markings and crescendo/decrescendo, sforzato and accents, legato slurs, tremolo , #/b trills etc. This lets me make the VST libraries do more than maybe they were designed to, or get better, more realistic dynamics rather than me drawing in the automation lines on the mod wheel and all. Kinda nice!

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Thanks for all the info! I’ve only used Finale for notation software and that was a long time ago. I have a project coming up that I need to output the sheet music, so I’m going to try Musescore because that’s what I have right now, and it looks like it has all of the options that I need. So once I come to that step, I’ll let you all know how it goes going from Logic to Musescore.

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Cool! Good luck! Musescore is pretty decent (can’t go wrong for free :wink:) I really prefer writing out the score to doing MIDI in the DAW; I can just see what all the instruments are doing better (and I feel more “connected” to the music) If you ever have extra cash, I highly recommend getting Dorico Pro for doing scoring with NotePerformer for the playback option (only $100!) If you computer can handle it, it does have an instrument map download to use BBCSO as the playback as well. The only thing I don’t like about NotePerformer is the sound of the oboe and trumpets, everything else is pretty decent.

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That’s funny because for me it’s the opposite. I can see what the instruments are doing better in midi than I can in notation. I read music just fine, but I’ve never been a fast sight reader. So for me it’s kind of like speaking 2 languages very well and 1 other language kind of well, but you have to use the kind-of-well language to translate from one to the other, when it would be much faster to just speak in each of the very-well languages instead.

That said, I do feel notation is more concrete for me. If I need to learn something that someone else wrote and it’s difficult enough that it’s hard to pick apart by ear, notation is the best. But when I’m working in my own stuff, I’d prefer to swim in the midi.