Not available in stores: the custom touchscreen solution, running an original sampler, that turns Hans Zimmer's musical ideas into reality. Mark Werry is the person who made it all possible.

Interview: Mark Wherry, Man Behind Hollywood’s Digital Musical Instruments, Hans Zimmer Collaborator

Computer innovator Alan Kay famously said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Mark Wherry is doing as good a job as anyone of inventing that technology. Powering scores from the latest Batman films to Inception, working closely with Hollywood’s leading meastro Hans Zimmer, the work Wherry is doing really does invent instruments in order to invent sounds. New samplers, new touchscreens, new rigs all have to come together just to keep up with the feverish sound design demands of film and game titles. And with sophisticated surround delivery, at a time when studio veterans complain …


Avid’s Sibelius Scoring Tool Marches On, But Without Its Creators, As Users Protest

As industry giant Avid reorganizes, user fears about the future of popular notation tool Sibelius continue to mount. The chief rival to MakeMusic’s Finale, Sibelius is widely used among composers, musicians, arrangers, engravers, and educators. Those users now fear not a dead Sibelius, sold off to some other party, but an undead tool. In this scenario, they contemplate the loss of the core development team that would provide essential ongoing updates. Despite the staying power of tools like Venue, Pro Tools, and its flagship video software, Avid has been on a steady skid in profits and share value. Consecutive quarters …


Sibelius Will Stay with Avid, But Sources Report Principal Sibelius Office to Close

Users and developers of the music notation software Sibelius have expressed concern about the software’s future, in the wake of a reorganization at the software’s owner Avid. Sibelius wasn’t singled out in the reorganization announcement, though it was mentioned in company background boilerplate on the press release as one of the key company products. CDM asked Avid for the full details. Avid spokesperson Ian Bruce confirms to CDM that the Sibelius line of notation software will remain part of the company, from iPad to education products to the flagship notation tool itself (which is also integrated with Pro Tools). Avid …


Lovely Christmas Songbook for iPad, Built with Open Source Scoring Tools (More Platforms Coming)

Have an uncommon yule with tools and music from the Commons. That’s the pitch (so to speak) of the Ultimate Christmas Songbook, an iPad app built with 50 Christmas songs and a fully free and open source notation engine. Making use of public domain songs, the number of songs available continues to grow as the community contributes tunes. (Those contributors got the app for free.) As notation proliferates on tablets, the app also suggests that “commercial” doesn’t have to mean “closed.” The scores themselves are available in open, cross-platform formats (MIDI, MusicXML, MuseScore, and PDF). But by generating revenues, the …


Create Scores on the iPad, Don’t Just Read Them: Notion

Consumption, or creation? When it comes to notation and musical scores, the iPad (and tablets, generally) has fallen on the side of reading rather than writing, display rather than creation. Notion for iPad, a mobile version of the desktop notation software, looks poised to change all of that. See video, above, for an overview of the features. Highlights: Entry, editing, and playback for notation and guitar tab Built-in samples, including keys, guitar and bass, and the London Symphony Orchestra as recorded at Abbey Road Studios Enter notes by tapping a keyboard or 24-fret fretboard, or select and drag and drop …


iPad Score Reading: Scorecerer Emphasizes Markup, Page Turn Control, PDFs

If Beethoven had an iPad, he’d want annotations. Lots of them. His iPad would be covered with fingerprints. Since today is Beethoven’s 241st birthday, it seems only appropriate to inject a little conventional notation into today’s coverage. And what better way to do that than with an iPad app that promises some musician-friendly reading features. We’ve already looked a couple of times at Avid’s Sibelius-powered Scorch iPad reader, which features nice output and score integration, and recently added PDF support. Scorecerer has some unique features – aside from, augh, a somewhat unpronounceable name. It goes further in page turn control, …


MuseScore 1.1, Free and Open Source Notation, Rivals – and Plays with – Sibelius 7

An example score produced with MuseScore’s new lead sheet features. Music notation software has long been seen as a two-horse race, a Pepsi versus Coke stand-off between Finale and Sibelius. But not only are there other alternatives, too, here’s one tool that’s making free and open source notation viable. I’ve spoken previously about engraving tool Lilypond, but it’s not entirely graphical, even with GUI front ends. MuseScore will look more familiar to users of something like Sibelius, and just as the latter released a major upgrade, it also had a big 1.1 release with major new enhancements. MuseScore has a …


Sibelius 7 Notation Software: Updated UI, More Samples, 64-bit, More Interchange and Sharing

Avid released Sibelius 7 yesterday. Highlights in the new version: A new UI. The most apparent change is a new user interface with dockable, tabbed panels. The design borrows heavily from Microsoft’s Office Ribbon, though a more subdued appearance makes it look just as comfortable on the Mac. My guess is that power users may just hide the whole thing and stick to keyboard shortcuts, but it should do wonders for discoverability for new users or more casual users not comfortable with that. There’s also a nice new inspector, which looks a lot more usable and less-clumsy than the previous …


Platforming as Musical Interface: Jonathan Mak Shows Sound Shapes for New PlayStation Vita

Load up an Ableton set or mix samples, and you’re already in the domain of interactive music. With joysticks and arcade buttons and other controls, the blending of game and musical interface into generative compositional fusion is even clearer. It’s little wonder many electronic musicians take an interest in the nexus of gaming and music. Any discussion of interactive music scores for games would be incomplete without Jonathan Mak. His self-produced title Everyday Shooter used classic top-down space combat as a musical experience: not only do sound effects in the game act as musical elements, but even the flow of …


Interview: Jon Hopkins Talks Live, Studio Process, Habit, Instinct

Jon Hopkins performs live at the ICA. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Matt Biddulph. Classically trained as a pianist, musician and producer Jon Hopkins has one of the richest resumes in electronic music. He’s a frequent collaborator with Brian Eno, wand has worked with artists like Coldplay (who featured his music on their last album), Tunng, David Holmes, and Imogen Heap. He worked with director Peter Jackson, and has a sci-fi score on the way. He also has a rich set of solo releases. And we’ve seen him here recently with remix swaps with Four Tet and contributions to Eno’s upcoming Warp record. …