Farewell to Nova Scotia redux
Four years after my first attempt at scoring for full orchestra with Musescore, the Farewell to Nova Scotia, I decided to return to the work and see how it sounded with the external orchestra I spent the intervening years setting up, the one that was used for my Symphony in D minor . The result is staggeringly better. Clamp on a good pair of headphones and have a listen at //youtu.be/6bceV7P-FKo . (For comparison, the original “straight out of Musescore” version is at //youtu.be/2Rapzvzp2AM .)
Bear in mind as you’re listening that the score you see is playing “live”; this is exactly what the orchestra sounds like when I'm working on a score. There's no post-production, although there is a certain amount of Musescore trickery going on in the form of hidden notes and articulations, multiple channels per staff, and individually tweaked note velocities and dynamics.
For whatever it's worth, I'm currently writing a paper—small book, actually—on Linux midi orchestration with Musescore as the front end. Sadly, as I’m writing, I’m coming to the conclusion that the weakest link in the midi/audio chain is Musescore itself. It cannot swell through held notes and there’s no way to fake it. It does not permit changing note off-times (from the score itself, where it needs to be done), making the control of articulations and realistic phrasing next-to-impossible.
It is such a shame to get this close to what is essentially a score driven DAW only to have the midi versions of one’s scores hobbled by these limitations in the front end.