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Jimbo 88

Cakewalk in Schools

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I have been making this argument for years...Cakewalk needs to update notation.

I just spoke with a couple of teachers,  one an Orchestra and the other a Band director.  Since the ensembles can not meet and all the kids are connecting thru lap tops, the two are focusing on music theory and production.  They stumbled across this free app called "Cakewalk" by Band Lab and wanted to know if I knew anything about it!!

Technology is going to change often and drastically,  but notation will not.  Notation is the common thread to move forward.

Get the notation end up to be more usable midi input and workable as a visual aid.  Schools will eat it up and you will have users for life.

 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Jimbo 88 said:

Get the notation end up to be more usable midi input and workable as a visual aid.  Schools will eat it up and you will have users for life.

I have been saying this for years :D   Yet when it is brought up, the argument against it is a DAW not a notation program :(
 

We don't want Cakewalk to become a full fledged notation program all we have been asking for is some fixes and refinement. Have to agree if CbB gave it some attention it would be great for schools that are on Windows 10 and not chromebooks.

 

Side note:

My daughters are doing remote learning now for High School and have chromebooks issued to them. Both of my girls use their Windows 10 2n1 laptops and do the writing/annotating right on the screen.  I know some chromebooks have active pens to, but the school doesn't have the budget for those. Anyway several teachers asked my kids how they did the work so fast? Both took screenshots and pictures from there phones to demonstrate how they did the work.
I think one of the teachers  thought my kids were cheating somehow. The other teacher was impressed and wished all the kids got chromebooks with active pens.   My daughter loves the active pen for AP chemistry.

 

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I'll gladly make the counter argument that far more "musicains' do not use Notation at all and that the common thread is actually features that simplify music production even for those that know very little theory or still haven't learned what note is on or between each line.

Notation is fine, but it hasn't been the cornerstone of music production for over a couple decades.  and the trend is moving even further from it.

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1 minute ago, Brian Walton said:

I'll gladly make the counter argument that far more "musicains' do not use Notation at all and that the common thread is actually features that simplify music production even for those that know very little theory or still haven't learned what note is on or between each line.

Notation is fine, but it hasn't been the cornerstone of music production for over a couple decades.  and the trend is moving even further from it.

Are you saying that therefore staff notation should be neglected?

I cannot imagine orchestras, concert bands, and marching bands learning to play music together with piano view notation.  Call me old fashioned.

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@Brian Walton  You might be right, but in school for band and orchestra,  notation is the way the kids learn to read and play music.

I still think it is the way to teach the kids. Now if you are taking a music production class you do have a point.

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22 minutes ago, InstrEd said:

@Brian Walton  You might be right, but in school for band and orchestra,  notation is the way the kids learn to read and play music.

I still think it is the way to teach the kids. Now if you are taking a music production class you do have a point.

Yes, I've been there.   Though I learned how to play music (in some capacity) before I'd even attempted to learn where the notes were in "standard notation" as a early teen.   And I know hundreds of kids that learned how to play music without ever learning.

I personally don't think it is the way to teach kids.   What percentage of kids have real interest in orchestra, concert or marching bands?   Now what percentage of kids have interest in Rock, Pop, EDM, etc?   The numbers are way different, and they way to learn Rock, Pop, etc from the primal learning stages has nothing to do with notation.    It is about learning a language and emotion and expressing it on an instrument.   I've seen far more kids stick with music and play later in life if they learn based on what they want to play first adn then learn notation and theory later (if at all).

The percent of kids that stick with that class room style orchestra standard notation reading system is abysmal.  Those that learn some rock chords and play rock chords as a teen or adult way higher.

Again we are talking about most benefit to the most users.   Standard Notation isn't that platform, in my opinion.  

26 minutes ago, User 905133 said:

Are you saying that therefore staff notation should be neglected?

I cannot imagine orchestras, concert bands, and marching bands learning to play music together with piano view notation.  Call me old fashioned.

I'm saying it shouldn't take priority in development given it is a very tiny subset of users.     And Cakewalk hasn't even introduced a Chord track yet, with is aimed at the "majority"    as it dumbs down the need to play an instrument and is also useful for an experienced pro.   

When I was in High School over 2 decades ago, our band instructor used a DAW to create both notation prints out ans a midi track for the band to learn from.  But I'll galdly call you old fashioned if you think the majority of music creation is from those 3 groups...that squarely puts you in "old fashioned"  camp   😆

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22 minutes ago, Brian Walton said:

I'm saying it shouldn't take priority in development given it is a very tiny subset of users.   

Considering how long staff notation has been neglected while many other aspects of music were given so much attention over the decades, I find your appeal to rule by the majority problematic and offensive. What do you have to fear by the "tiny subset of users" that you felt so compelled to say in essence, "No, Bandlab, don't spend time trying to improve the Staff View. It is not worth development time?"

If you look at Staff View as it existed in Windows 3.1 and as it exists now and then compare the new features and improvements with the plethora of non-Staff View new features and improvements from Windows 3.1 until now, I don't think you would find a sufficient threat to say "it shouldn't take priority in development given it is a very tiny subset of users." 

On the other hand, I don't think Bandlab would suffer if it devoted more attention to academic markets and to music notation.  

  

 

Edited by User 905133
"the" deleted

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31 minutes ago, User 905133 said:

Considering how long staff notation has been neglected while many other aspects of music were given so much attention over the decades, I find your appeal to rule by the majority problematic and offensive. What do you have to fear by the "tiny subset of users" that you felt so compelled to say in essence, "No, Bandlab, don't spend time trying to improve the Staff View. It is not worth development time?"

If you look at Staff View as it existed in Windows 3.1 and as it exists now and then compare the new features and improvements with the plethora of non-Staff View new features and improvements from Windows 3.1 until now, I don't think you would find a sufficient threat to say "it shouldn't take priority in development given it is a very tiny subset of users." 

On the other hand, I don't think Bandlab would suffer if it devoted more attention to academic markets and to music notation.  

  

 

A chord track which hasn't been developed yet is of use to a far larger user group.

Staff Notation itself hasn't changed in decades and the dev team noted what a small percentage use the Staff View when they were collecting analytics, it was practically unused.    I have no problem with them developing it more, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to.  

 

As for the academic side of musical notation.  There is a long history of purchasing printed scores and keeping those places in business.  What academic solutions are teaching kids to create their own notation in a DAW?   That use/application is far more advanced and therfore a far smaller subset of musicians.  We are talking a fraction of a fraction of 1%.

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10 minutes ago, Brian Walton said:

. . . the dev team noted what a small percentage use the Staff View when they were collecting analytics, it was practically unused.   

Self-fulfilling result: it was buggy, hard to use, had no significant improvements/features, therefore, it was not used. Poor excuse for not making improvements.

12 minutes ago, Brian Walton said:

. . . it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to.  

Appealing to an academic market that uses staff notation, it could very well increase the chances that once familiar with Cakewalk and once having invested time in learning it under the guidance of teachers in academic settings, after they have no need for staff notation they will continue to use it.

Of course, since Cakewalk is free, all of this is academic and therefore what compelled you to say in essence, "Bandlab, don't waste development time on fixing and improving staff notation; things like a chord track is far more important."

If a user finds a bug/issue with staff notation or makes a suggestion for improvement and other users jump in to say things like, "Don't use Staff View; use the PRV. Less than a fraction of a fraction of 1% use it; It's not worthy of attention; etc." that is being disrespectful and to me makes no sense, in addition to being short-sighted.

   

 

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3 hours ago, Jimbo 88 said:

I have been making this argument for years...Cakewalk needs to update notation.

I just spoke with a couple of teachers,  one an Orchestra and the other a Band director.  Since the ensembles can not meet and all the kids are connecting thru lap tops, the two are focusing on music theory and production.  They stumbled across this free app called "Cakewalk" by Band Lab and wanted to know if I knew anything about it!!

Technology is going to change often and drastically,  but notation will not.  Notation is the common thread to move forward.

Get the notation end up to be more usable midi input and workable as a visual aid.  Schools will eat it up and you will have users for life.

I cannot imagine why anyone would be against this.  Of course, I am very biased: in the late '60s I had the benefit of a music theory class in high school, learned the basics (intervals, scales, modes, harmony, score analysis, music writing, 4-part harmony, etc.) and even alternative systems of notation, music concrete, aleatoric music, electronic music, etc.  My final report was on Varèse's Poème électronique (which I last heard in 2019 as part of a concert designed for 36 speakers). 

I use many features of Cakewalk from Staff View to Workspaces and appreciate many other features--including those that I never use.  Maybe my enthusiasm for pluralistic approaches to different styles of music and different creative processes, performing modalities, and workflows stems from growing up in the '60s. 

In any case, if Bandlab wants to reach out to students when they are young and under the guidance of music teachers who use music notation and can provide expert help with Cakewalk's very sharp learning curves, I would applaud that.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, User 905133 said:

Self-fulfilling result: it was buggy, hard to use, had no significant improvements/features, therefore, it was not used. Poor excuse for not making improvements.

Appealing to an academic market that uses staff notation, it could very well increase the chances that once familiar with Cakewalk and once having invested time in learning it under the guidance of teachers in academic settings, after they have no need for staff notation they will continue to use it.

Of course, since Cakewalk is free, all of this is academic and therefore what compelled you to say in essence, "Bandlab, don't waste development time on fixing and improving staff notation; things like a chord track is far more important."

If a user finds a bug/issue with staff notation or makes a suggestion for improvement and other users jump in to say things like, "Don't use Staff View; use the PRV. Less than a fraction of a fraction of 1% use it; It's not worthy of attention; etc." that is being disrespectful and to me makes no sense, in addition to being short-sighted.

   

 

You clearly lack objectivity and take the facts about how many people actually use the function personally.   

Bandlab doesn't cost money to download and install, I've invested a fair amount of money to get to the stage where Bandlab thought it was valuable enough to purchase for an undisclosed sum.   I've also invested many years using the software, and my time is not free.  

 

What compells you to argue againts me?  They are opinions and I've provided solid reasons why develpment in the staff view only serves a tiny subset of users., and there are plenty of improvements   that could be made that servers a far larger population.  

Edited by Brian Walton
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1 hour ago, Brian Walton said:

You clearly lack objectivity . . . 

LOL.  You are not worth any more of my time.  Goodbye . . . .

Edited by User 905133

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An interesting read! FWIW I actually think both you guys have valid points.

I am not a notation guy, in fact over the many years I've owned and used Sonar/Cakewalk I can't even think of a time when I've opened up Staff View! Over the journey I have seen a lot of forum posts/requests from users to 'fix' the Staff View. I don't even know exactly what's wrong with it, or what it's not capable of that users want, but from what I read it sounds like a few tweaks would get it in the ball park for many.  If that were to happen and it was then as usable for the Orchestral or Jazz  students, as the others, then I agree, I think it's a great opportunity to capitalize on the music student market across all styles. 

That being said, it looks like the required tweaks either aren't that easy, or they are a low priority in a big list of other enhancements/fixes/features, which Bandlab/Cakewalk sees as more important to the brand moving forward.   

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If you search the old Cakewalk forum you'll find a thread in there that I started a few years back about fixing notation that may have set the record for the number of responses. I think the last time I checked it was 300 pages or more.

That was years ago and very little has been done to upgrade notation in Cake. I still have hope that they will.

Bottom line!! If it were not for notation, think of all the wonderful music from the past hundreds of years we would not have. Would you really trust the process of someone learning every single part of a symphony by ear and then passing it down to a younger musician to carry on to the next generation? I think the odds would be pretty high that parts would be lost or or at least wrong. And what about dynamics. If not for notation we would have no idea about the emotional performance of a piece! Even a slammin'  hip hop song has breakdowns!!

Finally, notation is the earliest form of direct communication for a composer to communicate his interpretation of a piece. I think we are very fortunate to have any system that allows me to pick up a piece of paper and see EXACTLY the way Beethoven intended for this music to be performed.

This system is responsible for laying the groundrules  of all the music you play by ear now!!! We should respect this communication tool enough to keep it alive another 1000 years.

As far as this thread is concerned, I feel that it is beating a long dead horse. If you care about notation that much, buy a notation program that fits your budget and move on!!

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1 hour ago, Sidney Earl Goodroe said:

Finally, notation is the earliest form of direct communication for a composer to communicate his interpretation of a piece. I think we are very fortunate to have any system that allows me to pick up a piece of paper and see EXACTLY the way Beethoven intended for this music to be performed.

Poe's Law. I can't tell if you're being serious, or mocking someone.

On the off chance that you're serious, the most carefully annotated sheet music gives us at best a 'reasonable idea' of how Beethoven wanted his music performed. There's far more nuance in any performance than can be expressed in sheet music. Anyone who's heard a soulless MIDI performance 'typed in' from sheet music, playing perfectly on-grid, knows that.

Luckily we now have a way to perfectly capture exactly how a piece is meant to sound, in the form of actual recordings of a performance by (or approved by) the composer. Perhaps the recordings or playback technology won't survive the coming apocalypse, but if so, we've got bigger problems at that stage than trying to remember how "Be-bop-a-lula" was supposed to go.

 

But having written that, you must be joking. If so, well-played sir, you got me!

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We do have surviving original scores written in the composers hands to refer to and in those days the composer had the last say as to whether the published piece would be released.

My comments were not meant to offend anyone or start a debate about which workflow you use. It was only to bring attention to the fact that even now notation is as important as it always has been as far as a means of communication for musicians, both amateur and professional!! Why Cake persists in not really either upgrading or at least admitting they don't intend to ever fix notation is perplexing!

I will continue to use Cake as I have since late 80s or early 90s and fully support it but the notation has always been almost unusable for any serious task!!!

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2 minutes ago, Sidney Earl Goodroe said:

I will continue to use Cake as I have since late 80s or early 90s and fully support it but the notation has always been almost unusable for any serious task!!!

Almost all of my music is humorous, lighthearted, frivolous, or experimental.  So, I suppose I can use Cakewalk's Staff View without running afoul of those who like to argue from the competition-for-limited-resources stance.  😛 

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So what I'd like to ask is, how do you guys see Notation working in Cakewalk?

I had to do a musical and naively played each instrument's part into the piano roll , quantized, printed it in notation and gave each (trained!) musician his part.

All grooves, funky bass pauses etc. were faithfully represented by multiple rests, dotted notes etc.

WHAT-IS-THIS?!? they asked. I explained what I'd done. They laughed.

The lead musician simplified the whole lot and put "Swing" at the top. All my "feel" notation was gone.

They then played it in their own way.

(Readable) notation only carries enough information to give an overview. Every human will interpret it differently.

I really cannot see how notation and piano roll can co-exist except at a basic level.

Edited by twelvetone

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Unfortunately, many of the comments in this thread are OT from the original theme of the thread IMO and to amount to "baiting" users into debates about competition-for-limited resources, the benefits of one feature over another or the weakness of one feature as compared to another, etc.

1 hour ago, twelvetone said:

I really cannot see how notation and piano roll can co-exist except at a basic level.

I believe this is a truthful statement insofar as you cannot see the potential of using multiple modalities, tools, etc.  That doesn't mean that others can't see the potential.  

Edited by User 905133
removed "a" [typo]

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I claim ignorance. I am keen to learn from those here so that I can see the potential.

Back to the OP: What details must be covered for it to be accepted/be useful in schools?

Which detail can be made to work in a piano-roll,

and which would need to be stand-alone notation only?

Edited by twelvetone
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