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May 17, 2015 at 4:39 am

Dear composers, what program did you use while composing music? I have some interest at composing music. But I had no idea where to start. And, do you have to record sounds from real life for your music (Like real guitar, etc) or could the program synthesize sounds like guitars, bass, drum ,etc?


May 17, 2015 at 11:31 am

There are many different programs to choose from, each with their own pros and cons, which one you might feel comfortable using depends on how you want to approach the music.

Personally, I use Sibelius for notation i.e. music of a more instrumental nature, orchestral writing etc…  This is because I generally find it easier to to work with notation and it is helpful for when I might need to have players recording  parts.

However, I also use Cubase for producing tracks. I generally use VST plugin synths and samples, with various effects to produce the desired sound. It is also very easy to record directly in if that’s something you want to do.

Cubase and similar software isn’t only limited to synths. There are some really great orchestral sample packs available such as EWQL symphonic orchestra or vienna symphonic library, which are pricey, but can provide some awesome results.

Here are a couple of examples of EWQL Symphonic Library (remember this was all put together at my PC, there was no live recording on my part)

I have also tried using Milkytracker, for a more oldskool chiptune approach, but I haven’t yet familiarized myself with the software. It might be worth a look if that’s more your cup of tea.


You should probably check out some of these though:

Notation software: Sibelius, Finale

Recording/Production software: Cubase, Logic (if Mac user), Pro Tools, FL Studio (there are literally thousands of free and paid VST plugins for these)


I hope this helps and have fun with it 🙂


May 17, 2015 at 11:38 am

Hey furibaito,

I’m currently using Cubase 8 Pro. I have also good experience with Studio One and Notion (Presonus), and Samplitude (Magix).

I suggest you load a demo version of every DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) you see. I also suggest you learn as much as you can about DAWs in general. You can record real audio, but you also can use VST Plugins (Virtual Instruments). VST are controlled via MIDI in the DAW. Those MIDI notes can be recorded with e.g. an keyboard or manually edited in the DAW. There are cheap and expensive sound libraries, the market is full with them! Some DAW also have built-in Instruments.

Those are some famous DAWs I know, however there are more.

  • Cubase (Steinberg)
  • Studio One (Presonus)
  • Fruity Loops (Image Line)
  • Reason (Propellerhead)
  • Pro Tools (Avid)
  • Digital Performer (motu)
  • Logic Pro (Apple) mac-only
  • Sonar (Cakewalk)
  • Samplitude (Magix)
  • Reaper

What type of music do you want to create?

My apporach would be: 1. Get more information about music production on PC in general 2. Make sure the DAW is capable of all you need 3. Make sure the workflow suits you. 4. Be ready that this will take some time 🙂

May 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

Hey Anthony,

your work is stunning in my eyes. This surely was a lot of work!

I also work a lot with EWQL, and I also like scoring with notation 🙂

May 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Hi Andre,

Thank you 🙂 Yes, the first time I heard EWQL after only using the midi sounds Sibelius I was stunned! Very nice work btw, do you use EWQL in your notation software? or (like me), do you write the music and then put the sounds together in Cubase or a similar program?

May 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm

@anthony_webb Nice tracks! Really calming orchestral piece.
I have checked Sibellius, But I find notation quite hard to learn. So now I’m looking at Cubase and FLStudio, gonna download the Demo and play with them. By the way, which is more popular (More libraries available)? Cubase or Fruity Loop studio?

@symphonicsquare Really glad that there are VSTs! I gonna check the demo of some DAWs that takes my interest.
The music I want to create is mostly electronic style, with a bit dub. Well maybe this music could explain what style I’m going into by ‘electronic’.

But I also interested in making a fast orchestral music, like this for example :

^ Doesn’t know if this categorized as orchestral.
Those are just examples for what style I’m going into, not going to creating something like them. I guess I’ll need to see music making generally in PC. But I’ve got my eyes on Cubase or FLStudio. I know learning to make a music will take lots of time, but I guess it’s a fun journey 🙂 . I often had tunes idea but haven’t got the skill to make it real.

May 17, 2015 at 5:03 pm


Notation has its benefits, but it can be long-winded and probably not quite right for the music you want to make. I’ve never used FLStudio myself so I don’t really know the major differences, but I know that people rate it as being really good software. Both are very popular although I can’t say which one is more so. You defiantly won’t have any trouble running VST tools and instruments in Cubase and I pretty sure FL Studio will be fine, so I wouldn’t worry about being limited in available samples and whatnot.

You might find this link useful on the subject:

May 17, 2015 at 6:06 pm

I use ableton live as daw, i find it easy to use. If you are serious about music I would recommend you NI komplete 10 set alongside ableton live. Check out their products:

May 17, 2015 at 8:55 pm

At the moment I use Sibelius for my notation. Me personally, I much prefer having an actual score in front of me when I am writing. I will do all my producing in Cubase but I do have a sound set for my Hollywood Strings so that they will work in Sibelius, also using my Quantum Leap Spaces plugin has drastically improved the quality of the playback in Sibelius.

For Orchestral VST’s I would highly recommend looking into East West’s libraries, I would love to look into getting the Berlin Series VSTs later down the line but don’t have the money at the moment….

May 18, 2015 at 2:22 am

I use Finale 2014 for MIDI orchestral music which I do alot, plus it only costs $150!

I don’t use any DAWs so far, my laptop isn’t capable of having one (it’s quite crappy 🙁 ) If I ever download one, I might get FL Studios.

For chiptunes, FamiTracker is a great choice, simple and there are loads of tutorials out there!

May 18, 2015 at 8:46 am


I’m doing all in Cubase currently and using mostly the matrix (midi) editor, though I find notation more readable. It save a lot of work for me, Cubase also have a (rough) score editor, if I need to.

Btw. Notion is capable of playing VST and doing scoring, both very well, with some limitations, but worth checking out! 🙂


Yea, you don’t need an classical approach. I dont claim myself as classical musician either. Just do it your way 🙂

May 18, 2015 at 9:00 am

Ok I’ve tried the trial for FL Studio. It seems you can’t open projects with the trial version 😛

I found some YT tutorials for FLStudio and could play with it a bit. Creating music is hard as I expected. 😀


I haven’t got a chance to try Cubase as it is a bit complicated to get the demo. It says I got to have USB e-Licenser thingy.

May 18, 2015 at 9:10 am

Cubase Elements 8 Trial can be run without the USB dongle.

The free Cubase Elements 8 trial version runs for 30 days without any limitations. No registration is required. Just download, install and start recording, editing and mixing your music in exceptional quality. And the Cubase Elements trial version runs without a USB-eLicenser.


May 18, 2015 at 11:06 am



I usually take the midi from Sibelius and edit it with the VST in Cubase.


My attempts to get EWQL to run in Sibelius have been pretty unsuccessful. I can sort of get it to work, but I haven’t really got it to run smoothly.

May 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm

I use Ableton Live, which is great for electronic music in my opninion.

You usually work in so called “Session View” instead of a timeline as in most other DAWs.