Logic Pro X has become the platform of choice for many professional composers and producers making mockups or master recordings of their work.
If creating parts and score for live performance with a band or orchestra is a downstream possibility for the project, then you need to consider setting up your Logic session from the beginning to make it less costly to transcribe.
Raw midi from a Logic session can be worse than no midi at all for your arranger or orchestrator.
You might think midi will automatically reduce the cost, but that’s not usually the case. It can take so much time to edit imported midi into conventional notation (that players can easily understand and read) that doing it ‘by ear’ into a notation program is usually faster and less expensive.
This doesn’t have to be so if your session is setup and edited with notation in mind.
A quick look at your tracks using Editor>Score tab (image) may give you a preview of what a transcriber will see after importing your midi. Fortunately, this same view can give a preview of the changes you make from the list below, while providing some of the tools needed to improve the usability of your midi.
Notation can be Costly
At every point there are ways to reduce costs while creating your Logic session to maximize downstream potential. Here is a list of things to consider with practical suggestions to maximize the efficiency of your workflow.
- Be sure to track with a click, entering midi into the session using all virtual instruments (except vocal).
- If possible, also enter a midi version of the vocal line(s) into your session
- Be sure to set the tempo, time and key signatures in Logic for each track.
- Set the time signature using the Signature part of Global Tracks
- Set the tempo using Global Tracks Tempo section
- Set the key signature in the Score editor by dragging the desired key onto the score from the Part box in the Track Inspector
- If holds, pauses, or tempo changes are desired, then edit the Tempo line in Global Tracks to get it sounding the way you want
- If you haven’t used a click, use Tempo Mapping in Global Tracks to assign bar lines
Durations and Articulations
Durations that sound right in a DAW are going to look “wrong” on sheet music. Although even the shortest durations can be communicated with notes and rests, the midi coming out of Logic usually causes a lot of rests to show up in notated music, causing a cluttered look, making it hard to read. We solve this in transcription by writing a short-sounding note as a longer note with an articulation mark.
To accommodate this difference between Logic’s output and a transcriber’s needs, the first thing to do is save a copy of the Logic session to preserve your original work. Then, go over the parts in Logic, and edit the durations of the midi to carry the sustain over to the next beat or subdivision. Logic’s Midi Transform>Quantize Durations tool is a slightly cumbersome but handy way to do it, and starts to go quickly as you become familiar with the operation of the tool.
Midi exported from notation software usually has durations that will play back correctly in a DAW, because they’ve designed their midi interpreter to correctly interpret articulation marks, and include corrected durations in exported midi. If notation is part of the downstream picture for a project, this fact alone makes it more cost-effective to begin the project in notation software.
- Be sure to use input quantization when recording your tracks. Set your minimum duration in Inspector>Region>Quantize [dropdown for note value list]
- Using the sustain pedal on note entry can negatively impact the usability of your midi. Do one of the following before sending the files to notation:
- Avoid using the sustain pedal, instead holding down keys for the desired note duration during entry
- In the Editor window, use Functions>Convert Sustain Pedal to Note Length, being aware that this can produce unwanted results.
- Delete sustain pedal data and correct durations manually
- Split the piano into 2 tracks, one for the right hand and one for the left:
- Open the Score tab of the Editor window
- In the Region Inspector, set Style to Piano 1/3
- Drag the Voice Separation tool (in the Editor tools list) in between the notes to create a dynamic split point, sending the left hand notes to the lower staff
- In the Tracks area choose Edit > Separate MIDI Events > By Event Channel, which creates another midi track in the session.
If you do these things to prepare your midi, you’ll have much lower costs after your transcriber opens your exported midi in Finale.
See our related article about Preparing Finale Files for Use in Logic Pro