Composer’s Corner – Entry 3 – In Editing Hell

Ugh.

Years ago I made the switch from Finale to Sibelius. It made my composing process so much easier. The tools were fantastic, the interface was clean, and my scores looked great. The best part was that it was easy for me to convert most of Finale scores over to Sibelius. As the years went on I started to notice a bunch of little inconsistencies in the engraving of the final score and parts. Wasn’t so much that they where errors but they were just tiny little nuances that unless you looked at the piece for a couple hours a day, like I do, you would never notice them. But it was enough to start driving me mad. Here were my issues:

  • Inconsistencies in the size of some of the fonts between the score and parts.
  • Rehearsal marks sometimes not appearing on parts but on the scores
  • Margins sometimes varying between two different parts in the same piece.

These among other things finally reached a point where I decided it was time for a clean slate and to re-engrave basically everything I’ve ever written. So I set up some templates and did a test run with some of my chamber works. It seemed to be working great. Everything is looking like it’s lining up right, looking consistent, and looking professional. My initial reaction to this was joy. This meant that I could move onto my concert scores and start doing them! However concert band scores turned out to be a whole different beast.

I have two different concert band score types (8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17). The smaller is used for anything that is usually grade 3 or lower because of the pretty standard concert band notation. The larger is used for scores that are grade 4 or higher because of more advanced instrumentation means more staffs and I don’t want them to become un-readable to the director/conductor. Now I am challenged with maintaining these 2 template types and making them consistent in nature.

This can be a particularly tricky situation especially with the variations in the number of staffs. Every time you add more staffs to a score, things start getting a little more crammed. At a certain point Sibelius starts asking you if you want to decrease the staff size in order to make the new staffs fit. Normally this would be fine but I my templates were accidently set up to have the text scale with staff size. So every time I added more then 20 staves to my 8.5 x 11 templates, the software would reduce the staff size and take the font along for the ride. So now I had to go fix that in everything that I’ve done so far.

So this is where I stand. I’m stuck in this loops of getting a score close to being pushed out to my website and then finding another little thing that needs to be fixed and then going and fixing it on the rest of the pieces as well. I just have to keep telling myself that eventually I will get back to actually composing music and not editing music and that this is just a one time deal for all my older works. New works won’t have this issue at all since they will be edited only ever once. Until then I’m going to be stuck here in editing hell.

Until next time.

Composer’s Corner – Entry 2 – Aaaaand we’re live!

After months of work we are please to launch the brand new RLCompositions.com. Lots of things went into making the website a lot more user friendly. Below is a list of features you will find on the website:

  • Mobile version for people viewing on phones.
  • Easier way to view and purchase scores.
  • Blog posts and RSS feeds.
  • Share pieces with your friends on a multitude of social media sites! (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Redit, and many more!)

Along with this we have an amazing new logo curtesy of Healther Chatlos of Oprava Studios. She is an incredibly talented designer out of Kansas City, MO and it’s been a pleasure working with her on this. You also might have noticed that there are works still missing from the sight (a lot of them to be exact). We are working on getting them updated and re-uploaded. We have a good chunk of the chamber works uploaded and we will start getting more concert pieces uploaded asap along with jazz pieces as well.

One big feature that I’m personally excited about is the new blog post section. I’ve started a new blog called “Composers Corner“. In it I will post insights into my composing process and various other projects I’m working on. It will be great for me and hopefully be a great read for you as well.

Make sure to throw us a like on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We will be much more active there now and will post new works there as well. Thanks again for visiting RLCompositions. Go ahead and take a look around and make sure to come back often for newly uploaded works!

-Robert Langenfeld

Composer’s Corner – Entry 1 – Building Something Awesome

I don’t really expect many people to see this. So if you’re reading this, congratulations! I’m mainly writing this blog post to keep my sanity in check while I re-design my website. I’ve been kind of away from my website and not keeping it up to date but that’s all about to chance. A lot has happened and a lot more is to come.

First of all, why the redesign? Well the old website was kind of hanging on by a thread and it was really hard to upkeep and maintain. My design plan for this website was to give me something that I could easily maintain and upkeep. The other main goal was about realizing a goal of mine that I’ve had for a really long time.

I have been published now for many years by several different companies. As the years went on some of these companies started to go under and close their doors. The economy was getting bad and it saw the closing of one the largest publishers in the US (Southern Music Publications) close its doors for good. After that several of my smaller publishers had to close their doors because they didn’t have an outlet to distribute their music to. Basically a giant domino effect occurred and it made me really nervous. I wanted people to be able to still purchase my music and be able to see all the other things I could offer them.

So as of July 31st, 2014. I effectively ended my publishing contracts with several of my publishers with the goal that I could sell my music online myself. Thus a new RLCompositions was needed. A logo has been in the works now for 8 months and I have been told it will be done any day now. My plan is to get RLCompositions completely self-sustained in its operating costs and the amount of time it takes me to run it.

This is where the challenge has been. How do I balance my full time job, my family, friends, and run a business and still find time to compose? I haven’t quite figured it out yet. But in the coming weeks as I ready the site for its glorious new launch, I will figure out the most effective way to accomplish this.

With that I will end this post here. Much is left to be done on the site and there are tons of things that need to be decided still. Until next time.