I happened upon a short interview with New York-based composer and vocalist Dennis Tobenski (pictured right) on the web site of fellow composer Thomas Deneuville. Tobenski is a young American composer who has written incidental music for a number of theatre productions, and several cycles of art songs.
Deneuville asked Tobenski whether he used a computer to help with his composition process:
Mostly, I do my actual writing either at the piano, or sitting at a table, and use Sibelius to engrave my scores and check that I’ve notated rhythms properly. I also do my final editing and rounds of revisions at the computer. However, I’ve been known to hunker down in a café or at the New York Public Library with my laptop and do some heavy-duty composing directly into the computer (using the computer keyboard and mouse – I’ve never been comfortable using a MIDI keyboard for input).
Like thousands of other composers and arrangers, Tobenski uses Sibelius because of the professional results it produces:
Sibelius really does two things for me: It allows me to hear what I’ve written as a way to a) make sure I’ve notated everything properly, and b) make sure that I’m on the right track musically since I can’t always bang it out on my own at the piano; and it allows me to create scores that are engraved at a professional level, which is so important in this day and age.
Finally, Deneuville asked Tobenski whether or not using a computer had affected the way he composes:
I think that the ability to move notes around easily and make revisions and edits at the drop of a hat makes me much more open to try different things with a piece. I think that my works are much more rhythmically interesting because I’m able to drop in a beat here or drop out half a beat there without difficulty or the danger of ruining the page with smudgy erasures. With my vocal and choral music, I’m always toying with bar length well into the revision stage, and it makes a huge difference that I’m able to make and undo changes easily.