Ditching The DAW

The Future of Composing

StaffPad (music composition app)

StaffPad Realism

The good:

  • The realism beats Kontakt
  • Tap-to-Swap sounds 😁😁😁
  • A voice AI to build templates
  • Share Projects + Mobile

The limits:

  • Needs close mics for fast or intimate music
  • Needs more synths, solo, and ethnic instruments.


The mic mix and divisi sections in Spitfire's Studio series handle Hedwig-like runs much more effectively. And if StaffPad had Gulfoss, I probably wouldn't need my Mac. Yet StaffPad's workflow is still so profound that I sold all my old gear to switch.

Articulation Manager for Apps with Maps

2 – I didn't need to learn new handwriting. The app uses drawing patterns (i.e. an "m" shape) instead of the whole picture. It can't read nonsense (i.e. "ff" on an empty bar). The tutorials give tips for that. By the time I finished a song, I was flying. A week learning to use a new tool is a joy compared to the days of mapping articulations.

"[DAW Mixing] has reduced the time available for pure composition."

—Alastair A. Adams

(Dissertation: What effect has the DAW had on the composition of modern orchestral film music?)

"I find my creativity is heightened when using traditional notation because I can work out harmonies, manipulate rhythms in ways I might not be able to intuitively or at a MIDI keyboard, and create counterpoint that is more developed and thought out."

—Jordan Berg

(composer, DAW and notation user, and blog author)