For his new instrumental album titled When Gravity Fails, guitarist and composer Neil Zaza (pictured) used VirtuosoWorks’ NOTION software as the orchestral backdrop for performances with fellow musicians Jordan Rudess, Peter Frampton, Steve Smith, Michael Anthony, Roger Manning Jr., Bob Rock and others.
Zaza also used Steinberg Cubase SX, Arturia Minimoog V, Ableton Live, Propellerhead Reason and Digidesign Pro Tools on his project. But when it came to composing string arrangements, Notion proved up to the task.
“When I first saw the demo of Notion, I was blown away,” says Zaza. “Not only is it a great and intuitive notation program, but the sound library is second to none. The amount of control, dynamics and musicality that you can impart on the score is breathtaking. Combine that with the London Symphony Orchestra sound library and it was a no-brainer.”
Zaza and company used Notion on “Something Anything”, “Danza Della Notte” and “My Only Son,” and guest musicians performed the original string parts. The Notion tracks ultimately became the main sound source while the live players were mixed in.
“This was my very first project where I did all of the arranging and orchestration,” Zaza says. “I realized early in this project that I couldn’t ask someone to paint a picture for me as it was always different than I had in my mind—I had to do it myself to get the results I desired. With the help of Notion, this is the beginning of a great aspect of my music. I couldn’t believe how it elevated the music to a whole other level. There was a certain majesty and authenticity that I couldn’t have gotten otherwise.”
Zaza plans to use Notion for composing future projects, such as a planned orchestral-based work, and as a performance tool in his annual One Silent Night concert.