Dynamic vs. Static Programming of MainStage

A few weeks ago, in an online discussion about ways to program MainStage for a percussionist, a gentleman by the name of Stephen Hambright referred to two general practice of programming for a show. These methods aren’t necessarily exclusively used by percussionists but, in a musical theatre setting, may make more sense. I’m tweaking his wording a bit to align with my interpretation but hope to make the original intent maintain it’s integrity.The two ways to consider programming are Dynamic and Static programming. The ideas are essentially as follows:Dynamic-changing/flexible set upStatic-unchanging/consistent set upFrom those brief descriptions, I hope it is clear that there are benefits and draw backs to both. In a Dynamic set up, you can customize each show depending on it’s needs. If you switch from marimba to crotales to vibraphone to xylophone to etc…. you’re able to simply push a button/pedal/pad to change to the next instrument as needed in this instance. In a Static set up, your buttons/pedals/pads are assigned a specific instrument to switch to. In this instance, Button A=Marimba, Button B=Kalimba, Button C=Chimes/Tubular Bells, Button D=Vibraphone. This means you have to mark in your score when you change from Chimes to Vibes or Marimba to Kalimba but the buttons are always the same.In the case of a Dynamic set up, a foot pedal is sufficient as you only (in theory) need a “next” button. In the case of a Static set up, it makes more sense to have a MIDI pad where each button is assigned it’s own instrument.

Originally published at www.crobertsmusic.com.

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