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 Post subject: Symphony bits and pieces
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:34 pm
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Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Cannich is a village in the Western Highlands of Scotland giving access to the wild Glens Affric and Cannich and a large tract of fairly remote mountains and lochs - beautiful and wild and free. My Cannich Symphony is a serious effort to write a symphony while exploring GPO4 and Aria and learning rather more about Overture 4 (and probably Overture 5 by the time I get it finished!) The first movement has a slow setting of the Agnus Dei in its development section using lush (muted?) strings with an oboe singing the treble line, and its final coda transits over a held note and a woodwind chord straight into the second movement - the first section of movt 2 is included in the mp3. Movement 3 makes use of pizzicato strings - the second mp3 is the first part of this movement. I really love the sound they make, but this is why I want to know exactly what Overture 4 is passing through to Aria and if there is any way I can get the dynamic markings in the score to carry through into the sound output. I can do it by drawing them in the graphics window (as in the basses crescendo on the rising passage under the arco chord near the beginning), but using the dynamics would be preferable (but no big deal - I love the sound).

I thought daring to put some of my stuff on the forum might help someone see what I'm trying to achieve and why the Pizzicato velocity settings are important. My needs are those of someone trying to reproduce a quality symphony orchestra sound in their lounge hi-fi system to hear their own work in playback - not as urgent as those who use Overture to earn a living - but a great source of joy for me!

Cannich Symphony

First Movement and transition into first part of second movement

https://www.box.com/s/opbwsqrs3av499k2z5an

Third Movement WIP (with Pizzicato)

https://www.box.com/s/9d5xwg7d5sj5eeai1iap


best wishes to all

Alan


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:59 am
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Location: Japan
Hi Alan,

Especially I love the music between 6:10 and 9:05 in the first movement. While I was listening to this section, I had been full of prayer every minute. Thank you for your sharing.

PS.
I guess GPO generally needs quality reverberation, with which it becomes more brilliant. In the second listening, I added some effects incluing subtle EQ and QL Spaces, and then music increased its appeal.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:28 pm 
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Hi Alan,

Purely from the standpoint of composition - this is quite a huge and impressive endeavor and I enjoyed it. As Tatsu mentioned... I also enjoyed the music between 6:10 and 9:05 especially...and your 3rd movement as well. I can certainly appreciate what you were trying to achieve with the pizzicato strings and of course why velocity settings are so important. Yeah...velocity variation is important to help lend itself to a more realistic sound - particularly with pizzicato samples (and overall short lived notes/strikes)...but more important than just velocity and volume (CC7) settings... is expression (CC11) when working with all the instrumentation throughout the course of a given work to help achieve that more realistic sound. That, possibly modulation... and of course the actual sounds/samples you are using.

SO when you say:

Quote:
My needs are those of someone trying to reproduce a quality symphony orchestra sound in their lounge hi-fi system to hear their own work in playback - not as urgent as those who use Overture to earn a living - but a great source of joy for me!


I certainly understand this desire, need and joy - so doing my best to not insult you...this piece needs a lot of work in many areas. It sounds very synthetic. Using expression (CC11), possibly modulation (CC1), volume (CC7) - and sure... trying to use velocity where appropriate certainly helps too. Tatsu gives mention to adding reverb and effects...which is also very important in achieving that desired sound you are looking for...this is directly related to audio engineering/mixing and how you go about recording your composition before, during, and after a mix you share with the world. If you have been to GPO4's main website they of course have demos on their main page - the quality is pretty good - and it is because of the time spent executing the aspects I just mentioned. There are also other sound libraries out there that I personally feel even higher levels of realism can be achieved with.

So - again - this is a brilliant composition and effort that I enjoyed immensely from that standpoint....but from the standpoint of realism and hearing your desire and emphasis on the need to reproduce a quality symphony from the luxury of your home...it sounds too artificial and perhaps some work in the areas discussed would help in that respect.

Thanks for sharing!
~Dean

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Last edited by Dean Krommydas on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:02 am, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:54 am 
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Great composition.
Especially the first movement starting at 12:00 I ike very much.
I'm not sure whether GPO the richness of ideas of this composition also can really express.
But I don't have experience with GPO. I own it, but I don't use it. I find the sound a bit thin. So I am using allways VSL.

:roll: Jovan

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:34 pm
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Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Tatsu, Dean, Jovan – thanks guys,

Your comments are encouraging and most generous and gracious – and I take on board the comments about quality output. You have been very kind to separate comments about composition from comments about sound production and quality. Thanks for being so sensitive of my feelings, I do appreciate it.

Okay, so I tried to go as far as possible just using what is offered in Overture and GPO Aria player, writing the music on Overture and playing it back with Aria player and GPO. I soon discovered I needed to do more with the facilities Aria offers – controls for CC22 and 23, stereo stage and mixer for balancing the orchestra sections. Stereo stage and reverb made a great difference (CC22-23 improved the timps and others) – and I will say it does sound better dropped onto disc than the mp3 I loaded up to Box.

Dean and Tatsu mention 6.10 to 9.05 – that section has had a huge amount of effort put into it, articulation, phrasing of instrumental lines and so on – I see I have to put the same work into every other bar as well. And at the end of the day that comes down to simple musicianship! It is difficult, and frustrating, sometimes, when every change made to one aspect of the score seems to affect every other part of it as well – and as it grows larger, that seems to get worse! So once I believe the overall settings are as good as I can get them, the rest must be bar by bar, voice by voice detail and musicianship.

I guess I want to trust the tools I have available, and I don’t have a lot of cash (or energy!)to spend trying different packages. I believe Overture is excellent, and GPO is what I can afford, and a big improvement over anything I had before – I just hope I’m getting as much help from what’s in the packages as I can – I prefer writing music to being a sound engineer (I don’t have the skills, though I’m starting to appreciate and beginning to understand some of those skills as I go along). So I will be satisfied with getting the best out of what I have – at least until I have enough understanding to move with confidence.

I do have a look around the GPO forums from time to time, but have found the Sonic Scores community far more open and useful – you guys really do things and address real problems. So any suggestions of books, crib sheets or indispensible stores of knowledge are much appreciated.

Next time I post some music I shall hope I’ve got it sorted better – but you have motivated me to revisit a number of things, even while I carry on scribbling notes – thanks for that.

So a big thanks for listening, and spending your time offering your knowledge and understanding – and being so encouraging.

Blessings to all,

Alan


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:16 pm 
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Please, go on with this. I am sure that when you render it well with expressions, a bit more dynamics and proper reverb this piece will shine.

About pizzicato. When spread over different instruments, they aren't quantized. In other words, insert some delays. When I am using this, I always do the random start times with Humanizing in Overture. When you are doing a pizzicato as a chord on a violin, just shift the notes some milliseconds, in particular when there are fast sequences. It is impossible to let them snap at exactly the same instance. It is also impossible due to the nature of the strings involved. That e-string is really tight and snaps back immediate in relation to the other thicker ones. This is one of my observations.

About the velocity, when you need piano set all to 38. Then do the random velocity again with some moderate value, also packed in Shift/Ctrl/H and listen carefully to the result. Most of the time it fits. Beware of highlighting too much the first beat of a bar/measure, the rhythm comes also from the setup of the piece and not always from the accented first note. If you need some crescendo and decrescendo you can draw the velocity lines at first of course and use CC11. You are familiar with the Control-G MIDI editing window, I think so.

It may seem a bit sloppy, not controlling the pizzicato to the detail. It isn't possible, we are humans. We always come very close to the demands of the string section leader, concertmaster and conductor. They may correct some notes, but they never can control you to the smallest detail. Two violinists play that pizzicato always differently, minor differences, but present.

Look and listen to this piece:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LErQfuDFGuI

Tchaikovsky symphony 4, part 3.... a very good example of pizzicato playing.

With regards,

Raymond

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:04 pm
Posts: 260
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
I just spotted this on one of my rather infrequent visits to the forum these days and I was intrigued by a symphony named after a place I know well. My brother lives in Aberdeen and I studied there. It's not so often that I hear such a fully worked out first movement and the tunes are utterly charming and I don't say this lightly! I have to say though, and I don't seem to be alone, that the sound simply doesn't do it justice. I started with GPO and I thought that the sound didn't seem too bad but perhaps this was partly just hearing the music in my head rather than what was really being played. It has to be said that upgrading to Vienna SE is worthwhile if you really want to come closer to realism but it's not so cheap unfortunately and other members with more technical ability than me have already given a few useful hints as how to get more out of your current library.

look forward to hearing more at some point
David

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