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Topic: a bossa nova

  1. #1

    a bossa nova

    This bossa nova uses GPO strings and JABB vibraphone and flugal horn. I am a little disappointed in the string sound. It does not sound as real as I would like. I used the full string ensemble (short mutes) and added single players on top of that to minimize the fabricated sound of the ensemble. Anyway, please give it a listen and tell me what you think.
    Thanks Jay.


  2. #2

    Re: a bossa nova

    My wife just lit up when I said, "Hey, I'm gonna play a new Bossa Nova by Jay" - she's grown to look forward to your posts as much as I do.

    Aaaaah yes, so excellent. You're such a fine musician, Jay. When we turn on the "smooth Jazz" cable station sometimes to be our evening ambiance, I want to hear Your things in that playlist.

    Can't beat those instruments from JABB you used - the Vibes and Flugel. They sound especially great here.

    OK, and you're wanting some feedback on the strings. You've kept them nice and low in the mix, providing a warm background for the main instruments, so that works. For the most part, they sound fine in the recording. In the section where they come up temporarily more prominent, then I can hear what you're talking about, but gee whiz, I probably would have accepted them if you hadn't pointed them out. While mixing, you had to have spent some time hearing those in isolation, and the sound was bugging you, and later you probably weren't able to really hear them in the almost invisible way you have them in the final mix.

    I'll say, though, that there's a problem in using that one full string patch. You said "short mutes," but I think you must have meant "sus+short mutes," and your phrases are all legato. Well, actually there isn't a "short mutes" patch - Most of the string patches are labeled "sus+short" to indicate that they're theoretically good for both short and sustained notes.

    ANyway - Those Full Strings patches just can't cut it by themselves. I use the basic full patch when I'm first working out a string arrangement, and then Sometimes, but not always, I'll leave it in the project after layering in other strings - and If I Do leave it in, I have it at a very low level. So, added soloists layered in with this was a good move. Really any of the strings in GPO can't be used successfully on their own, they all need to be layered. But I think it would have worked better for you to layer in group patches - maybe with the soloists also, but the group patches sound more natural than the all-in-one "full strings" patches.

    In other words, yes, to get the best string sound, you just need to use more layers. You could go the extra mile, using separate MIDI tracks instead of having the patches all share the same track, offsetting notes, using touches of Var 1 and 2 - but that's pretty time consuming, and really only needed when a piece is featuring strings more than this one.

    Love your Bossa, Jay - Thanks!


  3. #3

    Re: a bossa nova

    As always, thank you very much Randy!. I glad to hear that your wife likes my music also. The vibes are a little harsh at some points, but over all I think the sound is good especially when I realized that the tremolo speed was adjustable.

    I did mean to say sus + short mutes on the strings. I need to do some more experimenting to get a sound that I like. Your suggestions will be useful. I think the idea of layers is a good one. I just finished a french horn duet (which will probably be the next piece that I post) and It just did not sound like f horns until I added an extra layer on each one. Now you can hear the occasional "kiss" on the mouthpiece. Thanks for listening and your useful comments. Jay

  4. #4

    Re: a bossa nova

    Hi Jay,

    On a late Saturday evening, what could one have more relaxing than your lovely bossa nova? I enjoyed every minute of it. Very nice percussion and really good solos, fine guitar (in all passages). Everything well balanced and mixed with an intimate ambience. Well done. The string backing doesn't seem a concern to me, it's only some filling decorum.

    Thanks for sharing!


  5. #5

    Re: a bossa nova

    Hey Max. Thanks for liking my music. I think I am being a little over sensitive to string sound. You are right. They are in the background are were meant to supply a simple string pad.

    I kept the percussion pretty traditional on this, staying with the classic bossa nova drum pattern with a few extra hits along the way. I think that the JABB vibes has a pretty decent sound to it. I plan to use it more in future pieces.
    Thanks for taking time to listen and comment. Jay

  6. #6

    Re: a bossa nova

    yes, those JABB vibes are among the best patches in the library.... but then one has to know how to use them and that's where you step in!

    By the way, also the Flugelhorn is among JABB's winners, it really always sounds on the spot. And I' m also particularly fond of the Tenor Sax 4 sound. The other saxes are fine, but the Tenor 4 (and the soprano) is very very warm and full.

    Going back to your piece... there is also the usual guitar, in there, doing some very nice things.

    Those strings... I am not the best friend of GPO strings... but in this case, in my opinion, the problem lies in the arrangement, it is way too dense and I can not hear full sections. I'd spread it a bit and span it over a couple more octaves, making the violin section more prominent. Don't know, might be worth a try.... I mean, I can not hear what the strings are playing, so I might be wrong. I just hear the cellos.


  7. #7

    Re: a bossa nova

    Well done, Jay!

    You have a way with these types of pieces. It is refreshing to just be able to sit back and enjoy the quiet breeze coming off the shoreline as the sun is glowing orange on the horizon. Oops, wait a minute. I must be dreaming. It is raining and sleeting outside. But thanks for that moment in the sun as I listened to this Bossa. As usual the mix is excellent.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


  8. #8

    Re: a bossa nova

    Fab! Thanks for the listen. The flugel and vibes are nice instruments in JABB. I plan to check out the tenor sax 4. I don't believe that I have ever used it. I tried to keep the strings in a low pitch range, that is probably why you hear more cello. I think I need more practice using string pads particularly in this style of music.

    Rich! I am glad that my music allowed you to escape (temporarily) from the rain and sleet. Your comments are much appreciated

    Thanks to you both. Jay

  9. #9

    Re: a bossa nova

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    This bossa nova uses GPO strings and JABB vibraphone and flugal horn. I am a little disappointed in the string sound. It does not sound as real as I would like. I used the full string ensemble (short mutes) and added single players on top of that to minimize the fabricated sound of the ensemble. Anyway, please give it a listen and tell me what you think. Thanks Jay. www.jesse.us.com/bossanova.mp3
    Hey jay, Before your thread disappears, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your bossa. This is the first piece of yours that I've had the pleasure of listening to. It has a really great sound, both in rendering and composition. The piece flows so nicely like a good bossa should. The instrumentation was perfect for this and I didn't have a problem with the strings. I'm really wowed by your rendering. Did you learn to mix/master on your own or did someone help you perfect this. Which ever, it is really a splendid sound. I can only hope to achieve results like this someday, in both rendering and writing a good bossa. I've tried writing a bossa before, but failed miserably. So thanks for providing great music for those of us that can't compose such things. Again, really enjoyed..... Cass

  10. #10

    Re: a bossa nova

    Wow, such a great sound. Yes those vibes are super-cool, smooth. I'm looking out of the office window and all I see is grey and rain (hasn't stopped in two days) - but this has brightened my mood immensely. Love the horn solo too.

    I wouldn't worry about the strings too much, playing the role of a 'pad' here, they don't distract at all from the quality.
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