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Topic: Advice for better musical phrasing in my sequences

  1. #1

    Advice for better musical phrasing in my sequences


    I realized that my phrasing just doesn\'t sound the way a real musician would phrase the music. This is a huge hindrance to getting the illusion of real performers across. I have tried humming the lines, and adjusting the spacing of the notes to my breathing, but sometimes this makes me feel like an idiot and this isn\'t the most practical method. For example, humming complex rhythms or counterpoint, or dense chords, etc., just doesn\'t really work.

    I\'ve heard some MP3 that members of this forum have posted online and some have definately pegged the phrasing so it sounds convincing.

    I would like some advice on how some of you do phrasing and any rule of thumb suggestions to make the music breath as if it were performed and not sequenced.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Advice for better musical phrasing in my sequences

    If you have ever rehearsed an ensemble, that helps. You have to essentially pretend you\'re teaching music to the worst musicians you\'ve ever played with, telling them what to express on each note.

    Be sure to use your sequencer\'s tempo map to get overall tempo sweeps within your range. Quantize as little as possible, and if you must quantize to get a performance in sync quickly, then use your sequencer\'s randomization function to knock it out of whack a bit, and adjust it to taste afterwards. If your sequencer has a \"groove quantize\" feature, that can sometimes yield fun results.

    Playing keyboards as proficiently as possible helps. It\'s worth taking some lessons and sitting down with the Hanon exercises, blasting scales, etc., to get your chops up. The more expression you can perform yourself while tracking, the less you\'ll have to artificially \"teach\" the sequencer to play afterwards.

    I don\'t know any secrets other than those. If you can hear the part in your head, exactly as you want it to sound, then you just keep adjusting things one at a time, until what you hear in the sequence matches what\'s in your head.

    It\'s not easy. Some people make it sound easy, but the best MIDI orchestrators have the vision and ear of a conductor, the improvisational skills and chops of a jazzer, the developmental discipline of a composer, and the mixing skills of an engineer. That skillset is really the ideal combination. You can get there with three or even two out of the four if you work very hard. But the good news is that they\'re all skills that can be developed, so you just figure out your weak points and try to develop those to match your strengths.

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