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Topic: Real Orchestra experience...

  1. #1

    Real Orchestra experience...

    Hello everybody!

    After listening to so many compositions that have been mentioned here, I was wondering how many people here have actually had experiences with real orchestras. I don\'t mean string quartets or anything but at least 40 players or so (=the ensemble size most people here write music for). There have been so many great orchestra mock-ups that have been posted here so that I wonder, if one can create such a sound without having heard a real orchestra playing one of your own compositions. I mean, is it possible to create a convincing sound of a REAL orchestra with samples if you never heard how your sound imaginations sound in REAL? I experienced that I learned thousands of things when working with an orchestra which really helps me to get a better sound when working with samples, because I know how it should sound in real what I had in mind before. I mean, you can learn alot from listening to recordings but still it\'s like the reverse thing. You\'re listening to the final result that\'s the source for your later \"imagination\", but you can\'t check if an imagination you had will really sound the way as it was born in your head. It\'s just when you hear an orchestra recording, you only get the final result but you can\'t follow the way of it\'s development, you can\'t compare the initial idea with the final result. Hmm, it\'s damn hard to describe what I mean, I hope you get it by the weird explaination above [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]



  2. #2

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    Hi Mothu

    Samples help create the impression of an orchestra but can rarely sound exactly like one.
    Anybody these days can now sit down with the excellent SAM Horns and bash out a one-line fanfare. Not difficult. Can they notate it accurately or understand how it will be played by the performer?. Hmm......

    The danger is perhaps that many people rely on samples without having an aural image of what they want beforehand, or the technical knowhow of things like instrument ranges, what notes they can and can\'t trill on, how quickly the fiddlers can put their mutes on etc etc. Then the scores are at risk of being compromised by the limitations of the samples and are all but unplayable when performed by a real orchestra.

    The problem is also that samples are still often very limited. Take the old Shostakovitch trick of having all the strings chugging up and down furiously in 8vas with horns hitting stab notes in the background (I\'m thinking the 1st mov of 12th symph here). A simple but fantastic effect. Try and mock it up using any of todays samples and it sounds weedy by comparison, which might mean that any composer who doesn\'t understand the effect it will have with a real orchestra would never use such a device becuse it sounds too naff and fake with samples. And that\'s just one example out of a scrillion!.

    Several times I\'ve heard demos that sound great with samples but just would not work well with a real orchestra because half of the instruments would not be heard, and its for reasons like this that I think its essential for anybody who expects to have their work performed by a real orchetra to have a really thorough musical education and practical background of working with musicians.

    I\'ve experienced the problems of it from two sides as both performer and arranger. When I left university I often performed as pianist with the British contemporary ensemble Lontano, and a number of times we were given parts by composers who had simply sat down and composed their pieces using the Proteus modules and a couple of S1000s. Often the pieces had to be re-arranged/notated to make them playable and workable.

    The same applied not so long go when performing the celeste part for a modern chamber opera. The score was poorly notated (all mocked up using samples originally it transpired) and had to be re-scored to make it work.

    Several times when arranging I\'ve been handed a cd and logic score (all too common now) that hasn\'t been properly notated at all. The worst example that springs to mind is when one composer had simply held down one of the Prosonous random pizz FX sample for a whole cue and asked me to notate it.

    If the music is intended to remain a work for sample orchestra then great. Often they sound excellent and work well as just that. Its when pieces are actually composed in the virtual realm and switched to the real that it can become a cause for concern when left in the hands of the un-trained.

  3. #3

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    I was thinking this particular subject today as well.

    It seems whenever I compose straight onto Gigastudio, I only create pieces that sound absolutely realistic to my ears. The drawback to that ethic is that I am limited to what my imagination is brewing.

    Whenever I\'m composing straight from piano to paper, I don\'t have to worry about it being translated into a giga recording.

    Using Finale is probably when my imagination is unlimited. To me Finale is the ultimate pen and paper, with the ability to playback what you\'ve written.

    When the day comes when Giga technology will be able to recognize thematic lines portraying grief, hope, joy, and anger, and incorporating that style of playing into the midi performance with aesthetic quality AND sound realistic, give me a call.

    Perhaps bio-feedback will progress as far as to attaching probes to your head, so creating symphonies while pinching the loaf would be cakewalk.

    ( Gigastudio version 1,567,098,099.9. Introductory price $1,000,000.00 <-- that\'s not too far-fetched a price in comparison to todays libs. Ugh )

  4. #4

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    Aaron, you could hire your own orchestra for that price. Besides when the technology is that advanced we won\'t have to notate anything, we will just have to think about it [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] Good point, I was thinking of editing all of my instruments so they would only cover the notes the said instrument can play. I think I still will, as this way I can notate, have it realized if wanted and become better at notation.

  5. #5

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    the future you guys are speaking of ... is the future when art will die!! so let\'s not anticipate it too much .... that technology will give the whistling janitor an opportunity to be a beethoven [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

    and do realize this technology is in the works .... so get in line now for your cerebral cortex implant/port ...... and usher in the dark age of techno-human.


  6. #6

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    Lol the Matrix realized.

  7. #7

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    Actually, many of us have a goal of not so much wanting to make realistic sounding orchestras with our virtual orchestras, but make realistic representations of recorded orchestras using our virtual orchestras. There is a difference.

    Oh, and talent will always make the difference.

  8. #8

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    Orchestra recording emulations is the key. That is what we are imitating to our best ability. What sounds good with a Giga orchestra will probably not translate to paper without a lot of reworking. People like Hanz Zimmer spend a good part of thier budget hiring MIDI\\copyists to take their audio tracks and MIDI files and turn them into printable and playable parts for a real orchestra. Sometimes they use the virtual orchestra cues if there are changes made to the file after the scoring session or to make minor changes to the music. Sometimes they layer samples on top of the real orchestra recordings that they have alligned up with thier MIDI tracks. I myself have a few years of experience as a Timpanist in a range of orchestras from high school and college and professional quality church orchestras and civic groups. These days I spend my time as a snare drummer in a Scottish Pipe and Drum band. (the kilts are a bit scratchy so we do wear underwear under them. Nothing is worn under the kilt though, everything is in fine working order)
    The live experience does help in mocking up the orchestra. Simple things like having spent many years in band and orch listening to the various instruments practice and tuneup are even helpfull. You hear the instruments on their own doing various scales and it helps to evaluate how real a sample is to imitate those warmups. Also, hearing instruments coming from all directions, down the hall, accross the cafeteria, outside, helps to get a feel for what they sound like.
    Even more important for me is spending all my years since Star Wars listening to sound tracks. Those tunes are burned into my brain.

  9. #9

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    Originally posted by dwdonehoo:
    Actually, many of us have a goal of not so much wanting to make realistic sounding orchestras with our virtual orchestras, but make realistic representations of recorded orchestras using our virtual orchestras. There is a difference.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Such a good point!

  10. #10

    Re: Real Orchestra experience...

    I don\'t often write to paper anymore, just directly into my sequencer/GSt. What I sometimes find myself doing though is altering my original musical ideas to suit the shortcomings of my libraries. I do this, of course, so the result sounds more real. For example, maybe I initially write a trumpet to play a series of high sixteenth notes but upon playback I find they do not sound \"real\" so I change the octave or make them eights or simple replace them with a sustain. I might find that a particular note of my clarinet sounds too different from the notes around it so I avoid it. I wonder if anyone else finds themselves in this situation?

    On the brighter side, I am force to express a musical idea in a varied way and get used to changing existing music. This teaches both variation techniques and the prized discipline of throwing music out.

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