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Topic: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

  1. #1

    Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    While I would agree that studying scores is essential as well as a basic understanding of music theory, I think we need to see more Score examples in Midi (or Sibelius/Finale) format used with specific music libraries.

    For example, we have \" Maarten Spruijt\" demos for Ilio correct?

    Well, what about the actual midi files, the sequencer used, the various layering of patches and so forth used/technique to create realistic sounding scores?

    Are the legato strings on one track and staccato on another or does he use program changes. What sampler was used, Giga, Kontakt, etc.

    This in my opinion will be very helpful. Did he even use a sequencer or did he use Sibelius or Finale, or perhaps both a music notation program and sequencer.

    Then of course, you get into; well, if he used Cubase SX, were the trills, crescendo manually programmed, OR; if he had used Sibelius, did he use the Trills symbol with a standard string set, or did he use trill samples and thus avoiding the trills symbol (which Sibelius/Finale will play). Then, lastly, if this score was to be performed, it would need the actual notation, as written.

    Having a midi file (or Sibelius/Finale) examples within a music library (Opus, Performance , EWQL, etc, ) as a demo, would be, in my opinion, more helpful than most other ways as this would give you the actual score to view, as well as a chance to match up a said given music sample set to an actual working score.

    I would be more than happy to even pay someone (such as Maarten) to view an actual midi/Sibelius file. This is something developers really need to think about in addition to shipping Orchestral Libraries.

    Just a few thoughts….and would love to hear some responses to these ideas…


    f. elliott

  2. #2

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    Okay, here goes...

    I created a string quartet piece using KHSS a while back, and I included PDFs of the score as well as a technical description of what I did.


    The real benefit of creating the score is that a friend of mine from Japan has played it live with his quartet. He confirmed that all but one measure was very playable. (The one measure is difficult to synchronize between the players - not out of range. They just slow that measure down.) I hope to get a live recording from them at some point. It will be even better if I can hear them in person on a future business trip.

    Hopefully others will follow suit and provide scores/midi files with their demos as well.

  3. #3

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    Well I agree COMPLETELY with you f. elliot. That\'s exactly what\'s needed.

    It\'s one thing to have musical skills to compose beautiful music, like a Mozart or a Tchaikovsky, and I\'m sure we all try to emulate these giants of orchestration.

    But it\'s quite a different thing to take the music in one\'s head (which may in fact be Mozart-like quality) and incarnate it using the complex midi software sequencers and plugins we use.

    They\'re two entirely different skills.

    And it\'s funny that the very tools we use don\'t get passed around. That is, all we get are demos and helpful tips and techniques but no ACTUAL midi examples and songs with all the midi trimmings.
    It\'s like a magic trick...\'Here, listen to my demo, but how I did it you are not allowed to see.\'

    Maybe with GPO this will be realized more easily, that is, a midi standard or convention, if you will, that renders it possible to swap midi files and see, not just hear, into all the nooks and crannies of the midi creation, and understand how the music is actually being created.

    But I know what can possibly prevent this from being realized and that is copyright laws, intellectual property rights, etc. Sometimes people don\'t like to share for fear of being thieved.

    Anyway, just my after-work ramblings for the day.

    But poignant thought, f. elliot.


  4. #4

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    I often mention Andy Brick\'s Grand Hungarian Overture as an example to study. Andy sketched the entire work on five staves, then played each voice by hand at 6070% tempo.

    His five staff sketch is worth studying. It\'s the orchestral version of a lead sheet. And he included an event list that shows the GOS articulations that he used for the string sections.


    Music and GOS articulation event lists:


  5. #5

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    Thanks for some of the replies - -

    I just found out that something like this is could be in the works in the very near future (not in time for NAMM), but at least it\'s coming.

    In the meantime this is something the large sample houses should think about. If they have a demo using (for example) Opus 1 or EWQL, then it shouldn\'t be to much of a problem to include a few files (i.e.Sibelius, Cubase SX, Giga) showing the complete work. Of course as the end user you would need all the platforms to make it work.

    My idea would be, (and this is just an example), to include, the Cubase SX file (or Logic, etc), the giga peformance file (that loads all the intruments)(you would have to own the actual library), as well as a Sibelius/Finale file if it where output to such. In fact, sample libraries could start selling \"bundled\" samples as well.

    For example, perhaps you hear a demo and decide that you could work with the instruments in that particular performance, Ilio then bundles those giga files, with the cubase/sibelius files and packages it as say Action Adventure score.

    You can\'t use it of course but it would give you a greater understanding to the midi articulation, velocity\'s and key-swithing, etc, etc.

    Just a few ideas.


  6. #6

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    I would also love to see this,
    it would be a great learning tool!!


  7. #7

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    That may be asking too much of the authors. Not so much from a technical standpoint, but, well... Not everyone\'s comfortable revealing their trade secrets. We are, after all, competing with them for jobs.

    That\'s not to say it shouldn\'t be done where musicians are willing. But, don\'t be too hard on the demo authors if some of them aren\'t anxious to play along.

    As for file formats, limit this to .MID - it\'s less informative, but the fact is we don\'t want to mire the developers in extra work when they could be fulfilling orders or starting up on a new project.

    It\'s just a shame we don\'t have a new format standard, wherein musicians can expose the MIDI for a few select instruments but keep everything else synced up as pre-mixed audio. That would seem the best compromise for everyone involved...

  8. #8

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    Originally posted by Bob Wolski:

    But it\'s quite a different thing to take the music in one\'s head (which may in fact be Mozart-like quality) and incarnate it using the complex midi software sequencers and plugins we use.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Agreed, further, it is quite different to score an arrangement in Sibelius (Finale) (which will play articulations and symbols) vs creating a midi score in Cubase, Logic, Performer. I do know that there are some wonderful things ahead for Giga 3.0, as well, and I hope to get more info when I meet with Sibelius\' (Ben Finn) at this years NAMM presentation at their suite.

    I\'m really trying to piece together the best way to score for \"orchestral\" as there are two various schools of thought. On one hand, television work requires very little \"live\" orchestration, although many times session players are used to arrange melodys (especially for pop, latin, swing,,etc), and midi files will suffice, however, on the other hand, if your scoring to picture, the producer wants a decent mock up, yet the players (Orchestral) really need lead sheets, and I find it best to use a pro music notation program.

    With that in mind, it would appear that writing with Cubase (etc) as well as Notation, is the order of the day, it\'s just trying to piece together the best way to do this with Orchestral libraries.

    I really feel strongly that if the developers where to put together some type of package whereas the end user would get samples, midi file and notation files, this would be a major breakthrough for the midi arranger. As well, I feel you need both Notation and Midi, for example, in notation, a repeat bar (symbol) is used to repeat an entire passage, as well as coda and so forth, if you, as the composer, export this to a standard midi file, it just duplicates the part, which of course, makes it useless for proffesional arranging (to some extent).

    I\'m somewhat new to the orchestral MIDI arranging, but am very well versed in the Music and Film/TV business, so pardon my ignorance when trying to put this all together, at least in my mind anyway.

    Lastly, for now anyway, there are also newer variables such as libraries shipping with Kontakt, (a smart move by them) vs Giga libraries, that said, I don\'t think it would unreasonable for say EWQL to release (for example) a SWING sample set CD which includes one or two composers ideas of set up files, (or ensemble, orchestral), with a few performance demos. Think of it as your the composer/arranger and the bands waiting for you to start performing/writing. This could be done in a few different generes, all of course, which would lead to upgrade paths, to \"their\" full feature set. ( I used to be a national marketing and promo manager so exuse the caffinated passion), and I think this would go really well. Especially since Paul Gilreaths new book (Guide to Midi Orch) will be out in the near future, as well as Giga 3.0.

    The times will live in now (for sample cd\'s, especially orchestral) is nothing short of stunning.


    PS, another trick that sometimes works, is you can take a score (i.e. John Williams), scan it into Sibelius (it reads most of the symbols), then export as midi, assign the proper instrument to it via giga studio, and -poof, there you go. But this method will not, as the above idea would do, give you the exact trills, patches, cresandos, etc, that say a composer would do for Garritan, Ilio, GPO, EWQL.

    Just a few thoughts.....

  9. #9

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    I think music composing is a very competitive business. When hardware and software are within easy reach of the masses, the only differentiating factor between composers are talent, and technique.

    Talent can be overcome by one person working harder to achieve the same results. (okay, this is debatable, but you know what I mean.)

    But techniques of the trade will be a closely guarded trade secret.

    If there is a book in the marketplace that will give an in-depth study about MIDI and techniques, I\'ll buy it. But sadly, the MIDI books out there are very \"elementary.\" Any composers here want to write that book????

  10. #10

    Re: Orchestral Performance/Writing Techniques- whats needed (IMHO)

    Originally posted by Owel:

    If there is a book in the marketplace that will give an in-depth study about MIDI and techniques, I\'ll buy it. But sadly, the MIDI books out there are very \"elementary.\" Any composers here want to write that book????
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">This is the older version which can be found here.

    I have a link somewhere to their actual website, the newest version is coming out sometime this winter/spring, from what I understand.

    Also, while I agree that talent and technique (as well as passion) make a difference, it\'s one thing to write a score with proper notation that any proffesional conductor can peform, yet it\'s quite different to re-match the notation (up string/down string, tongue (brass), trills with the proper samples and have them play back correctly.



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