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Topic: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

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  1. #1

    Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    I have heard it said that it is near impossible to get JABB3 to sound smooth like a real Big Band. I have experienced this frustration but found it was basically a lack of knowledge about how MIDI works with these very nuanced instruments. Given that many of the Jazz performances were nuanced, it only makes sense to me that my MIDI files should contain many nuances as well. So, is the first page from Moonlight Serenade.

    I hope this will convince some that more than decent results are possible. I included a SONAR X2 project, MIDI file, ARIAX ensemble settings, and an MP3. The MIDI should help people understand how to use attacks and manipulate the CCs to get the nice sounds.

    MP3:
    https://app.box.com/s/9e3nki3fjifruighep6j

    Folder:
    https://app.box.com/s/6gu6tcx230pn5srg8suv

  2. #2

    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    Quote Originally Posted by jdsnyderii View Post
    I have heard it said that it is near impossible to get JABB3 to sound smooth like a real Big Band. ...I hope this will convince some that more than decent results are possible...
    Sublime, smooth and authentic, Jim. I love it when someone posts yet more proof that JABB really is a great Library, showing that frustration with it almost always comes from the "switch flippers"--meaning the people who just trigger notes and expect everything to come out great without actually PLAYING the instruments. There's a big difference.

    Wonderful - Thanks.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    Jim,

    This is spot on!! You just transported me back 50 years. When I was growing up in the 50's my parents would have couples over to play bridge and they would always put on a stack of big band LPs on their phonograph which continued all night long. I got to know the "sound" really well! If I close my eyes, this sounds just so authentic.

    You are absolutely right about using the CC's and taking your time to get the nuances to surface. This is true for just about any recent sample library. People expect them to sound perfect right out of the box. Although there are various degrees of success at this, every library can excel to greater heights if one takes their time and learns the CC's and other various peculiarities of that library to make your music breathe and be more human in delivery.

    You've taken that step here and it sounds magnificent. Thanks for posting this so everyone can hear what can be done with patience and the desire to produce realistic replication. I might add, once you go through this labor of love, you get faster and faster at it to the point where you can almost put something together as quickly as someone who just uses it out of the box. Just like learning a language or any new skill, takes time, but the reward is awesome!!

    Cass

  4. #4

    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    Well thanks Cass and Randy. This project was about 3 hours. So, after lots of learning, I can get these out pretty fast. So when you break it down it is the first page of the score. This is about 7 bars and 18 instrument lines for about 120 measures. So that is between one and two minutes per measure. Not to bad in the grand scheme.

    My experience with this was unlocked when I started using my EWI and some great learning from the maestro DPDAN. The just keeping at it. These techniques are staples for any modern library to get good sound.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    Hey Jim,

    Absolutely Great job with this rendition ... Love it!!

    I noticed the "Club JaBB" thread on 'Subtones', and before I had time to participate or offer some living proof that the saxes are quite useful IF User's take the time to play with the controllers the way the JaBB library was concieved, BINGO!! ... there it was in all it's glory, your fantastic excerpt and reproduction of one of the most iconic big-band sounds (and songs) ever ... spot-on!

    I was glad you posted this to raise awareness just how functional the saxes in JaBB can be. I've been using them for years now and once I learned the techniques that Tom Hopkins so generously shared with our community, I've been very pleased with them.

    I agree: It takes time to develop the technique, but once you learn it and develop little systems for yourself, it goes much quicker. The proof is in the pudding: It makes a huge difference in realism and is well worth any time you put into it.

    For those who have been following these threads, I was finally able to do what you already did and post a few of my sax section soli examples over in the "General Discussion" area, including some of the techniques needed to achieve a decent sound. Here's a hot-link if you or any other readers are interested (thanks for the space here for the link!):

    Yes You Can! : Creating A Realistic Sax Section w/ JaBB (NO Kazoo or Accordion Fx!!)

    It's always fun and educational when forum members can share experiences ... thanks for your most excellent production, Jim!

    Frank

  6. #6

    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    Hello Jim, though I usually can't say much about rendering quality, I do know when it is good - this is good! You certainly achieved that smooth sound with this one, and I found this a most enjoyable listen!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  7. #7

    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    It sounds as good as I remember when I used to play this on the dance floors in the 1970's. You did an excellent job in rendering.

    I took the liberty of downloading your Sonar files and looked at them. I liked the work you did on all the players and the subtle tweaks you did on portamento, Variation 1 and Variation 2 in ARIA. I do have a question concerning Reverb and Auto-Legato.

    You used auto-legato on many of the instruments.

    What was your reasoning behind that and not just using CC#64 for slurs?

    You set the reverb in ARIA.

    Why did you use the ARIA reverb and not one in Sonar?


    I see and hear nothing wrong with what you did, the piece sounds great. I just want to know your reasoning behind doing it the way you did. Every bit of information on pieces that sound great like yours is very helpful to the rest of us!

    Thanks Jim for an excellent sounding "Moonlight Serenade". Now can't we please hear the whole thing? (Or, Is it still under copyright?)
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  8. #8

    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    It sounds as good as I remember when I used to play this on the dance floors in the 1970's. You did an excellent job in rendering.

    I took the liberty of downloading your Sonar files and looked at them. I liked the work you did on all the players and the subtle tweaks you did on portamento, Variation 1 and Variation 2 in ARIA. I do have a question concerning Reverb and Auto-Legato.

    You used auto-legato on many of the instruments.

    What was your reasoning behind that and not just using CC#64 for slurs?

    You set the reverb in ARIA.

    Why did you use the ARIA reverb and not one in Sonar?


    I see and hear nothing wrong with what you did, the piece sounds great. I just want to know your reasoning behind doing it the way you did. Every bit of information on pieces that sound great like yours is very helpful to the rest of us!

    Thanks Jim for an excellent sounding "Moonlight Serenade". Now can't we please hear the whole thing? (Or, Is it still under copyright?)
    On the auto-legato thing, I have found that in general CC#64 is more flexible and better sounding with some exceptions where auto-legato is just as good. In the case of tight voicings like Glen Miller arrangements, the auto-legato is just fine according to my ears; your mileage may vary. I think this is because the portamento settings work just fine without adjustments because each note is only a half or whole step away. Result is smooth transition. For bigger leaps, CC#64 and portamento is mandatory.

    On the reverb question, I have also found that using multiple VST instruments each with their own reverb settings gets me some cheap placement. I can tweak each Aria instance to be a bit different that the others and get some atmosphere by doing this. So, I can do all this with out the CPU overhead of the external reverb unit and potentially causing lag during playback. If I need to get serious about more effective reverb later I can switch methods really easily. I also see reasons to NOT use the 'send' on a track to a reverb. So these topics bring us to the "workflow" posts others have chimed in on. In summary, don't discount the built-in reverb especially during composition with keyboards and the like because you get speed back. You can always switch during mixdown. Lastly, it makes the tutorial more portable because not everyone has the reverbs that I do, but if I use Aria, everyone has the reverbs I do .

    Lastly, on the "whole" thing request. If you multiply out my 1-2 minute per measure estimate (which might go lower), there are 9 more pages of score which means I am 10% done with the song which means there are about 27 hours left to go. It is hard to find that chunk of time all at once, so I shared what I had. I am on the fence about finishing it. It turned out really sweet. I just love how it sounds, but 27 hours is still 27 hours. Maybe we can get people to collaborate and spread the work. You are a reed player right?

  9. #9

    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    I just love how it sounds, but 27 hours is still 27 hours. Maybe we can get people to collaborate and spread the work. You are a reed player right?
    You got me on that.

    I really like your explanations. I hope others read this and take a look at the Sonar set up. It is nice and short and is packed with a lot of goodies to check out! Of course that means they need Sonar. But for Sonar users, this is great.

    On your request, I have played that piece SOOoooo many times. I would help but I don't have the score. I expect you would want me to do it on EWI as well?

    It is a possibility, but I am not sure I would meet your standards on the rendition.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  10. #10

    Re: Excerpt from Moonlight Serenade

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    You got me on that.

    I really like your explanations. I hope others read this and take a look at the Sonar set up. It is nice and short and is packed with a lot of goodies to check out! Of course that means they need Sonar. But for Sonar users, this is great.

    On your request, I have played that piece SOOoooo many times. I would help but I don't have the score. I expect you would want me to do it on EWI as well?

    It is a possibility, but I am not sure I would meet your standards on the rendition.
    I have the score and the individual parts. Whether it was played or entered does not much matter to me. Once it is MIDI it is MIDI. I could PM the score or make it available to you if you want. I don't want to post it directly in case there are copy right issues.

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