I have just finished a new piece call Grand Hungarian Overture. I would love to hear your comments and critiques.
About 90 percent of the strings came from GOS and, if you follow the link below, it will bring you to a page with the mp3 and my string patchlists for this piece so you can follow along and hear which is patch is playing and when it is playing.
All I can say is....WOW! Excellent composition. You definitely have a knack for instrumentation. I\'d offer more critiques if I knew what it was for, but simply as a composition, I loved it. If you\'re looking for constructive criticism, I thought it could use some more verb in spots, but I guess that\'s a personal preferance thing. So, in all honesty, how long have you been working on that? A piece like that would\'ve taken me, ohhhhh, a month. To get it to sound that authentic, anyway. Good job!!! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
Ah what the hell. I just sent you an e-mail but might as well say it again.
Really like it. I t makes me very happy to have received my GOS lite in the mailbox this weekend. I got some serious work to do!
Great piece, but there is just something weird about the overall sound.
In the beginnning it sounds like its being played through some small speakers then re recorded, then when the cellos come in, it feels more \"mixed\" but still weird. The mono returns on the woodwinds sound a bit strange too.
It sounds like an \"overdubbed\" recording. If you know what I mean. Just a bunch of instruments recorded in different rooms seperately and then mixed together.
I mean its a really good piece, but it just doesn\'t sound like one orchestra at one time IMO. Sort of like a big composition but a small recording. Sometimes there\'s not much to be dont abou tit tho.
My own opinion tho, and I\'m not saying I could do better (especially in terms of composition/orchestration). Much of the MIDI mockup-ing is great too.
Thank you all for the gracious words. I am very humbled.
Let me start with Kings critique.
Perhaps it sounds weird to you because I wound up digitizing all the midi tracks in mono. The problem for me is that midi is a 2 dimensional sound whereas a live orchestra is a 3D sound. Not only do we hear Violins I on the left and low brass on the right (in a modern live orchestra) but we hear violin 1 closer than we hear the low brass because the low brass sit in the back. Without the 3rd dimension, stereo samples dont sound right to me and, as such, I render midi to audio in mono so I can have more control over the placement of instruments. The draw back is that you dont have the natural bleed through the stereo image. To sensitive ears, that can sound very strange. I am in favor of samples with the natural reverb in the sample. As far as I can tell, its the only time I hear things in 3D. Certainly Altiverb and the like sound great but they dont solve the 2d problem to my ears. A poor mans solution to this problem is to lightly mix each instrument with a similar reverb then, at the mastering level, add another layer of larger reverb. Ive even experimented with 3 layers of reverb. It seems to have a positive effect but undoubtedly, some folks like King will hear beyond that solution. Yes King, it does sound strange. MIDI sounds strange.
Frog, the piece took me 4 days to write and about 6 full days to sequence and mix. I didnt quantize a thing. Ive found that recording at about 70% tempo yields a tight performance at full speed and a much more natural feel. It also helps to diminish the maladies of latency.
Christian and Tom, thanks for the kind words. I dont mind sharing my techniques with others. In fact, after my original post I added the short score for the piece to my website. If you are interested click on the \"scores\" button on the home page and you will find it there. It contains the entire score on 5 staves, all my orchestrations in shorthand and I even left my little notes about harmony, rhythm and form in the short score for those of you that care about things like that.
Midphase, my rig is pretty simple. 3 PCs that I control from a Mac using Digital Performer. DP is my sequencer of choice. Ive been with MOTU since Performer 1.2 and I really like their products. I am watching MachFive with great anticipation. I also like to have my orchestra on line. I feel very strongly that this is necessary for me. It seems I am sort of alone in this perspective but I just cant imagine spending the time creating GSPs for every project.
I wont get into the specifics about my libraries right now because I have spent a lot of time tweaking them. As such, without having my version of a given library, you wouldn’t get the same sound. The one exception is GOS which I use straight out of the box.
I think just as important as the library is what the composer brings to it. A flute gliding in unison with a high trumpet wont be heard as a flute. It will be heard as a silky shimmer glistening in the power of the trumpet. A clarinet doubling the violas wont really be heard as a clarinet. It will however give a depth to the violas that will draw the listener inside of the sound. These and many many other orchestral colors and textures enrich not only the live orchestra but the midi orchestra as well. Good composition and orchestration is a good start to a good sequence.
As well, try to work with the samples, not against them. In the middle of the overture when I go into the harmonic sequence with violins taking the double dotted quarter note theme accompanied by flutes in triplets above and bassoons and clarinets in triplets below there is a short little trade of 2 bars with the trumpets. Those trumpets were slightly too short for what I had originally intended. The problem was, my next longest trumpet instrument was too long. So instead of trying to make the shorter trumpets into something they aren’t, I let them be. They sort of give the passage a cute, lighter feel that I have come to like very much.
Well thats it for now. I hope I have been at least a little helpful.
Awesome Job, Andy. Over the year or so that I\'ve been visiting this site I have listened to quite a few midi mock-ups from users here. Yours is among the best of the best, not just from a compositional/orchestration perspective, but also it\'s production value.
I have long held the point of view that stereo samples can be counterproductive inside a thick orchestration, producing numerous summing problems, cancellations, and adding to an \"unnatural\" sound.
I honestly don\'t have enough experience with ambient samples yet to have an opinion on them, but my sense is that this may also become problematic inside thick orchestrations. They would be great for small ensemble and soloing.
I think it would be wise for people to follow your advice of rendering to mono audio tracks from stereo samples in some instances.
Thanks for providing an inspiring piece to this forum and some valuable insight into your approach.