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Topic: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    What's the situation with virtual polyphonic choirs?

    Dear friends, I'm graduted in Choir Music, and always loved singing and composing for choir. The probelm is now with a family and a heavy job, the time for doing it is no longer available, and almost no virtual choir today on the market is really doing the job:

    - in my personal opinion the 2 VI singing real words are poor in sound: spelling is a bit mechanic, the Kontakt word builder doesn't work fine (just a sad attempt to connect sounds in a melting unclear and unnatural way), and the proprietary word builder of EWQLSC is still full of bugs and unmanageable as soon as you try to inflate some expression in the MIDI score (consonants disappearing without any reason, volumes unbalanced, attacks too strong or too weak out of controllers value etc. etc.)

    - several other products have amazing sound and wonderful expression! they are really emotional when they sing Ooohh or senseless words based on the little database of syllabes, but no way at all to make them sing a real text of course.

    then I started my own research and spent quite a bit of time in testing hybrid thechnics, and digital tools for reproducing choir effects with virtual instruments, basic solo and real recordings I can afford to sing alone or with my few singers friends.

    Now I think some of the outcomes of my "alchemy lab" begin to be promising, and i share an example with you, to get your feedback as well:

    G.P. Palestrina "Sicut Cervus" mottetto a 4 voci

    If anybody out there is interested in polyphonic choir music, just let me have your 2 cents

  2. #2

    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    Mama mia! That sounds great! I can't understand any of the words. Is it in Italian?

    It sounds like an authentic choir in an equally authentic large church. Congratulations on achieving this. Did you develop this sample library yourself or improve an existing library?

    Thanks for posting this remarkable demonstration.

    Best,

    Larry Alexader

  3. #3

    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    Quote Originally Posted by larryalex1 View Post
    Mama mia! That sounds great! I can't understand any of the words. Is it in Italian?

    It sounds like an authentic choir in an equally authentic large church. Congratulations on achieving this. Did you develop this sample library yourself or improve an existing library?

    Thanks for posting this remarkable demonstration.

    Best,

    Larry Alexader
    thanks Larry, it's actually Latin, so yeah, very close to Italian. The technology involved is not trivial, and is based on a chain of tools and effects by Yamaha, Radix, Avox, Steinberg, and VSL.

    Excluding the DAW and the obviously included tools, and the pretty expensive but amazing VSL MIR PRO 24 virtual stage and convolution reverb, the other "vocal" components cost round 300$... then a price close to a Library, but better sounding

  4. #4

    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    I suspect this might even fool Palestrina. If he knew the technology involved in producing something like this, he probably would have flashed a crucifix, crying "Away with you, evil spirits!" (in his best Latin, of course).

    I actually love choral music, I find it restful and comforting. There is nothing like a large chorus reverberating in a cathedral. It is one of the nicer achievements of Western civilization. Very hard to reproduce electronically, as you well know. I'm waiting until they really get it down. I have some sketches for a requiem I'd like to try my hand on.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    Just great. I love Palestrina, ( I used to have my choir sing one motet from him, the translated lyrics were "Now I take my farewell", looking for the score, can not find it.)
    You got enough of the just praise, so my comment is that I would love to cut down on the attacks, if it would be possible to do. Especially the tenor voice (very good) should have less volume at the start as he enters.
    Of course it is only my taste, please feel free to ignore me.
    I love choirs, my conducting a large choir got a hug and a request to do it again from Kodaly, and I cherish that memory. I tried also many (inexpensive) choir sounds, none of which came even remotely close to what you are doing, so I just wait and hope.
    Thanks for posting it, it gives us pleasure and hope...

    Ted

  6. #6

    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    Quote Originally Posted by tedvanya View Post
    Just great. I love Palestrina, ( I used to have my choir sing one motet from him, the translated lyrics were "Now I take my farewell", looking for the score, can not find it.)
    You got enough of the just praise, so my comment is that I would love to cut down on the attacks, if it would be possible to do. Especially the tenor voice (very good) should have less volume at the start as he enters.
    Of course it is only my taste, please feel free to ignore me.
    I love choirs, my conducting a large choir got a hug and a request to do it again from Kodaly, and I cherish that memory. I tried also many (inexpensive) choir sounds, none of which came even remotely close to what you are doing, so I just wait and hope.
    Thanks for posting it, it gives us pleasure and hope...

    Ted
    Hi Ted, actually for your information I agree with your performance insight: a nice "crescendo" for each of the long notes starting the phrases is a common and recommended practice in renaissance music phylologically-informed performance. And you are right about the first one, being uncovered, should be the most soft, while the other have to start a bit stronger to be perceived in the middle of the poliphony.

    The reason why this first one starts a bit stronger as well is due to the dynamic balance of the digital recordings: if an attack is too soft, people can't often listen to it in a proper way because they don't sit in full concentration in a concert hall or because the rest should be too loud... then it's an artifact more than intention.

    I really appreciate the comment being on the musical side... it's meaning the music is musical enough to be valuated as music, instead of just an attempt...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    Before my system failure, I was beginning to get some very interesting results with EWQL Symphonic Choirs. The only production problem was that I would spend a couple of days writing the music and up to two weeks getting the text to sound right.

    Hopefully you will be able to perfect and market your results soob.

    Tom

  8. #8

    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    Hi Fabio,

    This is a very good attempt, but still an attempt.

    Strings have gone a very long and complex way to sound better and better, even the solo strings, and they got a certain degree of realism in many circumstances and techniques. But they don't yet come near to a real live performance. Maybe we underestimate our (human) capabilities to produce the richness and wealth of sounds of all kinds, including our voice. There's much more than just reproducing to the best possible most of the techniques. There's the fantasy, creativity, variation, little human failure, small incorrectnesses and most of all personality in what we perform. A sample can capture one single moment to perfection, but alas not all these human aspects at any time. Most of the renderings tend to be perfect, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Music is not perfect and never detached from the interpreter and/or performer(s).
    I do appreciate your efforts immensely. Once you've got so far in the development of choir syllabled samples, your merits ar enormous and the world will be grateful for that realisation. But we should alway stay humble and admit that our instrument (voice) is so incredibly rich in nuance and emotion, that it (in my opinion) will remain impossible to catch it all in one sample (per syllable).

    As to your recording and sampling effort: in one word: fantastic! I could have used it well in my 'Running Waters' and 'Bude Vecer'...

    Max

  9. #9
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    It sounds pretty good! I compared this with the EW Choir demos and I think it has more of a human element to it. A warmth.

    The only other vocal library I'm aware of that actually can sing words is Realivox-Blue. It's a solo soprano that is more geared to pop music but you can layer it for a choral effect.

  10. #10

    Re: Sicut Cervus, G.P. Palestrina 4 voices, featuring my Choir...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Davis View Post
    Before my system failure, I was beginning to get some very interesting results with EWQL Symphonic Choirs. The only production problem was that I would spend a couple of days writing the music and up to two weeks getting the text to sound right.

    Hopefully you will be able to perfect and market your results soob.

    Tom
    Well EWQLSC was my only serious choir for years... I love and hate it... I love it because it's a real choir at your fingertips, and I hate it because after hours of work getting the right sound and pronunciation, the word builder start freezing and the midi flow out of the midi processor doesn't replicate anymore the previously made changes. I even identified the technical reason but I got from the customer service the answer they aren't interested in fixing it because just few customers complain, and fixing it is too complex... Finally it has the embedded reverb, nice to ear first time, but then always the same and no way of getting rid of it, being the samples recorded wet... anyway in the following example the first and the 3rd segment are EWQLSC singing Palestrina and Vivaldi...

    Production and demo making examples...

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